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  • Chris ORourke

Dublin Dance Festival 2017

A Dublin Dance Festival For The Times

As Dublin Dance Festival Director, Benjamin Perchet, has proven on previous occasions, he’s not afraid to nail his colours firmly to the mast and make strong, programming choices. This year’s Dublin Dance Festival is no exception, with a diverse programme aimed at addressing, and challenging, these troubled times;

"We value the artists’ freedom of expression, conscience, blasphemy, criticism - all of which offers us a precious mirror in these ever more obscene contemporary times."

With a programme featuring over 40 events, with artists from 11 countries, and more than 50 dancers performing in venues across Dublin, Perchet’s celebration of dance, through a multitude of forms, is driven by a desire to acknowledge the dancer, and the political and personal importance of their art. To celebrate those who give joy, hope and resistance through choreographic expression, sometimes dancing as an act of defiance, sometimes as an act of joy, seeking to give voice to the hope-filled or the voiceless, or dancing for the desperate and the broken-hearted. In all cases it’s a communal act of joy and celebration, a gift given to remind all they’re never truly alone or without hope.

Perchet’s quite assurance is reflected in an eclectic, 10-day programme which celebrates, interrogates, and illuminates dance and the world it currently inhabits. Running from May 18th- to May 28th there’s Baroque feasts, Hip-Hop Dance Battles, world-class dances at the Abbey Theatre, a baby boogie in Merrion Square and an array of shows concerned with UFOs, Virginia Woolf, striptease, and the search for true love, to name but a few. In addition, there’s an exciting, two year Artists in Residency with the excellent Liz Roche Company, 3 DJs, an opera singer and a graffiti artist, as well as a star turn from Demi Moore, to name but a few more.

This year’s highlights include:

  • New solo show, Concert, from trailblazing, traditional Irish dance artist Colin Dunne, opening the 2017 festival. Armed with an LP, portable speakers and sheets of flooring, Dunne sets out to ‘dance’ fiddle player Tommie Potts' iconic album The Liffey Bank - widely considered unsuitable for dancing. A mutual recognition of old and new, traditional and personal, in this Dublin Dance Festival commission

  • Maguy Marin’s Singspiele, described by festival Director Perchet as the "epicentre" of his 2017 programme

  • The Top 8 Hip-Hop Dance Battle from Hip-Hop innovator Tobi Omoteso and the Top 8 Team, sees a celebration of urban culture and street dance, bringing together artists from Ireland and Europe

  • A multi-media Baroque installation - featuring wine glasses and brine shrimps - in Deep Dish from acclaimed Austrian dance company, Liquid Loft, and choreographer Chris Haring

  • "Choreographic miracle" Sunny, a joyful collision of dance and live music from choreographer Emanuel Gat and Awir Leon, a shooting star of the electronic music scene

  • Extraterrestrial Events inspired by UFO sighting reports from Company Philip Connaughton promises to be truly out of this world

  • merry.go.round from Maria Nilsson Waller & Co. looks beyond our world out into the cosmos to examine our most human of concerns: the search for true love

  • Iconic choreography from Pina Baush is brought to life in Ireland's biggest NELKEN-Line as part of a global participation project

  • For audiences 6+, a multi-media dance show from one of Europe’s most sought-after choreographers at The Ark

  • New Irish dance work from several artists, including Liz Roche Company (newly-announced as Dublin Dance Festival Company in Residence 2017-19), and Sibéal Davitt in the First Looks programme

  • A fun, free day of dance and entertainment for all ages with Moveable Feast in Merrion Square Park

  • A poetic and hypnotic meditation on Virginia Woolf's "The Waves," in Elvedon from Greece

  • A poignant exploration of the body in the context of war, revolution and migration in Displacement by Syrian choreographer and dancer, Mithkal Alzghair

  • Striptease, from Spanish choreographer, Pere Faura, featuring an on-screen appearance by Demi Moore

  • A screening of Gilles Delmas’ fascinating film The Ferryman, a cinematic and choreographic exploration of the animistic roots of rituals, dance and sculpture, and the ancestral and complex relationship between humanity and nature

  • Deep Clean, an exhibition of collages by Northern Irish choreographer, Oona Doherty, one of Ireland’s most exciting and promising dance artists

  • The festival also offers a range of initiatives for people keen to learn more about dance. The Fast Track to Dance programme is back for its fifth year, taking participants right to the heart of the festival with a weekend of performances, discussions, and direct access to artists. The Creative Audiences programme with Liz Roche Company is inviting audiences in Tallaght to engage with dance and find out how the company creates dance works with a series of events from April-September.

  • The festival will also be active throughout the year outside its festival dates in May. In September, the festival will host their Dance Days tent at the Electric Picnic for the third year running. In Cork, in partnership with Cork Opera House, they will be presenting work by Philip Connaughton and Liz Roche Company in the "Best of Irish" programme in September and October - following Liz Roche Company's Totems at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin in July.

The Dublin Dance Festival "continues to honour its fundamental mission: to make choreographic art, in all its variety, accessible to as many people as possible." So, go. Enjoy, experience, and experiment with seeing something new. Or, if you're available, volunteer to help bring what looks like a potentially amazing festival to fruition. Either way, Dublin Dance Festival 2017 is well worth checking out.

For further information on tickets and times for Dublin Dance Festival 2017, or for more information on volunteering, please contact Dublin Dance Festival 2017

Click here to go directly to the Dublin Dance Festival 2017 Programme

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