Accueil > Universités > Ateliers > Ateliers de Pratiques Artistiques, Université de Rouen

British dance at 231 !

vendredi 25 avril 2014, par Julia Duchemin.

Toutes les versions de cet article : [English] [français]

Ignoring and defying distances and time to facilitate cross-borders exchanges between artists and universities – this was at the heart of this outreach project jointly organised by Atelier 231, the University of Rouen and two dancers, Suzanna Recchia and Vicky Malin, from Candoco Dance Company - an international dance company based in London, founded by disabled and non-disabled dancers.

Throughout March, the two dancers went back and forth between London and Sotteville-lès-Rouen to lead dance workshops involving students from the University of Rouen and local community groups and participate in a seminar organised by students from the Master in Cultural Management on Live performance and disabilities. They also attended a public performance by their students on the 27th March as part of the Inter-Universities dance meetings.

Between two trains, they have agreed to take the time to answer a few questions about the month they spent in Normandy.
Take a look back on the busy schedule of these two passionate dancers.

Interview with Suzanna Recchia and Vicky Malin from the Candoco Dance company

Could you introduce yourself and tell us a few things about your background ?

Vicky Malin

Suzanna Recchia

Can you explain how the workshops with the students went ? What did you particularly work on ?

You also led a workshop with the Lignes de Danse dance group. Can you tell us what was the content of the workshop ?

How about the two workshops involving disabled adults from the medico-social organisation Les Lierres : how did it go ?

In March, you spent a lot of time at Atelier 231 : have you also been able to get out and visit the local area ?

What will you remember about this experience ? Do you have a favorite memory ?

By the way, do you speak French ? How did you manage to communicate with the participants ?

Text and interview : Sylvain Marchand
Translation : Mathilde Vautier

« Right back », a closer look at a dance workshop with Candoco Dance Company

As part of their collaboration within ZEPA 2, the Université de Rouen and Atelier 231 had asked Candoco dance Company to work with a group of non-professional dancers from the university.
Lucie, Bruno, Jérémy, Charline, Kevin-Emeric, Thaïs, Émilie, Clément and Léa worked for a month with Susanna and Vicky in the Tender studio, at Atelier 231 – about 20 hours in total throughout March.
First session : Susanna and Vicky met the group, its variety of dynamics and bodies, and the agreement to enjoy dancing and being together. The first impressions were actually quite representative of the whole process through which the students went and that is deeply embedded in Candoco’s vision : dancing with others while remaining individual, dancing together with our own bodies.

An original piece progressively emerged from improvisations (the musicality of the motion, the reproduction of the other’s movements) and played on space (crossings, flow, roundness). “Right Back” was performed for the first time on 27th March at the Maison de l’Université in Mont-Saint-Aignan, during a seminar that was organised by the students from the Master 2 in cultural Management (about “Performing arts and disabilities”). The next day, also at the Maison de l’Université, the short piece was presented in the University’s venue as part of the Inter-Universities meeting of contemporary dance. Two different frameworks for a same piece.

Contemporary dance – even more when it is performed outdoor – truly aims at celebrating multiplicity (of bodies, visions, encounters) ; and this is exactly the type of experience that Candoco Dance Company has offered here, through human bodies.

Magali Sizorn, Lecturer and Dance workshop leader at the Université de Rouen Suaps/Asruc.

Interview with Lucie, Léa and Thaïs

An enriching Anglo-Fench experience in the dance world. Meet three of the participants and discover their personal take on this experience : a “moving” feedback !


1/ Can you introduce yourself ? What led you to dancing ?
Lucie Van de Moortel, I come from Le Havre and I study in Rouen in the Master of Cultural Management. I’ve danced for 15 years. At first it was just a hobby, then it turned into a passion and eventually became a need : a need to share artistic and human moments and a need for movement, to feel my relation to the body.

2/ Can you tell us how it went during the workshops with the two dancers from Candoco ?
First we met them and we were rather shy, especially when it came to speaking in English ; then we started to move around and we quickly realised that it was much easier to communicate through our bodies and our movements rather than through language itself.

3/ What did you think about it ? What will you remember about the experience ?
What I’ll remember above all is that practising an art, and especially dance, allows the creation of a kind of dialogue that goes beyond the language barrier. Another thing that was really pleasant throughout the workshops was the permanent engagement of the two dancers with the group as well as with each individual. For instance, I remember a session during which both of them took the time to observe us individually as we performed solo pieces. It is rare to get such focus only on one person and to be able to have advice on each movement, each intention. They allowed us to make our choreography better while respecting our choices. Now I just want to dance even more ! I want to experience more experiences as fulfilling as this one.


1/ Can you introduce yourself ? What led you to dancing ?
I am from Rouen and I have danced since I was a kid.

2/ Can you tell us how it went during the workshops with the two dancers from Candoco ?
The workshops want really well. This pace of the sessions, ie spread over a month, really allowed you to go deep into the artists’ world and to create a group dynamics.

3/ What did you think about it ? What will you remember about the experience ?
The dancers have been really good and driven teachers. I appreciated the way they consider dance, in a physical way rather than an emotional or dramatic way.


1/ Can you introduce yourself ? What led you to dancing ?
My name is Thaïs Thiburs, I’m 18 and I live in Pîtres, in Eure. I have danced for a long time, ballet, contemporary and oriental dance. I started because it was obvious. My parents love dance, so they didn’t have a problem with it. I stopped practising during high school to do a bit of theatre, but I went back to dancing as soon as I graduated.

2/ Can you tell us how it went during the workshops with the two dancers from Candoco ?
Very well. Thanks to my course in languages at University, I didn’t struggle to understand the dancers. And I thought that they both were really good teachers, I liked the way they approached the learning process of a choreography.

3/ What did you think about it ? What will you remember about the experience ?
I am so happy to have been able to be a part of this, and I loved the fact that we were all so relaxed. It made me more confident about myself, now I tend to be less self-conscious, and I really enjoyed dancing with the others, playing with the other dancer’s look.

Interview : Louise Jacquet

The local community dances UK style

In addition to the workshops led with the students from the University of Rouen, two workshops were led with the medico-social organisation Les Lierres - an organisation providing care and activities to disabled people suffering from physical, mental or psychomotor deficiencies.
Candoco dancers Suzanna Recchia and Vicky Malin met a group of adults from Les Lierres over the two workshops. Right from the start, the Tontons Danceurs - the name of their own dance group - have shown their enthusiasm and their delight to be dancing together.

The exercises were mainly about group work - by two, by four or all together - where each participant had to listen, observe and remember what the others were doing, but also to interact, take inspiration, offer and create with them. Through group work, individual choices and suggestions were always highlighted in a perpetual dialogue in motion between individuals and group, body parts and body, French and English.

These few beautiful hours were focused and diligent, but also sweet and friendly.

This heart-warming atmosphere was not very different from the one that Vicky and Susanna found with the Lignes de Danse dance group that was invited to meet the two English dancers on Sunday 23rd March. Vicky and Susanna offered them to work on repertoire pieces, particularly on Trisha Brown’s "Set and Reset".

The first part of the workshop was about the awareness of space and the others, through exercises such as shifting gravity centres and motion flow. The second part was more about a particular piece of repertoire. From a choreographed sequence, the participants had to improvise encounters in a tight space while keeping the essence of the choreographic material and paying close attention to the others. Based on this exercise, the dancers created their own choreography in time and space, including a playful game between them.

Both the dancers from the UK and France were used to this way of working and to discover new and multiple choreographic worlds, so it is no wonder that it was in a light and relaxed atmosphere that they all danced together on this rainy Sunday at Atelier 231.

Text : Julia Duchemin and Caroline Lelong
Pictures : Caroline Lelong


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