Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement 2016 – Open Call now open

Images from Echo Echo Festival Open Call 2015 by Living Witness

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company is pleased to announce an open call for short works to be performed in the fourth edition of the Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement in November 2016.

We are looking for short performances which will be part of a mixed programme on the evenings of 18th and 19th November 2016. We plan that the programme will be the same for both of these nights.

Echo Echo Festival will provide some travel expenses and accommodation for minimum three nights.

Proposed works should be not more than 15 minutes in length. We are happy to consider first performances, performances of work that has already been shown before, proposals for improvisation scores, projection/video work and other kinds of performance.

We don’t have any restriction on style or idiom but we are generally interested in work that is in some way consonant with, or an interesting challenge to, Echo Echo’s practice of poetic movement.

We are interested in proposals from artists with whom we already have a relationship and from artists new to Echo Echo. We like to approach all our invitees as colleagues with whom we may develop an ongoing creative relationship.

It may be possible for Echo Echo to offer a residency at our home studios to facilitate the making of new work or in developing previously performed work for the Open Call performance evenings. We can’t offer money but we can offer space and some technical/creative support. Sometimes we can help with accommodation by finding people to host artists in residence.

This is the fourth edition of Echo Echo’s international festival of dance and movement. In each previous year we have had a wonderful mix of work in our open call evenings. This has ranged from solos to sextets, from minimalist to highly theatrical, from improvisation scores to highly detailed set work, and from pieces of less than 5 minutes to pieces that have stretched our 15 minute limit a little. We are always open to the idea that artists whose work has been shown in the open call may be invited back to Echo Echo for longer residencies and/or to perform a full programme at a later festival.

We encourage you to send us the information on your proposal in the form that makes most sense to you. This could include biographical detail, written descriptions, working process, photographs, links to video recordings of work proposed and/or previous work (please don’t attach videos to email however small the file may be and if possible please send a link for streaming rather than for download). We feel that short “promo clips” of pieces are generally a very poor way to understand a piece of work so if you send a link to one of those please also consider sending a link to a video recording of the full piece as well. Please send as much material as you think is necessary to represent your proposal well, but do remember that we have limited time and we receive a very large number of them, so being realistically concise is very helpful for us.

For information on previous editions of the festival please visit our website and search in “projects”.

Please send us your proposal by email to  and also cc it to Closing date is 31st July 2016.

Echo Echo Festival is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City and Strabane District Council.


Open Call PDF

Click to access EchoEchoFestival2016-OpenCall.pdf




WALK BY – Images and audience feedback


The first performances of Walk By took place last weekend at Echo Echo Studios.

Big thanks to everyone involved and especially to all of the performers from Body Wisdom, Echo Echo Ensemble and participants in Echo Echo Kids Classes (and their parents too).

We received some wonderful feedback from audiences. Here is a short selection:

“Enjoyed contact improvisation most – the combination of old, young, amateur and professionals. The stillness and anticipation of the next movement”

“Enjoyed the cross section of diverse performers and personal expression styles allowed within the piece; music was a nice platform indeed“

“Beautiful precision and recreational work; some magic moments; All ensemble fully engaged and skillful; powerful build-up of intensity with music”

“Beautiful and Organic – Loved watching”

“A Walk, A Dream, A Reality”


“Fascinating, thought provoking, energising”

“Poetic, Dreamlike, moving, funny, entertaining, puzzling, great!”

“The fact that non-professional dancers performed with the ensemble. It was a constant feeling of care through-out that people gave of themselves in this way! Loved the children, adored the music”

“Amazing. Really enjoyed it. Very Moving. Peaceful”


“I really enjoyed today’s performance. I didn’t know what to expect, but could relate to certain things within it”

“Amazing. So much energy and creativity”

“Extraordinary and Creative”

“It was lovely performance and both groups really complimented each other lovely”

“Beauty of the movement. The intergenerational aspect to the piece seeing development of Body Wisdom – wow! Can’t believe how far they have come”


Thanks to Living Witness Productions for the beautiful images.

Walk By – an introduction from Steve Batts

body wisdom portraits 093

Walk By

Walk By is the first time that Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company has created a full length performance which includes the Body Wisdom group, participants from our Children’s Classes and dancers from the Echo Echo Ensemble. The piece is truly made from our hearts.

Walk By is a rehearsed improvisation. This might sound a bit paradoxical but every live performance has some element of newness, creation, interpretation in the “live moment” and every performance has something decided beforehand even if it is just the time, location and the people involved.

Walk By is guided, much like an orchestral music performance, by a score; a set of instructions. In our case the score is used a bit more like the chord progressions and original melody are used by jazz musicians when they play “standards”.

In Walk By the score is made up of elements that suggest particular kinds of actions, like walking for example, and of instructions that ask the performers to pay attention to different memories, ideas and relationships with each other, as the performance progresses. There are no instructions in the score about what precise moves or shapes the performers should make. All of the detail is left up to the intuitive decisions of the performers.

In Walk By the performers do a poetic version of the already magical thing that we all do in our daily lives: Making it up, together and separately, as we go along, within frameworks and guidelines created by history, ethical values and aesthetic taste.

The music for Walk By is called Drive By. It is a recording of an hour-long improvisation by The Necks, an Australian band of three master improvisers whose concert in St Columb’s Hall, Derry in 2014 was an inspiration. It gives me an amused pleasure to think that a recording of an improvisation has become the only really fixed part of Walk By.

The lights for Walk By are, of course, fixed in their positions and directions but the choices about the intensity, blending and colour of the light are made by our lighting designer Barry Davis as the performance is created.

Walk By is a sort of meditation on the “poetics of the ordinary”. It has grown from an interest in the way that the smallest elements of the human world around us frequently arouse deep feelings and perhaps powerful responses, even though these feelings and responses often remain restrained and undramatic.

Walk By begins very quietly and takes it’s time to find its way. We aren’t in a rush and we invite you to join us in slowing down and paying attention to the small and touching details of the world as we pass through it and it passes by us.

Part of our creation process was to notice small incidents that we saw in the street which moved us in some mysterious way. We have printed out some of these shortest of short stories for you to read before the performance begins.

I hope you enjoy the performance. It lasts one hour.

Steve Batts

Artistic Director

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company


Image by Sarah Bryden Photography


Body Wisdom reflections ahead of Walk By performances next week

We are very much looking forward to performances on Walk By next week – new performance work created by Echo Echo Ensemble, the Body Wisdom group, and young children from Echo Echo Kids Classes.

Echo Echo and Body Wisdom have been meeting voluntarily in a professional studio context for many months to develop the deep improvisation processes in Walk By under the direction of Steve Batts and accompanied by the hypnotic music of The Necks.

We recently asked some of the Body Wisdom group for their reflections on what the project has meant to them and received some wonderful words…

“the positive effect of movement on people’s cognitive ability, physical health and general wellbeing is undisputed and particularly the type of movement/dance that we do in Body Wisdom has all of us sailing out the door with our endorphins flying!”

“Movement any movement done naturally and with awareness and gratitude for life and the moment given, is graceful enjoyable and self-fulfilling. It’s a positive addiction and great crack. It has a laughter of self-forgetfulness bubbling beneath the surface that, though the spirit of dance cannot be commanded, on some occasions of its own grace rises irrisistibly shaking the body out of its knotty sullennesses. Like water it’s a simple natural thing essential and often overlooked. An expression of the nobility of the human in the prison of her days, where as Wordsworth has it, all the weary weight of this unintelligible world is lightened and where we are taught to be wise  in silent or whispered praise. It’s an honour then to be part of an effort to participate in sharing this often spurned gift.”

My 2 years coming to Body Wisdom have really been a life saver for me, in many ways, which are too personal to share.  One of the things I love about our classes, is that “There is no wrong way “  In life we are often corrected, from an early age we are told we are not doing IT right, whatever it may be, big or small, important or not.  To experience the freedom and permission to do IT my way, to trust my judgement,  is a very powerful positive thing.  It helps me believe I am ok.

Tickets for Walk By are onsale now and available via the Echo Echo website.


Walk By Artwork