This week is Dance Season 2020 at Uillinn. I had the pleasure of speaking to all of the dancers involved. I asked them a series of questions aimed at giving you a brief insight into them and their work. Our first featured interview is with Ruairí Ó'Donnabháin.
What was it that motivated you to become a dancer?
I've followed dance as a material, like a form of sculpture, I've been really lucky to be invited into dance as a process and its fed me. I think its an incredible art form in how expansive its reach is and the power it has to deconstruct some of the dominant ways of thinking about expression, art or even being human.
Sin cheist maith domsa mar níor smaoiním orm féin mar 'rinceoir' ach ar an lámh eile oibrím le ghluaiseacht, chorp, choreografaíocht srl. Cheapaim is daoine teicnicúil iad rinceoirí agus chaith siad alán am ag traeináil mar sin, is foirm é agus tá alán meas agam sa rinceoireacht agus táim teicniciúil fresin ach i dtreo difriúil; níl sé mo príomh chleachtas. Nuair atáim ag obair táim ag smaoineamh faoi choreografaíocht mar scríobhneoireacht, ach í spáis agus am, sin saghas coincheapúil ach practiciúil fresin. D'fhás mé suas i amharclannaíocht, bhí mé i grúpa dramaíocht óige 'Activate' thuas i gCorcaigh, tá staidear déanta agam i amharclannaíocht agus dramaí i Ollscoil Chorcaí ach bhí mé gafa leis an chorp sa léiriú bheo, chursaí fisiciúil.
How have recent restrictions affected your processes?
Is ea é an rince atá i gcéist an aistear - an chorp ag ghluaiseacht amuigh faoin tuatha ag bualadh leis muintir iarrthar chorcaí ar an mbealach agus an nádúr, na bóthair chiúin 's na sléibhte chos fharraige.
I suppose the main way that my practice has been affected is that I have had to change how I collaborate, to find new ways and new channels. I would say that the pandemic restrictions have also been an opportunity to refocus. Its affirmed things about the way I work that are important, like how important the live event is, how important the connection between people is. That's what choreography is doing for me when it's at its best, it's bringing people together. So, of course, I've had to change how I've done that, the live event with Aistear Riachtanach / Necessary Journey the work I am sharing was the walk itself and then there is this second layer which is like an archive or document of that live event.
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?
Tuirseach! - bhí sé chrua ar an aistear, na céimeanna - an macnamh, na laethanta amuigh i mo aonar an lá ar fad.
It opened something in me; this dance, it was a meditation. It was a gift as well to be able to move having been so still and stuck at home for so long, so it felt like a release. There isn't ever a specific feeling I want people to have, I hope it opens up something new in the familiar for people, especially those living here in West Cork who might recognise the places or the plants or roads and beaches. It helped me to see things differently, to find the medicine in our surroundings and our desire to connect with those we love and care for.
For people eager to get started in the dance world, is there any advice you could give them?
Yes - dance to follow your pleasure - move every day - even if it's just in your kitchen or garden.
If people wanted to check out more of your work, where could they go?
Táim ag obair ar mo suíomh idirlíón nua ag an am seo - tá súil agam go mbeidh sé réidh san bhlian nua.
I'm actually working on a new website as we speak, I hope it will be ready in the new year. You can find out more about my work through my residency at Uilinn in 2021 and at www.oileanair.com