Candoco Dance Company celebrates 20 ground breaking years with a triple bill anniversary performance premiered at The Lowry.

As a fully integrated company of disabled and non-disabled dancers, Candoco has always challenged an art which by convention elevates physical perfection. The programme is billed as bold and unexpected, and in this respect fulfils its promise. However, while it is challenging and innovative, it is not always likable.

Looking Back pushes the boundaries of contemporary dance into areas which often feel uncomfortable. Rachid Ouramdane’s choreography with recurring themes of falling and isolation is intensified and sometimes overwhelmed by Jean-Baptiste Julien’s relentless soundscapes.It is a dark and at times claustrophobic work.

The tone lightens up with This Is It, by Matthias Sperling, a solo danced wonderfully tongue-in-cheek by Victoria Malin. Dressed as a cross between Wonder Woman and Barbarella, Malin charms the audience with her provocative moves before bursting into song with a Euro-pop style club mix.

The final piece, Set and Reset/Reset is the restaging of Trisha Brown’s signature work, Set and Reset which premiered in 1983. The orginal piece confirmed Brown as a pioneer of contemporary dance and still looks fresh today. It is a playful and fast-paced work, which is danced beautifully with additional choreography from the dancers themselves. After a mixed start, this finale reminds us why Candoco has been a success for so long.

- Carmel Thomason