Candoco Dance Company is a contemporary physically integrated dance company, founded in 1991 by Celeste Dandeker and Adam Benjamin. The company is based at the Aspire National training centre in Stanmore, North London.
Dandeker, who had previously trained with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, suffered a fall whilst dancing on stage. The resulting spinal injury prevented her from dancing until choreographer Darshan Singh Bhuller persuaded her to dance again, albeit from her wheelchair, for the subsequently award-winning dance film The Fall.
Dandeker met Benjamin in 1990, they began teaching an integrated class from which grew the origins of Candoco Dance Company; Dandeker and Benjamin were determined that they were not going to be a dance therapy group, disabled dancing or to be a modern freak show. The idea that they would excel as dancers outlived their first few years when they won many awards. Some thought the awards were because they were the latest idea, but they continued to succeed. Dandekar was awarded a Member of the British Empire in 1997. The dancers that they started with stayed for eight years and in 1999 she gave up dancing to concentrate on the artistic direction of CanDoCo.
Dandehar retired in 2007. The role of artistic director was shared by Stine Nilsen and Pedro Machado for the next ten years with a new appointment made in 2017.
Benjamin choreographed much of the early companies work, leaving the company in 1998, and Dandeker went on to commission work by many established choreographers including Rafeal Bonachela, Fin Walker, Siobhan Davies, Javier De Frutos, Stephen Petronio and Nigel Charnock amongst many others. Stine Nilsen and Pedro Machado succeeded in 2007 and they contunued to commission choreographers including Javier de Frutos, Claire Cunningham and Arlene Phillips.
In 2008 Candoco took part in the Handover Ceremonies at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, representing Britain. It was the first time disabled artists were present in both events in the history of the games. The company performed at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.
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