Megan Armishaw is a dancer with Candoco Dance Company, performing the UK premiere of Yasmeen Godder’s arresting new work, Face In, at The Lowry as part of a double bill on Tuesday 24 October. Here, she talks about touring with one of the country’s leading inclusive contemporary dance companies, and the emotionally challenging creation process for Candoco’s newest commission.
This is your fifth piece with Candoco – what can you tell us about dancing with the company?
I’m very different from when I started with Candoco, and I can’t believe I’ve made five works already! We’ve been touring all over the world and I’ve performed in countries I never thought I’d even get the chance to visit. The company is very different now as well. We have new dancers so this piece has a really different community that we’re working from as a basis.
What have you found interesting about working with Yasmeen Godder to create this new work, Face In?
Yasmeen was interested in what we could bring to the piece as individuals. Not just as movers with different aesthetics, but as people, with different personalities, opinions and emotions. We really had to look inside ourselves, to question what we experience emotionally and physically from moment to moment, and to work with that as our source. Part of Yasmeen’s work that I found really interesting (and challenging!) was to recognise extreme sides of myself and to give freedom to them! Sides which I wouldn’t necessarily give over in public, or even in private. For me, as a performer, I’m enjoying finding those things within myself that exist but that I don’t often exercise, and celebrating them in all their absurdity, making them valid.
What do you think UK audiences will think of it?
I’m not sure how people are going to react! I think people are going to really enjoy seeing the rawness and excitement of it.
The way the piece has been built crafts a journey for both performers and the audience at the same time – there’s not necessarily a storyline to follow. The music, the scenery, the costumes, all support an energetic journey in watching and in doing so I think it will be a very individual journey for whoever is watching.
Do you have a favourite moment?
That’s really hard to answer. Even now everything is set, your emotional journey as a dancer can be so different every time you perform it. Little moments that you hadn’t noticed the run before become really important because someone else might be doing something slightly different, or your connection with two other people on stage might be slightly different. I don’t think I have a favourite moment – it’s nice to have a surprise each time!
Face In turns the lens on our human rituals and relationships do you have a pre-show ritual?
Yes, we do have a pre-show ritual which we get together for just before we perform. It’s a good way of bringing our focus and energy together before the show starts. We also usually have a hug!
You’ve recently premiered Face In at two dance festivals in Italy – how was it?
Performing Face In in Italy was great. It’s a really exciting piece to perform. I love how colourful the set and the costumes are – it feels like entering into another world. I’m looking forward to our next performance of it in Manchester.
Megan Armishaw will be performing in Candoco Dance Company’s double bill on Tuesday 24 October at The Lowry. For more information, visit the website here or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.