Residency & Co-production Fia Neises 2023

Image description: The photograph shows Irene Giró and Fia Neises. The two performers of WITH OR WIITHOUT YOU. Both are white and disabled. Both are read as female and non-disabled. Irene has brown, thick, long curls with a slander figure. Fia has dark blond, straight, ear-length hair. Her body is larger and softer than Irene's. The photograph shows them both in contact with a white "silk." A 14-meter-long cloth that is hung from the middle of the ceiling. The two ends hang heavily to the floor and the protagonists wrap, climb, swing, hang and hold themselves in it. Fia is blind and asked Irene what they experience in the picture. Then they remembered: Fia: We were upside down here, right? Irene: Exactly. So you're upside down, your hair is fluffed up and flying and falling towards the ground at the same time. Your face is a little red, a half smile. Fia: And how am I up in the air here? Irene: Upside down. Like a "Y." Your legs are open to the sides and bent. The Silk is holding you in the air around your waist. With your arms, you fling the Silk that was on the ground below you into the air. The cool thing here is, the Silk looks like it's being kicked up by a strong wind. Fia: Then it's the moment when you joined me in the Silk in the same position as me? Irene: A little bit after that. I was also in the "Y." On top of you, with my back to you, facing the camera. But this is the moment when I pulled myself up on the Silk. I'm now horizontal between your legs. I lean out from the centre to the right, onto your right hip. My hand grips the Silk to hold me here. My face is turned away from the camera. My legs are stretched out and my feet are sticking up in the air. Fia: So we're in mid-motion here, not in a pose. Irene: The picture describes for me a lot of movement but also effort. We are not resting in ourselves. It has power and strength. I see a lot of skin and our floating open shirts.

Five questions for Sophia Neises

Interview with Sophia Neises from June 27, 2023. In German spoken language with German Sign Language interpretation and subtitles in German and English (selectable).

Click here to access the transcript of the interview in written English


In a four-week research residency in June 2023, Fia Neises worked with three research partners on different dimensions of assistance and interdependence.

With choreographer and dancer Zwoisy Mears-Clarke, she explored how the audience can playfully assist the performance through collectively performed audio descriptions. In exchange with ‘crip pleasure activist’ and dancer Tanja Erhart, Fia focused on two topics from a dramaturgical perspective: On the one hand the erotic, intimate potential of moments of assistance and on the other hand the influence of relations of dependency on the physical experience of the disabled, queer body in public. Together with Aerial Silk trainer and performer Irene Giró, they develop a teaching method for Silk training that meets their needs within the spectrum of neurodivergence and sensory disability. They also explore the question of performativity within their teaching dynamics.

Following and based on this research and in co-production with Making a Difference, Fia Neises presents her first production under her own artistic direction With or without you. It will premiere in September 2023 at Uferstudios Berlin:

Co-production: WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

Audioflyer for WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, photo by Xenia Dürr
invitation in DGS

September 14 – 16, 2023, 20:30
September 17, 2023, 17:00
Admission and Access Intro start 30 minutes before the beginning of each show
Uferstudios für zeitgenössischen Tanz, Berlin

You squeeze my hand right before the steps begin.
We dance together after the hospital calls.
You lead me, hands holding, are we on a date after all?
I say thank you and you ask: What for?

Intimacy is the ungraspable feeling of warmth, eroticism, vulnerability or tenderness. It can mean familiarity and discomfort at the same time.

Access for us, the crip community, means being ourselves. In the society we live in, we must allow intimacy in moments of assistance with both fleeting strangers or loved ones. “Access intimacy” is the term for this specific connection that Mia Mingus, disabled, queer writer and activist of color, has gifted us.

In WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, the disabled dancers Fia Neises and Irene Giró invite the audience into spaces of “access intimacy”. They will disrupt prevalent habits of seeing, hearing and time. And while lifting themselves up into the air, they will surrender to the illusion of independence. Accompanied by musician Jana Sotzko, they generously share stories of ambivalence and intimacy in assistance. Those who wish can participate or otherwise witness with pleasure.


  • Relaxed Performance
  • Early entrance with support by Access-Friends
  • The dance performance is based on a dramaturgy for blind and visually impaired audiences. An additional audio description does not exist, as everything that happens can be experienced without sight.
  • There will be German and English Overalltitles. Overalltitles means that the spoken word appears in written form everywhere in the stage set. Improvised moments and interactions with the audience will also appear in Overalltitles.
  • For interactive moments, communication assistance (DGS-spoken language) will be provided.
  • Further information on accessibility of the show and the location can be found at

artistic direction/performance: Fia Neises silktraining/ performance: Irene Giró live music/audio description post-production: Jana Sotzko concept and voice from the off: Saioa Alvarez Ruiz dramaturgy: Tanja Erhart  artistic co-creation: Liv Schellander Dramaturgical support for aesthetical accessibility: Ari Althaus, Xenia Dürr, Stefanie Heller, Silja Korn, Rita Mazza, Zwoisy Mears Clarke, Nina Mühlemann, Miles Wendt production management: Agnieszka Habraschka/Anne Rieger (Making a Difference) technical direction: Lola Tseytlin stage design: Lea Kissing light design: Gretchen Blegen costume: Xenia Taniko overalltitles: Maria Wünsche  film documentation: Tanja Brzaković photo documentation/promo photo: Xenia Dürr communication assistance: Florian Köhler public relations: Gina Jeske (Making a Difference) Access Friends: Angela Alves, Saioa Alvarez Ruiz, David Bloom, Tanja Erhart, Anna Hege, Marie Neises, Pauri Röwert, Katharina Senk/Senki

A production by Sophia Neises, supported by the Making a Difference network in cooperation with Uferstudios. Supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Community / IMPACT funding.