Candoco on Strictly Come Dancing

Wednesday 21 November 2018
In the studio with Arlene Phillips_credit Candoco Dance Company. Photography by Camilla Greenwell, 2018

This Sunday (25 November), Lecturer, Kuldip Singh-Barmi, will be performing live on the Strictly Come Dancing results show.

Kuldip, Dance & Choreography Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator and co-founder of Candoco Dance Company, a critically acclaimed company for disabled and non-disabled dancers, will also be interviewed on Zoe Ball's It Takes Two today [21 November] at 6.30pm.

With learning and inclusive practice at its heart, Candoco is committed to exploring and presenting a diverse range of dance performance, in a variety of contexts, for as wide an audience as possible. The number on Strictly will be performed by Candoco with Strictly's professional dancers, and has been choreographed by former Strictly judge, Arlene Phillips.

Kuldip explained how Candoco links with his work at Falmouth's Academy of Music and Theatre Arts: "I'd like to think that I'm basically practising what I preach on a daily basis in relation to collaboration, training, creative thinking, risk taking and professionalism. I encourage students to constantly be open to new ideas and information and I believe that this project embraces this wholeheartedly."

When talking about how the opportunity to perform on Strictly came about, Kuldip said: "The BBC publicly recognises that diversity and inclusion are commanding principles of their institution and over the years, Strictly has steadily increased its disability presence on the show. This year they approached Candoco to perform alongside their Strictly 'pros' on an opening sequence for their Sunday results show."

Kuldip added: "Choosing a Choreographer that understood the world of both Strictly and Candoco was key, in order to find an exciting new place where the two groups of performers could meet, through dancing."

In 2015, Candoco worked with Arlene Phillips on an original duet for two of their company dancers, called You and I Know. It was a hugely successful piece, enjoyed by thousands of people at festivals and outdoor spaces. Considering her work as a Strictly judge and her relationship with the company, Candoco felt that she was the perfect choice for Choreographer, trusting that she would be able to capture each dancer's potential.

Current Artistic Directors, Charlotte Darbyshire and Ben Wright, who have been in post since January this year, have been keen to reconnect with Candoco's core values, so when the BBC proposed they collaborate with Strictly, they invited Kuldip and Welly O'Brien (former company members) to join them.

Kuldip said: "I thought it would be too good an opportunity to miss out. It's super exciting to be involved in this new venture for Candoco and Strictly. To reconnect with the company after many years has been inspiring. Behind the scenes [at Strictly] is quite simply, a lot of hard work (the usual pain and pleasure that is always involved in the dance world) however we don't always have the camera attention and amount of people ready to take care of any concerns, as this project has. The rehearsals have been intense but without unnecessary drama. It's a real pleasure to be working with so many incredible dancers from both the contemporary world and the world of ballroom."

The performance will be aired on the Strictly results show on 25 November 2018.