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11th May 2017

7 Things You Need To Check Out At Dublin Dance Festival


If you’re looking for something exciting, something different, something extraordinary, then you need to seriously consider checking out this year’s Dublin Dance Festival.

Each year in May, the festival showcases the hottest dance from around the world as well as the very best of homegrown talent. Having grown steadily since the first festival in 2002, it has become an annual cultural highlight, when the stages and streets of Dublin come alive with world-class dance.

There’s no shortage of wonderful and distinctive performances to feast your eyes upon at the festival, be you new to dance or something of an aficionado. The innovative programme includes hip hop dance battles, a Baroque spectacle and even a free ‘Bubble Baby Boogie’ to get the babas boppin’.

And that’s far from all.  

Every year the festival puts on a healthy mix of performances to ensure that as many people can enjoy it as possible — dance is universal, after all. 

Simply peruse our selection of highlights to see if anything takes your fancy…

1. Concert

This show is based around a rather unique challenge:  taking music you can’t dance to and dancing an entire album of it. 

In Concert, traditional Irish dance artist Colin Dunne (formerly of Riverdance fame) takes the album The Liffey Banks by fiddle player Tommie Potts — something widely considered to be unsuitable for dancing to — and sets about transforming it into something more, right in front of his audience.

To achieve this effect, all Dunne has is a LP, a tape recorder, portable speakers, sheets of flooring… and a touch of genius.

What will follow will undoubtedly be a dance a remember… for both trad lovers and innovators alike.

How much? €25 full price/€20 conc

Where? Project Arts Centre, Space Upstairs

When? 8pm, Thu May 18, Fri May 19 & Sat May 20 


2. Top 8 Hip-Hop Dance Battle 

Dancers from across Ireland and Europe come together to celebrate urban culture and street dance with this battle of epic proportions.

With live DJs KhanFu (UK) and Dmitri (Latvia) providing the tracks, hip-hop innovator Tobi Omoteso and the Top 8 Team will hold the ultimate dance-off, with participants competing in categories like Breaking, Hip-Hop, Krump and Under16’s Allstyle battles. 

If you want to learn how you can move like the pros, you can even take part in one of the street dance workshops which take place before the battle.

How much? €10

Where? Project Arts Centre, Space Upstairs

When? 7pm, Sun May 21

Top 8 Hip Hop

3. Deep Dish

This will probably be the most bizarre dinner party you’ll ever witness — but in a good way!

In Deep Dish, four performers take their seats at a table set for an insane feast, while live footage is projected all around them.

The dinner party unfolds, our diners move through an intoxicating landscape of earthly delights, meditating on the decadence and transience of human life. 

Come Dine With Me this ain’t.

It’s pure spectacle and something that you’re not likely to forget in a hurry.

How much? €22-38 full price/€20-34 conc.

Where? Abbey Theatre, on the Abbey stage

When? 7.30pm, Fri May 26 & Sat May 27

Deep Dish

4. Sunny 

If you appreciate masterful choreography, you shall be checking this one out.

Created by acclaimed choreographer Emanuel Gat and DJ, singer and performer Awir Leon, this live concert is an exciting collision of dance and interesting new sounds.

The show features ten dancers moving in a free-form of chain reactions responding to an unfolding rendition of Marvin Gaye’s song Sunny

Uplifting, colourful, sensual — if that sounds like your bag, then consider yourself invited.

How much? €22-38 full price/€20-34 conc.

Where? Abbey Theatre, on the Abbey stage

When? 7.30pm, Mon May 22 & Tue 23 May


5. Extraterrestrial Events

A spectacular new dance piece-cum-opera, Extraterrestrial Events is inspired by real UFO sighting reports made to GEIPAN, a unit of the French Space Agency investigating unidentified aerospace phenomena. 

The show asks some uncomfortable questions, like did these events really happen? Is it something we actually want to know? As with many things in life, there is desire tinged with doubt.

The multi-sensory experience has been created by Philip Connaughton, who is joined in this performance by four incredible dancers, composer Michael Gallen and world-renowned soprano Kim Sheehan.

How much? €22 full price/€18 conc.

Where? Samuel Beckett Theatre

When? 7.30pm, Sat May 27 & Sun May 28


6. Moveable Feast

Moveable Feast is an afternoon of fun FREE dance experiences for all ages in Merrion Square park, where you can pack a picnic, bring your nearest and dearest, and simply enjoy the show.

It kicks off with a little family yoga, then you’ve got ‘Bubble Baby Boogie’ (which sounds adorable) and a ‘Dress-up Selfie Station’ by Dance World where you can capture your best moves.

There’ll be the ever-popular Dublin Ukelele Collective as well as pop-up performances courtesy of CoisCéim BROADREACH’s The Dance Ensemble 50+ and Dublin Youth Dance Company. Plus you’ll be able to learn some sweet new moves in the ‘Funky Feet’ and ‘Bollyrobics’ workshops.

The biggest NELKEN-Line in Ireland will form at 2pm, where everyone will be doing a simple dance to celebrate the changing of the seasons.

There will also be tea and cakes, so you know it’s gonna be a good time.

Since this is Ireland, those in attendance are advised to be prepared for all weather. A bit of rain ain’t gonna stop this party.

How much? FREE

Where? Merrion Square Park 

When? 12-3pm, Sun May 21

Moveable Feast

7. Striptease

Sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t an actual strip show nor the erotic thriller starring Demi Moore — though she does make an on-screen appearance.

From Spanish choreographer Pere Faura, Striptease is a tongue-in-cheek take on the ancient art of undressing for the pleasure of others.

Our unlikely stripper uses dance, theatre and video to explore the relationship between movement, desire and seduction. 

That may sound highfalutin, but it’s witty and a bit of cheeky fun. 

Besides, who doesn’t love a good striptease?

How much? €22 full price/€18 conc.

Where? Project Arts Centre, Space Upstairs

When? 9pm, Sat May 27 & Sun May 28