The Ramblings of a Contemporary Dance Virgin

By emma
Wednesday, 21st March 2018
Filed under: ArtsDevelopment

Local woman Victoria Ni Bhroain is one of 15 women currently working with axis' Dance Artist in Residence, Philippa Donnellan. Philippa's residency is supported by axis, Dance Ireland and has been made possible by the Arts Council Dance Artist in Residence Award 2017 - 2018

Over the next few weeks Victoria will share her thoughts on what its been like to step into the world of contemporary dance and what she's learning being part of Philippa's work/project entitled - BODY OF WORK: What's the Story

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My knowledge of contemporary dance is minute. I’m more a ballet slippers and pretty feet kind of girl. I love the elegance of ballroom and the passion of Paso Doblé. I’m scared of modern; it seems staccato to me, stop and start without the fluidity or sensuality of a tango for example. I have learned that you can’t pigeon hole contemporary in this way. It is more about the dancer than the choreography. There is a rigid framework that evolves based on the story the chorographer wants to tell. It is more inclusive than traditional dancing as no formal training is needed. In fact you are encouraged to forget all the normal rules because it is more about the feeling than the steps. The dancers influence the choreography rather than just being told what to do. You cannot be afraid to look ugly or clumsy. You are encouraged to release your inhibitions but still be controlled enough that the movements make sense as a piece. It is a very different way of working. The dance starts with images that lead to conversations that lead to movements. There are lots of pauses and a sense of stillness and then suddenly an explosion of steps. You learn to trust the other dancers and feel a sense of responsibility to them.

The first workshop I attended was as much about self examination as dance theory. During the time, we did several exercises that did not feel dance related to me. I was wrong. Everything we did led us to the core of an idea that I hope we will refine into a finished piece by May 2018. I am looking forward to working with Philippa, guest dancers and the rest of the group over the next few months