Talking Moves Series 3 Episode 5: Choreographic Approaches

Talking Moves | 25 June 2021

In this episode we talk to Claire Cunningham and Jorge Crecis about choreographic approaches.

The life of a choreographer is a complex one and on this podcast the reliance artists have on portfolio careers has come up in conversation a number of times. So we invited two inspirational and entrepreneurial choreographers to come and talk to us who have both branched out into a myriad of directions and in doing so forged their own unique aesthetic, process and mindset.

We begin by discussing the breadth of careers both Claire and Jorge have enjoyed and as part of that discussion find out a bit more about the things that make them tick, how they get ideas and most importantly how they record and remember them given that dance is sometimes a hard thing to pin down.

Jorge and Claire then talk about aesthetic and how that has, for both of them, become a by-product of a much deeper process of the making journey. We reflect upon Jorge’s work and whether or not that stretches people to their limits and he makes the ever so valid point that whilst it does, it does so within a container of safety. This is echoed by Claire who also looks imaginatively at her own body and her ‘four feet’ (referring to her body and crutches) and the way in which she works with those crutches in a process of care and careful attention.

Both have, coincidently, made works called 12 (Twelve) and so we use those works to delve deeper into the processes used in making them. For Claire this was a rare opportunity to work with other dancers, rather than as solo work, and she shares the thoughtful ways in which she approached the making of that work with both disabled and non-disabled dancers. Interestingly we discover that they both use play, rules and problem solving to create structures within which to make the works they make.

Looking beyond the making process, we then explore other areas of the dance landscape that they inhabit… we talk about Claire’s Choreography of Care symposium planned for next year and Jorge’s methodology Towards Vivencia which supports dancers to stay at peak performance which can now be accessed online.

Finally we touch upon the big ideas that move them, the imprint they want to leave on the world and the questions they have of it.

Who's Who

Jorge Crecis headshot by Danilo Moroni

Jorge Crecis

A choreographer with a PhD. An athlete’s mind in a dancer’s body

Author of the book: Designing Presence: Entering Towards Vivencia, together with Bridget Lappin.

Jorge’s work is renowned for merging the athleticism and excitement of sports with the compelling visuals of an art installation. He is passionate about showing off the dancers as resiliently virtuosic individuals that together forms a strong and compact team.

Jorge holds a degree in Sport Sciences and studied contemporary dance at the Royal Conservatory of Madrid. After working as a professional dancer for different companies throughout Europe, he became a full-time lecturer at London Contemporary Dance School (The Place) for four years. Currently, Jorge is an award winning choreographer whose work has been performed in the main theatres around the world: from the prestigious New York City Centre (USA), to the avant-garde 798 District in Beijing (China) or Sadler’s Wells and the Royal Opera House in London (UK). Following this motto and based upon his synthesis of sport and dance movement patterns, Jorge founded SQx (somoSQuien eXperience) leading workshops internationally and coaching professional companies such as Akram Khan Company, DV8, Punchdrunk, Rambert, etc.

Over the last years Jorge has been commissioned by companies such as: Scottish Dance Theatre (UK), Beijing 9 Contemporary Dance Theatre (China), Acosta Danza (Cuba), among others. His work has been described as: “irrepressible good fun” (The Guardian), “perfect” (The Independent) or “a Sudoku brought to life” ( His latest creation for the company directed by Carlos Acosta has been awarded as the best dance piece presented in Cuba in 2017.

In 2014 Jorge co-founded min tala, a Pan-Arab dance company that uses contemporary dance as a peacekeeping, personal and professional development tool in areas of conflict in the middle East.  He also served as Artistic Director for Aerowaves Festival in Burgos in 2011.

In 2018, he obtained his PhD degree by Goldsmiths University of London. For the last 20 years, Jorge has been working to crack the secret of how to replicate altered states of consciousness using neurosciences, anthropology and phenomenology. The result is a cutting-edge methodology that he shares through workshop and a one of a kind online training: Towards Vivencia.

Due to his outstanding work in dance research, he has been appointed as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Derby. Jorge also applies this research to music and film personalities.

Photo: Danilo Moroni
Claire Cunningham headshot

Claire Cunningham

Claire Cunningham is a performer and creator of multi-disciplinary performance based in Glasgow, Scotland. A recent Factory Artist with Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf, Germany she is also an Affiliate Artist with The Place, London.

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).  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, 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 show Guide Gods, looking at the perspectives of the major Faith traditions towards the issue of disability. Awarded one of the Unlimited Commissions in 2016 she created the duet The Way You Look (at me) Tonight with choreographer Jess Curtis. The piece has since toured world-wide, was selected for the 2018 Tanzplattform in Germany and was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award.

Claire 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 was Artist in Residence with Perth International Arts Festival, Australia and Associate Artist at Tramway, Glasgow.

In July 2019 Claire premiered a new ensemble piece, Thank You Very Much, at Manchester International Festival. In 2019 Claire was also commissioned to do her first piece for gallery spaces, taking part in Automatise Ambulatoire: Hysteria, Imitation, curated by Amanda Cachia for Owen’s Art Gallery, Sackville, Canada.

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