Prof. Claire Cunningham

Einstein Professor

Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performance whose 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).  This runs alongside a deep interest in the lived experience of disability and its implications not only as a choreographer but also in terms of societal notions of knowledge, value, connection and interdependence.  

A self-identifying disabled artist, in 2021 Claire was honoured for her Outstanding Artistic Development in dance at the German Dance Awards (Tanzpreis). 

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 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 showGuide Gods, looking at the perspectives of the major Faith traditions towards the issue of disability. In 2016 she created the duet The Way You Look (at me) Tonight with choreographer Jess Curtis.  The piece was selected for the 2018 Tanzplattform in Germany and nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award. 

In 2019 Claire premiered the ensemble piece Thank You Very Much at Manchester International Festival which went on to win CATS awards for Best Ensemble and Best Sound and Music, and will premiere a new solo work, Songs of the Wayfarer in November 2024.