Photo credit: Studio Long


A Julie Cunningham & Company Residency at Bethlem Gallery

19 February – 24 February

From 19 – 24 February, Julie Cunningham & Company (JCC) will be in residence at Bethlem Gallery. JCC will share their new dance work PIGEONS through workshops, open studio time, conversation, drawing, and performance within wards and for the public.

On the final day of the residency, Saturday 24 February at 2pm, JCC will offer a public performance of PIGEONS in the chapel located across from the gallery. FREE tickets are available via the booking form on this page. Thank you to the Chaplain for the use of the chapel.

There is also a workshop led by Jules Cunningham and artist Vicky Long using movement, mark-making and print-making at 11am on Saturday 24 February. Please book tickets to this separately from the performance.

PIGEONS explores themes of queerness and marginalised identities, and joins in with celebrations to mark LGBTQ+ History Month.

The idea of this work began in lockdown when Cunningham’s thoughts about Julius Eastman and pigeons collided. PIGEONS is a 30 minute dance performed by Harry, Yu-Chien and Jules alongside the music of Julius Eastman, a black gay man from New York composing in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Much of Eastman’s work was lost, his work sidelined within the whiteness of minimalist music. 

Notes on PIGEONS by Jules Cunningham

‘In PIGEONS, you can expect to see some dancing, some every day movement. Through the movement we explore feelings of being alone and together, disruption and distraction. In relation to the music, we are moving almost relentlessly, perhaps irritated by our own need to keep going. We’ve thought about the ways that pigeons are repetitive, intent, and experienced, by humans, as a nuisance.

This mirrors how marginalised people disrupt our lives, showing us uncomfortable truths. Queerness and disability disrupts in a similar way – disrupting the norms by the way we try to exist in the world. And the world chooses to disrupt us back, by excluding, denying our existence.

Yet we find a way to continue, to keep moving and living, much in the way the pigeons do. We carve our lives around the exclusion and hostile environment. There will be some information at the start about what we’ve been working on and the opportunity to ask questions afterwards.

We hope you feel you can come, even if you think dance is not for you.’

Artist Biographies

Jules Cunningham

Jules Cunningham (they/them) is based in South London, originally from Liverpool and has worked as a dancer for 20+ years (Critics Circle National Dance Award in 2014) working with Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Michael Clark Company and in projects with Boris Chartmatz, Thick & Tight, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz across Europe.

Jules founded Julie Cunningham & Company in 2017, to create and present work that combines clarity of form with an interest in gender identity and the body. Jules uses a movement language that draws on their technical dance training, expanding and queering it collaboratively, working between sound, text, visual art.

Jules recently premiered how did we get here? a work for Jules, dancer Harry Alexander and Spice Girl Melanie C.

Teaching and performance work is informed by solo and collaborative movement exploration, queerness, lived experience of mental illness, disability and exclusion based on Jules’ working class background and non-binary identity.

Studio Long | Vicky Long

My practice is concerned with structures and systems that underpin our existence, and the lively interplay between the rational and instinctive.

Multi-disciplinary projects range in focus from the local – Vauxhall – to the more distant – Bengal’s Sundarbans, the Earth’s atmosphere and beyond.

Alongside making art, I have worked as a producer and curator, creating programmes for London Borough of Lambeth, Eden Project, Southbank Centre, Siobhan Davies Dance, Cape Farewell and more.

About Bethlem Gallery workshops and events

Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult. Concessions are available for SLaM service users, people over 60, students, people receiving ESA, people registered disabled and their carers. We take photos at our workshops to use on social media – please speak to the facilitator if you do not want to appear in any photos.

If you are unable to attend the workshop, please contact us to cancel your place. We often have a waiting list.

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