Adam Benjamin

Adam Benjamin

Lecturer in Theatre & Performance

School of Humanities and Performing Arts (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)


Adam trained at Middlesex University. He was joint founder and Artistic Director of CandoCo Dance Company (1990-98) winning a London TimeOut Performance Award for Flying in the Face of... The company also collected the Sainsbury Award for Education and the Prudential Award during this period.

He was Artistic director of Tshwaragano Dance Company in South Africa, and has choreographed for Remix Dance Project (Cape Town). He developed the integrated strand with Adugna Dance Theatre Company in Ethiopia.

As an improviser he has performed with, amongst others, Kirstie Simson, Kenzo Kusuda, Jordi Cortes, Rick Nodine, Eric Languet, Yann l’Heureux, Kim Itoh and Chieko Matsumura. He is a founder member of 5 Men Dancing.

Choreography includes A Holding Space (choregraphed with Russell Maliphant),  Angels of Incidence for Scottish Dance Theatre, Steak for Danse-habile (Switzerland), Second Time Broken for Remix Dance Project (South Africa) and Slight for The FATHoM Project. Currently making work with Croi Glan dance company in Ireland.

Adam was an Associate Artist at The Place, he is a Wingate Scholar and was awarded one of the first Rayne Fellowships for Choreography in 2006. In 2013 he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship.

 See website

Teaching interests

Improvisation: the preparation of destabilization strategies for unstructured improvised performance

Where formal theatre seeks to secure the framing  (script, sound, light, duration) of work, unstructured improvisations allow these elements to be explored in performance through a dialogue or interaction between technicians/sound light artists, musicians and performers. What might be regarded in other settings as flaws in preparation are here regarded as valued lacuna through which entirely unexpected outcomes emerge.

The work has caused me to reflect and write about patterns that run across improvisations and indeed run across the time and space in-between, occupied by our lives. This has led to new understandings of the performative and the pedagogic elements of my practice and prompted a position that resists the conventional delineation of one from the other and that proposes a “blurring of art and life”(MacDonald 2012).

My practice leans on ‘deep listening’ refined through integrated dance in which bodies unfamiliar and ‘other’ must be heard and responded to, and in which the making of new connections is part of the daily practice.  The work is interrogated in and through performance. Reflection is through post performance discussions Wordpress sites, or in interviews (Trondheim 2012, Cecilia Olsson) and analysis of performance footage. This reflection is an attempt to understand the unfolding events of the performance, what might be learned from our responses, and how this understanding might be transposed to the pedagogy of improvisation, it is also a springboard for new ideas and new collaborations, both improvisational and structured.

Integrated Dance Practice


Key publications are highlighted

Benjamin AJ 2015 'Making an Entrance into Higher Education' Animated (March 2015) 32-34
Benjamin AJ 2013 'The fool’s journey and poisonous mushrooms' Choreographic Practices 4, 29-45 , DOI
Benjamin AJ 2003 'Building Dreams in Ethiopia' DanceUK 49, Author Site
Benjamin AJ 2002 'An Evolution in Practice' Animated
Benjamin AJ 2002 'An Evolution in Practice' Animated
Benjamin AJ 2001 'Tshwaragano' Dance Theatre Journal Vol17, (1) Author Site
Benjamin AJ 2001 Making an Entrance theory and practice for disabled and non disabled dancers. london routledge
Benjamin AJ 2017 'Pulling back from being together: an ethnographic consideration of dance, digital technology and hikikomori in Japan and the UK' in Burridge S; Svendler N Dance, access and inclusion: perspectives on dance, young people and change UK Routledge UK
Benjamin AJ 2015 'The fool's Journey and Poisonous Mushrooms' Attending to Movement Somatic Perspectives on Living in This World Triarchy Press Limited
Benjamin AJ 2012 'Look Before You Leap' in Whitley A Look Before You Leap: an advice and rights guide for choreographers Dance UK
Benjamin AJ 2012 'Look Before You Leap' in Whitley A Look Before You Leap: an advice and rights guide for choreographers Dance UK
Benjamin AJ 2012 'Look Before You Leap' in Whitley A Look Before You Leap: an advice and rights guide for choreographers Dance UK
Benjamin AJ 2010 'Adam Benjamin and Lisa Simpson, The Simpson Board' Dance and disabled people handbook. Pathway to practice for dance leaders working with disabled people Foundation for Community Dance
Benjamin AJ 2010 'Cabbages and Kings Pub Routledge 2010' in Carter S; O'Shea J The Routledge Dance Studies Reader Routledge 111-121
Benjamin AJ 2008 'An Introduction to Community Dance Practice' An Introduction to Community Dance Practice Palgrave Macmillan
Conference Papers
Benjamin AJ 2016 'Will we find it when we get there?' 5TH PEDRIO ANNUAL CONFERENCE Plymouth University 08/04/2016 08/04/2016
Benjamin AJ 2015 'Open State' Re-Thinking Bodies Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, Belgium
Benjamin AJ 0 'The 36th National Congress on Physical Education for Women' The 36th National Congress on Physical Education for Women Gunma University, Japan 01/01/2002 01/01/2002
Benjamin AJ & Emmett M 20150719 20160415 Open State.
Benjamin AJ & Emmett M 20150719 20150720 Open State. Tokyo Arts Centre, Tokyo, Japan.
Benjamin AJ 20141015 20150128 The Birth of Memory. The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington: The Barbican Theatre, Plymouth: The Cygnet Theatre, Exeter: The House, Plymouth University
Benjamin AJ 20140723 20140723 Improvisation. Tanzfabrik, Berlin
Benjamin AJ 20131218 20131218 Improvised Performance. Siobhan Davies Studio, London
Benjamin AJ 20130629 20130629 Reconnect. Gunma Tower
Benjamin AJ 20130220 20130220 We'll See What Happens, You'll See What Happens. Plymouth University
Benjamin AJ & Maliphant R 20120919 20121023 A Holding Space. Plymouth University and The Place, London
Benjamin AJ & Simson K 20120522 0 About Time. Verkstedhallen Scene, MultiPlié dansefestival, Trondheim, Norway
Benjamin AJ, Simson K, Pritchard T, Hewison J, Ines Villasmil M & Strinopoulos C 20110707 20110707 About Time. Plymouth University
Benjamin AJ, Rau Y, Finkel A, Li J, Lau C & Li X 20110508 20110508 Free Hand. Plymouth College of Art
Benjamin AJ 20101210 20101210 We Have Known. John Moores University Liverpool and community settings
Benjamin AJ, Matsumura C & Oyamada T 20101101 20101101 Improv - Japan Tour 2010. Gunma,Nagoya,Nagano
Benjamin AJ, Mettler T, Panouillot C, Watson D, Cortés J & nodine R 20100922 20100922 Jordi Cortés and 5 Men Dancing. Plymouth University
Benjamin AJ 20100921 20110918 This Is. Ireland including Dublin fringe,Spain - SAT Barcelona
Benjamin AJ, Simson K & Kusuda K 20100625 20100625 About Time. plymouth University
Benjamin AJ, Nodine R, Reuter G, Leaney J, Chimutengwende S, Perkins B & McCarthy J 20091001 20091001 Unsettled Scores. plymouth University Author Site
Benjamin AJ & Malliphant R 20090312 20111130 A Holding Space. Plymouth University (workshops and lectures) - 21st, 22nd, 23rd February 2009 The Point, Eastleigh - 5th & 6th March 2009 (Sadler's Wells, London - 12th & 13th March 2009) Stage@Leeds, Leeds University - 3rd & 4th April 2009 The Junction, Cambridge - 11th April 2009 Contact Theatre, Manchester - 17th & 18th April 2009 Laban, London - 26th April 2009 National Theatre of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa - 21st & 22nd May 2009 Ethiopia
Benjamin AJ & Malliphant R 20090202 20090202 With Holding. Plymouth University
Benjamin AJ, Nodine R, Mettler T, Watson D & Panouillot C 20080502 20080507 5 Men Dancing. The Place, London and Plymouth University
Benjamin AJ 20080308 20110606 Slight. Dance City, Dance Edition, Sadlers Wells, University of Plymouth Author Site
Benjamin AJ 20070201 20070701 Angels of incidence. Scotland, Ireland and UK touring including The Place Author Site
Benjamin AJ 20060101 20070101 Steak. Switerland, France Author Site
Benjamin AJ 20060101 20060101 Second Time Broken. Little Theatre – Cape Town; Dance Umbrella – Johannesburg; Grahamstown National Arts Festival Author Site
Benjamin AJ 20040101 20060101 Dancer's Syndrome. UK including The Place, Scandinnavia, USA Author Site
Benjamin AJ, Cortés J, Mettler T, Nodine R, Strinopoulos C & Panouillot C 20040101 20040101 5 Men Dancing. Bern, Switzerland, The Place - London.
Benjamin AJ 20030101 20040101 Story Tellers. Ethiopia, Addis Abbaba Author Site
Benjamin AJ & Matsumura C 20030101 20030101 Improvisation. Gunma Tower, Maebashi, Japan. Hotoka Yo-joen, Nagano, Japan
Benjamin AJ & Itoh K 20021112 20021112 Sushi and Chips. Tokyo, Japan
Benjamin AJ 20020101 20040101 Taking Care of Small Things. Author Site
Benjamin AJ & Matsumura C 20020101 20020101 Time Piece. Gunma University, Japan Author Site
Benjamin AJ 20010101 20040101 The Power of Balance. Israel, USA Author Site
Benjamin AJ, Thompson G & Schienmann D 20010101 20030101 The Tale That Wags The Dog. UK tour
Benjamin AJ 20010101 20020101 Limited Choices. UK including The Place, Japan Tour Author Site
Benjamin AJ 20010101 20020101 The Querist's Quire. Johannesburg and S Africa Tour. Royal Festival Hall, UK Author Site
Benjamin AJ 20000101 20010101 Table Stories. Germany tour, Austria Author Site