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The 2023 Step Up Dance Project is underway at the Irish World Academy and Dance Limerick with five young dance artists The 2023 Step Up Dance Project is underway at the Irish World Academy and Dance Limerick with five young dance artists


The 2023 Step Up Dance Project gets into motion



The 2023 Step Up Dance Project gets in motion at Dance Limerick and the Irish World Academy

The 2023 Step Up Dance Project is underway at the Irish World Academy and Dance Limerick with five young dance artists

Following a competitive open call last year, five young dance artists were selected to take part in this year’s edition. Ghaliah Conroy, Fionnuala Doyle Wade, Saoirse Lambkin O’Kane, Ben Sullivan and Jessie Thompson will spend the next six weeks working together on the development of new exciting work with choreographer Maria Nilsson Waller.

This year’s edition is curated by renowned dance artist Fearghus Ó Conchúir, who was appointed as artistic curator in 2022. With a focus on celebrating differences and supporting each other throughout the process, Fearghus’ vision is for a project that allows for dancers to explore their most honest creative selves.

Independent Wexford-based dance artist Lucia Kickham takes on the role of rehearsals director for the second consecutive year. Together with guest artists Finola Cronin, Deirdre Griffin, Mary Nunan, Mufutau Yusuf, and Justine Cooper, she will lead an intensive programme of classes and creative workshops that will focus on widening horizons and exploring new ways of performing together.


For six weeks, the dancers and team will work on the creation of a new piece to be premiered at Dance Limerick in early August (date TBC).

The yet to be titled piece by Nilsson Waller will explore the concept and realities of rivers. Drawing on the vital importance of the river Shannon for the city of Limerick, Maria casts a wider net that examines the idea of flow, of a stream that washes away what does not serve us anymore – pollution, body shame, religious shame, violence, trauma, fear and grief – to bring back joy into our bodies.

Maria is a freelance dance artist and choreographer who also designs sound, set and costume. With work described as pure emotion, mesmerising and profound she repeatedly draws our attention to our relationship to nature and the environment, to our relationship with the wild, our own bodies and natural intelligence, examining the borders between the known and unknown, science versus faith and mythology.

“As a choreographer, being commissioned to make work is a life dream come true,” they said, adding, “I have never made a piece for 5 virtual strangers before, and I have never made a piece with such an open, unwritten approach in myself. To get to work uninterrupted for 6 weeks in beautiful studios and with amazing young, talented, highly trained dancers. What a precious time!”

“I imagine the choreography to be one consistent loop – a closed circuit, a never-ending figure of eight, time recycling itself for eternity. Constant change, eroding evolution. Thank you Step Up and Dance Limerick for creating a space where unpredictable things can happen,” They concluded.

Performance dates will be out soon, find out more on Dance Limerick and by following their social media accounts.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.