I first heard about Candoco in 1996 whilst in my final year of a Dance degree at the University of Chichester, my tutor gave me a flyer for an open workshop. I went along and met many of the founding company, Including Celeste Dandeker, Dave Toole, and Sue Smith. I was so excited by the work they were doing I knew I was hooked!
I then did a workshop with Co-Founder Adam Benjamin and he suggested that I apply for the Arts Council traineeship with the company, I did and was successful. I then spent a year touring with the company and being involved with all aspects of the work from education work and touring to booking hotels and nipping out for sandwiches and cups of tea for dancers. During this year I was also a member of the company’s education team, along with Lucy Moelwyn –Hughes, Tom St Louis, Adam Benjamin and Mark Glover. We toured a small programme of work alongside the education work. This was both national and international, perhaps most memorably to Senegal, for an amazing choreographic residency in a disused prison! Following the traineeship I worked for Greenwich Dance Agency, but continued to maintain links with Candoco, both through work and at the pub! In 2000 Celeste rang me at work to ask if I would like to join the company as a dancer. After thinking this through and getting advice for about 2 minutes…and a phone call to Welly O’Brien (along the lines of “I will if you will!”) I of course said I would love to.
I then performed in works by Doug Elkins, Javier De Frutos and Fin walker, and spent a wonderful, exciting, inspiring, tiring, brilliant 4 years working for the company. I left in 2004 to start a family (and went on to have the Candoco compulsory boys!) I stayed in touch with the company, and was so pleased when Stine and Pedro, who I had performed with were appointed as Co-artistic Directors.
I truly love working in dance, I am passionate about its value and many, many benefits, but Candoco has been and always will be about more than work for me, I feel part of a massive, supportive and at times slightly dysfunctional, but always wonderful family. Over the 15 years that I have been involved with Candoco I have visited some amazing places and met some inspiring people. I have been fortunate enough to see new companies grow out of workshops and residencies and go on to make brilliant work. I have become un-official auntie to a football team of boys! Un-official wife to a wonderful dance husband!
As mushy as it sounds I can honestly say I truly believe I would not work in dance now had it not been for that first workshop and all the brilliant people I have met and been lucky enough to work with along the way.