Strictly meets poststructuralist linguistics…” We were delighted to return to Dance Base for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019 with a new evolution of this multi-layered exploration of non-verbal communication. Each day saw a spontaneous performance created in real-time from live interviews, photography, video projection, music and choreography.



“… It shifts in the mind:
A strange gameshow with social media stars;
a high-tech new media gym;
a 24 hour news channel broadcast with the sound turned down;
a dream where all the characters are you… Strictly meets poststructuralist linguistics…” – CIRCA Art Magazine | Susan Thomson

     “Blurring the lines between dancing and body language, it created both a fascinating exhibition and memorable performances.” – Irish Times | Michael Seaver

“Body Language is beautiful – like stepping inside a photo album. To experience it is to float on the surface of the ocean – safe, supported by the brine and blue.”  – Miro Magazine | Josephine Balfour

“Body Language offers a tantalising glimpse into a stranger’s inner life” – Evening Standard

“visually layered, quietly pulse-quickening collaboration … The pleasure of Body Language is that it’s about the person invited to be filmed live, but it’s also about us.” –  The List | Donald Hutera
   – Broadway Baby
   “The imagery of this performance has audiences mesmerised” – LungHa Theatre Company

Click here to see more reviews from critics and audiences


Is it possible to choreograph a work based entirely on body language, being true to the spontaneous nature of our physical behaviour? For Body Language, CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director, David Bolger set himself a task with this question.

“It is said that over 65% of all our communication is non-verbal, made up of our gestures, posture, how we sound, how we look. As a choreographer I am naturally inquisitive about body language. The tells and clues that are sent out from our limbic system (the emotional brain) are unplanned, natural, honest. They make up our everyday kinetic conversations, which are naturally organised but not pre-planned. Choreography is dance-writing. A choreographer is someone who organises and designs sequences of movement patterns and creates choreography by writing with the body. Dancing is body language and body language is dancing.” -David Bolger



DANCE BASE | The Home of Dance on the Fringe | 14-16 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2JU
DATES 15-25 August 2019
TIME 2.40pm
Presented with the support of Culture Ireland.


COMPOSER Michael Fleming
DANCE ARTISTS Lee Clayden, Ivonne Kalter, Jonathan Mitchell, and Emma O’Kane

Body Language was developed in collaboration with the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin and presented in their exhibition programme in 2017.



David is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of CoisCéim Dance Theatre. Please see ABOUT US for more…
Christopher Ash is an international designer and photographer working primarily in the theatre for nearly two decades. A Philadelphia resident, he was born in New Haven, and raised in Buffalo. He cut his teeth as a designer in Chicago and Los Angeles and then returned to New Haven to complete his master’s degree in scenic design from the Yale School of Drama. His scenic; lighting; and projection design work in opera; theatre; and dance have been presented in a dozen countries in a variety of venues ranging from Broadway to five thousand seat arenas to store fronts. His designs have received several awards and nominations. David Bolger and Christopher met while working on A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM (Guthrie Theatre) where David was the co-director and choreographer; and Christopher was projection designer. Following MIDSUMMER, David invited Christopher to team up with him to develop BODY LANGUAGE.
With over sixty projects under his belt, Michael has been at the forefront of scoring music for the film, TV and dance in Ireland for the last decade. Some of his more notable film projects include the award-winning films Khor Fakkhan 1507, Katie, Mattress Men, The Queen of Ireland, Voices from the Grave, and the BAFTA-nominated animation film, Here To Fall. His TV work also regularly features on RTE, BBC and other international broadcasters. Along with Body Language, previous collaborations with CoisCéim include the dance films How To Sink A Paper Boat and the multi-award winning Deep End Dance. Other most recent scores for live dance shows include Ultima Thule and Woman Stood Regardless with choreographer, Catherine Young.
Lee graduated from London Contemporary Dance School during which time he was a member of 4D, LCDS performance company where he worked with choreographers Mark Baldwin, Siobhan Davies, Wayne McGregor, Paul Taylor (under Susan Maguire) Diane Elshout & Frank Handler, Ian Spink, Sue McLennan, Janet Smith and Sarah Fahre. Work with CoisCéim includes Faun, Dodgems and Boxes. He has been a member of Ricochet Dance Company and The Richard Alston Dance Company and toured with Darshan Singh Bhuller. He has guested with ENO, The Charnock Company, Companhia Portuguesa de Bailado Contempreano, Random Dance Company, Kerry Nicholls, Vincent Dance Theatre, Aletta Collins, Rex Levitates, Junk Ensemble, Opera Ireland, Mad Dogs Dance Theatre and Company Chameleon. Lee performed in Rafael Bonachela’s E2 7SD, which won the first Place Prize 2004, and been nominated twice for Outstanding Male by the Critics Choice Circle 2005 and 2007 and for the Time Out Live Awards 2008. He is an associate artist with Fidget Feet Aerial Dance and as an aerialist he has also worked with Scarabeus, Gravity and Levity and Walk the Plank.
Ivonne is originally from Germany, where she studied at Heinz Bosl Stiftung Ballet Academy and later on at the Iwanson School of Contemporary Dance. With her unique style and movement, as well as elaborate collaboration with choreographers during the development of each piece, she has carved a niche for herself and received international acclaim, including the Isadora Award in 2010 for the most promising young dancer. Ivonne made her professional debut with TIK Theatre in Kempten, where she displayed her creativity and innovation in choreographer Jochen Heckmann’s work. Although currently based in London, she travels extensively both with shows and to draw inspiration for her work. Recent Credits: INVITATION TO A JOURNEY (CoisCéim Dance Theatre); and THE WOLF AND PETER (Sydney Opera House) by David Bolger.
Jonathan was born in England and moved to Dublin in 1999.  He trained at the Rambert School, London, graduating in 1992.  Work with CoisCéim includes AGNES; PAGEANT; MERMAIDS; THE RITE OF SPRING; and WHEN ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH.  He has worked with leading companies in the UK including: Adventures in Motion Pictures; Mathew Hawkins; Imlata and Dundee Rep Dance Company; and Irish companies IMDT and Liz Roche Company.  In December 2012, Jonathan made his debut on the Abbey Stage in Frank McGuinness’ adaptation of James Joyce’s THE DEAD.  Since 2008 Jonathan has also been a dance photographer, with a particular focus on location photography, and has photographed some of the most premier dance artists in the country including IMDT; Liz Roche Company; Fearghus Ó Conchuir; and Emma Martin.  In 2009 he was commissioned by Dance Ireland to create a photographic Exhibition, STILL, LIFE, which now forms part of the permanent collection. In 2012, Jonathan received an Arts Council Dance Bursary Award to explore the integration of still images into the choreographic process.


Emma is a freelance dance artist and choreographer working in dance, theatre, opera and film. She trained at Perm State Choreographic Academy, Russia. Emma has been a member of CoisCéim Dance Theatre since 2001. Dance Europe voted Emma Outstanding Dancer Of The Year for her performance in CoisCéim’s production of Faun. Her work A Life of Play, an inter-generational dance project for grandparents and grandchildren, was commissioned by CoisCéim Broadreach and Bealtaine in partnership with Dublin Dance Festival. She recently performed Terra Firmish commissioned by St. Patrick’s Festival composed by Sean MacErlaine and choreographed Before by Pat Kinevane (Fishamble) having previously worked on Underneath. Other performance/ choreographic credits include Rough Magic, The Abbey Theatre, Anu Productions and Prime Cut Productions. She has an MA in Dance (Hons) from University of Limerick.


Photos by Maria Falconer


In the first collaboration of its kind, CoisCéim Dance Theatre and RHA Gallery presented a multimedia exploration of body language in a durational project that evolved over 3 exciting weeks. Each day brought a unique, immersive experience, as a new art work was created from live interviews, choreography, video projection, photography, music and dance.

This open, durational performance at the RHA Gallery was the culmination of 4 years of creative development. In parallel with BODY LANGUAGE, BROADREACH conducted ARMOUR, a participation performance project led by Philippa Donnellan.


COMPOSER Michael Fleming
DANCE ARTISTS Justine Cooper, Ivonne Kalter, Jonathan Mitchell, Emma O’Kane and Jack Webb.
GUEST ARTISTS Deirdre O’Leary (Clarinet) and the La La La Choir led by Sam Kavanagh

At the RHA | 2017

The Body Language project was an exploration and interrogation of non-verbal communication in the digital, aural and physical realms. It was a process. With choreography, video/photography by artist Christopher Ash, music by Composer Michael Fleming, and dance artists Justine Cooper, Jonathan Mitchell, Ivonne Kalter, Emma O’Kane and Jack Webb, it was a process of detection and consisted of three unique cycles made up of DAILY, WEEKLY, and RESIDUAL:

  • The genesis of the DAILY CYCLE was an interview with a member of the public. The subject’s body language was captured on film and became a physical score made up of still images.  This was followed by live composition in real time with artists in the process of CREATION as they extracted meaning and responded to the physical score. The cycle ended with a PERFORMANCE of the new choreography, film, photography and music. 
  • The WEEKLY CYCLE culminated each Sunday in the gallery with a look back at the interviews from the past week followed by a new CREATION and PERFORMANCE. Each week saw new developments as the work diversified and grew. On Sunday 3 December a final presentation took place. 
  • The RESIDUAL CYCLE, from 4 December to 10 December, was an installation reflecting the lifecycle of the work.

Each day brought more interviews, choreography and other artists, and was an opportunity for you to see something new.
(PLEASE NOTE | Times are approximate. Cameras were live in the gallery and images may be used as part of the project.):

17 November – 3 December 2017

  • Mondays
    11am-5pm:  PREMIERE SCREENING OF LATEST WORK – Video and sound installation of yesterday’s filmed choreographic response.
  • Tuesdays/Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays
    From 1:30pm | CREATION & PERFORMANCE – Live composition in real time.
  • NEW | Wednesdays | Gallery Open Late
    From 6:00pm | CREATION & PERFORMANCE – Live composition in real time.
  • Sundays
    From 3:00pm | CULMINATION OF WEEKLY CYCLE | CREATION & PERFORMANCE with guest artists.

4 – 10 December, 11am-5pm (Sundays 12pm opening)

  • Daily
    SCREENING OF THE RESIDUAL CONTENT – Explore the video and sound installation of interviews and filmed choreographic responses.

Dublin Gallery Weekend 2017 Events

In conversation: David Bolger and Christopher Ash with Amanda Coogan and Fiona Newell
24 November 2017 | 4.00-5.00pm | Admission Free | RHA Gallery I

This exciting interdisciplinary event brought together a number of voices to talk about dance, visual art, performance and the psychology of sensory perception. We were delighted to welcome performance artist Amanda Coogan and Professor Fiona Newell, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, to engage in a conversation with choreographer David Bolger and designer/media artist Christopher Ash about Body Language

RHA Learning Event | Creating Body Language
25 November 2017 | 3.30 – 4.30pm | Admission Free, SOLD OUT | RHA Gallery I

David Bolger invited children to join him and the cast of professional dancers to explore body language and ways of communicating through dance. Using specially designed ACTIVITY SHEETS participants were guided through a range of fun movement-based tasks and a relay process with others in the group. Together, participants created moves and short sequences and discovered more about how you use your body to express yourself!

Open to all children aged 6 – 10, no dance experience necessary.


2016 Development Notes 

David Bolger and Christopher Ash came back together in the CoisCéim studio for a week in November 2016, this time working with dancer Ryan O’Neill and non dancers.  These sessions concentrated on stripping back the conundrum of choreography (planned movement) and body language (unplanned movement) to consider the structure of the performance mechanisms. Using multuple projectors with live and recorded feeds these sessions also aimed to define the overall form of the final work.