The Way You Look (at me) Tonight

Claire Cunningham & Jess Curtis

Glasgow & San Francisco, Berlin

How do we look at each other? How do our bodies define the way we perceive the world around us? In The Way You Look (at me) Tonight, Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis take the audience on a sensual journey in which they reflect on these questions through dance, song, and biographical stories. Based on their experiences with their own bodies, they discuss how disability, gender, and age play a role and how we perceive each other. Theoretical considerations are put directly into practice. Cunningham demonstrates her virtuoso dance technique on crutches, while Curtis shows how he dances with his aging body. The audience is also encouraged to experiment with their own perception and different sensory organs. Everyone can find their own access to this piece: An audio description lets us hear the movements of a danced duet, the conversations are translated into sign language, and videos show us a different perspective of what is happening on stage. The audience and the performers become part of a social sculpture that practices tender forms of attention and resistance. 

The Scottish choreographer Claire Cunningham rejects the traditions and body norms of dance and develops her own technique of movements based solely on the possibilities of her own body. She uses and repurposes her crutches as extensions of her dancing body. She also always regards her art, which she deliberately develops from her perspective as a disabled artist, as a form of activism. She was awarded the German Dance Award in 2021. 

The choreographer Jess Curtis has a PhD in performance studies. He lives in the US and Germany and has had significant impact on the further development of contact improvisation. Together with his transcontinental Gravity company, he develops works that explore the themes of gender, sexuality, and disability. 

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Production credits

Created and performed by Claire Cunningham, Jess Curtis Philosophical consultation Alva Noë Video Yoann Trellu Music Matthias Herrmann (except for The Way You Look Tonight by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields performed by Fred Astaire) Dramaturgy Luke Pell Costumes, Set Michiel Keuper Lighting Design Chris Copland Texts Claire Cunningham, Jess Curtis, Alva Noë (including excerpts from Varieties of Presence and What We Know Best by Alva Noë and Nicole Peisl) Produced by Claire Cunningham Projects with Jess Curtis / Gravity Executive Producer Nadja Dias Gravity Administration Julia Danila Marketing and Projects Producer Vicky Wilson Technical Manager Chris Copland Technician Gregor Knüppel Audio Description Claire Cunningham, Jess Curtis, EJ McHenry, spoken by EJ McHenry Audio Description (German) Claire Cunningham, Jess Curtis, EJ McHenry Translation Panthea, spoken by Yvette Coetzee-Hannemann Photos Sven Hagolani (1, 3), Robbie Sweeny (2) 

"The Way You Look (at me) Tonight" has been made possible by support from the following funders and organisations Unlimited; celebrating the work of disabled artists, using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland and Spirit of 2012, co-commissioned by Tramway Glasgow and supported by The Place London, Tanzfabrik Berlin, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, British Council, CounterPulse and Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts.

The New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, The San Francisco Arts Commission, The Zellerbach Family Foundation, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Fonds Darstellende Künste, Kofinanzierungsfonds des Regierenden Bürgermeisters von Berlin – Senatskanzlei | Kulturelle Angelegenheiten 

Supported by the NATIONALE PERFORMANCE NETZ Gastspielförderung Theater funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media