Candoco Dance Company, renowned for exploring the diversity of dance, premiere their latest creation, Renditions, at the Lowry. Comprising of a disabled and non-disabled ensemble, the postmodern performance goes from confusing and awkward, to random and exciting in the second half.
Never have I changed my opinions of a performance so vastly, and had the dances been performed in the opposite order, I feel I may never have had my doubts in the first place.
The production is split into three sections- firstly we have The Hangman, choreographed by Sarah Michelson, secondly In Translation, by Emanuel Gat and lastly, Imperfect Storm, by Wendy Houston. None of the routines aim to have meaning, or tell a story. In fact, if you don’t understand the piece, the cast would probably turn around and tell you that that is their point.
The Hangman starts strangely, a single dancer moving diagonally across the stage, performing a simple step and kick movement, over and over and over again. It is so repetitive that it does, in fact, leave you wondering where the rest of the dance is going.
This is not the only problem with Michelson’s routine- dancers are not entirely in unison (it may be that the choreography aimed for canon movement, but this was not achieved) and boundaries are pushed a little too far. A woman at interval complained about sound regulations and there are times when pauses cause excruciating pain.
However, there are moments of beauty in the piece. The balance of the dancers is incredible and considering the range of the dancer’s disabilities the contemporary choreography is commendable.
It is in Gat’s and Houston’s choreographies that you begin to understand what the fuss of Candoco is about. The wings are closed off in these pieces, lighting is not as bright and music is significantly quieter.
Yet, they are still able to surpass traditional boundaries, without taking it too far. Movement and speech is combined together, the company proving their versatility through their integration of self-referential humour. Furthermore, you do feel like you are watching an improvisation session, each dancer being so playful with one another and bouncing off each other’s every movement.
Tableaux’s and body lines are incredible, and dancer, Annie Hanauer, especially, (whose disability is her prosthetic arm) really blows you away with her technique and ability.
You barely notice that any dancer is disabled by the end of the performance, proving just how dance is an accessible art form that really anybody can do if the passion and excitement is there.