Jess Rowell - Dance Artist in Residence 2021

March 29, 2021

Jess Rowell - Making Waves
March - October 2021




We are delighted to announce the return of Jess Rowell as Draíocht's Dance Artist in Residence 2021

This dance residency responds to our 2018-2022 Strategy ‘Space for the Arts’, in particular our commitment to expand equality of access to more children.

"Last year shone a light on the resilience, ingenuity and versatility of dancers and dance as an art form. It is a universal language that connects us in many beautiful ways. I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Draíocht again this year. I look forward to building on the rich relationships created during 2020 and forming new ones." Jess Rowell

Throughout 2021 Jess will continue to develop her own professional practice and build on the creative relationships formed throughout her 2020 Residency. She will engage with school children, young people and artists with intellectual disabilities and form new relationships with other professionals working in the same field.

Some of the over arching aims of Jess’ residency are:

- To continue to build on relationships, movement and performance skills with members of Create Dance - Draíocht’s special needs dance programme. Jess will expand on the rich virtual repertoire created in 2020, whilst continuing to create new work in a supportive, appropriate and dynamic context for this group of young people.
- Make a new dance film ‘Ripples’ with the technical support structure developed in Draíocht during 2020. This film will feature members of Create Dance and guest dance artist Brian McSweeney. ‘Ripples’ will feature an original sound score written by film score composer Stefan French.
- Continue to support Brian McSweeney’s professional development and his relationship with Create Dance members by offering him a co facilitation role in the development phase of ‘Ripples’.
- Enrich Draíocht’s exisiting educational outreach programme; by developing a new ‘sensory friendly’ dance theatre performance ‘Making Waves’ for children with additional needs in ASD units within mainstream national schools and special needs national schools in Dublin 15. ‘Making Waves’ will feature three Irish based movement artists a composer and a set designer.
- Expand on Draíocht’s relationship with artists of all disciplines, nurturing collaborative exchanges between artists, young people and the community.

Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency in Draíocht is supported by The Arts Council, with additional funding provided by Fingal County Council and Draíocht.

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Between Us There Is… FILM - Jess Rowell & Draíocht Blanchardstown

January 29, 2021


For the second part of Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency in Draíocht, we share with you the much anticipated release of ‘Between Us There Is…’, a film featuring dance artist and project director Jess Rowell and Brian McSweeney, a dancer with Down syndrome and an original member of Traces Dance Ensemble (estb 2009). His journey into dance began 19 years ago and he continues to move audiences all over Ireland and beyond with his breathtaking presence and passion for movement.

With an original sound score written by Dublin based composer Stefan French, filmed by film artist Conor Donelan and lighting design by Eamon Fox, the work explores and celebrates the unique 13 year movement relationship between Jess and Brian and their shared passion for dance …

"This was a creative journey like no other. A collaboration made possible through generosity, ingenuity and the ability to adapt whilst staying true to the artistic vision. Growing and creating with Brian over the years has been an incredible experience and having the unique opportunity to acknowledge our relationship within this work is a real honour. 'Between Us There Is...' showcases the power of artistic collaboration and the beauty of long-standing connection."
Jess Rowell, Dance Artist in Residence 2020

“Electricity” ... “Let it go - like the rain falling down from the sky” ... “Back to being ourselves again”
Brian McSweeney, Dancer, on how it felt to dance this year with Jess

"Coming from a background in music for film, this was my first time working specifically with dancers. Instead of responding to what I see on a screen in front of me, in 'Between Us There Is...' I drew my inspiration from Brian and Jess' movements. The resulting music is very much influenced by their energy and connection when they perform together. It has been a pleasure working with Jess over the past number of months, and it was a wholly collaborative experience from start to finish."
Stefan French, Composer

"It was a privilege to bear witness to this beautiful process."
Conor Donelan, Film Artist

“The impulse to create and communicate with others is universally human. Covid-19 has highlighted that in a way that we could never have imagined. And this impulse, this need is embodied in our artists. Adapting to rolling restrictions in 2020, Draíocht’s Dance Artist in Residence Jess Rowell, dancer Brian McSweeney, supported by their creative team and Draíocht’s dedicated Staff, created a duet called ‘Between Us There Is…’. This film of the process and end piece, captures a shared language, an unspoken connection, a quiet and beautiful reflection of a time, a shining example of our need to create and communicate. It is the best of us.”
Emer McGowan, Director Draíocht

Jess Rowell began her Dance Residency at Draíocht in March 2020, just as Covid-19 entered our lives. This project was made possible through sheer determination, adaptability, team work, online rehearsals, live streaming sessions and the dedicated support from Draíocht's technical team.

With special thanks to Theatre Royal Waterford, Anne & Tony McSweeney, Libby Seward, Dermot Quinn, Trish Roche & Trinity Studios Waterford, Noel McAoidh and all the staff at Draíocht.

Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency in Draíocht was supported by The Arts Council, with additional funding provided by Fingal County Council.
 

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Chance to Dance Film - Jess Rowell and Draíocht Blanchardstown

January 22, 2021

 

We are so delighted to share with you our latest film, ‘Chance To Dance’, made during 2020 with Draíocht’s Dance Artist in Residence Jess Rowell (March to November 2020), members of Draíocht’s Create Dance Project (estb. 2013) and guest dancers from Traces Dance Ensemble.

‘Chance To Dance’ explores and captures the power of communication through movement and the exchange of gestures between dancers in space and on camera.

"It brought me so much joy to connect with these wonderful dancers throughout 2020, a bright light during dark times. Witnessing the dancer's creativity and progression week to week was so inspiring. One of the overarching aims of my residency in Draíocht last year was to build a relationship with Create Dance members. 2020 brought many challenges but we certainly made it happen."
Jess Rowell, Dance Artist in Residence 2020

“Thank you so much guys, this project brought genuine joy to Helena this past year. Anything that brings her a bit of joy, brings us a bit of joy, and that’s the truth of it. This has been a really really hard year and that was her only connection. It was just something very special. Since she has started doing this, her confidence has just skyrocketed!”
Jenny, Create Dance Parent

"Chance to Dance takes us into the creative process of Draíocht’s Dance Artist in Residence, Jess Rowell and our Create Dance participants as they develop a piece together while having to work apart. The engagement, the fun, the importance of connection, the importance of access for everyone to be our creative selves is captured in this film. It demonstrates the commitment from all involved to make this project happen against a backdrop of ever-changing circumstances. It is a beautiful thing and a joy to watch."
Emer McGowan, Director Draíocht

Create Dance is a core part of Draíocht’s programming which began in early December 2013 and has since become a much beloved part of our access programme. Create Dance welcomes children aged 6–18 years old, with a love of dance, to meet for weekly workshops in Draíocht with their dance facilitators, parents and siblings. Jess Rowell began her Dance Residency with Create Dance at the beginning of March 2020, just as Covid-19 entered our lives and adapted the project accordingly, working online weekly, using a mixture of pre-recorded classes, video messaging, emails and live workshops.

Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency in Draíocht was supported by The Arts Council, with additional funding provided by Fingal County Council.

Directed by Jess Rowell and captured by film artist Conor Donelan.
 

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Create Dance - Live Christmas Zoom Class with Mark Rogers

December 16, 2020

'CREATE DANCE' LIVE CHRISTMAS ZOOM CLASS ... We finished off our dance year with a very special Create Dance Zoom Class last Saturday, with one of our facilitators Mark Rogers giving a LIVE class from Draíocht's Studio - And what a Christmas joy it was.
 

We had 11 of our participants join us live over two classes and we all danced our little Santa socks off! Mams, Dads and siblings were dragged up to dance too - there was no escape for anyone, as Mark put us all through our paces.

We can't wait to see you all again in the New Year, hopefully back in Draíocht with real live classes. But if we have to wait a little longer to be dancing in a room together, we will continue to support you all with pre-recorded video & zoom classes, as we have been doing all year. Happy Christmas Everyone! We miss you all!

 

Create Dance is a core part of Draíocht’s programming. Now in its 8th year, it's a fun, innovative dance project, where our young dancers, with a variety of intellectual disabilities and abilities, love to dance and move. Two groups of children with intellectual disabilities from the downs syndrome and autism spectrum, their parents and siblings have taken part in this innovative dance project through a series of weekly workshops since 2013, with an overwhelmingly positive response.


Coming on 15 January 2021 ... Chance to Dance, a film project with our Dance Artist in Residence 2020 Jess Rowell, having worked all year with our Create Dance members and members from Traces Dance Ensemble. A film that explores and captures the power of communication through movement and the exchange of gestures between dancers in space and on camera. Directed by Jess Rowell and captured by film artist Conor Donelan. 
 

GET A REMINDER

 

Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency in Draíocht was supported by The Arts Council, with additional funding provided by Fingal County Council.

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‘Between Us There Is…’ - that’s a wrap!

November 23, 2020



‘Between Us There Is…’ - that’s a wrap!!

The final stage of filming took place last week on our main stage with Draíocht’s Dance Artist in Residence Jess Rowell and dancer Brian McSweeney via zoom, from Theatre Royal in Waterford.

 

The work…

A new collaborative dance work, originally created for stage recently adapted for film, as part of Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency at Draíocht 2020. A short film featuring dance artist and project director Jess Rowell and Brian McSweeney a dancer with Down syndrome, from Traces Dance Ensemble Co. Waterford, with an original sound score written by Dublin based composer Stefan French, filmed by film artist Conor Donelan, with lighting design by Eamon Fox. The work explores and celebrates the unique 13 year movement relationship between Jess and Brian and their shared passion for dance. 

 



The making…

This collaboration between Jess, Brian and composer Stefan began earlier this year and was due to be performed live as part of ‘Threads’, an evening of live dance performance and film, focusing on disability and inclusiveness in arts practice. ‘Threads’ would have included the premiere of ‘Chance to Dance’, a film featuring members of ‘Create Dance’ Draíocht’s special needs dance programme, and marked the completion of Jess Rowell’s dance residency at Draíocht in late November.

During the initial stages of rehearsal for ‘Between Us There Is…’ new government restrictions were announced which meant that rehearsals could not go ahead in person. Despite these roadblocks, rehearsals were moved online with the support of the technical team at Draíocht. Jess, composer Stefan and project mentor Libby Seward worked from Draíocht and Brian attended the devising sessions via Zoom from a dance studio in Waterford. This enforced distance between the dancers began to inspire the theme of the work in very interesting ways. After further restrictions were announced in October Jess made the decision to continue the project virtually and adapt the existing work, making ‘Between Us There Is…’ into a dance film. The film captures the beauty of distance, connectivity and the unique movement relationship between two dancers.
 

We are very grateful to Theatre Royal in Waterford for hosting Brian during the project's final days of filming.

 



‘Between Us There Is…’ and ‘Chance to Dance’ will premiere online for public viewing in January 2021.


Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency was supported by The Arts Council, with additional funding provided by Fingal County Council.





Further info: marketing@draiocht.ie



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