Addicts' Dance Troupe Storms the Stage

By Nathan A Thompson 05/18/12

Some of these dancing addicts used to beg outside the theaters they now perform in, their director tells The Fix.

Two of the unexpected stars of Fallen Angels

Just one year ago, some of the performers in the Fallen Angels Dance Theatre troupe had never set foot inside a theater. Now they're playing to sell-out audiences all over England. Their performance is a contemporary dance project called “Battle for the Soul,” which powerfully explores the subject of addiction. The performers choreographed the piece themselves based on their personal experiences—all of them are recovering from addictions to substances including alcohol and heroin. But this is more than just a day out at the dance rehab; Fallen Angels have won heavyweight recognition.The Public Review  calls them “an important new player in contemporary dance,” and following a storming tour of the North of England they've been invited to perform at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London—one of Europe’s foremost dance venues. So how did a band of ex-addicts with no experience become so successful? “It’s not just dance for dance’s sake,” their director, Paul Kitcher, tells The Fix. “It’s really meaningful because it is based on the true experiences of the performers. They say in recovery to expect a life beyond your wildest dreams. Well, I have people on stage who used to beg outside theaters and now they are performing to a sell-out crowd in the best theater in Liverpool.” As for the future, Kitcher is keeping his feet on the ground: “What's meant to be is meant to be. I hope more people come and enjoy the passion and energy of the performance—and active addicts will be encouraged when they see what's possible in recovery.”

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Nathan A. Thompson is the president of the Overseas Press Club of Cambodia, where he has been based since 2013. He has reported for VICE News, the TelegraphGuardianSlateSalonand Christian Science Monitor both in Cambodia and across the region and currently works in editorial at He writes travel articles, essays and released his first poetry collection, I Take Nothing Strong Only Lightning in 2016. Follow Nathan on Twitter.