1 Set and Reset by Laurie Anderson
Candoco’s reimagining of Trisha Brown’s seminal work Set and Reset/Reset has become something of a signature work for Candoco with new iterations being created and performed by the company in 2011, 2016, 2021 and again this year when we performed the work at Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York for the first time, and at Tate Modern in London.
Hearing Laurie Anderson’s playful looped score and seeing the dancers perform this seminal work, always gives me a thrill and reminds me of the contribution Candoco has made to dance history.
2 Life on Mars by David Bowie
A classic from the genius mind of David Bowie and a track that Arlene Phillips used when she choreographed Candoco’s performance on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018. This was a real moment for Candoco – almost as epic as Bowie’s sound track!?
Over 10 million viewers saw us performing with the Strictly professionals that night, making us the first contemporary dance company ever to perform on the show and the first time that same-sex couples were visible in the choreography. Arlene has always been a great fan and advocate for our work and it felt right that she would support our incredible dancers to be seen and valued on TV and beyond the contemporary dance world.
3 Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra
This familiar and well-loved song was the closing track for Back to Front with Sideshows, choreographed by Emilyn Claid in the first few years of Candoco’s existence. Every time I hear it, I takes me back to those raucous and radical early years when we toured this work to audiences all over the world. This work captured the bold, sexy and mischievous spirit of the founding members, and particularly the deep and playful friendship between David Toole and Kuldip Singh-Barmi. David sadly passed away in 2020 and I cannot hear this song without picturing the closing image of Kuldip and Dave wheeling off together side by side into the distance with ridiculous hats on. It always makes me smile.
4 Noyalain (Burn) by Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell
I have loved the work of Dead Can Dance since I was a student at Northern School of Contemporary Dance in the early 1990s. The first time I came across this evocative and expansive world music was in the opening scene of Strange Fish by Lloyd Newson. Since then their music has provided many a rich sound score for contemporary dance performance and I have now had the good fortune to get to know the lead singer, Lisa Gerrard. This song is from the recent album Burn, Gerrard’s 2021 collaboration with Jules Maxwell. It is a piece which seems to soar high whilst diving deep at the same time. An amazing cinematic experience.
5 Hurricane by Grace Jones
I’ve had the deep pleasure of seeing Grace Jones in concert numerous times over the years and her music and live performance is still such an inspiration to me. This song is one of my favourites; a wonderful evocation of life, womanhood and the dramatic power of music.
Candoco Dance Company is celebrating its 30th anniversary season. It will perform at Sadler’s Wells, London, from 16–18 November. candoco.co.uk