Juggling the lot at Dublin Dance Festival’s tenth anniversary

 In Dun Laoghaire, Gandini Juggling will entertain with apples and breakable crockery at the Pavilion Theatre.
In Dun Laoghaire, Gandini Juggling will entertain with apples and breakable crockery at the Pavilion Theatre.

The Dublin Dance Festival celebrates its 10th year in style, Jo Kerrigan reports.

THE internationally-recognised Dublin Dance Festival, marking its first decade this year, is celebrating with a glitteringly ambitious programme that sees top performers from both home and abroad taking to the stage and streets of the capital May 20-31. From world premieres in venerable venues to live street sculpture and dancing plastic bags, there is definitely something for everyone. If you thought dance wasn’t for you, prepare to have your mind changed.

One of the highlights will be Still Current, an evening of work at the Abbey by Russell Maliphant, one of the world’s leading dance creators. New pieces will be danced by a remarkable company including Thomasin Gülgeç, who brings his fluid agility to this daring choreography; Dickson Mbi, famed for his powerful muscularity and incredible popping style; and the captivating Carys Staton. Maliphant himself will perform too.

In the wider environment, global phenomenon Bodies in Urban Spaces by Austrian Cie. Willi Dorner will transform the Dublin cityscape. This unique urban trail features 20 locally recruited performers creating a chain of live body sculptures through the city, offering daring choreography and outstanding displays of physical strength and skill, before the performers disengage and move on.


Catalan Sonia Sánchez will be pushing the limits of the traditional flamenco form, and French artist Clément Dazin will lead audiences on a poetic journey involving contemporary dance, hip hop and juggling. Swedish choreographer Örjan Andersson will present gorgeous tableaux inspired by Baroque painting, accompanied by a live score from BJ Nilsen. Co-presented with the Bealtaine Festival, Cypriot choreographer Alexis Vassiliou will present two works on the embodiment of pleasure, and Dan Canham from the UK will be fusing words, movement and sound-design in Ours Was The Fen Country, a deeply evocative look at rural communities that are fading from view.

This country is well represented with seven choreographers premiering new work. Emma Martin Dance will open the festival with Tundra, a bold and poetic show featuring an exciting blend of theatre, live music and dance, while Pan Pan Theatre and Arcane Collective will be exploring of the works of Beckett. The irrepressible Ponydance will present their biggest show to date, Fishamble will follow a blossoming romance in Swing, and John Scott’s IMDT will be getting Hyperactive on Dublin’s Wolfe Tone Square. You can take a first look at Liv O’Donoghue’s new work Hear me sing my song, and see four new Irish works in progress in the Re-Presenting Ireland programme.

The programme also offers plenty for younger audiences. Compagnie Non Nova will enchant with their magical dancing plastic bags in L’après-midi d’un Foehn — Version 1, presented together with The Ark. This was a huge hit at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival. In Dun Laoghaire Gandini Juggling will entertain with apples and breakable crockery at the Pavilion Theatre. Film will include Rosemary Lee and Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company’s Without, a 7-screen installation at RUA RED throughout the month of May, offering a spectacular panoramic view of Derry and its residents.

There will be masterclasses, talks, and Fast Track to Dance, an immersive weekend programme for those who would like to learn more. No doubt about it, Dublin will be dancing!

* Dublin Dance Festival May 20-31. Booking at Festival Box Office, Curved St, Temple Bar; 01-6728815; www.dublindancefestival.ie

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