I have been dancing since I was a teenager first at home and then in nightclubs. I would occasionally go and see dance performances. Later in life I began 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 devised a performance lecture about fat people and dance. It had its debut at The Rebel Man Standard festival.
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?
In 2016 Kay Hyatt and I devised a score called But Is It Healthy? I was later commissioned to dance it as a duet with Kay at The Wellcome Collection’s Obesity display. I wrote a zine to accompany the performance The Blob (.pdf, 3.8mb) which you can download for free, and some beats featuring vintage fat feminist activists. There is also a blog post about the experience, How to Killjoy an Obesity display one #BodySpectacular at a time.