Dublin Dance Festival Preview – by Stephen McDermott
The programme for the 2016 Dublin Dance Festival was launched last night in Drury Buildings, with works responding to 1916, exile, and identity among the festival’s highlights.
Launching the programme, UCD’s Dr. Emily Mark-Fitzgerald paid tribute to victims of the recent Brussels and Paris attacks, while also taking aim at the government for its perceived lack of funding of the arts.
“Art is a necessary medium through which we navigate the world”, she said, before asking whether the government’s €50 million allocation for the 1916 centenary would have been better spent on long-term projects.
Over the course of 11 days, the festival will see 15 companies at 13 venues with 3 world premieres, 8 Irish premieres and a European premiere.
Among the highlights are: two new works by acclaimed ballet master Alonzo King; the Irish premiere of Planites by choreographer Patricia Apergi; the European premiere of Betroffenheit by Olivier Award-winning choreographer Crystal Pite and playwright Jonathon Young; and Anam, a collaboration and fusion of styles between world-class step dancers from the US, Canada and Ireland.
A pre-festival event, Embodied, will also see six Irish female choreographers present their response to the 1916 Proclamation from April 20-22, to mark the opening of the new GPO: Witness History Centre.
Speaking on the night, festival chairperson Helen Meany announced that the festival is “thinking big” in its latest incarnation, both in the scale of its themes and the venues in which some performances will take place.
“We’re both delighted and nervous to be back in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre”, Meany said, a reference to the production being staged by San Francisco ballet master Alonzo King on May 22nd.
Meany also paid tribute to the “incredible level of knowledge” brought to the festival by new director Benjamin Perchet, whose programme examines both Irishness and international identity.
Perchet, who was previously Deputy Programme Manager and Artistic Advisor for the Lyon-based Maison de la Danse and Biennale de la Danse, offered his own condolences to victims of the recent terrorist attacks.
Believing the festival would offer a good response to the atrocities, he added: “It’s time to think about freedom of expression, it’s time to think about those who are absent, and it’s time to think about democracy.”
The festival, which runs from 17 – 28 May, with tickets available now from the Dublin Dance Festival website.
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