Fresh, young & dynamic, CTC Dance Company are set to wow the Edinburgh Fringe. The Mumble caught up with three of the team…
Hello Christopher, can you tell us about your training?
Chris: Originally I started training more in acting and drama when I was in secondary school. I was introduced to Musical Theatre at Melton College in the Midlands studying my BTEC Diploma. This is when I explored the creativity and devising of work. It wasn’t until I started training at The Urdang Academy did I discover Dance. At this moment I fell in love with it and made sure that I was practising, rehearsing, and stretching all day, everyday. I studied in Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Commercial and Contemporary alongside Acting and Singing. I feel that training in all of these areas has really helped mould the way I perform and choreograph.
Hello Jac, can you tell us about your background in theatre?
Jac: I trained in Musical Theatre at Italia Conti Arts Centre and on graduating performed for a year, with my first contract being Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe. Having always written (Book and Lyrics) I put performing aside to focus on my writing and creative work and I set up O’Kody Arts which focuses on producing theatre with issues based on mental health and run outreach programmes across London to ensure arts training is accessible to all.
As a commercial performer, you have danced for several pop sensations; who has been the easiest to work with, & who has been the hardest?
Chris: The easiest artist to work with I would say was Fleur East. She was so lovely to all of the dancers and spoke to us all during rehearsals and before the show! She also was fine with us all asking for those Instagram selfies haha! The hardest haha! Well I wouldn’t say any has been hard to work with fortunately but the artist who just did her own thing was Rita Ora. She’s absolutely lovely but definitely did what she wanted to do!
Hello Denzel, you know a good show when its happened, what are the special ingredients?
Denzel: A show that also has the story at the heart of it, and is expressed in such a way that makes you question and challenge your own life choices.
You’ve got three famous dancers (dead or alive) coming round for dinner. Who would they be & what would you cook; starters, mains & dessert?
Jac: Alvin Ailey is just purely iconic and the music from his repertoire is just soul food in itself. I’d also invite Bob Fosse and Paula Abdul as they are my biggest inspirations as each have one of chronic health problems I have (Arthritis and RSD). I’d have to keep it real and treat them too a roast for a main and give them that British home food, with Borsch soup as a starter as I’m half Belarussian and for desert cheesecake. Always cheesecake.
You’re washed up on a desert island with an all-in-one solar powered DVD/TV combo & three films, what would they be?
Chris: What a question! My films would have to be: Coach Carter (Inspirational), The Matrix: Reloaded (Action) and Pocahontas (Disney).
What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Denzel: Ah for me it’s spending time with my family. A roast dinner at my mums or stew chicken and rice at my great grannies.
Can you tell us how ‘CTC CØMPANY’ came about?
Chris: CTC CØMPANY came about from working on my first short dance film called ‘Imperfections’. I asked a group of dancers who I knew and wanted to create something that was intimate and truthful as most of Concept videos I’ve created before have been more commercial based. As we were creating the movement within the studio, it felt like such a company vibe and from then I was like, I want to have a company. From creating in my truth I found that the style of the company is a mixture between; Contemporary, Jazz, Physical Theatre and Afro Beats. All layered with intention of movement.
How did you get involved with ‘CTC CØMPANY?’
Denzel: I worked with Chris on Jesus Christ Superstar in 2017 and he asked me if I’d be interested in collaborating on a new idea. Flash forward a year and a half later, via a workshop, and now I’m so excited to being at the Fringe!
CTC has a growing reputation for reformulating the term ‘dance theatre,’ – why is that & what freshness are you bringing to the table?
Jac: The great thing about entire concept of ‘dance theatre’ is that their are no boundaries or limits to the different kinds of art forms you can integrate and establish into one singular piece of theatre. I think this is what makes it the natural style of IDENTITY as while it is movement based due to to being created by Christopher who specialises in movement the collaborative process of how the entire show was devised allowed space for peoples talents to contribute whether it be spoken word, music, singing, acting. There are plays, ballets and musicals and now there is Dance Theatre, its clever not greedy.
You’re involved in a show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us about it & what is your role?
Jac: I am Chris’s associate choreographer so I’m involved both behind the scenes and in rehearsals. Assisting Christopher in preparations before hand choreographically, being a second set of eyes in the room. I will also be Rehearsal Director when we go up to Fringe standing in for Christopher as he has another very exciting project going on! Can’t wait for you to hear about that one too!
Where, when & how did the idea for Identity originate, & is the reality fulfilling your vision?
Chris: Identity came about when me and my director Denzel Westley-Sanderson met up in January 2018 and said let’s put on a show. Most weeks we would go for lunch at a cafe in Wood Green and discuss about what kind of show we wanted to make that came from a dance and theatre background. After a few months of devising we wanted to create something that could connect to an audience and inspire. From Imperfections we wanted to discover what moulds a persons Identity. Identity…. Boom! There was our title! In August 2018 we held a workshop week with 8 dancers and at the end showcased whatever we had to an audience. The feedback we had was so so positive and from then we knew we had something special that we wanted to share with the world. The reality of the show fulfilled my vision and then some! I can’t wait to share it with audiences at Edinburgh Fringe and help inspire others to be proud of their Identity and show them that they are powerful beyond measure.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell Identity on the streets of Edinburgh, what do you say?
Denzel: Through the narrative of dance/movement and spoken word, if you have ever felt insecure, not good enough then we have a message for you and we want to share our journey of self-discovery with everyone.
What does the rest of 2019 hold in store for for ‘CTC CØMPANY?’
Jac: The rest of 2019 will be preparations and the start of our annual tour, all going well. So get down to watch the show and see what you think, we can’t wait to share it with the world!
Greenside @ Infirmary Street
Aug 12-17, 19-24 (16:10)