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The Thursday Club: Spoken Dance and Enable Ireland, Limerick. Photo: Dominik Kosicki.
The Thursday Club: Spoken Dance and Enable Ireland, Limerick. Photo: Dominik Kosicki.

The Thursday Club: Spoken Dance and Enable Ireland, Limerick

Funded by the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme

Enable Ireland, Mungret, Limerick have a poetry club each week called “The Thursday Club” where participants share their own poetry compositions and the poetry of other poets that they admire. Spoken Dance collaborated with the Thursday Club by using their original poetry as a stimulus for dance that was used to make two dance films. The film “A Sense of Pleasure” was based on a poem that was written as a result of the exploratory process of the project. The film “Seamus Heaney and Me” was based on a poem that was in the first publication of the Thursday Club.

Participants

The Enable Ireland Mungret, Limerick Adult Day Services Centre offers a non-residential, five-day week service to adults with disabilities. Four members of the Thursday Club based at Enable Ireland Mungret committed to the project, they were Mary Keogh, Deirdre Corry, Mikey O’Dohery and Ricky Coonan. The four participants had previously engaged in integrated dance workshops with Spoken Dance and with the Limerick County Council’s Integrated Dance Programme. They came up with the idea of using their poetry as a stimulus for dance. Lisa Cahill and Mary Hartney, who were the co-directors of Spoken Dance, worked collaboratively with the four participants to derive movement ideas from their poetry compositions. Film-maker Dominik Kosicki provided technical support for filming

Aims

The project aimed to create awareness amongst the general population that the lived experience of being an adult with a disability isn’t always about disability.

Methods

The artists and participants engaged in solo and group movement improvisation with created text towards the development of relevant movement vocabulary. The artists endeavoured to support the participants in increasing their confidence in decision making in creative contexts. Once text and movement were agreed upon, filming commenced. Photography and filming took place during all workshops (including the participants' use of their own phone cameras and iPads).

Artistic Outputs

A DVD containing the video outcomes of the project was produced. The DVD “On a Roll” features two dance films which resulted from the collaboration “A Sense of Pleasure” and “Seamus Heaney and Me.”

Evaluation Methodology

The artists kept a diary about each workshop collaboration with written comments evaluating the outcomes of each workshop. At the end of each workshop the participants engaged in audio recordings to capture feedback and decision-making about the next workshop.

Due to the abilities of the participants of the Thursday Club video recording was the most appropriate means of collecting evidence to inform the evaluation at the end of the collaborative project. Each participant had the opportunity to relate their own personal story on film.

Outcomes

Increased movement vocabulary for the four disabled participants was evidenced in the individual stories especially Mary Keogh’s Story on film and in diaries of the workshops. The movement exploration was very person-centred thus yielding dance and poetry from the participants themselves.

The participants grew in confidence in articulating their ideas and giving feedback. Both Spoken Dance and the Thursday Club participants gained competency in the process of using poetry as a stimulus for dance and selecting dance movement for the purpose of filming.

Deirdre Corry of the Thursday Club plans to continue exploring dance as an art form. She has demonstrated this intention by attending Spoken Dance’s Saturday class and by making a successful application to Limerick City and County Council for funding to support her practice. She has recently spent time in West Cork working with Croi Glan dance company.  An unexpected outcome was for Ricky Coonan to use his music composition skills to provide the incidental music for the film “Seamus Heaney and I”. Ricky intends to continue engaging with dance film and has demonstrated this by applying for funding to Arts and Disability Ireland.

The films have allowed the work of Spoken Dance to be seen by new audiences. Already the films have been shown at Dance House in Dublin as part of the 2015 international integrated dance conference called “Meet Share Dance”. This was the first time that Spoken Dance have had their work shown at Dance House. The films were shown at two performances in Dance Limerick, one performance at Enable Ireland Limerick, Tipperary Dance Platform 2015 and Eigse Michael Hartnett 2016. A request has been made from University of Lodz, Poland to have one of the films shown as part of a literature course.

Documentation & Dissemination

DVDs of the films were made for circulation among the participants and associates.

Read about A Sense of Pleasure in The Limerick Post.

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