I have been dancing since I was a teenager first at home and then in nightclubs. I was a teenage go-go dancer, briefly. I would occasionally go and see dance performances. I wanted to be a dancer but I didn’t know how. Later in life I found that it is possible and more recently I have been developing a practice of my own as an older, fat, self-trained dancer. My interests include dance as research, popping, krumping and improvisation.
In 2014 I began a choreographic relationship with Project O, after seeing them perform their show, O. This developed into a performance called SWAGGA and a film. The New Empowering School was a ten-week series of free workshops in 2015 that was part of the creative process for developing SWAGGA. The project was supported by Arts Council England, Cambridge Junction, Live Art Development Agency, ArtsAdmin, Dance Research Studio, South-East Dance and The Yard. Katarzyna Perlak worked closely on the project as photographer, and created a film of the piece.
I blogged about SWAGGA at Obesity Timebomb and published an article about it with Open Democracy.
Cooper, C. (2015) ‘I am a fat dancer, but I am not your inspiration porn’, Transformation [online], available: https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/charlotte-cooper/i-am-fat-dancer-but-i-am-not-your-inspiration-porn
30 Skanks (And Other Revolutionary Dances)
In 2015 I collaborated with Zinzi Minott on a piece engaged with dance as protest, anti-racism and impact of the carceral state on Black people, which was performed at Chisenhale Dance Space on 4 December.
How Do Fat People Dance?
In 2016 I presented a performance lecture at The Rebel Man Standard festival. More about that here: The Rebel Man Standard (2015) ‘Charlotte Cooper’ [online] The Rebel Man Standard Interviews. Available: http://therebelmanstandardinterviews.tumblr.com/post/134930234642/charlotte-cooper-what-do-you-consider-to-be-the
But Is It Healthy?
Also in 2016 I was commissioned to dance a duet with Kay Hyatt at The Wellcome Collection’s Obesity display. I wrote a zine to accompany the dance The Blob which you can download for free, and some beats featuring vintage fat feminist activists. There is also a blog post about the whole thing, How to Killjoy an Obesity display one #BodySpectacular at a time.