Candoco Pro: Toke Broni Strandby

Candoco Dance Company, November 18th, 2018
Photography: Camilla Greenwell, 2018

My name is Toke Broni Strandby, I'm 31 years old and originally from Denmark. I've lived in the UK for 8 years - 3 years in Leeds and over 4 years in London. I studied at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, part of the National Conservatoire for Dance and Drama in the UK, from which I graduated with a distinction and the award for the Highest Achiever of the year. I come from a highly sports-orientated family, and I used to compete in swimming, badminton and gymnastics. At heart, I'm a country person though and I love spending time just looking at the horizon.The world is my oyster and I have a weakness for lasagne!

How does the experience of creating and performing a dance for stage differ to that of creating a piece for the TV?

Usually at Candoco we have 6 weeks to create a 30-minute piece. This includes the exploration process, making process, and staging process, after which we hold our premiere and begin touring. For our collaboration with Strictly Come Dancing, we have just over a week to make everything ready to be shown to millions of people. So, with this little time, everyone needs to work fast and be very focused.

I believe that in theatre it is within the performer's power to know how and what to reveal to the audience within the barriers of the performance. On TV it is more of the producer's role to control and decide what to reveal and what to keep secret. Therefore, the thinking and preparation behind the work is very different from what we are used to.

Also, in theatre performances there is usually one 'front' towards which we perform. In
Strictly, I need to constantly pay attention to where I look, what I do, and the ways I appear from different angles. I need to be aware of cameras, audience, spotlights, a slippery floor, other dancers I do not know, and a big band that plays my counts and rhythms live. There's always a risk of something going wrong, but this is the beauty of the industry. We have one chance to make it right!