Susanne Schneider / BewegGrund

Susanne Schneider
© BAK / Charlotte Krieger

Susanne Schneider / BewegGrund

A pioneer of inclusivity

Swiss Performing Arts Award 2022

Susanne Schneider was born in 1965, and in 1998 she set up the dance group BewegGrund in Bern; she has been its artistic director ever since. BewegGrund stands for equal rights, self-determination, equality of opportunity and inclusivity: its goal is for people with and without disabilities to work naturally together on cultural projects. Susanne Schneider grew up on a farm near Bern, and studied education at the University of Fribourg and community dance at the Laban Centre in London. She also completed an MA in integrative dance at the London Contemporary Dance School. A pioneer of inclusivity within dance in Switzerland, she has inspired many others to work with people with disabilities, and consistently advanced their work. BewegGrund receives regular support from the City and Canton of Bern.

Susanne Schneider invites professional choreographers for cooperation, thus linking community dance with artistic activity. In 2012, for example, Massimo Furlan created “10xThe Eternal” with BewegGrund. The company appears at various venues, including outdoor spaces: the new production “ume-ume” (2022), for instance, a duo by Jürg Koch and Lukas Schwander, is performed on the terrace of a restaurant. 2021’s “Ich verschwimme im Bild”, meanwhile, was created in response to an invitation from the Kirchner Museum Davos to devise a dance piece in dialogue with works by the artist Martin Disler. «BewegGrund. Das Festival» is also a festival that is held every two years at the Dampfzentrale in Bern, notching up twelve editions to date, and is a partner of the Migros Culture Percentage network project IntegrART, along with symposia and similar festivals in Basel, Geneva and Lugano. BewegGrund organises regular courses and workshops, including in schools.

Susanne Schneider didn’t just start doing “integrative” work when it became fashionable and had a good chance of obtaining funding. She must have sensed a need and followed her inner voice. Nor did she run out of ideas or energy after a couple of projects. She has managed to keep the fire burning with a good measure of perseverance and intensity. Her concern, and her vocation, are not the kind of activity that serves merely as an ego boost. Her work, dedication and single-mindedness have always been for the good of others. That rare combination of endurance, passion and selflessness has led to the success that makes BewegGrund what it is.

Mark Wuest, jury member