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Recording: 2016-08-18 , Tanz im August 2016 | HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU2) (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Claire Cunningham

Give Me A Reason To Live

Tanz im August 2016 | HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU2)

Production Details / Press Releases

In “Give Me A Reason To Live”, Claire Cunningham delves into the work of medieval painter Hieronymous Bosch, to explore religion, religious art, and our judgment of bodies. Through tests of both body and faith, “Give Me A Reason To Live” draws upon imagery of disabled people in Bosch’s apocalyptic paintings to question our present perspectives on “otherness” and “difference”. Powerfully physical, visually striking, and set to a mesmerising score by sound artist Zoë Irvine, Cunningham invites us to consider our own empathy, sympathy, or indifference in a work of both generosity and brutal immediacy. She is convinced that in a climate of fear, a society turns against the (perceived) weakest within it – as was already evident in Bosch’s era and that this behaviour is not only manifest again, but cyclical. As a choreographer and performer, Claire Cunningham is also always an activist: the Scottish artist dedicates her solo to the victims of the Nazis’ euthanasia programs, as well as those who are currently bearing the brunt of the welfare cuts and other discriminatory effects of the British social reforms.

Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performances based in Glasgow, Scotland. One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Cunningham’s work is often rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of the potential of her own specific physicality with a conscious rejection of traditional dance techniques (developed for non-disabled bodies) or the attempt to move with the pretence of a body or aesthetic other than her own. A self-identifying disabled artist, Cunningham’s work combines multiple art forms and ranges from the intimate solo show “ME (Mobile/Evolution)” (2009) to the large ensemble work “12” made for Candoco Dance Company. In 2014 she created a new solo, “Give Me a Reason to Live”, inspired by the work of Dutch medieval painter Hieronymus Bosch and the role of beggars/cripples in his work, and the full length show “Guide Gods”, looking at the perspectives of the major Faith traditions towards the issue of disability. She is a former Artist in Residence at the Women of the World Festival at the Southbank, London, and of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queens. In 2016 she is Artist in Residence with Perth International Arts Festival, Australia, and Associate Artist at Tramway, Glasgow. Claire Cunningham has recently been awarded an Unlimited Commission for a new duet with choreographer Jess Curtis – “The Way You Look (at me) Tonight” will have its German premiere on 2.11.16 in Uferstudios Berlin.

Cast & Credits

Choreography, performance: Claire Cunningham
Light design: Karsten Tinapp
Technical production management: Gregor Knüppel
Sounddesign: Zoe Irvine
Cello: Matthias Herrmann
Additional music: Nesciens Mater: Jean Mouton, Death: JS Bach
Costume: Shanti Freed
Mentors: Kristin De Groot (Bosch Project), Janice Parker (Scotland)
Production: Nadja Dias
With the support of the Bosch 500 Foundation, the Dance Umbrella, The Dance Club, The Dance Room, The Dance Room, The Dance Room (Glasgow) and The Dancehall (Glasgow) National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Tanz im August 2016
Artistic director: Virve Sutinen
Executive Producer: Sven Neumann
Production: Isa Köhler, Andreas Skjönberg, Andrea Niederbuchner
Assistance of Artistic Director / Production: Marie Schmieder
Tanz im August is a festival by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, funded by the the Capital Culture Fund and the Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs.

HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU2)

Hallesches Ufer 32
10963 Berlin

Tickets: +49 (0)30 259 004 27

Video Documentation

The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):

University Library of the Berlin University of Arts
Mediathek für Tanz und Theater des Internationalen Theaterinstituts / Mime Centrum Berlin
Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT)

Claire Cunningham / Trailers and Video Documentations

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