Candoco’s founder wins Human Rights Arts Award

Celeste Dandeker-Arnold
Celeste Dandeker-Arnold

Candoco’s founder Celeste Dandeker-Arnold was last night announced as the winner of Liberty’s Human Rights Arts Award.

The award acknowledged Celeste’s work as co-founder and former Artistic Director of Candoco, the UK’s first professional dance company working with disabled and non-disabled dancers.

Liberty, also known as the National Council for Civil Liberties, seeks to protect civil liberties and promote human rights for everyone. The Liberty Human Rights Awards recognises those individuals and organisations that have dedicated themselves to protecting and promoting the rights of others throughout the year.

‘I am extremely grateful to Liberty to be honoured with this wonderful award.’ said Celeste, ‘I want to thank every member of Candoco Dance Company, past and present, who have contributed so much in making the company what it is today. I know that under the current leadership, Candoco will continue to inspire disabled and non disabled people alike, to participate in the arts which enrich all our lives.’

Celeste founded Candoco in 1991 with Adam Benjamin. The company developed from workshops and grew quickly into the first company of its kind in the UK. Celeste retired as Artistic Director of the company in 2007 but remains a proud patron of the company.

Candoco’s Executive Director, Rebecca Dawson said, ‘We are thrilled that Celeste has been honoured with a Liberty Human Rights Award. Candoco has become internationally recognised as the flagship company employing disabled and non-disabled dancers, providing opportunities where none existed and celebrating difference. This would not have been possible without Celeste’s remarkable vision and fortitude. In 1991 she stated that Candoco would be about dance not disability and her determination, commitment to quality and great charm carried us forward to the company we are today – delivering excellent live work and learning programmes for 1000s of people around the world and campaigning for a more accessible and diverse cultural sector. Congratulations to Celeste – we look forward to working with you on transforming the next 20 years’

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