DDF News — 10 Mar 2020
Programme announcement for Dublin Dance Festival 2020 Edition
Challenging our myths and exploring our traditions, taking over our stages and taking to the streets, the 2020 Dublin Dance Festival will present work that is vital and visceral, thoughtful and thought-provoking with performances across the city 19th-31st May.
A wealth of extraordinary talent from home and abroad will reflect on topics from Greek mythology to modern feminism to reimagined traditions; from Artificial Intelligence to what it means to be truly YOU, in a programme that celebrates community and individuality, the past and the future.
The Festival begins by looking backwards to a time when dances did not belong to anybody; they belonged to everybody, with Greek ANΩNYMO by Tzeni Argyriou taking to the stage of the Abbey Theatre. Since the earliest rituals of initiation and participation, dance has brought people together, accompanying every human ceremony. Seven dancers invite us on a journey that takes traditional dance forms as a source of inspiration, to rediscover human connection, shared experience and the collective power of dance.
Also on the Abbey Stage, charismatic Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa embodies Shiva, the god of creation and destruction, in aSH, the final opus in a trilogy of portraits of women by visionary French director Aurélien Bory. With pure and sensual movements, Shivalingappa forms symbolic patterns of mandalas in the ash beneath her feet as the percussive soundscape by Loïc Schild reverberates against an ocean of paper. aSH traces the dancer’s journey from her ancestral Indian dance to the contemporary dance of Pina Bausch, Peter Brook and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui that has earned her international acclaim.
The 2020 Festival’s third and final act on the Abbey Stage follows the sold-out performances of Rosas danst Rosas at DDF2019, as iconic Belgian artist Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker returns with A Love Supreme, an invigorating collaboration with fellow choreographer Salva Sanchis based on the revered album by John Coltrane. In A Love Supreme, which marked Coltrane’s renaissance after overcoming his addictions, the saxophonist pushes the boundaries of every musical register. This version translates his music into dance, with a quartet for young male dancers where each embodies one of the four instruments – the saxophone, the piano, the double bass, the drums.
In 2020, the Festival foregrounds Irish work with six stunning and eclectic pieces from Irish choreographers:
After rave reviews at DDF2018 with Hard To Be Soft – A Belfast Prayer, a work that went on to receive top position in The Guardian’s Top 10 dance shows of 2019, Oona Doherty’s new work Lady Magma, a raw and sensual celebration of womanhood and female sexuality, will take to the stage at Project Arts Centre. In this jubilant, shocking and liberating work, an ensemble of female dancers invites us to explore female power, pleasure and representation, as swirling bodies gain momentum against funk music by DJ and composer David Holmes.
The Festival is also delighted to announce that Doherty, one of Europe’s most thrilling dance talents, will be DDF Artist in Residence in 2020, 2021 and 2022 (following on from Liz Roche Company’s residency 2017-2019). Her distinctive and visceral choreography has sparked international attention and earned her multiple awards. The Festival looks forward to supporting Doherty to develop her choreographic practice over a 3-year period. The DDF Artist in Residence Programme is kindly supported by Dunne & Crescenzi.
Commissioned by DDF, dance innovators Junk Ensemble collaborate with acclaimed visual artist Alice Maher to awaken the tale of the cursed Myrrha from Greek mythology and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The Misunderstanding of Myrrha reimagines her plight, telling the ancient story through her once-muted voice. This stunning solo dance work cycles through the trauma of Myrrha’s curse, the acceptance of her fate, and the rebirth of hope as her existence becomes a thing of beauty.
Floating on a Dead Sea by Catherine Young Dance reflects on one of the most complex and unresolved conflicts in the world. With a cast of international dancers and stunning visuals by collaborator Luca Truffarelli, the work is a reflection of Young’s encounters with the people of Palestine – an overwhelming experience of being held by the warmth, generosity and kindness of a people, in a place where everyday life, dreams and aspirations are stifled, basic rights denied, and lives are lived unfulfilled.
The unapologetically vulnerable, unexpectedly funny Assisted Solo by Company Philip Connaughton explores the relationship between Philip and his mother, Madeleine, who is living with advanced dementia. This brave and intelligent work for three performers combines exacting choreography with disarming storytelling and video footage. Madeleine’s loving presence within the dance piece challenges how we deal with the ageing body, while also celebrating the roles we play in assisting each other through life.
From the multi-award-winning CoisCéim Dance Theatre and David Bolger, creators of The Wolf and Peter, Francis Footwork for audiences 6+ tells the story of Francis, an extraordinary dancer who dances her way through life. But the wicked Colonel Headbanger HATES dancing and makes it his mission to put a stop to it. This is a magical and empowering fable about doing what you love and staying true to who you are – dished up in a delightful kaleidoscope of energetic music and exceptional dance.
Last but far from least in this treasure trove of Irish talent, Dublin Fringe Festival award winners Ronan Brady & Aisling Ní Cheallaigh bring a giant dose of fun, endless energy and jaw-dropping acrobatic talent with Sub Rosa. Combining head-spinning cyr wheel tricks with gravity-defying dance and acrobatics, this outdoor show has an important message of cherishing your individuality, told through a whirlwind of playful physicality and lively theatre that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
As well as presenting artists from India, Greece, Belgium and France on the Abbey stage, DDF2020 is delighted to welcome exciting works from Portugal and Guadeloupe:
Pioneering Madeiran company Dançando com a Diferença (Dancing with a Difference), is internationally recognised for advancing the integration of people with disabilities in the arts and for presenting creative and ambitious productions. In Doesdicon they collaborate with one of Portugal’s leading choreographers Tânia Carvalho to create an intriguing and atmospheric piece for 8 performers of mixed abilities. Staying true to Carvalho’s multidisciplinary style, Doesdicon conjures references to dark fairytales and gothic painting.
Entropie from Léo Lérus / Compagnie Zimarel bursts with the vibrant energy of traditional Léwòz gatherings on the islands of Guadeloupe, beating to the percussive rhythm of gwoka, a creole music born from a time of slavery. Having worked with some of the most prestigious international dance companies, Lérus returns to his roots with a sensitive piece that bridges the divide between tradition and technology. Performing with sensors that control light and sound, four remarkable dancers take inspiration from the Léwòz tradition to create a performance deeply rooted in tradition and spliced with modernity.
Alongside outstanding shows, there is a lot more to experience as part of DDF2020, both on and off the stage:
Following a brilliantly successful and inspiring week-long bootcamp in Dublin in 2019, Dublin Dance Festival is delighted to partner with Dance Limerick to bring The Missy Elliott Project by Selina Thompson to Limerick this April, inviting young women of colour aged 14-18 to participate in an innovative programme of dance, music, spoken word and digital workshops, and become part of a global conversation imagining a radical new future. The Missy Elliott project in Limerick is kindly supported by the ESB Energy for Generations Fund and Northern Trust.
Also returning by popular demand following its hugely successful Dublin debut in 2019 is That’s Life’s Bounce, a fun, accessible and inclusive club night experience for adults with intellectual disabilities The Festival is delighted to partner with Arts & Disability Ireland to bring this event back, complete with great tunes by Bounce DJs, VJs and the diverse band, Electric Dreams, as part of DDF2020 and the international summit From Access to Inclusion 2020.
Having represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale 2019, Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca bring their film Swinguerra to Dublin’s Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, its title a fusion of a dance-style and the word guerra (war). Taking inspiration from the Brazilian dance movement (swingueira) that calls for liberation and participation, Swinguerra documents an expressive contemporary dance phenomenon performed mainly by transgender and non-binary dancers.
The free City Walks programme will be a thought-provoking series of walks through Dublin city. Dancers, choreographers, performance artists and activists are using urban walking as a medium for moving, talking, listening, exchange and community building, an opportunity to slow down, connect, reflect and take stock of yourself, the city and the world we live in.
The Festival’s First Looks programme presents a mixed bill of new works-in-development by dance artists in Ireland each year in partnership with Culture Ireland, and this year will feature Iseli-Chiodi Dance Company, Siobhán Ní Dhuinnín and Isabella Oberländer. In addition, Luke Murphy will present a new work in development, exploring our connection to our land and to the neighbours we tread it with.
At the Irish Film Institute, choreographer and DDF Artist in Residence Oona Doherty curates a series of short films, presenting her own work alongside films by long-time collaborator and director Luca Truffarelli.
For those looking to move, there will be workshops for all ages and levels – one inspired by Francis Footwork for ages 7-10, and one with Monica Muñoz where ages 2-4 (and their grown-ups) will discover moves and grooves inspired by the rainbow. Oona Doherty will be leading a Lady Magma workshop for women encouraging participants to be brave and be vulnerable, and Léo Lérus will lead a workshop for professional dancers.
At Science Gallery Dublin, WiseMotion by Finnish neuroscientist, dancer and movement specialist Dr Hanna Poikonen, is an exciting talk and workshop series that will inquire into Artificial Intelligence, movement, creativity, social interaction and the brain, and is designed for all curious movers.
The Live Collision team is back with the popular Fast Track programme, immersing participants in a weekend of world-class performances, film screenings, meet-the-maker sessions and group discussions. For those wishing to engage with dance over a longer timeframe, Creative Audiences is a new 3-month programme from Liz Roche Company and DDF running March-May, designed to give a deeper insight into the artform of dance, with opportunities to discuss and to respond creatively to dance works. This year’s Modes of Capture Symposium from University of Limerick, Liz Roche Company and DDF will explore how dance artists might exchange knowledge, both now and in an uncertain future.
Looking to the future, Dublin Dance Festival in partnership with The Ark and Dance Ireland will be presenting a programme of artist workshops, talks and discussions aimed at raising the profile of dance work for young audiences, alongside the Festival’s performances and workshops for children.