The Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey MP, launched an innovative new dance partnership recently (Wednesday 17 October) between Candoco Dance Company and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The launch event took place before Candoco's performance of "Three Acts of Play" to a sold out audience in Trinity Laban's Bonnie Bird Theatre.
The contemporary dance organisations have joined forces to achieve greater access for disabled people into the dance profession, including vocational training, and to work towards establishing the UK as international Best Practice for inclusive dance practice.
The Minister said she was delighted with the partnership: "Candoco and Trinity Laban are both quality organisations operating at the highest possible levels, and the obvious synchronicity between the two will ensure that everyone has access to dance training and experience."
Candoco Co-Artistic Director Stine Nilsen, herself a Trinity Laban dance alumna, said the partnership was really just the formal recognition of an existing long term relationship:
"Candoco is excited about the formalisation of a partnership that started a long time ago with Trinity Laban, and believes that as partners with Trinity Laban we will help speed up the cultural change around best inclusive practice in dance and advancing professional training for disabled dancers. The emphasis on excellence and high quality is inherent in both partners' mission, and will continue to be at the forefront as we exchange research, knowledge and skills around inclusive practice and training."
Professor Anthony Bowne, Principal of Trinity Laban, said: "As the UK's largest conservatoire, one of the primary ways we measure our success is in the employability of our students. Trinity Laban is currently in the top five of all UK Higher Education Institutions for graduate employability. It is vital to our continued success that we have robust access and progression routes for talented dancers and that these routes work equally well for talented disabled dancers. We cannot achieve this aim alone, we need a special partner and in Candoco Dance Company we have found one.
"Three Acts of Play" is a triple bill featuring the London theatre premiere of Javier de Frutos' new duet "Studies for C". Inspired by the poetry of Tennessee Williams and set to traditional Mexican Ranchera music, the duet is a celebration of difference and rebellion.
Picture (l-r) - Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey MP, Stine Nilson, Celeste Dandeker (founder of Candoco Dance Company), Mirella Bartrip (Trinity Laban's Director of Dance) and Professor Anthony Bowne. Photographer credit - Tas Kyprianou
Candoco Dance Company celebrates over 20 years challenging preconceptions about who can dance and what dance might be. The company has developed a bold concept of inclusion, which stems from a commitment to excellence in dance, making it an international leader in working with disabled and non-disabled dancers at a professional level.
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance supports and develops talented performers and practitioners throughout their creative lives. Its innovative course provision and elite training, staff of artists and practitioners, exciting programme of performances and groundbreaking education, community and social inclusion work make Trinity Laban a leader in the advancement of creative artistic practice. Trinity Laban is committed to cultivating pathways to the profession for disabled artists and developing the artistic leaders and innovators of the future.