heitzinger unger dance performance theatre photography
(c) Elisa Unger


Independent choreographer, performer and teacher 


Born 1980 in Austria

B.A. Contemporary Dance and pedagogy at Anton Bruckner Private University Linz (AT)

Resident artist at La Caldera/Barcelona(ES), tanz_house Salzburg(AT) and RedSapata Tanzfabrik Linz(AT)


Iris studied contemporary dance and pedagogy at Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz. In 2001 she became a member of the postgraduate company x.IDA/Linz to which she later returned as a choreographic assistant. In the season of 2002/2003 she was given a scholarship by the Austrian Ministry of Culture, which allowed her to continue her studies in England, Holland Belgium and Finland. In 2005 Iris graduated with the Bachelor of Arts. Since then she has been collaborating as a freelance performer  and dance maker with artists such as Vincent Dance Theatre (UK), H2Dance (SE, NO), Jeremy Wade (USA), Ted Stoffer (BE, USA), Cie. Willi Dorner (AT), Cie. Laroque (AT), editta braun company (AT), Cie. Guillermo Weickert (ES), Cie. Lanònima Imperial (ES), Natalia Jiménez (ES), Françoise Boillat (CH), Group LaBolsa (ES) & Thomas Hauert (CH/BE), etc.


Choreographic work & process based exchanges

Since 2007 Iris has been making her own choreographic work with an interest in interdisciplinary and intercultural collaborations that investigate the body's expressiveness from different angles. A strong interest lies on score based work, which provokes clear physical language and pushes the body and the performer to fully deploy their capacities.

Her first solo Lo Que Es premieres 2008 in Barcelona. During the years of 2008, 2009 and 2010 she is invited as a guest artist at the Festival ReAction in Tokyo/Japan. Apart from offering contemporary technique and improvisation workshops she takes part in an exchange between 7 Japanese artists and 2 European artists, investigating concepts of real-time composition. At the end of one month of research each year, guided by the choreographer Ted Stoffer (US/BE) they present the result of their investigation to the audience in Tokyo.

In 2009 the guinea pig collective is born, which forms the base for creative processes and exchange of inspiration of 3 artists coming from the fields of new media art, experimental music and performance art, Iris being one of the founder members. Their collaboration Blackbox receives financial and infrastructural support in both Austria and Spain, premiering in March 2010. 

In July 2011 she is invited to take part at “Carte Blanche”, a cycle of creation workshops at “The Place”/London to work with the choreographer Rui Horta during one week, resulting in an invitation of Iris’ work L_ENTES to be researched at Rui Horta’s creation center O espaço do tempo in Montemor-o-Novo/Portugal a year later.

Also in 2011 Iris starts the performance experiment Breve ensayo sobre la nada (short disquisition on nothing) – a study on the practice of being on stage with the goal to invite the audience to get to know the mechanisms the performer uses in a live situation. Based on improvisation and the direct interaction with the audience Breve ensayo sobre la nada has so far been shown in different occasions and locations such as at the MACBA – Contemporary Arts Museum Barcelona, International Dance Day at NunArt Barcelona, Festival Tanzkosmos/Vienna, Festival Lange Nacht des Tanzes/Salzburg, etc.

In 2012 Iris starts to collaborate with the fellow dancer and choreographer Natalia Jiménez. Together they create L_ENTES a site specific dance piece for natural spaces, which investigates the topic of human perception.  The work was co-produced by the Festival NEO/Mercat de les flors/Barcelona and premiered in May 2012. In the same year Iris continues her collaboration with Natalia. They make the piece Contenedor in collaboration with the musician Gaspar Alloza, commissioned by the Festival Escena Pobe Nou 2012.

For the Festival IDN/Barcelona in January 2013 she makes the interactive, multidisciplinary dance piece Trinity in co-creation with the audiovisual artist Oscar Sol, co-produced by the festival itself & Nu2s, the creation space el Graner and the theatre Mercat de les flors.

In April 2013 Iris develops a commission for the Museum CaixaForum in Barcelona. She makes the performance intervention Wunschkind within the exposition “Que desear” (what to wish for). Also in the same year Iris carries out research with the circus artist Joan Catalá which results in the work in progress Caída libre which is presented at the theatre Can Felipa/Barcelona, the Festival tanz_house/Salzburg and the Theatre Espacio Inestable/Valencia.

After a significant break, brought about by a serious injury at the end of 2013, Iris happily returned to work in autumn 2014 in a long pending collaboration with editta braun company (AT) co-creating the solo piece PAULA, which premiered within the tanz_house festival Salzburg in October 2014.

Also in 2014 Iris is invited to coach the actors within the creation Les Biches by Compagnie du Gaz, a theatre piece by Rachel Esseiva Heger, Johanne Kneubühler and Françoise Boillat, a co-production with the theatre ABC, La-Chaux-de-fonds, Switzerland. Iris later returns in 2015 to collaborate in the production Certaines n'avaient jamais vu la mer, directed by Francy Schori in creation with Françoise Boillat and Olivier Gabus.

In 2015 the premiere of the creation The measure of disorder takes place, an initiative by Group LaBolsa a collective of seven independent performers and dance makers - Cecilia Colacrai, Anna Rubirola, Mireia de Querol, Natalia Jimenez, Federica Porello, Xavi Moreno and Iris Heitzinger. For this work they invite the Belgian based choreographer Thomas Hauert (CH/BE) to develop the piece in dialogue with them. The work is co-produced by the Festival Grec/Barcelona, Charleroi Danses/Brussels, Les Brigittines/Brussels where it was also premiered and performed respectively.

In march 2017 Iris premiered a new piece called WALLFLOWERING together with the Swiss actress and theater director Françoise Boillat in co-production with Verein kunstHupfer/ei (AT), Compagnie du Gaz (CH), ARGEkultur / Salzburg & Centre de culture ABC / La Chaux-de-Fonds.




Collaborators who have supported Iris’ work

  •  Creation centres: La Caldera/Barcelona, El Graner/Barcelona, O espaço do tempo/Montemor-o-Novo, La nave del duende/Cáceres, La Fragua/ Belalcázar, tanz_house Salzburg, etc.
  • Exhibition spaces/structures & co-producers: Festival NEO 2012 & Festival IDN 2013 (Mercat de les flors), MACBA, CCCB (Festival Mira 2013), Teatre SAT!, Festival Escena Poble Nou 2012, La Pedrera - Festival Dansa ARA 2010, Theatre Atlantida/Vic, Teatre de la Unió/Sant Cugat, Sala Trono/Tarragona, L‘Espai XXS/Lloret de Mar, Espacio Inestable/Valencia, Festival Dantza Irian/San Sebastian & Irun, Teatro Alhondiga/Bilbao, ARGEKultur/ Salzburg, Festival tanz_house /Salzburg, Kosmostheater/Vienna, Festival Basics/ Salzburg, Festival Coded Matters/Amsterdam, etc.