ACCA are Leeds based dance theatre duo Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch and Charlotte Arnold.
ACCA first met during their studies at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and as they both shared backgrounds in acting and voice training from an early age, moved towards a more multi-disciplinary, physical theatre practice. A few years after graduating they fell towards each other as two creatives who like thinking, writing and moving. After some time investing in exploring and playing, ACCA was born and they began formally collaborating together at the start of 2020.
ACCA’s style has a physical backbone, but draws on character and conceptuality to investigate the topics which inspire each project. As a trilingual company, ACCA weaves both Spanish and English culture and narratives into the work, as well as championing and celebrating femininity. The nature of Anna and Charlotte’s work together for ACCA is entirely collaborative, and non-hierarchical. They draw on each other’s strengths, and the direction, creation, performance and planning of all projects is split evenly between the two.
Anna Cabré-Verdiell/Co-creator & Performer
Anna grew up in Barcelona where her dance training began at the Institut del Teatre professional conservatoire. Alongside performance, her interest in communication expanded into academia obtaining a degree in journalism at Ramón Llull University. Afterwards, she moved to Leeds to graduate from NSCD with a First Class Bachelors Degree with Honours.
As a co-creator, Anna has worked on several inter-disciplinary pieces such as the chamber opera The Growth of the Silk, performed at The Place Theatre as part of Tete a Tete Opera Festival; Romeo & Julien, a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s story, and her current work with ACCA.
Other recent endeavours include performing in the restaging of Joan Jonas’ early works by the Tate Modern; the touring of Frankenstein by Cascade Dance Theatre, and performing an excerpt from This is not a wedding by Gracefool Collective streamed live for the BBC Dance Passion day. In parallel to her performance commitments, Anna has been developing a solid teaching practice. She has delivered sessions at TripSpace, ProDance Leeds, NSCD and Leeds University Union amongst others. Additionally, Anna works as a freelance writer, currently producing written work for various online dance sources.
Charlotte Arnold/Co-creator & Performer
Charlotte is a Dance Artist based in Leeds, who graduated from NSCD with a First Class Bachelors Degree with Honours, and a Masters with distinction in Contemporary Dance. Since, graduating Charlotte has worked as a professional dance artist for four years, first as a company dancer with Black Box Dance Company performing and touring internationally works by Jason Mabana, Tim Rushton and Tina Tapgaard amongst others, and now as a freelancer for companies such as Tom Hobden’s UNIT, FRONTLINEdance and ACCA.
Her current practice is formed of performing, teaching and creating, and she was recently commissioned by Assembly House to make a short digital work, by NSCD in 2019 to rework a piece on the Access to Education graduation and The Danish Royal Ballet School, Holstebro strand to make an original work. An important part of Charlotte's practice is teaching, and she delivers on a weekly basis dance to children from age four up to adults, and on a freelance basis for organisations such as Northern Ballet, NSCD, Kala Sangam and DanceEast.
To date, ACCA has made three works -a fifteen minute dance theatre sketch, Occupational Hazard, a dance film ACCA Danst, and a short dance-theatre film, EVEvolution, which have reached approximately 40,000 people through digital exhibitions, social media and live events – all within the first year of formally collaborating.
Occupational Hazard, attempts to examine those innocuous behaviours which are perhaps not so innocent. Easily escalating into something else; something unexpected, unwelcome and difficult to overcome. Stemming from explorations into consent, sexual fantasies and objectification, Occupational Hazard is a journey that walks the fine line between suggestive and unsolicited. In the midst of the current feminist effervescence, thanks to movements such as #metoo, Occupational Hazard focuses on non-verbal language - the way we sometimes use it and the interpretations that it can awaken. The piece was developed with in kind residencies at Yorkshire Dance, Seven Arts and The Dance Studio Leeds and premiered in February 2020 at the Women Who Dance event at Open Source Arts. A digital version of the piece was selected for FlockFest 2020, and was due to be performed at Yorkshire Dance’s No Dress Code in November 2020, but has been postponed due to Covid-19.
ACCA’s second piece, ACCA Danst, created during lockdown, is a pastiche of Rosas Danst Rosas, which sees two dancers, in two different houses moving through the same choreography to a repeating Bulerias beat. ACCA Danst started as a simple tribute to the iconic piece of choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, but quickly became a social commentary of lockdown blues and the film format reinforced this notion. The film was one of 38 works selected to take part in the Leeds Summer Group Show exhibition 2020, and was chosen as one of six show winners, receiving a cash prize and an interview with The State of the Arts magazine. The exhibition also reached over 3000 views during the course of the month.
EVEolution is a short film by ACCA commissioned by Ilkley Literature Festival 2021. Playing with the iconography of fashion shows and drag queen aesthetics, the piece explores the natural evolutionary series from a comedic, dance-theatre approach. First we meet Amoeba, a single cell organism not quite sure what’s going on, then the slinky, fin flapping Fish and the ever spiky Reptile as she prowls across the stage. Jumping next to Primate, who swings through the final stages of human development, we settle last with Eve in her recognisable human form as she contemplates the dilemma of eating the forbidden fruit.
Blending fashion, theatre and dance with a sprinkle of evolutionary biology, life and the journey to EVEolution, is a catwalk.
Another strand of ACCA’s work is their writing practice. On one side, ACCA’s blog is a space for Anna and Charlotte to comment on daily life through creative, critical and thoughtful pieces of writing.
On another note, as writing is an aspect of their collaboration that they were looking to further develop, ACCA has recently launched an online magazine under the title Artychoke Zine. The purpose behind this seasonal publication is to emphasise and showcase arts and culture as extraordinary tools of and for resistance. The publication's first and second issues have brought together twenty artists from a multiplicity of disciplines such as illustration, poetry, photography, tattoo art, motion design, dance, music, embroidered art, writing and graphic design. With resistance as the core subject of the zine, the first and second editions' specific themes focused on a reflection on resistance over 2020 and the politics of the pandemic respectively.
From the launching of Artychoke Zine's the online publication has had a digital reach of 18.000 people. The second issue will be published on March the 21st marking the beginning of Spring.
Both Anna and Charlotte are highly passionate movement facilitators. With the lockdown easing over summer, ACCA opened up weekly company classes in partnership with The Dance Studio Leeds. The aim of the sessions is to offer a space for professionals in and around Leeds to come together to connect and practice. Over the course of September and October the classes gathered a total of sixty-five professional who joined in. Although the sessions have now stoped due to Covid-19 restrictions, ACCA is ready to bring them back on as soon as its safe and allowed to do so. Until then, ACCA is offering weekly 'pay as you feel' sessions online.
Both Charlotte and Anna - as independent practitioners - have recently been asked to take over on the running of ProDance Leeds - Leeds professional dance classes programme - as part of a trio with dance artist and producer João Maio.
Letter of Support
Dear Arts Council England,
I am delighted to be writing in support of ACCA’s application for funding to develop their new work ‘Cautivas’.
I have seen these two artists go from strength to strength since they first started creating together, their work is brimming with energy and physical prowess and as a duo they are utterly committed to the honing of their choreographic craft. ACCA is also a company worth investing in, both Anna and Charlotte are immensely dedicated to the freelance dance community in Leeds, and both are hugely invested in sharing their skills and artistry with the wider community and have been key supporters and contributors to Gracefool’s sister project, ProDanceLeeds. The fact that they have chosen to base themselves here to make work is a testament to the city, and we cannot afford to lose artists like these.
At this critical time for artist across the UK, I believe now more than ever is the time to support young companies such as ACCA to have the invaluable time and space to develop their artistic voices so that they will be ready to bring exciting new work and projects to audiences and communities alike in 2021. At this crucial stage in their career, ACCA’s work deserves investment, and I for one am excited to see what this support would allow them to discover.
Co-Artistic Director, Gracefool Collective Co-founder and Programmer, ProDanceLeeds