Three professional contemporary dancers will perform atop the Twelve Arch Bridge which dominates the estuary at Ballydehob in West Cork, before jumping off and performing in mid-air suspended from aerial stilts between its vast arches.
The ambitious Bridge project for the West Cork Inclusive Dance (WCID) event on May 31 will also feature up to 40 dancers — 25 of whom have physical and intellectual disabilities — performing on a slipway nearby.
The entire performance is being directed by Ballydehob native and aerial dance specialist Tara Brandel, who runs contemporary dance company, Croí Glan Integrated Dance.
Croí Glan’s dance artist, Mary Nugent, who has cerebral palsy, is making her choreographic debut on this project.
Despite strong winds, Tara was strapped in to ropes and a harnesses for rehearsals under the bridge yesterday.
“I’ve been looking at the bridge all my life and I always wanted to make a piece on it,” she said.
“I’ve been doing this kind of aerial dance work for years. I did my first aerial performance from the side of a multi-storey car park in San Francisco.
“It’s not dangerous, and we are working with a fantastic rigger on this project.
“We have created a 45-minute dance piece and the performance will include live music.
“The performers are beautiful and I think people will find the piece touching and poignant, and quite dramatic in places too.”
Croí Glan has been working with WCID on Bridge for several months.
WCID, which promotes dance for people with and without disabilities, was developed through a partnership between Cope Foundation, Co-Action, Croí Glan and the West Cork Art Centre (WCAC).
Music on the night will be provided by Fred Sherriff, with Siobhan Heapes, Marcus Magdalena, Miranda McCarthy Fisher and Lea Miklody.
Tara issued an open invitation last night for people to watch a dress rehearsal at 6pm on Friday, May 30. The full and free performance will take place at 6pm the following day.
Spectators have been asked to park in the village, bring camping chairs, and walk to the viewing area on the pier, where food and wine will be available from 4pm.
It is being staged as part of Ballydehob’s new Country Music Festival.