Dance Artist in Residence Jess Rowell continue's her Blog for Draíocht ... Check out what she's been up to from June - September 2021 ...
First up is ‘Ripples’ a new dance project and film released in July featuring members of Create Dance, Brian McSweeney and myself (Jess Rowell). A film which shines a light on the individuality, breathtaking presence and energetic exchange between these unique dancers.
This collaborative adventure began back in April this year with online creative engagement, devising sessions and workshops, before culminating in a week-long 'film lab' in Draíocht.
The Film Lab
Finally connecting with the Create Dance members in person and witnessing their individuality and creativity emerge after a year of working online was a truly beautiful thing to see. Brian Mc Sweeney stepped into his co facilitation role, leading the young dancers through sections of the choreography and improvisational tasks on the main stage. The shared joy and energy felt in the Draíocht throughout the week with film maker Kristian Mantalvanos was electric!
Enjoy the films here:
In mid June my focus shifted to Making Waves, my second residency project. A new immersive dance theatre experience designed specifically for children aged 8-12 with additional needs.
I began a mentorship program with Anna Newell, well renowned children’s theatre director and creator of The Network for Extraordinary Audiences. We quickly developed an open and easy dialogue and our sessions acted as a great anchor during the early stages of my research. Having the time and space to talk through ideas, unpack research and discuss processes has been a very valued part of my process to date. Alongside these sessions I had a series of conversations with other established practitioners working in the field of inclusive theatre (suggested by Anna) such as Ellie Griffiths, Artistic Director of Oily Cart, UK and Hayley Earlam an independent dance artist and facilitator working in Scotland.
Following these conversations I was eager to engage with my target audience for Making Waves during the early stages of research. So in mid June I headed into St Vincent's Special School in North Dublin for a 3 day residency.
I had questions around age, content and the overall concept for the show. Over the 3days I facilitated a series of movement and music sessions with children aged between 7-12yrs. These sessions became a key part of the development of the work.
Research & Development in Draíocht
A week of discovery, connection, creation and play with dance artists Sarah Ryan and Sophie Hutchinson.
Nestled into Draíocht’s studio theatre surrounded by Orla Kelly’s magical ‘sea voyage’ inspired set we quickly settled in. Having the freedom to explore and experiment with the set and props at this early stage of development was a rare treat!
We soared and swooped with birds, dipped and dived with fish and created rhythmic movement patterns inspired by sea shanties. We created material inspired by fields of perception, anticipation, connection, touch and repetition. Discussions and questions arose around making connections with audience members, breaking down the ‘us and them’ barrier and what it looks and feels like to create an immersive experience for all.
We’re looking forward to getting back into the studio for rehearsals next week and sharing the magic with our creative consultants (invited guests), before the show opens to public at the end of September.
For more info and to book click here
Jess Rowell’s Dance Residency 2020 and 2021 in Draíocht is supported by The Arts Council, with additional funding provided by Fingal County Council & Draíocht.