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The world of Elvis tribute artists proves far more than a medley of quiffs and capes in Claire Cunningham’s 'Thank You Very Much'. From a consideration of the King and his
impersonators, the disabled dancer and choreographer draws together a thought-provoking and poignant show about identity, performance and disruption.

While Elvis unsettled staid white America with his hips, Cunningham draws attention to the confounding force of disabled bodies, recognising in Elvis’s way of moving a physicality
that, like her own, is free of straight lines. Sporting a leather jacket, collar popped, she introduces these ideas via a 50s chrome microphone, while perched against one crutch and
balancing on her toes; her protracted, rubber-legged shake a demonstration of bodily limitation and formidable control.

Audio recordings of insights from Elvis tribute artists reiterate a sense of otherness. Against a repeated refrain that Presley’s power to shock was akin to “a creature from space”,
Cunningham and dancer Tanja Erhart perform a duet using intersecting crutches.

There’s an illuminating sequence in which Erhart shows how she learned to raise and swing her hip to walk with a prosthetic left leg – the pelvis becomes a site of simple human
mechanics rather than conservative cultural anxiety.

When performer Dan Daw struts authoritatively around the space in pants and a gold-spangled jacket, the work compellingly calls into question notions about voyeuristic spectacle
and how we watch bodies that don’t conform to a dancerly ideal. Although the pace feels drawnout at times, the heavyweight topics are delivered with a light touch and warm tone,
as the dancers take chatty turns addressing the audience, demonstrating moves and sporting assorted belt-and-jumpsuit combinations.

Originating Source - The Guardian

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