Review of ‘How to Watch Dancing…’

Steve Batts in HTWD2018 [bazar visual]
Steve Batts in How to Watch Dancing… [image: bazar visual]

Translation of a review of Steve Batts’ How to Watch Dancing by Julia Sima published in Romanian online magazine GARBO: 

https://www.garbo.ro/articol/Cultura/24218/cum-sa-privesti-dansul-cu-stephen-batts.html

 

‘How to Watch Dancing’ with Stephen Batts

A middle-aged man is performing gracious movements on piano notes… As a spectator, you stare in awe. And then, this middle-aged man is having a discourse about dance, explaining with words our actual experience of perceiving his dancing.

‘How to Watch Dancing’ is a complex and intellectual one-man show performed by the choreographer Stephen Batts presented for the first time during the Contact Improvisation Festival in Bucharest.

‘How to Watch Dancing’ is a heartfelt philosophical performance about dance. I called it a ‘dialectic of dance’ and of dance practices, a show performed with so much grace which struck me and left me meditative for a long time after I saw the performance and participated at the workshop held by Stephen Batts, during the Festival.

Stephen Batts developed this concept of ‘poetic movement’ offering the necessary tools of perceiving dance. We all wonder – What is actually dance? What is a good dancing? Who owns the dance?

‘How to Watch Dancing’ is for everyone: for the contemporary dance spectators and for the dancers themselves because it answers to all those questions in an incredible way. It’s surprising to see the moment of a dance dissect with a surgical precision. And I remained with this impression that Stephen Batts is a dancer, a choreographer, a philosopher and also a ‘surgeon’. His show ‘How to Watch Dancing’ is doing the almost impossible act of dissecting the dancing moment in a poetical way. What are we looking for that is not a tangible shape, but a complex manifestation of a performative body, developed in time and space?

Contrary to the elusive ways of poetry… this show and the whole philosophy of dance developed by Batts, brings the so much needed clarity for the one concerned with dance as an experience. And surprisingly, the poetic feeling is kept during the actual dance: grace, sensitivity, connection and the usage of the performative space and time.

In a chaotic world who captured in its spider web the natural act of connecting with our bodies,  this show became a symbolic space of reclaiming. Dance is ours! Dance belongs to the people. It’s not only the perfect shaped ballet dancer who owns the dance, it’s also the middle-aged man who owns the dance, it’s also the lady from the public who has the courage to accept the invitation and walk in to the stage, dance is ours, it belongs to everyone. But only if you understand how to express properly: ‘harmonic of skin, border, close, level two, border of level two and level one, level five… harmonic of skin… addressing level five, addressing level one’. In this way, ‘How to Watch Dancing’ is a show that teaches you the quality and the poetry of a performative movement. And when you understand, this is the real moment when you finally own dancing.

This dialectic of ‘poetic movement’ is, in fact, a whole theory about falling (again) in love with… dance!

By Julia Sima

 

How to Watch Dancing will be performed at Echo Echo Studios in Derry on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th March 2019 – click for further info and ticket details.

 

Thanks to bazar vizual for the image.

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Introducing Freeda Gronowski from University of Merseburg

Echo Echo regularly hosts student placements, interns and volunteers from a variety of programmes, schools and institutions including  Ulster University, North West Regional College, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Belfast Met, St Cecilia’s College and St Mary’s College to name but a few.

For the last fifteen years students from the University of Merseburg in Germany have been visiting Derry to work with Echo Echo in a wide variety of contexts and to live in the city. Past interns include Lena Weber, Sara Ertel, Vivian Brock, Dana Mai and Anna Dietrich all of whom have been exceptional colleagues in many ways.

Echo Echo’s latest visitor from the University of Merseburg is Freeda Gronowski and it has been an absolute pleasure to welcome her to the company. Freeda immediately immersed herself in Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement last November and joined the company on tour of Ireland in December for its production of Lost in Frost.

Freeda recently created the publicity materials for Echo Echo Contact Improvisation Festival and has been ably supporting an array of technical and administrative tasks in the company. We are very grateful for her support.

Here are a few words from Freeda and a selection of wonderful images she made on the Lost in Frost tour…

Freeda Gronowski

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About four months ago, I decided I needed a new adventure. I cannot really explain what sent me on my trip to Northern Ireland, so many factors came together and created the opportunity for me to take my next steps. It all seemed so easy and felt natural. I longed for a country that I could discover on my own, my own way, without reading a guide or walking in the footsteps of others, everything to my taste and my pace.

For a total of five months, I would take the time to experience Irish culture, to fulfil my goals and hopefully become fluent in the English language someday. I longed to be free from everything and everyone, to do something for me. I wanted to get to know myself better, discover my strengths for myself and work with them.

I study culture and media education in Merseburg, Germany. I am now in the fifth semester, this is a practical semester. Our assignment was to collect practical experience for a certain number of hours, the subject was left up to ourselves, so I had the freedom to choose whatever and wherever I desired. From the field of educational work, music, theatre, film, photography, management, or radio, everything is possible.

A fellow student from my university had undertaken her internship here at Echo Echo in the previous year. I met her after her time at Echo Echo, we spoke briefly and she told me all about Derry and the theatre. This was enough to convince me that Echo Echo could be just right for me.

And now I’m here in Derry, and the experience so far has been wonderful. This city of around 80,000 inhabitants in Northern Ireland has already captivated me after such a short time.

In the early evening, the pubs are filled with local people and travelers alike, they drink fresh draught Guinness and listen to traditional Irish music live. The mood in the city makes me experience the winter and its beauty in a special way. The hilly landscapes in and around Londonderry elicits a feeling of serenity and security.

During the first two weeks of my time in the theater, I was fortunate enough to experience Echo Echo during the Festival of Dance and Movement. This was the perfect opportunity to get to know the theatre and experience the city in a unique environment. Echo Echo is the first dance Theatre I have worked with, I was not sure what I could expect, how is this theatre different to a dance theatre?

While attending the Festival I had a realisation of what dance theatre could mean to me, dancing and movements allows more space for interpretation, there is no wrong or right way to  view a performance, to understand the complexities of the movements. Dance includes everyone, you do not need an in-depth knowledge of the art to be able to appreciate the performance, just go and get inspired. I’ve got my one way of seeing, hearing and feeling a performance, we all do.

I am learning a lot about patience, taking on new responsibilities and working as part of a team. This has all been made possible because of the amazing team I’m working with here at Echo Echo. We are a small team here at the theatre, more like a family, working collectively and coherently with each other, everyone is appreciated and inspired. I am excited about the rest of my time here, because I know I have a great team of friends, who I can talk to about everything and ask any questions that concern me.

I have learned so much from my experiences here and I am excited for the future. I now enjoy the English language, especially with the Irish dialect which is spoken here. Initially I had issues understanding the English language with this particular dialect, but throughout my time here I have developed an understanding of the language of the locals here in Derry.

My conclusion so far – I have found a great internship in a beautiful country and I am looking forward to the future.

Patience is the gift that comes when the time is right.

Freeda 

All images by Freeda Gronowski from Lost in Frost tour 2018

 

 

Barry Davis marks five years in post!

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It’s difficult to believe but Echo Echo’s Technical Manager and all round audio, lighting and design wizard, Barry Davis, has a five-year work anniversary this week!

Barry joined Echo Echo during our first year based in our new home studios in Waterloo House back in January 2014 with the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Since then Barry has become central to nearly all of Echo Echo’s artistic projects and programming – from lighting design for Echo Echo productions The Cove, Lost in Frost and Walk By (to name but a few) – and supporting all of the various audio-visual and technical requirements of several hundred visiting artists and companies from around the world at Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement.

In addition to this, Barry co-produces and supports the ongoing music, residency and hire programmes at Echo Echo Studios in a wide variety of ways – lighting and sound requirements, PR design, sourcing equipment and materials, and providing last minute technical troubleshooting. Barry also oversees a range of vital operational tasks behind the scenes at Echo Echo from risk assessments to building maintenance, and video editing to IT troubleshooting. It’s fair to say we couldn’t manage without him.

But don’t take our word for it! Here are a few recent comments from visiting artists to Echo Echo Studios…

“The tech team was wonderful and very professional.”

“The technical support we received was great – Barry answered any questions we had right away, and fixed any issues we encountered.

“Barry was brilliant. He asked way in advance about all our tech needs and knew everything off by heart when we got there. Perfect queues. Nice lighting. We loved performing in that space.”

“Barry is a dream come true!”

Thanks, Barry! Here’s to the next five years.

From all the Echoes x

 

 

 

 

Body Wisdom in the Community

 

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company in partnership with Praxis Care and the Body Wisdom group developed a project for the Arts and Older People Programme managed by Arts Council NI.

Professional dance artists of the Echo Echo Ensemble, voluntary experienced participants of the award-winning Body Wisdom project, along with professional musicians, worked with participants at Praxis Care’s Richmond Hall setting over a twelve-week programme during 2018.

 

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Images by Patrick Duddy Photography.

 

Thank you

Thanks to everyone who took part in this programme. Louise Lyons and team at Praxis Care and Richmond Hall. Echo Echo Ensemble Artists: Ayesha Mailey, Kelly Quigley and Zoe Ramsey with Rohan Armstrong and Mark O’Doherty. Anna Nolan and staff at Echo Echo. Body Wisdom members: Majella Biernat and Marie Manktelow. Simon Alleyne for video and editing. Patrick Duddy Photography. Thanks to Louise Calderwood and team at ACNI.

 

Project supporters

This project was supported by the Arts and Older People Programme managed by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and by Praxis Care.

We are pleased to announce that further funding for the project to continue in 2018 has been secured from the Derry City and Strabane District Council Community Support Fund, and in 2019 from the ACNI Arts and Older People Programme.

Echo Echo is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the National Lottery through ACNI, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and the Halifax Foundation NI.

 

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Festival 2018 thanks and photos…

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Echo Echo Festival Closing Concert with BASORK – image by Simon Alleyne

What a Festival we had this year with over 50 events taking place! So many highlights, connections and new friendships – and so many people and partners to thank.

We are truly humbled by the incredible feedback we have received already from audiences, participants and artists this year. Everyone has commented on the welcoming atmosphere at the Festival and throughout the city and region.

To all of the artists – thank you for bringing and sharing your work with a such a spirit of kindness and generosity. The quality of work and performances was exceptionally high.

To our audiences of all ages, returning and new, thank you for your warm appreciation and continued enthusiasm, and for genuinely contributing so much more than simply turning up to watch.

To the Festival funders, community partners and schools involved – thanks for supporting our Festival vision and for your continued encouragement to produce an inspiring and challenging event. The Festival would simply not be possible without the input of so many organisations and their individual staff members.

To all of the Echo Echo staff, directors, collaborators and colleagues behind the scenes – thanks for all of your hard work and dedication! A huge effort, often invisible, and an extraordinary level of commitment from a small team of people!

Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement will return in 2019!

#EchoEchoFest

 

Echo Echo Festival Team

  • Artistic Director – Steve Batts
  • Associate Artistic Director – Ayesha Mailey
  • Company Manager – Ailbe Beirne
  • Development Officer – Anna Nolan
  • Technical Manager – Barry Davis
  • Technical Support – Simme Wiesniewski, Freeda Gronowski
  • Echo Echo Ensemble – Ayesha Mailey, Kelly Quigley, Zoe Ramsey, Tonya Sheina
  • Publicity artwork and design – Ciaran Harley of zoocreative
  • Publicity support – Leeann Toland, Brian Fisher
  • Photography and video – Simon Alleyne

 

Echo Echo Festival Thanks

Thanks to Simonetta Alessandri, Jamie McCarthy, Tanya Soubry, Anne Gaelle-Thiriot, Kirsty Arnold, Mary Ann Hushlak, Anne Lok; Lucia Walker, Nastya Saevich, Tanya Fateeva, Masha Grudskaya, Genya Dybovskaia, Joleen McLaughlin, Amanda Koser, Stephanie Pawula, Ayesha Mailey, Kelly Quigley, Zoe Ramsey, Tonya Sheina; John Scott and Irish Modern Dance Theatre; Barbara Fuchs, Emily Welther and tanzfuchs-PRODUKTION; Manoli Moriaty, Brian Bridges and ISSTA; Mary Wycherley, La Cosa Preziosa, Rory Tangney and VOID; Wei-An Hwa; Ferenc Fehér and David Miko; Sahar Damoni; Susan Koper; rikilikemagic / Rachel Sheil; Julie Chapple and Maxine Chadburn (Future Leisure); Suahee Abro and Lucia Moretti (LBWL Collective); Linda Fearon, Cinzia Savoniti and Helen Hall (Luminous Soul); Zoe Uí Fhaoláin Green and Dingle Camphill Community; John Deery; Marty Coyle and all of BASORK. Thanks also to all of the participating artists funders, colleagues and supporters.

Thanks to all of the artists and companies from around the world who applied to the Festival Open Call. A record 212 entries this year!

Thanks to Gilly Campbell and all at Echo Echo’s principal funder ACNI and the National Lottery; Jacqueline Whoriskey, Ailish McDaid and all at Derry City and Strabane District Council; Gillian Goode and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; Halifax Foundation NI.

Thanks to Department of Culture Heritage and Gaeltacht and Aoife O’Sullivan at DCHG for support with the Festival All-Ireland Outreach and Bursary Programme; and thanks to our venue partners and staff at Dance Ireland, Crescent Arts Centre, Firkin Crane, Galway Dance Project, An Lab Dingle, and The Dock Arts Centre.

Thanks to all of  the 2018 Festival Bursary recipients Emily Mickus, Marketa Formanova, Oran Leong, Wanting Wu, Maggie Breen and Selma Daniel.

Thanks to JP Conaghan and all at The Playhouse for supporting a Festival residency project; all at Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast; Derry Craft Village and Inner City Trust; Soda & Starch; Ulster University; Fiona Pender and Thornhill College; Audrey O’Donnell and St Cecilia’s College; Nadine Hegarty and Fireworks Dance; Donemana PS; St Patrick’s PS Donemana; Cumber Claudy PS; St Columcille’s PS Claudy; St Columba’s PS Newbuildings; St John’s PS; Aine Bradley and Good Shepherd PS; Sinead Crossan and Ardnashee College; Sevenoaks Care; Praxis Care; Christine O’Kane and U3A Foyle.

Thanks to Jim O’Neill, Carmel Mulrine, Meabh O’Neill, Majella Biernat, Roger and Marie Manktelow, Olek Wójcik, Liam Cunningham, Bernadette Sheils, Robin Wilson, Mollie Egan-Crossan, Seamus Kennedy, Gerry McGoldrick, Richard Walsh; to Echo Echo directors past and present – Deirdre Gillespie, Paul Johnston, Cath McBride, Esther Alleyne; and to everyone else who supported the Festival from near or far.

 

Echo Echo Festival Photo Albums (links to Facebook)

Manoli Moriaty & Two Ensembles Project at ISSTA 2018 / THE SHAKES by Simonetta Alessandri and company

PFFHHH… A RUBBER DANCE PLAY by tanzfuchs

HEROES by John Scott

SHORT WORKS

Photos by Simon Alleyne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third year of Echo Echo Festival outreach and bursary programme…

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Echo Echo Festival Symposium – image by Simon Alleyne

 

For the past three editions of the Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement we have been supported by the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG) in Dublin to offer a number of bursaries to support attendance at the festival in Derry by Ireland based artists.

 

Each year Echo Echo artists travel throughout the whole of the island of Ireland to give workshops introducing Echo Echo’s ‘Poetic Movement‘ approach to dance and outlining the ethos of the festival to professional dance artists and experienced students of dance. Over 140 people have participated in the all-island programme to date and participants in these workshops get the chance to apply for one of the festival bursaries.

 

The grant from the DCHG provides support towards travel and accommodation and Echo Echo provides free access to festival events to bursary recipients. This year we have been able to offer six bursaries. Two support attendance at the whole festival and four support attendance during the busy final three days.

 

In previous years the bursary programme has been very effective in supporting the professional development of Ireland based dance and movement artists and in nurturing creative relationships between Echo Echo and colleagues based through the island of Ireland. The bursary programme has been an important factor in the development of the Echo Echo Artist in Residence Programme, supporting the regional and national profile of the company, and in energizing the attendance at Echo Echo events such as the Contact Improvisation Festival and professional development workshops.

 

This year we are very happy to be welcoming Wanting Wu (Belfast), Oran Leong (Dublin), Emily Mickus (Limerick), Maggie Breen (Dingle), Marketa Formanova (Sligo) and Selma Daniel (Kildare) to the Festival as the 2018 bursary recipients.

 

Thanks to the 2018 Co-operation with Northern Ireland Funding Scheme managed by the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and to all of the Echo Echo Festival supporters.

 

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6 reasons why Echo Echo Festival is making a difference to audiences and artists

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As the sixth edition of Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement gets underway have a read about what some past audience members and participating artists had to say about the international festival…

 

  1. Inspiring audiences

 

“Brilliant! I wanted to watch them every day, every hour, every moment of my life. I will never forget it!”

 

“This was like something I have never experienced before. The strength beauty and storytelling of the artists was nothing short of mesmerising. I will definitely want to see this dance company again. Thank you Echo Echo.”

 

“Exhilarating, spine tingling, never imagined so many words could be left unsaid.”

 

“Inspiring on so many levels. An amazing range of talent from so many disciplines of such high quality is rarely seen in Derry. The festival is extraordinary.”

 

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Echo Echo Festival with two primary schools in Donemana
  1. Working in local schools

 

“Thanks for today. It was a wonderful experience this morning. The way the performers adapted to the spontaneous participation of some of our pupils was truly magical. I wish we had it videoed. A young man with severe learning difficulties said to me during the show, “This is amazing”. It is a rare occasion to have external performers so in tune with the needs of our children. The feedback was incredible.”

 

”We found the story-telling and music enthralling and appreciated the connection that the dancers made with each other and the audience.  Our students spoke at great length about the dance afterwards and how much they enjoyed the performance. Many thanks to the company for coming to our school.”

 

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tanzfuchs return to Echo Echo Festival on Sunday 11th November 2018

 

  1. Engaging children and young people

 

“Everyone can participate in these workshops, and this is what makes them truly special: professional dancers, children, pensioners, dance amateurs and teenagers… Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company provides the space for people to come together and relate to each other.”

 

“I loved it. It was imaginative. I really liked the fact that the children were encouraged to take part.”

 

“Echo Echo is a place like no other. It is the only performance space/theatre I have attended over a long life that has such a unique and welcoming atmosphere, both for audience members and participants.” 

 

“Lovely! First time ever watching something like this. The kids loved it, the dancing and singing and music were all fantastic! Not a peep!”

 

 

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Jusztina Hermann and Robert Peoples took part in a previous Festival Open Call then followed up with an artist residency and performances at Echo Echo Studios

  1. Supporting artists to make and present new work

 

“It was incredibly easy working with Echo Echo to organise our performances during the festival. As a company, we really appreciated how quickly we could communicate with the different members of the team. Any questions we had, regarding the publicity materials or the technical aspect, were answered extremely quickly. The whole team at Echo Echo went out of their way to make us feel welcome and at home – it was truly a pleasure to work in such an environment.”

 

“Performing two nights in a row had a particular impact on the development of this work.  It gave us the opportunity to see how we and the work responded to a repeat performance.  In fact we found our second performance to be much better than the first.  It also gave the opportunity to see international work and performers which is inspiring and allowed us to make connections with what is happening elsewhere in the world and in dance.”

 

“I would like to stress how important I feel an Open Call evening is as part of a festival. Many festivals don’t do Open Calls and it can be difficult for emerging artists to access these platforms. I really appreciated this opportunity and I would like to thank everyone of the Echo Echo team sincerely.”

 

“The various artists, organisers etc were very open and curious to get to know me, showed an interest in my work, shared ideas and thoughts; all this included made the festival very special. This creates interesting meetings and moments for all to grow, expand as a human beings and creative artists.”

 

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LAVA-Dansproduktion workshop at Echo Echo Festival 2017 with local and national visitors
  1. Connecting the dance community in Ireland

 

“Many many thanks for your overall innovative approaches to spreading dance across Ireland, and coming directly to us as professional practitioners throughout Ireland, with your workshop/ info tour. Very innovative and effective.”

 

I loved the wholesome and caring feeling of the whole festival. I appreciated the inclusivity; it is actually a quite rare thing. I also loved the fact we got to work and learn with artists whose performances we saw. It made both the performances and the classes more meaningful and resourceful.

 

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THE SHAKES by Simonetta Alessandri and company opening the 2018 Echo Echo Festival
  1. Bringing national and international visitors to Derry

 

“We absolutely loved Derry. The craft village, the vintage stores, the wall walk. We took a tour on the third day and loved it. We discovered the long and heavy history of Derry. Neither of us had ever been to Derry before and we would both gladly go back.”

 

“Thank YOU for welcoming us so open-heartedly, and allowing us to experience one of the most inspiring weeks of our life! We truly had a wonderful time, not only on stage but also during the workshops, the symposium, and exploring Derry and its environs!”

 

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Join Echo Echo to move or be moved!

 

You can get involved in Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement. Come and try a performance, class or special event for yourself!

 

Learn more: http://www.echoechodance.com/whatson

 

With thanks to:

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The Last Witch Burned in Ireland…

“A two minute excerpt from a spoken word piece called ‘Bridget’s Curse’, in which Bridget wanders the graveyard – as she has done each night for over 120 years – waiting for her loved ones to turn up to her funeral. Relates to the burning of Bridget Cleary, aka ‘The Last Witch Burned in Ireland’ in 1895.”

LEGENDS OF THE COVEN by Abby Oliveira will be showing as part of a special theatre double bill for Derry Halloween at Echo Echo Studios this weekend.

Ticketshttp://echoechodance.com/whatson/ghosts-legends-of-the-coven

 

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Short Works programme announcement!

SHORTWORKS

The evening of Short Works at Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement is always a special event in the festival programme. The auditorium is always full. The opportunity to see eight works from different artists in one evening stimulates debate and conversation. The fact that the performers also join the audience to watch each other’s work gives the event the feeling of a creative exchange between artists themselves and the audience members. The warmth of the atmosphere is always remarked on by participating artists and audience members.

The short works programme is selected from an open call which Echo Echo puts out in spring each year. As our festival has become better known and more respected nationally and internationally the numbers proposing performances has grown. In the first year we had 14 proposals and in the second around 30. This year in 2018 we had well over 200. In the past four years I have watched videos of over 600 short works. What a privilege (a time consuming and demanding one) this has been! Of course I haven’t liked everything I’ve seen or thought everything was good work but the overwhelming experience has been one of feeling the immense good-will and honest heart that dancers and choreographers generally put into their creative practice. This year we will welcome artists and companies from all over the world.

At 8pm on Thursday 15th and Friday 16th November at Echo Echo Studios Ferenc Feher from Budapest brings a darkly atmospheric and mysterious duet The Station; Palestinian, Sahar Damoni performs Pirg’in, which suspends between meditative calm and thematic tensions to do with being an Arab woman dance artist living in Israel; Wei-An Hwa from Malaysia performs a beautifully phrased exploration of the art of falling; Julianne Chappel and Maxine Chadburn perform a humorous duet where the removal of all dance affectation has the surprising effect of re-inventing dance; Rikilikemagic (Rachel Sheil) from Limerick brings a chunk of her passion for hip hop and k-pop; Susan Koper comes all the way from Indiana in the USA to present her intense, personal and wonderfully visceral “She Knows In Her Bones”; LBWL Collective (short for the lovely company name, Look But With Love) of Suahee Abro, from Pakistan and Lucia Moretti, from Italy perform the passionate duet Wild Truths, Tender Lies; Luminous Soul from Belfast bring a deceptively simple, understated and touching duet, Meeting of Two Souls by Linda Fearon and Cinzia Savoniiti directed by Helen Hall.

As well as the evening performances there will be a free film showing at 2pm on Friday 16th by Zoe Ui Fhaolain. Zoe submitted A Walk In My Shoes, made with the Camphill Community, Dingle, Kerry, to our “open call” for the programme of short works. It is a lovely gentle call to enter a slower rhythm where compassion and understanding are carried lightly and simply. It was too long for the 15 minute limit for the mixed bill, but we liked it so much that we invited her to show it at a special screening.

We hope you can join us!

Steve Batts, Echo Echo Artistic Director

 

 

Short Works

An evening of eight performances selected from the Festival Open Call

Thursday 15th and Friday 16th November at 8pm

Echo Echo Studios, Magazine Street, Derry-Londonderry

Tickets £10 and £8 conc available now

 

 

Film Screening

A Walk in My Shoes

Friday 16th November at 2pm

Echo Echo Studios, Magazine Street, Derry-Londonderry

Free entry

 

 

Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement takes place in Derry and Belfast from 5th-17th November 2018.

For further information and full programme details visit the company website:

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Public Statement on the absence of disability access to Echo Echo Studios

PUBLIC STATEMENT ON THE ABSENCE OF DISABILITY ACCESS TO ECHO ECHO STUDIOS

Many people will be aware that we have had serious problems in relation to disability access following the extensive renovation of our premises at Waterloo House undertaken by Tracey Architects (design/project management) and AMS Limited (main contractor) which were appointed through a tendering process in 2012.

Our lift, which provides access to the various studios, office and other work-spaces has been out of use since October 2016 when an independent report concluded that it was unsafe. Due to the issue with the lift the renovation project, which began in November 2012, has not yet been formally completed.

Following an extensive period without proper disability access during which we have increasingly faced comments and questions about this issue we now feel obliged to make a public statement to inform our users, participants, partner organisations and the general public of the situation.

Throughout more than 25 years of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company’s existence, the Company has always had regard for inclusion and access. When the company moved into its new home in Magazine Street we were delighted that the care and attention we had devoted to accessibility during the planning and design stage of the renovation project was rewarded with a Silver Standard Certificate for Accessibility from Change a Little Change a Lot.

The lack of proper disability access to our studios since October 2016 has had a detrimental effect on our work, on relations with partner organisations and on individuals with disabilities. We have found this situation both frustrating and embarrassing.

We have made great efforts over the past two years to resolve the situation to no avail. In December 2017 we commissioned a second independent report which was provided to all parties involved in the renovation project. As with the first report, the lift inspection was undertaken by a respected industry professional. This report affirmed the conclusions of the first report and elaborated on the shortcomings of the design and installation of the lift equipment. These shortcomings have been present from the outset of the renovation and it is only by luck that no one has been injured as the lift has been deemed to be at risk of “sudden and catastrophic failure.”

Despite our very best efforts, the lift remains in a state of disrepair with the contractors involved failing to take responsibility. In view of this, we have no other option than to initiate legal proceedings in an effort to resolve the issue as soon as possible and ensure safe and appropriate disability access to our premises.

In the meantime, we would like to thank our colleagues, participants and audience members for their understanding in this matter over the past two years. We want to assure everyone that we have been taking this matter very seriously and continue to do so.

Signed:

Echo Echo Board

Echo Echo Staff

Echo Echo Ensemble Members

15th October 2018