We are hugely excited to welcome pioneering choreographer Adam Benjamin to Dartington later this month to lead a new course which invites participants to embrace space.

Social distancing has made us re-think how we physically relate to others in our daily lives; no longer can we be part of a mindless streaming crowd.

Now we must all move around each other in a more conscious, careful way.

For multi award-winning dancer and choreographer Adam Benjamin this awareness is something that has always been integral to his work; he has always been fascinated with the spaces between people as much as they way they move.

Adam Benjamin

“It’s been very interesting to watch this new type of type of dance taking shape,” he says from his Tamar Valley home.

“People have never been so conscious of their kinesphere. I have seen that there has been a real a shift in awareness of the spaces between us, among all of us.”

Later this month (September 21) he is leading the four-day course Inner Spaces Outer Paces for dancers and non-dancers to explore how we move in time and space.

He acknowledges that the period of lockdown, where many of us were confined to our homes, has been both challenging and at times enlightening, but as people emerge, he says he has also noticed a social shift in the way people relate to and move around each other.

“This new space is almost like the historical politeness of old,” he says. “It used to be that people gave way to each other as part of a social hierarchy but now there is a new, and at times very gracious, deference; people stand back allowing the others to pass which can at times be both touching and beautiful.

“We often forget that dance is about the body moving in time and space, not just about a ‘body moving’ and that this attention to space and time brings with it new meanings and new understandings of what beauty is, and where it might reside.”

Adam is perhaps best known for his pioneering work bringing dancers with disabilities into mainstream performance.

He co-founded CandoCo Dance Company, the first professional dance company to create works for disabled and non-disabled dancers and has since those early days worked in settings around the world, from Japan to post-Apartheid South Africa where he founded the first dance company integrated along both physical and racial lines.

Remix Dance Company in 2nd Time Broken Choreography Adam Benjamin

Above: Remix Dance Company performing ‘Second Time Broken’. Choreography by Adam Benjamin

He continues his mission to challenge what is acceptable in the, often very conservative, dance establishment.

“Perfection of the body is such a limited and limiting notion of where beauty might be found.”

Inner Spaces Outer Paces runs from September 21 to September 24 in Studio 6 and is for dancers and non-dancers who want to explore the new concept of space and redefine how we ‘touch’ or are ‘in touch’ with each other.

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