Feet first: young dancers honing craft at Irish World Academy in UL

For the second year running the ‘Step Up: Dance Project’ is under way at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick and will culminate in a series of performances in Limerick, Cork and Dublin.

For the second year running the ‘Step Up: Dance Project’ is under way at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick and will culminate in a series of performances in Limerick, Cork and Dublin.

The aim of the project is to give dance graduates an opportunity to work under the direction of internationally renowned guest choreographers Liz Roche and John Jasperse to create a programme of short original works.

These will be performed at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, DanceHouse in Dublin and at the Firkin Crane in Cork this month.

This year’s six selected dancers are Jennifer Brown from Limerick, Lisa Tighe from Dublin, Lucia Kickham from Enniscorthy, Orla Shine from Roscommon, Siobhan Ni Dhuinnin from Cork and Brona Jackson from Derry.

The project, a partnership between the Arts Council, Dance Ireland and the University of Limerick, bridges the gap between dance education and professional contemporary dance practice in Ireland.

It is hoped the project will enhance the dancers’ professional networks, connecting them to the Irish professional contemporary dance community and improve their opportunities here in Ireland.

The dancers reside at UL, utilising the state of the art studios and facilities at the Irish World Academy and stay on campus. The programme incorporates daily class, training and rehearsals and guest teachers for 2012 are Elena Giannotti and Lindsay Clarke.

Speaking about the launch of the programme, Step Up Project Director, Victoria O’Brien said: “This project is proving to be hugely successful, so much so that we have expanded the programme from six to eight weeks and have extended the tour to include a performance at the Firkin Crane in Cork. We are delighted with the calibre of the dancers, choreographers and teachers”.

The project will culminate in the performance of two original choreographic works, to be premiered at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in UL on August 23, in DanceHouse Dublin on August 24 and 25 and the Firkin Crane in Cork on August 26.