DANCE CandoCo, Royal Court, London

on a successful national tour by this demanding and innovative company

Louise Levene
Friday 21 June 1996 23:02

There are many things that people in wheelchairs can't do - synchronised swimming and uni-cycling suggest themselves - but dance isn't one of them. CandoCo has made this abundantly clear. Their commitment and artistry have forced the public to re-address its attitude to disability in the arts. By being a demanding and innovative company, they have inspired leading choreographers such as Siobhan Davies and Laurie Booth to create for them. Their latest national tour has been a success and it culminated at the Royal Court on Thursday as part of the Barclays New Stages season.

CandoCo's only real failing has been an occasional tendency toward gentle, over-polite movement. This valium calm was disturbed in the past by the legless virtuoso David Toole, whose unnerving physique and dynamic stage presence lent an air of danger to the yogic tranquillity of some of the dance. Sadly, the physical cost of scampering menacingly about the stage on his hands began to take its toll and the ex-Post Office worker is now concentrating on an acting career. His departure means there is now more focus on the ensemble as a whole, and on Celeste Dandeker, who dominates any piece she inhabits, staring off-stage with eyes aghast as if some nameless horror were occurring in the wings. In Christy Don't Leave So Soon she rolls on-stage, beautiful and imperious, to begin an intriguing power play with two men. The initial conflict reconciled, she is tenderly removed from the chair and cradled by her two lovers, who swing her into the air, giving her limbs the mobility denied them by her on-stage accident 23 years ago. The work is touching but unsentimental.

The evening's finale was Trades and Trusts, a new collaborative work by Brazilian choreographer Guilherme Botelho. The piece takes a rather over-familiar look at human relationships and desires but possesses a frenzied energy and is funny and sad by turns. Like all of CandoCo's work, Trades and Trusts is not about disability, it touches on the subject but places it firmly in the wider context of human frailty. At one point, Jon French wheels on to begin a monologue of wishes and dreams. These begin as the fantastic aspirations of an ordinary young man - "I'd really like to own a nightclub" - and dwindle to the painful everyday dreams of a disabled person - "I'd like to be able to cut my toenails and lie down whenever I want".

Final performance 7.30pm tonight.

Booking: 0171-730 1745

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