Invited by British Council, Candoco will perform in Vietnam for the first time. Performances are slated for 29 September (Hanoi Opera House) and 03 October (Ho Chi Minh City Opera House). Candoco is a contemporary dance company of disabled and non-disabled artists founded in 1991.
Taking part in the 2008 Handover Ceremonies at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, representing Britain, Candoco marks the first time disabled artists appeared in both events in the history of the games.
Candoco's Vietnam Tour is organised by the British Council Vietnam to celebrate 40 years of Vietnam - UK diplomatic relations and 20 years of British Council in Vietnam with the two performances in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City being sponsored by Premier Oil.
In Ho Chi Minh City, Candoco will conduct a dance workshop for street and migrant children in collaboration with SOUL Academy. SOUL Academy focuses on music education; it was founded by Thanh Bui, a finalist in the sixth season of the Australian Idol contest.
The grand performance in Hanoi will be opened by a special number, involving four disabled children from Nghi luc song (The Will to Live) Centre and artists from Hanoi Youth Theatre. The act will be choreographed by Candoco in the days prior to the show. Life Arts, a social enterprise for Creativity and Community Development, has provided the venue for rehearsals.
This opening piece, also termed the choreographic residence, is an idea initiated by Candoco as they tour the world and has been included in many other country visits, creating an opportunity to bring change in the perception of, and association with, disability. Just as importantly, participants gain a huge sense of achievement, pride and confidence, through taking part in the performance.
Among 8 Candoco artists coming to Vietnam, three have physical disabilities. Together they will showcase the triple bill of contemporary dances, consisting of Studies for C, Set and Reset/Reset, and Imperfect Storm.
The mesmerising impression of Studies for C comes immediately from the traditional Mexican Ranchera music and costumes bearing the writings 'I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees,' a famous quote by the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.
The duet is a celebration of difference and rebellion with two dancers wearing Lucha Libre masks, which are used in professional wrestling in Mexico. The world renowned choreographer Javier Frutos tells a story of two characters in limbo. The two iconic figures try in vain to get out of the suspended state in which they are tied together and dependent on each other.
Javier de Frutos directed movements in the HBO series Games of Thrones. He also joined Pet Shop Boys in the ballet, The most incredible thing, providing choreography. Audiences will feel the theatrical and cinematic impressions in his Studies for C.
Set and Reset/Reset is based on Trisha Brown’s 1983 original piece. It explores fundamental movements and underlying structures that anchor a dance to it. If Studies for C is set in a limited space, Set and Reset/Reset opens up a free space for thought and imagination. Not focusing on any individual, Set and Reset/Reset strives for a harmony of movements.
Imperfect storm combines movement with texts, and meaning with humor. Loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest, Imperfect Storm is a unique mix of the free expression in contemporary dance, humour and theatrical tricks.
Chris Brown, Country Director, British Council Vietnam said: 'We are delighted to bring Candoco to Vietnam, particularly during the UK’s ‘GREAT Week’. Candoco performances celebrate 40 years of Vietnam - UK diplomatic relations and 20 years of British Council in Vietnam.
'Over the past 20 years, Candoco artists, including those who are disabled, have never stopped learning, innovating and inspiring. It’s very interesting to see that “Inspire, Learn and Innovate” is also the theme of this anniversary year of Vietnam - UK relations.'
During their time in Vietnam, Candoco will also take part in the international dance festival in Hanoi 'Europe meets Asia in Contemporary Dance,' in which they will perform In Translation, an intricate piece by Emanuel Gat.