WITH three new works and a short tour imminent, it is time to zone on Dance Limerick, the national dance hub operating at John’s Square. The August platform is ‘Step Up 19’, a 10 week intensive course for students who have graduated within the past three years. It culminates in unique works that we the public can visit on August 26, early evening.
From Dance Limerick’s director Jenny Traynor, we hear that this is the ninth year of this professional development module that is intended to embed these international graduates in the city as much as encourage a first public platform. The summer’s incubation leads to staging on Monday August 26 in Limerick at 6pm for an hour; on to Longford’s Backstage Theatre on Wednesday 28 and Cork’s Firkin Crane on Friday 30. They finalise at Dublin’s Project Arts Centre on Saturday August 31.
Arts page defers to dance artist/ choreographer Marguerite Donlon who is curator to Step Up this year.
“It was down to me to decide which choreographers, teachers, mentors, coaches and so on to bring in, so as to enrich and help the dancers enter into the professional life on a higher level.
“The dancers began working with three different choreographers on the new creations over a five week period,” Marguerite explains from Cologne. “I started them off with creating a piece called ‘Lost in Translations’.”
She feels that the best way to get to know the dancers “is to create on them. It gave me a great understanding of the group and helped me to judge their development in the long run.”
After the creative period, they did a four day intensive workshop with British life coach, Rivca Rubin.
Note the advisory context for Step Up. This curator observes that for emerging dancers, “It is one thing to learn to become an excellent professional dancer and commend what you do on stage, but the other aspects that challenge them is being able to present themselves in auditions.
“Also helping to equip them with having to deal with sometimes difficult choreographic processes. It can be a tough career and dancers have to learn how to empower themselves and find the right language to communicate to their advantage.”
The graduates tied in with improvisation expert Professor Dieter Heitkamp from Frankfurt University, and Rainer Behr, long time dancer of the German legend Pina Bausch.
“We brought in a rehearsal director who would stay with the dancer from the very beginning to the very end. His name is Eoin Pádraig Mac Donncha, responsible for teaching morning class and rehearsing the pieces plus assisting any of the other guests to come in.
“The dancers also talk with past Step Up students and Irish dance management experts such as Jenny Traynor and Anica Dawson.”
Marguerite Donlon spent a fortnight working intensely with them here and “since then, we have communicated approximately every second day by phone or video conference.
“All three choreographers are part of a Dropbox link where we can watch the latest run-throughs and give corrections and feedback.”
The six participating dancers are the link between these original pieces from three choreographers: herself, Emanuele Soavi and Francesco Vecchione.
Underlining a collaborative approach, Marguerite is inspired by dancers as individuals “and by how they interact with each other. Personal stories are very often the starting point for me, as in the case with the piece I created for ‘Step Up 19’.
“However I am also energised by dancers technical abilities. I work with very diverse dancers, some are classically trained, some are more contemporary, others coming from very different dance backgrounds.
“I find bringing these differences together very enriching.”
Book shows in advance at www.dancelimerick.ie