Postcards from Dublin Dance Festival

Rosas Danst Rosas, Abbey Theatre, Dublin Dance Festival 2019. Photo credit: Anne Van Aerschot

Rosas Danst Rosas, Abbey Theatre, Dublin Dance Festival 2019. Photo credit: Anne Van Aerschot

By Saoirse Anton

I feel that the essence of dance is the expression of man--the landscape of his soul. I hope that every dance I do reveals something of myself or some wonderful thing a human can be.”

― Martha Graham, Blood Memory

This column is written from the middle of Dublin Dance Festival. Here, at the start of the column, I am sitting at the window of the Abbey Theatre bar, looking out over Marlborough Street in a quiet moment before tonight’s performance. As I picked up my pen, there was no searching my mind for something to write about, no question at all – it had to be dance. There’s nothing else left in my head (apart from the occasional subconscious chirps of coffee? food? sleep?)!

But after weeks of being immersed in dance, in its immediacy and directness of expression, any column feels inadequate. Paragraphs feel restrictive and words are proving difficult to wrestle into place. If I were to write about just one aspect of my past few weeks of dance-watching it would feel like serving a scoop of vanilla ice-cream in place of a knickerbocker glory, nice but not as good. So instead I bring you postcards from working on the Festival - snapshots, snippets and stray thoughts.


Consumebantur In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

Lit only by a projector, and with sharp snaps to darkness in moments of transition, Roberto Castello’s stunning exploration of the inexhaustible and exhausting pull towards synchronicity and repetition, In girum imus nocte et consumimur igne, set me thinking about how much of choreography lies in transitions. By putting these movements into darknesss, Castello forced us to see new angles and depart from the comfortable linear.


Theramin Thoughts

Theramins are brilliant.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is an enchanting dancer.

Opening up space for laughter in unexpected places will always transform something for the better.


Wonder in Progress

There is a special sort of excitement in watching a work-in-progress. The sense of potential off a work that leaves you impatient to see more is effervescent.


Art and Resistance

Eric Minh Cuong Castaing and Shonen’s work Phoenix was an arresting reminder of the power of art for resistance. Linking up live with Palestinian dancers in Gaza via. Skype, while the dancers on stage explored the significance and power of drones, this piece was awash with striking reminders that art can be dangerous, impactful and a positive force for change.


Tiny and Tall Dancers

A morning spent at a toddler disco is the perfect reminder of the pure joy in dancing with other people. As the tiny-tots and their parents danced inside Project Arts Centre’s Cube, the staff, volunteers and many passers-by had a little bop in the foyer. Some paused and decided to join in, others just did an almost-subconscious shimmy as they walked, but everyone was caught up in the easy joy of it. Have a dance with someone today – it’s good for the soul.


Ending on a High

As Dublin Dance Festival 2019 winds down, I can’t help but think about how much I’m going to miss working on it. But last night at Rosas Danst Rosas I had the most incredible, intense experience I have had in a theatre, and for that, every other moment I mentioned, and more that I didn’t have space for, I’m very grateful.


Now, back into the present moment. Give your shoulders a little shake. Give your hips a little wiggle. Now get your knees moving, your feet tapping, click play on this link, let your arms fly free, and dance.







Saoirse Anton

Saoirse Anton is a writer, critic, theatre-maker, feminist, enthusiast, optimist, opinionated scamp & human being.