Léim Live

Eleanor Creighton: Module B placement with Dance Ireland

I have been a regular visitor to DanceHouse, where Dance Ireland (DI) is based, since I moved back to Dublin in 2007. That’s nearly 7 years of regular dance class attendance, seeing performances and working with the team on events when I was part of Dublin Dance Festival. It’s funny how you can be so familiar with a building and its people and still not really know exactly how it all works…

During my placement I had the opportunity to get to know the inner workings of a place I already feel very at home in. By coming in to the Dance Ireland office for a few days at a time, I got to experience the organisation in different working modes, and was able to overlap with Valentina Niccoli in early July. I had the chance to talk in detail with members of staff about their roles, how they’ve changed in the years since Dance Ireland moved into DanceHouse, how they work with the dance sector and the DI membership and the challenges of providing a nationally reaching support structure to a busy and diverse sector, on an ever decreasing budget.

My main focus while at Dance Ireland was to put together a small programme of events that DI will deliver in partnership with regional dance organisations in the autumn. Although the majority of DI’s membership is based in Dublin, as a national organisation they have the opportunity to nurture and facilitate stronger relationships with and between regional dance practitioners. By interviewing participants of the ‘Dance Ireland on Tour’ initiative from last year, I was able to put together comprehensive feedback and, based on this, create a proposal for how this project could take shape in 2014. I gained clear insights into the scenes in each region and the differing priorities for dance makers in each place. Although I have a good working knowledge of what is happening in dance around Ireland, undertaking this research gave me a much more detailed picture.

My proposal for a series of Professional Development sessions in Galway, Cork and Limerick will be rolled out in October/November and will provide sessions focused on communications, career development and resourcing work. Experts from within dance and the arts will be drawn upon, but equally each session will draw on the collected experience of those present — encouraging DI members to share their considerable knowledge with each other. Each session will also include time built in for informal conversations and networking, to allow people who might have travelled some distance to get to know their colleagues (and the DI team) better.

Watch this space for an update when the events happen!

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