Our featured Dance Season interview for Friday is with Mairéad Vaughan.
What was it that motivated you to become a dancer?
Sitting in school every day from 9 - 3pm, motivated my longing to move and for creative expression. I started to create choreography from a young age. The felt sense of the expression of the movements I created, supported an expression that I'm sure now looking back vented my utter frustration with the sedentary, one dimensional, academically oriented education model that sadly still exists today.
Dance and choreography offered a form of embodied intelligence that supported me on many levels - creatively, somatically, emotionally and energetically. When I arrived home from school each day, I would turn on loud music and dance. I would feel a total kind of embodied connection with myself, that no other medium ever fulfilled. I am really interested in facilitating a creative dance practice I created called ‘Attuning' within multiple educational, health care and arts environments.
How have recent restrictions affected your processes?
Restrictions have given me lots of space and time to reflect, examine, write and create in new ways. My environmental dance practice supported me to move my work from an indoor (Uillinn studio space) to outdoor spaces which resulted in a short experimental video I created, performed and edited, called 'Attuning: Immersion’. This reflects my practice and directly felt sensation of body-mind-environment as one organising intelligence. I also went online to teach my Attuning classes I call which was very much an experiment with the Zoom platform of facilitation. I collaborated with other artists during this period both directly and indirectly in a variety of ways which I could not have pre-empted. Being an artist really makes you adaptive and responsive which helps during times of crises.
In a few words, describe how this latest performance makes you feel when you are performing it? Also, is there some feeling you hope to evoke in the people watching it?
Present, Timeless, Open, Responsive, Porous, Effemoral, Immersed, Alive, Vibrant and most importantly... fully embodied in (my own) Skin.
I am interested in creating immersive performance environments so that audiences become part of the work rather than stay outside and ‘watch’. The act of ‘watching' is primarily ‘eye orientated and tends to objectify that which is being ’seen'. I invite audiences to use all of their sensory capacity - their ears, smell, touch, taste so that there whole body-mind system is activated. I also invite audiences to walk through the performance space, to sit and experience the work from different areas in space and witness what arises in their own bodies - what is their embodied response beyond primarily ‘seeing’. What sensations, feelings, emotions, energetic expressions arise for them - this to me is being present in ones body fully and staying with one's self, rather than having too many expectations of the other - the performer. The eyes seem to separate but the whole body or embodiment can re-unite and re-connect.
For people eager to get started in the dance world, is there any advice you could give them?
Treat your body-mind with the utmost respect it deserves. Learn somatically ie through your own direct felt sense of something, rather than merely coping, mimicking or mirroring others. In my direct experience, this is where authenticity, creativity and true expression lie. This is where you find your own place within the sometimes very harsh world of dance. This is where you discover, explore, play to find your own unique individual and idiosyncratic flavour or way of expression.
If people wanted to check out more of your work, where could they go?
To my website: