Belfast to welcome acclaimed international choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan to host dance intensive from 5th-9th February 2024 with
20 Artists from across the UK, Ireland and Europe.
Belfast is set to host an exciting week-long event for professional dancers with a Dance Intensive delivered by Michael Keegan-Dolan taking place from 5th to 9th February 2024. Organised by Theatre and Dance NI (TDNI) in association with the MAC, Belfast, 20 talented dance artists from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the UK, and Europe, will learn ways of working that identify and celebrate practices useful for creative work in dance and in theatre.
Following on from TDNI’s successful dance intensives with choreographers Akram Khan Company (2022) and Oona Doherty (2023) it is a testament to the organisation’s commitment to the growth of professional dancers and the sector in Northern Ireland.
Supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Idlewild Trust.
This Dance Intensive provides a unique opportunity for these selected artists to engage in a rigorous and immersive programme and training, honing their skills and exploring new creative possibilities and connections. Through a series of workshops and collaborative sessions, participants will have the chance to learn from the internationally renowned Irish choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan’s vast repertoire and share their experiences with fellow artists from different backgrounds and disciplines.
The series of events not only provides a platform for emerging and established artists to collaborate and develop their skills; but also contributes to the ongoing development of the vibrant dance sector across the island of Ireland, strengthening its position on the international stage.
Michael Keegan-Dolan rose to acclaim as the artistic director of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre (1997-2015), creating three Olivier Award-nominated productions: Giselle (2003), The Bull (2005), and The Rite of Spring (2009). Giselle won an Irish Times Theatre Award 2004, and The Bull received a UK Critic’s Circle National Dance Award 2008.
Michael founded Teaċ Daṁsa in 2016 when the Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre moved from the Irish midlands to the West Kerry Gaeltacht on the Southwest coast of Ireland. Teaċ Daṁsa make dance and theatre work; while grounded in Ireland, the company draws upon an international ensemble of performers, artists and collaborators and has created work that has toured and resonated internationally.
Swan Lake/ Loch na hEala, continued a tradition of ground-breaking productions for which the company is reputed. It won the Best New Production Irish Times Theatre Award 2017 and the Best Production UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award 2018. MÁM (2019) was the first show entirely conceived, rehearsed, and produced in the West Kerry Gaeltacht. It was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Production (2020) and two UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards (2022). Their new piece is currently in development for showcasing at the Dublin Dance Festival 2024. “How to be a dancer in 72000 easy lessons” premiered in 2022 at the ‘Dublin Theatre Festival’ and has been successfully touring since.
The week-long intensive will culminate with a special public event in the MAC on Friday 9th February – ‘In Conversation: Michael Keegan-Dolan’. This bi-lingual event, presented in collaboration with An Droichead, will include a screening of The Dance, directed by Pat Collins, followed by a question & answer session hosted by journalist, Robert McMillen. This will be of interest to key industry figures, artists and the wider community in what aims to be a useful and thought-provoking evening of entertainment and conversation.
Robert will explore Michael’s esteemed career as an internationally renowned choreographer, his influences, experiences and insights, as well as examining the challenges and opportunities of working as an artist on this island, including developing audiences nationally and internationally.
One of the key topics of the conversation will be the connections between the Irish language, dance and music. Michael’s work has been deeply influenced by his native language and the rich cultural heritage of Ireland. At the core of Teaċ Daṁsa’s work is the aim to nurture a deeper and more meaningful connection with the traditions, language, and music of the island. The talk will explore the importance of incorporating these elements into dance.
Places are limited. Link to book here.
Niamh Flanagan, Executive Director at Theatre & Dance NI said:
“We are delighted to partner with Michael Keegan-Dolan and The MAC to host the third of our suite of professional dance training intensives in Belfast. This is a such a fantastic opportunity for contemporary dancers from the island of Ireland – 5 from Northern Ireland – and beyond to immerse themselves in their profession, training, and practice with Michael. This collaborative project is part of TDNI’s commitment to investing in and championing artists’ professional development including supporting them to build stronger national and international connections. We particularly welcome the collaboration with An Droichead to host an important public event and conversation with Michael, along with the public, artists and key industry people to discuss culture, the arts and the future of dance on this island.”
Simon Magill, Creative Director at The MAC, Belfast said:
“This is an exciting collaboration to be part of and we can’t wait to host Michael Keegan-Dolan and welcome all the dance intensive participants to the MAC. Dance is an integral part of our programme and to work with an internationally renowned choreographer providing dancers with such exciting opportunities, made possible by Theatre and Dance NI, is a real treat.”
Claire Kieran, Arts Officer at An Droichead said:
“Tá lúchair orainn ag An Droichead an scannán ar leith seo a chuir os comhair an phobail anseo i mBéal Feirste. In advance of our Belfast 2024 collaboration, An Droichead is delighted to screen this film exploring the groundbreaking work of Michael Keegan-Dolan and his company Teaċ Daṁsa and we are excited to be joined by Michael on the night. Michael will chat with journalist Robert Mc Millen about his career, his work with traditional music and the importance of Irish language as a touchstone for his work.”
Alison McCrudden, joint Head of Literature and Drama at Arts Council of Northern Ireland said:
“Congratulations to Theatre and Dance NI on developing this exciting week-long programme of events. This is now the third event in this series and these dance incentives are really cementing the city and Northern Ireland’s place as a creative hub, offering dancers from across Ireland and UK valuable time with top industry professionals.”
Councillor Clíodhna Nic Bhranair, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said:
“As a supporter of Theatre & Dance NI’s INVEST Programme, Belfast City Council is delighted that Soso, one of the programme participants, has been selected as one of only 20 dance artists from across the UK, Ireland and Europe to take part in this prestigious dance intensive, under the mentorship of Michael Keegan-Dolan.
“This is a fantastic example of how the INVEST Programme inspires and equips the next artistic creative leaders. It also signals the start of what we hope will be a really special connection fostered between our city and this internationally renowned choreographer, with Michael returning to Belfast later this year for a new production with An Droichead and Teac Damsa as part of our Belfast 2024 cultural programme.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Theatre and Dance NI (TDNI) is a member resource organisation which connects, supports development and advocates for theatre and dance in Northern Ireland. TDNI aspires to create a more diverse industry which is fully inclusive and enriched by ambition, professionalism and, most of all, creative collaboration. We champion theatre and dance as a force for change, to enrich people’s lives and communities and place the artforms and practice at the centre of civic and cultural life.
We achieve our aims through collaboration and partnership working; delivery of artist and company professional skills development programmes including artist bursaries, training, residencies and delivery of major sector initiatives including the Edinburgh Fringe ‘Spotlight on Theatre and Dance’ from Northern Ireland. At our core is a dedicated support to our members through our Membership Assistance Programme, which provides essential confidential counselling and wellbeing support services.
Theatre and Dance NI are principally funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The intensive is part of TDNI’s core work in providing professional development opportunities for artists and facilitating national and international connections.
The intensive has been supported by the Idlewild Trust in association with the MAC, Belfast.
The MAC, Belfast is a cultural hub and since opening in 2012 has quickly become a beacon for the ongoing regeneration of Belfast, offering an eclectic programme of visual art, theatre, dance, family workshops and lots more.
An Droichead is a Belfast based Irish language organisation that preserves and promotes the development of Irish language and culture through education, arts, family & community services, and outreach work.
Belfast City Council support TDNI’s INVEST programme – a professional development, mentoring programme for artists.
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