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PIGEONS by Julie Cunningham & Company

The idea of this work began in lockdown when Jules’ thoughts about Julius Eastman and pigeons collided…
Pigeons is a 30 minute dance performed by Harry, Yu-Chien & 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. In Pigeons, you can expect to see some dancing, some every day movement, and you will get to be all around the performers in beautiful Stanley Hall.
This is a preview as some of the design elements are still in progress. We’ve been making where we are based in South London including residencies at Stanley Arts and Bethlem Gallery at Bethlem Hospital.
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 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.

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

In collaboration with Raze Collective and part of This Is Croydon’s Queer Arts Development Strand. The Commission has been generously supported by Arts Council England and This Is Croydon.

London Borough of Culture is a Mayor of London initiative, with support from Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

This event is one of Queer Arts Commissions, an incredible line up of neuroqueer and multidisciplinary artists, award-winning producers and writers explore the theme of identity through a variety of art forms, and touch on subjects such as gender, faith, queer arts, and mental wellbeing. More events will be announced soon.

Doors open: 7:15pm