Dance / Contemporary dance

Preview: Face In / Hot Mess, Bristol Old Vic

By julie cresswell buck, Tuesday Feb 25, 2020

Candoco‘s double bill at Bristol Old Vic features Face In, choreographed by Yasmeen Godder, and Hot Mess, by Theo Clinkard.

Candoco are a UK company of seven extraordinary disabled and non-disabled dancers. The pieces they produce are always outstanding, innovative works of art, and are not to be missed.


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Here is Susanna Recchia, research and rehearsal director of Candoco Dance Company, to tell us more:

Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into dance and your role with Candoco?
“I started dancing when I was five years old. I started with a wonderful teacher who encouraged me and recognized in me a strong desire and passion for movement and dance. I remember applying to study at the National Academy of Dance in Rome when I was 11 and somehow I knew I wanted to be a dancer. After having studied ballet professionally I started to be curious about improvisation and modern dance. I moved to London in 2001 to study at Trinity Laban where I met people from all over the world experiencing dance in many different ways. It is during my studies that I saw a performance of Candoco and I felt deeply aligned with their artistic proposition and aesthetic. I have been working within contemporary dance as a freelance dancer and teacher for many years and along the way I met Pedro Machado, Candoco ex-artistic co-director, who invited me to teach company class. Since 2008 I have had different hats within the company as a teacher, as a dancer in the company, and now as a rehearsal director. My passion for moving and dancing continues to inform my daily life in the studio and on tour with Candoco.”

What can audiences expect from Hot Mess and Face In?
“An unusual, daring, exciting evening of contemporary dance. Hot Mess asks the audience to embrace not-knowing as a state of potential. Rather than forcing to put meaning on actions, gestures or relation between dancers, the piece presents what is possible when the dance is created in the moment in which is seen. Face In is wild, colorful and equally tender and subtle. As the title suggests the dancers face themselves, each other and the audience by sharing the many layers that make a human being.”

Can you describe a typical day in the rehearsal room?
“A typical day? Each day is different depending on where we are and what we need to prepare for. Generally we begin the day with a class. The intention is to prepare physically, mentally and emotionally, depending on the pieces that we need to work on. Some days we begin in a quiet and meditative way, other times we might need to stir the energy in the room and have a physical and sweaty warm-up. The day continues with rehearsing the pieces that we take on tour. Being a repertory company means that the dancers need to be ready to rehearse and perform very different styles of work and my role as a rehearsal director is to create an environment that allows the dancers to be engaged and interested even when performing the same piece of work many times.”

Tell us a bit about the music in both pieces
“The music scores for Hot Mess was created by Joe Newman from alt-J. Some parts are spacious and evocative and others as an audience member makes you feel embraced by the sound score. Face In brings together some electrical minimal soundscape alongside the wonderful music of Brandt Brauer Frick, with their unusual ‘acoustic dance music’ style which makes you want to stand up and move!”

What would you say to audiences who might not have been to see dance before?
“Come and be ready to be surprised! The programme we are performing presents and shares the humanness of each artist on stage. As an audience member make connections with what is familiar to you individually, recognize yourself in those who are performing, dare to let go of assumption and enjoy the show… release the idea of having to understand it all so you can connect with what you see kinesthetically and feel emotionally and dare to make your own personal interpretation!”

What’s next for Candoco?
“The next few months we will be on the road touring, from Bristol to London, continuing with Poland and Germany to then arrive to New York in April to present Set and Reset/Reset, a seminal work of Trisha Brown alongside Face In. Apart from performing, we share our practice through teaching aimed for different levels and abilities.”

Candoco’s Face In / Hot Mess double bill is at Bristol Old Vic on February 25 and 26.  For more information, visit

Main photo: Face In by Yasmeen Godder. Photography by Hugo Glendinning

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