After 22 years, Motionhouse is saying farewell to the company’s Rehearsal Director and former performer, Junior Cunningham

Junior and Co-Founders of Motionhouse Louise Richards and Kevin Finnan, share some of their thoughts on his long career with the company.

28 May 2024 Posted by Chloe Sprackling



“I’ve seen Junior grow from a high-spirited young performer into a mature Rehearsal Director,” says Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Motionhouse Kevin Finnan. “He has contributed so much to the company – first through his performances, then as a mentor to new young performers, helping develop their skills and to settle into the company. He’s always been such a positive presence, and it’s been a real pleasure to share the past 22 years with him. We’ve toured the world together, visiting as far afield as China, Japan and the US, and in addition to the hard work, we’ve had such fun. We’ve become great friends over the years and I’m looking forward to that continuing for many years to come. In some ways it’s sad to say goodbye, but I’m very pleased for him that he’s moving on to the next chapter of his life and I wish him the very best. I’m so proud of what he’s achieved and very grateful for what he’s contributed to Motionhouse.”


“Junior has made a massive contribution to Motionhouse. Nobody else has been with us for as long as Junior, and he has grown with Motionhouse as it has undergone its own evolution” reflects Louise Richards, Executive Director and Co-Founder. “It’s funny to think that when Junior first joined the company, Kevin and I were still teaching company class! We placed a huge emphasis on building the company’s core skills in contact improvisation which is, to this day, central to our physical exploration. Junior is the only person on our team who learned direct from Kevin and I, and this gives him a depth of understanding of what we do that is quite unique and he’s taken those skills and continued to spread the learning as we have both stepped back from that side of the work. Junior has been right at the heart of the growth of the company over the past 22 years. When he joined us as an apprentice in 2002 and then as a dancer in Volatile in 2003, we had only been going as a company for 14 years and we were a long way off being able to offer the full-time employment contracts to our performers that we do now. When Junior first took on the role of Rehearsal Director it freed up Kevin to focus on creation, and this has helped our work to evolve over the years into what it is now. He’s been a brilliant colleague to Kevin, me and the Motionhouse team over the years. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, and it’s been a huge pleasure to work with Junior for so many years.”


“When Louise phoned me out of the blue after the end of my apprenticeship in December 2002 and offered me a job as a Motionhouse dancer, I didn’t need to think about it – I said yes on the spot,” says Junior. “I’ve got so many happy memories of Motionhouse that I’ll be taking with me when I leave. I’ve made friends for life, I’ve travelled the world, I’ve performed to hundreds of thousands of people – more than I ever dreamed of as that young dancer I was when I first joined Motionhouse. I’m leaving a company that I love and respect, which has helped me to become who I am today. I’ll be forever grateful to Kevin for making me realise that I was an artist in my own right, and that I could make a life and a career out of dancing. As my life moves on and I enter the next phase of my journey where I want to put my family first, I’m reflecting on all the amazing things that I’ve done over the past 22 years, and they all make me smile. One of my proudest moments, and one that I’ll never forget, is being the first person to come into the performance space in The Voyage, the opening show of the London 2012 Festival. Seeing a sea of people in Victoria Square in my home city of Birmingham was just incredible. It was the same with Wondrous Stories in 2022 – I was so proud to bring joy to so many people free of charge, in the street in Birmingham. I’ve loved all of the large-scale projects we’ve done in so many places like Cornwall, Denmark, Romania to name just a few. I love working with community casts and seeing them grow in confidence and how being part of a project like that can change their lives. I can see myself doing work like this in the future if the opportunity arises. Other happy memories include the first tour of Captive when we took the show into the heart of communities, to housing estates, parks and shopping centres. How many people can say they’ve performed in the middle of Asda?!


I’ve loved performing, but I also really enjoy passing on my love of dance to young people and seeing them grow. I’ve followed the journeys of current company members Alex and Blair from teaching them as 16-year-old students, to welcoming them as either work experience students or professional development attendees and watching them become the brilliant dancers that they are today. I’ve absolutely loved the numerous Curtain Raiser projects that I’ve done with youth groups around the UK, and the teaching in schools, where kids transform in a matter of hours from not wanting to take part into having fun and really getting involved. It's been great to be Artistic Director of Motionhouse Youth, seeing young people grow into brilliant young dancers, many of whom go onto full-time dance training. I’m looking forward to the day when one of them comes back to audition for Motionhouse and becomes a dancer with the company. That would feel really special, knowing that I might have been part of making that happen. For me, dance is all about changing people’s lives. Being part of Motionhouse has changed my life and I hope that I’ve been able to do that for other people too.”

Junior’s last day with Motionhouse will be the 31 May if you’d like to send him a message on or on one of the Motionhouse social media channels.