Having been included in The List’s Hot 100 in 2015, Claire has now made The Herald’s Cool List for 2018! The cool list is made up of people who either live in Scotland or Scots living elsewhere who have played a part in shaping Scotland and the world.
Why? She alters the way we look at bodies, able or disabled
Dancer and choreographer Claire Cunningham’s extraordinary shows have always challenged how people feel about disability. When she dances on crutches, they become marvellous, magical and sometimes humorous extensions of herself. Her shows ask big questions. Guide Gods, for instance, looked at religious attitudes towards the disabled. Give Me a Reason to Live was based on the depiction of disability in the work of the painter Hieronymus Bosch. It was, she said, a live memorial to the disabled victims of the Nazi euthanasia program, as well as recent welfare reform.
Cunningham has used crutches since the age of fourteen, but didn’t view herself as disabled until she went to university. Only later, when she came in contact with the choreographer Jess Curtis, did she realise that she might be able to dance, and that she had her own special set of tools, those crutches.
Her most recent work, The Way You Look (At Me) Tonight is a collaboration with Curtis.