Adam Benjamin and Celeste Dandeker executing the first side tilt performed in contemporary dance in 'For Starters' 1990
Improvised performance in Tokyo
Nicola Visser, Malcolm Black, Andile Vellum and Mpotseng Shuping with ceramic pots by Katherine Glenday's
Tomomi Kosano, Seiichiro Kondo and Shunpei Mitsuhashi perform Open State, Tokyo 2015
Born 1958 Grimsby, UK. His father Joe Benjamin was a pioneer of the Adventure Playground, his mother (Rivka Black) an artist, costume designer at Sadlers Wells and later teacher at Goldsmiths College (sister of designer Misha Black and mathematical philosopher Max Black). His step mother was Pauline Crabbe (née Henriques).
He studied Tai Chi and Ba-kua with the late Rose Shao-Chiang Li, Shintaido with Ken Waight and body work with Franklyn Sills. From 1987-90 he trained in Dance and Fine Art at what was then Middlesex Polytechnic, studying Humphrey Technique with Lesley Main and Release with Judy Sharpe. On graduating he met Celeste Dandeker (through his involvement with the charity ASPIRE). In 1990 they began teaching together and soon after founded CandoCo Dance Company, the first professional company for disabled and non-disabled dancers. As joint founder and Artistic Director (1991 -1998), Adam choreographed and danced with the company until 1996 (see Past works ) and then directed the education program, establishing a reputation as a teacher of integrated work, later as a teacher of improvisation.
His book Making an Entrance. Theory and practice for disabled and non-disabled dancers was published by Routledge in 2001 (Second edition 2022). As an improvisor he has performed with Kirstie Simson, Kenzo Kusuda, Russell Maliphant, Jordi Cortés, Chieko Matsumura, Rick Nodine, Gabi Reuter (Neat Timothy), Susanne Martin, Kim Itoh, Yann l’Heureux, and Eric Languet. He is a founder member of 5 Men Dancing. (concept by Thomas Mettler).
He worked in South Africa as artistic director of Tshwaragano Dance Company, and in Ethiopia for the Adugna Community Dance Theatre. In Europe he freelanced as a choreographer and made work for his own performance projects Adam Benjamin and dancers, and The Stare Cases Project (with Danny Scheinmann) as well as directing movement for the Besht Tellers and AandBC Theatre Company(with Gregory Thompson). He developed a growing body of work in Japan, both within community dance and with professional performers such as Kim Itoh and Chieko Matsumura. While working in Japan he met and married his wife Tamami.
With Russell Maliphant he created the duet A Holding Space as part of the Destino / DanceUnited project which premiered at Sadlers Wells in March 2009. He has made work for (amongst others) Vertigo Dance Company, Scottish Dance Theatre, Stop Gap Dance Company, Remix and Tshwaragano Dance companies in South Africa for Croi Glan Integrated Dance Company in Ireland and more recently for Exim Dance Company and Integrated dance company-Kyo in Japan.
He has received numerous awards; while at CandoCo he collected a TimeOut London Performance award for Flying in the Face of..., and the Sainsbury’s Award for Education. In his final year CandoCo collected the Prudential Award. With Tshwaragano he received Best Ensemble at the FNB Vita Dance Indaba Awards. Remix Dance Company were awarded the Arts and Culture Trust Awards: Cultural Development Project of the Year, 2002 following his production of ‘Taking Care of Small Things’. He has been a Wingate Scholar, an Associate Artist at The Place and has received an International Artists Fellowship from Arts Council England. In 2006 he became one of the first choreographers to be awarded a Rayne Foundation fellowship and in 2015 was made a Change Maker by the Southbank Centre London. From 2008 to 2017 he taught full time on the faculty of theatre and performance at Plymouth University, where he was instrumental in the building of the fully accessible House theatre, his work in Higher Eduction was recognised with a National Teaching Fellowship in 2013. During the pandemic he founded The Dancers' Forest project. Adam teaches regular tai chi classes in his local community of the Tamar Valley in Cornwall.