NI dance company launches Open Space project

Published: 25 February 2021
Reporter: Vera Liber

Open Space Project

Performing and creative arts centre Dance Associate in Newry, Northern Ireland has secured funding to launch a new project for young people.

Designed for 11- to 25-year-olds, Open Space will invite participants to take part in regular Zoom sessions with choreographers. Funding has been secured through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Social Enterprise NI.

“We created the Open Space project in response to the urgent needs of young people across Northern Ireland who are struggling to express how they’re feeling," said Nina Dibb, Dance Associate Artistic Director. "It will take place annually, having been adapted to take place over Zoom due to current restrictions.

"Our aim is to help participants not only fall in love with the art of dance, but to better see how the performing arts can be a hugely valuable outlet for understanding ourselves, managing our feelings and navigating the challenges of growing up in isolation.”

Supporting the Open Space project are Belfast-based freelance choreographer and tutor Suzannah McCreight, L/Derry-based artistic director and choreographer of the Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company Steve Batts and Newry artist and choreographer Cliodhna Doherty.

Batts will lead Homeplaces Solos in which nine young dancers tell their personal stories of adapting through change in a series of solo pieces. McCreight will explore the ideas of waiting at home and hoping for something more. Doherty will be working with 10 dancers with interest in fine art, leading them through the process of creating dance diaries and preparing for their final solos and duets.

Joining them are musicians James Anderson, Neil Burns and Rohan Armstrong and composer Anselm McDonnell who are creating pieces of music using improvisation and recording them for the project.