Jess Rowell - Dance Artist in Residence

September 11, 2020

Jess Rowell – Sharing the Journey

Brian McSweeney & Jess Rowell - Traces (Garter Lane Theatre 2016)

Jess Rowell, Draíocht’s Dance Artist in Residence 2020, has found innovative and exciting ways of moving forward with her residency this year. 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.

Jess has a specialism in working with children, young people and artists with an intellectual disability. So far this year she has been facilitating and supporting members of Draíocht's 'Create Dance' project, our special needs dance programme, in a new film project ‘Chance to Dance’. The film explores and captures the power of communication through movement and the exchange of gestures between dancers in space and on camera.

Jess and film artist Conor Donelan have been running this project online to date and are due to move into the final phase of filming live in Draíocht during October.


Throughout the coming months Jess will continue to develop her own professional practice, work with other professionals in the same field, and build on a magical partnership with dancer Brian McSweeney, a dance artsit with Down syndrome of Traces Dance Ensemble. She is currently devising a new collaborative work with Brian and Dublin based composer Stefan French with mentorship from Libby Seward. This collaboration will premier live at ‘Threads’ an evening of dance, music and film focusing on disability and inclusiveness in arts practice on November 20th & 21st 2020 at Draíocht. ‘Threads’ will mark the completion of Jess’ residency and will also feature the premier of Create Dance’s film ‘Chance to Dance’ and a live performance by quest dance artist and Artistic Director of Croí Glan, Tara Brandel. More info on this to come.

Some of the overarching aims of Jess’ residency are to:
- Expand on Draíocht’s relationship with artists of all disciplines, nurturing collaborative exchanges between artists, young people and the community.
- Be at the forefront of the dialogue around dance and disability in Ireland.
- Create ‘Chance to Dance’ a short film capturing the power of communication through movement. Engaging and communicating with young dancers online and in Draíocht throughout the year.
- Offer principal dancer Brian McSweeney, a creative role in the research and development phase of a new collaborative work, thereby supporting his professional development.

Jess Rowell’s Residency is supported by Fingal County Council and The Arts Council.


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