Adam Benjamin

adam-benjamin

Co-Founder

Born 1958 Grimsby, UK. His father Joe Benjamin was a pioneer of the Adventure Playground, his mother Rivka Black an artist, costume designer at Sadlers Wells and later teacher at Goldsmiths College (brother of designer Sir Misha Black). His step mother was Pauline Crabbe (née Henriques).

He studied Tai Chi and Ba-kua with Rose Shao-Chiang Li, Shintaido with Ken Waight and body work with Franklyn Sills.  From 1987-90 he trained in Dance and Fine Art at what was then Middlesex Polytechnic, studying Humphrey Technique with Lesley Main and Release with Judy Sharpe. On graduating he met Celeste Dandeker through his involvement with the charity ASPIRE.  In 1990 they began teaching together and soon after founded Candoco Dance Company, the first professional company for disabled and non-disabled dancers. As joint founder and Artistic Director (1991 -1998), Adam choreographed and danced with the company until 1996 and then directed the education program, establishing a reputation as a teacher of integrated work, later as a teacher of improvisation.

His book Making an Entrance, Theory and practice for disabled and non-disabled dancers was published by Routledge in 2001. He worked in South Africa as artistic director of Tshwaragano Dance Company, and also in Ethiopia for the Adugna Community Dance Theatre. In Europe he freelanced as a choreographer and made work for his own performance projects Adam Benjamin and dancers, and The Stare Cases Project (with Danny Scheinmann) as well as directing movement for the Besht Tellers and AandBC Theatre Company. With support from Yuko Ijichi he developed a growing body of work in Japan, both within community dance and with professional performers such as Kim Itoh and Chieko Matsumura.  While working in Japan he met and married his wife Tamami.

As an improvisor he has performed with Kirstie Simson, Kenzo Kusuda, Russell Maliphant, Jordi Cortés, Chieko Matsumura, Rick Nodine (Neat Timothy), Susanne Martin, Kim Itoh, Yann l’Heureux, and Eric Languet. He is a founder member of 5 Men Dancing. His on-going research with Russell Maliphant resulted in the duet A Holding Space as part of the Destino / DanceUnited project which premiered at Sadlers Wells in March 2009. He has made work for (amongst others) Vertigo Dance Company, Scottish Dance Theatre, Stop Gap Dance Company, Remix and Tshwaragno Dance companies in South Africa and recently for Croi Glan Integrated Dance Company in Ireland.

He has received numerous awards; while at Candoco he collected a TimeOut London Performance award for Flying in the Face of…, and the Sainsbury’s Award for Education. In his final year, Candoco collected the Prudential Award. With Tshwaragano he received Best Ensemble at the FNB Vita Dance Indaba Awards. Remix Dance Company were awarded the Arts and Culture Trust Awards: Cultural Development Project of the Year, 2002 following his production of ‘Taking Care of Small Things’. He is a Wingate Scholar, was an Associate Artist at The Place and has received an International Artists Fellowship from Arts Council England. In 2006 he became one of the first choreographers to be awarded a Rayne Foundation fellowship. He now teaches at Plymouth University where he is helping build the new dance degree programme.