Coldplay have left the stadium but the buzz surrounding the Paralympic Games looks set to continue. Some feedback credits London 2012 for bridging the gap between what we have previously viewed as two very distinct events with two very different competitive teams. The games has provided a mainstream platform to open up a debate on our ideas about the body, questioning the way we categorise people according to physical attributes.
Closing Ceremony performers, Candoco Contemporary Dance Company have been pushing the boundaries on this subject for years. Founders Celeste Dandeker and Adam Benjamin started an exercise class back in 1991 and quickly saw potential for a groundbreaking dance company that would integrate both disabled and non-disabled dancers. With such an innovative concept, it wasn't long until the company exploded and today it tours all over the world, collaborating with industry leading choreographers.
In the below video, Crane.tv visits Candoco as they rehearse for their new show on the Southbank.
Candoco broadens our perception of dance by challenging the concept that this kind of storytelling can only be performed by an "able bodied" person: "It poses the question of what is dance? People start seeing the dance and not the disability."
You might wonder whether this would ever be possible within the realms of competitive sport, where in order to crown a winner, the competition must be fair. But how fair can we really be when matters of the body such as these conjure such a grey area? Look at the mass debate the prospect of Pistorius competing in the Olympics caused. Is disability, in this case, a fair or unfair advantage?
So are we actually any closer to looking past the body as Candoco prompts us to do? The lines between sex and gender are blurred -- a person who has undergone a double leg amputation can run into Olympic medal history and disabled and non-disabled people can dance side by side. Can we actually transcend the body or are we just thinking outside of it, like Candoco? They don't see restriction, rather an opportunity to explore "new ways of moving, new ways of dancing."
Text by Leila De Vito for Crane.tv
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