“This is my first time in a dance company.” 26-year-old Candice Hartogh smiles as she enthusiastically continues, “Malcolm asked me to come and join them and I am loving it.”
Malcolm Black is a founding member of the Remix Dance Company currently performing at the FNB Umbrella Dance in Gauteng. Some dancers, like Candice and Malcolm, use wheelchairs.
Dancing with Shadows is a collaboration inspired by a series of photographs from Santu Mofokeng and aims to find synergy between visual arts and dance. Candice, a spastic paraplegic, has a lead role in the performance.
“I’ve always danced. I enjoy learning how my body works in different ways. Dancing also allows me to travel and I love travelling. I studied in the UK. Actually I was the first wheelchair-user gap-volunteer to enter the UK. They were really surprised to see me!” she laughs.
Events such as the FNB Dance Umbrella are also important in this regard says Candice. “They show the public that dancing is not just for able bodied people, but for everyone. So often we speak louder, and accomplish more with our actions than our words. I see dance as one of these instances. People don’t see people with disabilities, but dancers.”
“My motto in life is that you can take everything away from me, but you will never take away my spirit. Life is not about dying; it is about your spirit.”
Remix Dance Company, a performance and education group in the integrated dance field, believes that diversity, including different body types, is an important part of dance. The work, while firmly rooted in professional contemporary dance, integrates dancers with different physical abilities (abled bodies and disabled bodies), varying ages and diverse backgrounds and cultures.
Remix have worked with a variety of local and international choreographers. Creative director, Malcolm Black says “The last two years have been difficult for the company with funding a major problem. While the lottery did assist us, we have still had to change the company from a full time dance company to a project based one.