curated by David Bolger

in collaboration with Waterways Ireland

A new collection of dances inspired by Dublin’s canals and surroundings to highlight everyday spaces as creative places through vibrant choreographic commissions by distinctive Dublin based dance artists.

BENCH is back!

We’re thrilled to reveal Sibéal Davitt as the commissioned artist for BENCH#3 coming to you this May as part of the 2024 Dublin Dance Festival.  Fresh from her tour of the critically acclaimed MINSEACHSibéal has a long standing relationship with CoisCéim, having been part of the company’s youth dance group Creative Steps for many years – returning as a professional artist to co-create two works for the company in 2017/2018 and we can’t wait to see her artistic response to the waterways around Grand Canal Dock.

“I am so honoured to be offered this commission by CoisCéim Dance Theatre in partnership with Waterways Ireland. Working with initial themes of migration and biodiversity in response to Grand Canal Dock, I’m developing a short work that encompasses all facets of my contemporary and traditional dance practice. I’m so excited to develop this site specific piece under the mentorship of David Bolger and create a memorable performance for Dublin Dance Festival 2024.” – Sibéal Davitt, Choreographer

 

BENCH #3 | SIBÉAL DAVITT

At Dublin Dance Festival 2024

CoisCéim are thrilled to be a part of this year’s Dublin Dance Festival with a new BENCH commission in partnership with Waterways Ireland. With free outdoor performances over two days, BENCH #3 is an invitation to take a breath and discover dance this Summer.

WHEN | Friday 24 May & Saturday 25 May 
TIME | 1pm & 1.30pm
WHERE | Grand Canal Dock 
FREE Outdoor Event | No booking required

 

“Should you be stopped in your tracks by the sight of two dancers performing beside [Canals], rest assured. That’s the intention; [to] encourage passersby to pause, reflect and, perhaps, reimagine how they interact with the waterways.” – The Irish Times

ABOUT THE PROJECT

“I am thrilled with this new collaboration with Waterways Ireland. I have long been inspired by the Dublin canals, having lived and worked close to both The Grand Canal and The Royal Canal. Their close proximity to the city centre is an enriching environment that has inspired countless artists throughout the waterways rich history. This pilot project will see CoisCéim Dance Theatre commission several talented contemporary dance artists and choreographers to make work inspired by the canals and their connection to the city. It is a real honour for me to curate the works and I look forward to welcoming audiences to experience these treasures. ” – David Bolger, CoisCéim Dance Theatre

BENCH brings together Waterways Ireland and CoisCéim Dance Theatre to commission and produce a new series of short live performances along the banks of Dublin’s canals – and build a collection of artworks inspired and informed by canals as valued cultural, social, environmental assets in our city.    These original choreographies will capture the idea of a BENCH by water as an everyday piece of public space infrastructure – a place to pause, to rest, to savour one’s surroundings,  to contemplate,  to connect – and to engage the public and local communities with dance in unexpected ways through new short dance works that:

  • are brand new, one-person commissions
  • are incidental that people ‘happen upon’
  • enable the public to engage with the arts as part of their everyday
  • are staged in synergy with the environment around them (i.e with low production infrastructure)

BENCH started as an experimental pilot project in the summer 2023, with commissions to Jessie Thompson and Favour Odusola and following its success further commissions are planned in and around Dublin’s canals over the coming year.

“We are thrilled to collaborate again with CoisCéim Dance Theatre to bring a new commission by Sibéal Davitt to Dublin Dance Festival to animate and reimagine our waterways. Dublin’s canals are a vital part of the Green and Blue infrastructure of the city, supporting the health and wellbeing of citizens and inspiring countless artists since their construction over 200 years ago.” Máirín Ó Cuireáin, Dublin Development Manager

LINKS

READ | The Irish Times‘s Michael Seaver interviewed the artists during their rehearsals at CoisCéim Studio
LISTEN | Jessie Thompson and David Bolger talk about the inspiration for BENCH with RTÉ Arena‘s Kay Sheehy

 

CREDITS

BENCH COLLECTION

IN COLLABORATION WITH WATERWAYS IRELAND
Curator |  David Bolger
Production Manager | Seán Dennehy
Production Coordinator | Caoimhe Coburn Gray
Graphic Design | Alphabet Soup
Publicist | John Kenny, CultureHead
Waterways Ireland | Louise Dredge and Máirín Ó Cuireáin
Producers | Sarah Latty & Bridget Webster

BENCH #3 | Sibéal Davitt

Choreographer/Performer | Sibéal Davitt
Music | Between The Piper And The Pipes and Ómós do Sheamus by Úna Monaghan
Filmmaker | Luca Truffarelli
Technician | John Norton
World Premiere – part of DUBLIN DANCE FESTIVAL, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin  – 24 May 2024

BENCH #2 | Favour Odusola

Choreographer/Performer | Favour Odusola
Sound Engineer | Alexis Nealon
Filmmaker | Neil O’Driscoll
Technician | Damien Woods
World Premiere – Mount Street Bridge – Grand Canal, Dublin  – 30 August 2023

BENCH #1 | Jessie Thompson

Choreographer/Performer |  Jessie Thompson
Music | Jack Foster
Filmmaker | Neil O’Driscoll
Technician | Laura Rainsford
World Premiere – Spencer Dock – Royal Canal, Dublin – 30 August 2023

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Sibéal Davitt is a dance artist and performer from Dublin. Her style of dance is influenced by contemporary, classical and Irish traditional ‘sean-nós’ dance, having trained in all styles from an early age. 

She joined CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s youth dance theatre group Creative Steps while she studied for a degree at Trinity College, Dublin. After receiving her MA in Contemporary Dance Performance at University of Limerick in 2014 she began working professionally and in 2017/18 she returned to Creative Steps, this time as a Choreographer – working with Olwyn Lyons to create two pieces.

As part of the 1916 commemorations, Sibéal performed in RTÉ’s CENTENARY, which was choreographed by CoisCéim’s Artistic Director David Bolger and televised live on Easter Monday from the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. In April 2016, Sibéal created and performed Fógraím / I Proclaim at the GPO as part of EMBODIED, a series of 6 solos by Irish female choreographers commissioned by GPO:Witness History Public Art Commission and Dublin Dance Festival.

In 2019 Sibéal was one of five recipients of the inaugural Markievicz award and she was Dance Ireland’s Associate Artist in 2020.  Her critically acclaimed solo dance show MINSEACH premiered as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2021 and is currently touring in venues around Ireland.

Read more about Sibéal’s work at sibealdavitt.com

Photo by Simon Lazewski

Favour Odusola (Proud African King) is a Nigerian Irish multidisciplinary artist who has worked across several contexts from traditional dance & percussion to commercial work and contemporary theatre for over 15 years in Europe (Ireland and London), Africa (Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria), and UAE (Dubai). As a dancer, he co-established UMAKOKO, a dance company that delivers dance-oriented services, such as performances, creative directing, content creation, and artist performance management services, and established UMA, a dance training outfit dedicated to equipping dancers with the skills, information and process of growing as a dancer/dance professional.

As a dancer, producer, curator and actor, he has performed at various festivals and performances including “Dancers for the Inside and Outside”, “EVOLUTIONS” and “Othello” by John Scott for Irish Modern Dance Theatre; “THE WANDERER” by Tom Lane, written by Jessica Traynor, choreographed by John Scott at Cork Midsummer Festival; “STRAWBOYS TOUR” with Rob Heapslip;“NATIVES” a Black canvas x Top 8 Production; and “BREAKING CODES” at Rua Red Theatre.

As a writer, producer and director, he co-created a community-led dance show with his dance company UMAKOKO titled “WAVE the New Chapter” –  a fresh outlook on-stage performance, with dance and music in the spotlight. He recently wrote, directed, produced, and performed his first-ever theatre play titled “EKAABO” commissioned by the Local Live Phase 3 Performance Scheme funded by South County Dublin to a sold-out show in Dublin as part of Mother Tongues Festival. He is an associate artist with Irish Modern Dance Theatre.

www.officialpak.art

Jessie Thompson is a Dublin based Dance Artist. Her evolving work draws on Contemporary and Hip Hop dance styles. In recent times Jessie has performed her solo “CRAWLER” with musician Jason McNamara at Dublin Dance Festival 2022 and 2023; was Choreographer for Liz Roche’s Lighting Design for Dance programme 2022; was one of the “Between Us” cultural exchange residency Artists at DanceBase Scotland; and developed her practice further this year with residencies/awards from Dance Ireland and Galway Dance Project. Jessie performed in United Fall’s “Night Dances” at Dublin Theatre Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is a Step Up Programme 2023 participant with Choreographer Maria Nilsson Waller.

Jessie has shared several short works at the hip hop theatre festival “Dance2Connect” in the  UK and Ireland. She was Project Arts Centre Schools Residency Programme Artist this year.  Jessie also facilitates and curates events in Ireland for multidisciplinary artists as part of her ongoing interest in collaboration with live music and community building.

David is the Artistic Director and co-founder of CoisCéim Dance Theatre. His work has been seen by millions of people worldwide and has received prestigious awards for its innovation, performance and choreography. David has directed and choreographed over 30 original productions for CoisCéim, including Go To Blazes, Francis Footwork, the highly lauded The Wolf and Peter, Body Language, and the major international co-production These Rooms (Irish Times Theatre Award, London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), TATE Liverpool). His work for the company has been presented at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Peak Performances in the USA, Spring Loaded (The Place) and the Brighton Festival in the UK, Ten Days on the Island (Tasmania), Arts Centre Melbourne and Sydney Opera House (Australia). David has received numerous choreographic commissions for theatre and opera including Druid (Ireland), Spoleto Festival (USA), Guthrie Theatre (USA), RTÉ (Ireland), National Theatre (UK), Abbey Theatre (Ireland) and Opera Ireland. He is a member of Aosdána. www.coisceim.com/about-us/

ABOUT OUR PARTNER

WATERWAYS IRELAND

Waterways Ireland is the cross-border navigational authority responsible for the management, maintenance, development, and promotion of over 1,000kms of inland navigable waterways, principally for recreational purposes. These waterways comprise of: Grand Canal; Royal Canal; Barrow; Shannon, Shannon-Erne; Erne; Ulster Canal and Lower Bann navigations. Waterways Ireland assets contribute approximately €560m in economic, societal, and environmental value annually. In 2021, the waterways estate received 3.2 million visitors.

In Dublin, Waterways Ireland is responsible for the historic Grand and Royal Canals, which have been a source of great inspiration for artists in the city. Through arts programming, engagement and collaboration, we support the development of creative places in Dublin and contribute to making the areas along the Royal and Grand Canals better places to live, work, and visit.

Find out more at www.waterwaysireland.org

 

PERFORMANCE HISTORY

CULTURE NIGHT
at Spencer Dock, Dublin 1 | map

Friday 22 September 2023
BENCH #2 | Favour Odusola – 5:00pm
BENCH #1 | Jessie Thompson – 5:30pm

BENCH #2 | FAVOUR ODUSOLA | Mount Street Bridge, Dublin 2 | map

Wednesday 30 August 2023 – 1:00pm & 1:30pm
Thursday 31 August 2023 – 1:00pm & 1:30pm
Saturday 02 September 2023  2:00pm & 2:30pm
 

BENCH #1 | JESSIE THOMPSON | Spencer Dock, Dublin 1 | map

Wednesday 30 August 2023 – 1:00pm & 1:30pm
Thursday 31 August 2023 – 1:00pm & 1:30pm
Saturday 02 September 2023 – 12:00pm & 12:30pm (followed by a guided walking tour to arrive at Mount Street Bridge for the 2.00pm performance)

Duration approximately 20 minutes.

GALLERY 

Culture Night 2023 

Photos by Rez Photo

Favour Odusola

Photos by Caoimhe Coburn Gray and Damien Woods

Jessie Thompson

Photos by Laura Rainsford and courtesy the artist

 

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING COMMISSIONED??

Commissions are by invitation. If you are an independent dance artist with three or more years of professional experience and would like to be considered for a future commission please get in touch by emailing Sarah at info@coisceim.com.