• Photo: Alice Underwood

  • Photo: Alice Underwood

  • Photo: Alice Underwood

Blame Game

Kundle Cru
Ireland, Sweden, UK, Holland, Italy and France

Blame Game  has been long in the making. After almost four years of work, and after 18 months of lockdowns and venue closures when activity moved online, the piece started to click together in a residency at the French national circus centre La Verrerie in Alès in September 2021. ‘It all kind of arrived at this sweet spot,’ says Matt Szczerek, the founder of Kundle Cru along with Chinese pole artist Alessio Motta. ‘Sometimes getting a break from the material is good in order to see it from a different perspective…’

Originally imagined as a response to Brexit and its societal impacts, Blame Game  has slowly spun out to a wider view that takes in all the ways blame arises in groups, and seems to stalk behind social upheavals and movements. Playing out in a kind of office environment, the performance takes a light touch in exploring alienation, rivalry and blame, before landing at the flip side of group dynamics: the healing power of assembly, and the joy and lightness of connection and coordination read the full article.

  • Company Biography

    Kundle Cru is a new company of international artists led by Mateusz Szczerek and Alessio Motta with Dutch juggler Liza van Brakel, Ugandan Krump dancer Timothy Kakeeto, UK house dancer Jack Bain, Belfast based circus artist Angelique Ross and UK Art de Duplacement artist Louiseanne Wong.

    The company is committed to individual and collective development, driven by the desire to experiment with circus and dance to create a hybrid movement language, and passionate about telling the stories of our times.

    Kundle Cru has been developing Blame Game  during residencies throughout 2019-2021. 

  • Artist Biographies

    Alessio Motta is an Italian born circus artist living in Rotterdam. Alessio’s key disciplines are Chinese Pole and Dance-Acro. He attended the circus course at Scuola di Cirko Vertigo before studying his degree at DOCH University of Dance and Circus. Alessio teaches circus at Sundbyberg Kulturskola, Stockholm and is an experienced workshop leader. Working alongside Far From The Norm, he was one of the core company members for Union Black, a hip hop dance and circus project funded by Creative Europe which toured to Sweden, Ireland, France and England. Alessio performs internationally and is a member of Rough Connections (RoughCo) as well as a founder member of Kundle Cru.

    Angelique Ross grew up performing and teaching in community circus throughout rural Western Australia.  She’s lived in caravans and big tops touring internationally with shows such as NoFit State’s, Bianco. Now based in Belfast, when she’s not being stood on and thrown about by Tumble Circus, Angelique can be found touring her award-winning solo show SPIT. One half of the female DIY punk circus duo Snatch Circus, Angelique is known for making bold and evocative circus. She is also a two-time Australian axe-throwing champion.

    Jack Bain is a London based dancer who specialises in hip hop and house. He has participated in a number of funded residencies collaborating to develop work and focusing on his dance practice. He has worked with Manchester International Festival, Boy Blue Entertainment, Dance2Connect, Kundle Cru and participated in Breakin’ Convention at Sadler’s Wells.

    Liza van Brakel grew up in the Netherlands performing circus from a very young age, she joined the youth circus in her hometown and at that moment fell in love with it. Liza studied circus at the University of Arts, Rotterdam where she started to combine her two favourite disciplines, object manipulation and acro-dance. The outcome of which was her unique juggling research based on movement and physicality. In 2017 Liza graduated from Codarts Circus Arts and has since had the honour to perform at many different events all over the world. Her solo show Ain’t No Easy Way Out was nominated for the BNG Circus Prize, 2017 and has been performed at Berlin Circus Festival, ATOLL Festival Karlsruhe, Festival UP Brussel, and at many more international events. Liza is also a member of the Gandini Juggling Company and since 2018 has worked with TENT, Monki Business and on Blame Game, co-produced by Crying Out Loud. Liza’s work explores new possibilities that lay on the intersection of street-dance and circus.

    Louiseanne Wong studied music at the University of Manchester and has trained as a dancer in contemporary, jazz, modern dance, hip hop, ballet, Limon technique, Release technique and house. In 2014 she was awarded an MA in Choreography with Merit from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London. Since then she has worked with Kundle Cru, Monika Jaeckel, Anton Mirto, Rosie Kay Dance Company and Esprit Concrete amongst others. Louiseanne has worked extensively as a coach and teacher, most recently co-leading a group of 50 young people for the Roundhouse Street Circus to perform in an outdoor spectacle. Her work as a choreographer includes Utilis Apparatus, Material Choreography and Skinship.

    Matt Szczerek is a Dublin based dance artist (contemporary-urban) and a professional member of Dance Ireland. He has danced regularly with CoisCeim Dance Theatre, performing as a principal dancer in the Wolf and Peter, Sydney Opera House (2017) and in RTE’s 1916 Centenary performance at Bord Gais Energy Theatre, choreographed by David Bolger. Matt toured nationally with Monica Martin Munoz’ work Princesses can be Pirates (2018-2019) funded by the Arts Council which concluded with performances at the Dublin Dance Festival. In January 2019 he was selected as a one of three choreographers to present his work as a part of Lighting Design for Dance project mentored by Liz Roche in partnership with the Lir academy and Dance Ireland. In 2018 he presented Fable for Dublin Fringe Festival at Project Art Centre which was nominated for a best ensemble award. In 2017 Matt was selected by Far From The Norm, led by Botis Seva to be part of an international cast for production of Union Black funded by Creative Europe, which toured to Sweden, Ireland, France and England. Matt is the Director/Curator of Dance2Connect, a three-day urban dance festival at the Civic theatre, South Dublin. Funded and supported by Dance Ireland, Tallaght Community Arts, Civic Theatre and the Arts Council. Most recently Matt received an Arts Council Ireland bursary award with co-production support from Crying Out Loud (UK) to co-create Blame Game.

    Timothy Kakeeto is a Ugandan dancer, dance teacher and choreographer currently living in Sweden. He has featured in Bollywood films, worked frequently with MAM Dance Company, danced in Swedish House Mafia’s music video and most recently appeared as a dancer for Sweden’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest.

    Director: Manu Debuk

    Outside Eye & Movement Director: Aline David

  • Research & Development

    Following the success of Union Black  (2018), Mateusz Szczerek (Ireland/Poland), Alessio Motta (Italy) and Manu Debuck (France) worked on Blame Game,  a new show that merged hip hop with circus. They were joined by the London/Hong Kong Parkour and Art du Deplacement  artist Louiseanne Wong, Dutch Juggler Liza van Brakel, Ugandan Krump dancer Timothy Kakeeto, and UK dancer Jack Bain to further develop this work-in-progress.

    Using innovative dance moves, Chinese pole and juggling, Blame Game  explores our constant search for a scapegoat. By pointing the finger at the ‘other’, those who we disagree with politically and socially, we escape our personal responsibilities.

    The artists completed a number of R&D residencies including at London’s Redbridge Drama Centre, Newbury’s 101 Creation Space, PPCM in Paris, Subtopia in Sweden, Holland’s Atoll Festival, St Agil and La Verrerie d’Alès both in France and Rua Red in Ireland. They also presented work-in-progress performances at Circusstad in Rotterdam in May 2019 and a filmed performance at the 2020 Belfast International Arts Festival.  Further online residencies have since taken place with Scottee and Friends’ Notepad Warrior, Ben Duke (Lost Dog Dance) and with movement director Aline David.

    You can read more about the 11 day residency held at 101 Outdoor Arts, Corn Exchange Newbury’s dedicated creation space for outdoor arts.

  • PRODUCTION CREDITS

    Produced by Crying Out Loud in association with Rua Red & Belfast International Arts Festival, Ireland. With support from Arts Council Ireland; La Verrerie d’Alès Pole National Cirque Occitanie, France; 101 Arts Creation Space, UK; CircusStad Holland; Cheptel Aleïkoum, France; Het Klooster, Holland; Karlsruhe Atoll Festival Germany; Redbridge Drama Centre, UK, Subtopia, Sweden; Le Plus Petit Cirque du Monde, France and South Dublin Council.