Choreographic Workshop Backstage Theatre, Longford
By CAROLYN SWIFT
THE performance developed during a five day Arts Council sponsored work shop at the Shawbrook Summer School, seen at the Backstage Theatre in Longford last Saturday night, proved Ireland could have a creditable permanent dance company if someone of the calibre of Shawbrook director Anica Louw assembled it with Arts Council funding.
Supported by one boy from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, 10 girls who trained in Ireland, but are mostly completing dance training in England, Germany or Russia (helped by Arts Council bursaries), achieved in five days a higher standard than several dance companies currently receiving Arts Council funding. And only the splendid Orla McFeeley, the White Cat in last year's UK tour of Cats, is as yet professional.
The introductory class included ballet and contemporary dance for, though the dancers had specialised in one or other dance style, all had trained in both, essential for a company in a small country. Next came a light hearted pas de deu, An Excerpt from Paul Nyman's film score for The Piano, choreographed and danced by contemporary dance teacher Clare Belgion. She was more than adequately partnered by Jonathan Poole, who also showed choreographic talent in his well danced solo to Sheryl Crow's Strong Enough. This was followed by Swan Connection, a delightful satire for full cast of Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Little Swans by ballet mistress Gina Long.
The excellent workshop piece itself, The Prophecy, by choreographer Sonia Rafferty, to exciting music by her husband, Philip Chambon, was led by the Pina Bausch trained student, Olwen Grindley, and clearly showed the strength of the company. The fine accompanist for class and performance was Shaun Holmes.
© The Irish Times