Behind the scenes with Candoco Dance Company

Making ‘love’ by Saphia Bishop (Candoco Dance Company, Assistant Producer)


Our new duet You and I Know by Arlene Phillips tells the story of two free-spirited lovers who meet at a summer festival (much like the festivals at which we will be performing this work). The tale of their romantic and, at times, fiery relationship is told through a series of vignettes set to pop music. If you know Candoco Dance Company, you will know that we are always seeking to do something different and challenging. And this duet is no different. With a clear narrative, the use of pop songs and working with a commercial choreographer, You and I Know has been commissioned to engage and excite our dancers and our audiences in new ways.

Given all this, you might be surprised to learn that Arlene, her Creative Associate, Antonia Franceschi, and our two company dancers, Joel Brown and Laura Patay, only had two weeks to make the 16-minute piece. After a grueling month long tour of Switzerland in April, the dancers were straight back into our studio in Stanmore, working day in, day out with Arlene and Antonia to create this emotive love duet.


For Joel and Laura this was a pretty full on creation process. Arlene had a strong narrative idea for the piece right from the start, and her choreography and direction creates a real sense of character and story telling through dance. This approach required the dancers to really develop their characters to portray the story Arlene wished to tell. This was a key part of the process that pushed Joel and Laura hard both physically and mentally, although I suspect Arlene would have liked to push them even harder with a little more time!



Alongside a tight making period, we performed our first sharing of the work to a large crowd, including various members of the Strictly Come Dancing cast (very exciting!), in a beautiful old building. It was emotional – tears, laughter and lots of applause for the team.

The duet has a real intimacy about it and the concern was that this might get lost in a big outdoor setting. However, reactions at our first performance at Norfolk and Norwich Festival on 28 May, suggest that we had nothing to worry about. Joel and Laura have such an incredible magic between them that the feelings of intimacy, connection and emotion were felt throughout the audience. And, the dancers are embracing the uncertainties and surprises of performing in a public space – a Labrador almost made a cameo in one of the performances in Norwich!

new Candoco show image Photography by Camilla Greenwell 2016

We can’t wait to perform on 1 and 2 July at Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. A new city, a new space, a new crowd – who knows what might happen, we do know, however, that you will love what you see!


See You and I Know as part of Dancing City at Canary Wharf
Friday 1 July 13:30 & 18:00
Saturday 2 July 14:35 & 16:40
Jubilee Plaza (just by the main entrance to Canary Wharf tube station)
Don’t forget, it’s FREE!

Photography credit: Candoco Dance Company, You and I Know by Arlene Phillips, Photography by Camilla Greenwell 2016


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 + = two