New Irish Dance Ensemble based in UCD

Applications are open for a new Irish Dance Ensemble directed by UCD Dance Artist in Residence, Jean Butler. The five-person ensemble offers students with Irish dancing experience a financial bursary, the opportunity to train and develop their artistic talents, and to perform at high profile events in Ireland and abroad. Interested candidates are asked to make an initial online application to be considered for audition via the Scholarship Applications tab on SISWeb. The application contains general questions about the candidate’s experience, their goals and aspirations as part of the ensemble, and requires the submission of a video clip of the candidate performing a chosen routine. The closing date for online applications is 1st October while auditions will follow in the second week of the month and involve an individual interview in front of a panel as well as a group workshop. Any questions in relation to the application or audition process should be directed to Director Jean Butler has performed as the original female lead dancer and co-choreographer of Riverdance in 1994. Since 2005, Butler has worked with The Abbey Theatre, The Project Arts Centre, and The Dublin Dance Festival, among other organisations. With deputy choreographer Kristyn Fontanella, Butler plans to host informal dance lecture demonstrations of her personal research and findings, and take part in conversational lectures. In directing the new group of Irish dancers, they will help performers improve their technical and stylistic dancing skills, while also develop a deeper and more extensive understanding of what constitutes Irish Dance performance. While UCD already offers opportunities in drama, singing, orchestra, and musicianship, this will be the first time a bursary will be offered to Irish dancing students. “Adding Irish Dance to our performance repertoire was a very natural step for us as we knew we were missing this element of our cultural heritage” Eilis O’Brien, Director of Communications explains. “Our existing performance students have already shown that they love to take their art to stages beyond these shores. The UCD Choral Scholars for example, are wonderful ambassadors who perform to the highest international standards, have recorded under classical label Signum Records, and regularly tour overseas while managing to complete their studies in subjects ranging from archaeology to zoology.” This may be a chance for Irish dancers to gain similar recognition.