Christopher Tendai on Taking Off The Mask | Identity, Turbine Theatre | Interview

Christoper Tendai is an established performer, having starred in many West End musicals, UK tours, television specials and various commercial projects. His most recent and perhaps most daunting endeavour is launching his own dance company: CTC. The company are soon showcasing a new show at the Turbine Theatre, which looks at what makes us individual through the mediums of dance, spoken word, art and more...


Tell us a little about CTC Dance Company and how it came about...
CTC Dance Company is an upcoming company renowned for its versatility and uniqueness through movement. 

The company has been running for 2 years now and started from a short film I created called Imperfections (which can be found on my YouTube channel). Creating CTC was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s my pride and joy and I hope that one day it will be recognised like the McOnie and Mathew Bourne Companies. 


You're broaching a whole host of important topics in just 60 minutes, what's included?
Yes we are and I think these subjects are so relevant to create a discussion in the time we live in. We speak about Mental Health, LGBTQ, Feminism and Social Media Through Society. Within the show we see our main character; Caitlin, go on a journey of self discovery and to explore and embrace her own unique identity. 

Our identities are formed from what people think of us, the laws we follow that have been placed by society and the biggest one of all: social media. 

We always have to be the perfect version of ourselves. But what is perfect? Shouldn’t our own self be enough? Through Identity, we want to inspire people to embrace who they really are. There’s only 1 you in this world. 


Mental health awareness is a big part of this show. Dance and creativity is a great outlet to centre yourself and improve your mental health so what would you tell people wanting to get into dance?
I would tell any aspiring dancer/performer that anything is possible. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve your dreams. I started dancing when I was 18yrs old and I made sure I lived and breathed it so I could be as good as the dancers that had been dancing since they were 3. 

Since graduating I have danced in various musicals from the West End (Hamilton, In The Heights, Matilda, Jesus Christ Superstar) to UK Tours (Hairspray), Commercial work (Strictly Come Dancing, Fleur East, Rita Ora, Hugh Jackman) to Television (Episodes, The Golden Circle). And now I am choreographing and producing my own production by my company which has transferred Off Westend from Edinburgh Fringe 2019. 

So I would say: Stay Focussed. Stay inspired. Work Hard. It all pays off! 


Social media can be both a blessing and a curse, how are you incorporating it into Identity?
We touch on social media within the show and I feel it couldn’t be more relevant right now, especially with the recent awful tragedy of Caroline Flack.

Social media is great in ways of course, but somehow it has become a platform to cause harm to people’s mental health. We showcase a section of our show about the way that we are perceived on social media. The show always goes back to a Polaroid picture which has many different meanings. We want to begin an open and positive conversation about it. 


What would you like people to feel as they leave Identity?
We want people to leave feeling inspired to be their own version of themselves. We want to show people that no matter what you’ve been through, you are still here today and can change your future path to whatever you want it to be. We want to start the conversation of mental health and remind people that they are important within this world.


Why should people come and see Identity?
People should come and see the show because it’s something completely different which hasn’t been done before. We are not just dance but dance theatre, incorporating different elements to the show such as; Spoken Word, Live Music and Physical Theatre. Come and support and start the conversation on Mental Health Awareness!

Identity plays at the Turbine Theatre from 10th-14th March. £12.50 discount tickets are available by using the code: CTCDANCE1 

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

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