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WATCH Irish Aerial Creation Centre brings Ireland’s performers to new heights

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The Irish Aerial Creation Centre is a place for people to unlock their creativity. IACC is Ireland’s first purpose-fitted space for aerial dance and home to Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company, the founders.

The Irish Aerial Creation Centre is a place for people to unlock their creativity. It is a centre for the creation and education of Aerial Arts in Ireland

WATCH Irish Aerial Creation Centre brings Ireland's performers to new heights
The Irish Aerial Creation Centre (IACC), now 7 years old, is a strategic catalyst project which arose from Limerick City of Culture.

The Irish Aerial Creation Centre (IACC), now 7 years old, is a strategic catalyst project which arose from Limerick City of Culture. Opened in February 2015, in an industrial unit, the IACC rapidly became a strategic cultural asset for the city and county. Fidget Feet and IACC are now firmly established and embedded as changemakers in Limerick’s vibrant artistic landscape.

The IACC is the only purpose-fit space for aerial circus in Ireland and provides a home for Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company, world-class aerialists, enthusiasts, hobbyists and pure beginners alike.

Aerial Dance and Aerial Circus is an art form made world famous by Cirque du Soleil. It is a highly skilled discipline that involves performing on apparatus such as trapeze, hoop, fabric and rope at heights between 6 metres to 40 metres in the air. It is a performing discipline that forms part of the cultural sector which includes theatre, dance and circus.


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Chantal McCormick, Creative Director said, “We opened in February 2015 in partnership with the University of Limerick. We teach students from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. Another reason for our opening was to provide a new home for Fidget Feet, we needed a space where we could train artists and create work.”

WATCH Irish Aerial Creation Centre brings Ireland's performers to new heights
The Irish Aerial Creation Centre (IACC), now 7 years old, is a strategic catalyst project which arose from Limerick City of Culture. Chantal McCormick, Creative Director

The Creative Director noted the importance of community outreach for IACC, saying, “We also wanted to make it reach out to the community, that was very important to us, so we have a very successful and large community program whereby we teach Aeriel to anyone from the age of four up to adults.”

Aeriel uses traditional circus apparatuses such as trapezes and ropes among other equipment as well as harnesses and vertical dance. Vicky McManus of The Circus Project in the UK says the practice brings a lot of fun and more: “Aerial dance just brings a wealth of benefits, it’s amazing. It’s fun, you get to run around and hang upside down and swing about. You’re working with people, it’s creative, there are so many different bits of equipment that you can apply the skills to.”

Chantal added, “and we teach people that. We teach people to be creative with the idea that Ireland will have a huge love and interest for Aerial dance and it will just keep growing and growing.”  

Modelled on Cirque du Soleil’s IHQ Creation Studio in Montreal, the IACC is a creation centre for professional artists to train and develop aerial work and hosts Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company as core residents.

Under the stewardship of the internationally respected Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company, the IACC enjoyed immediate success in developing a number of ongoing partnerships and collaborations with Limerick City and County Council, the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy of Music & Dance and the wider Limerick community.

As well as classes and workshops for the public, IACC teachers facilitate the University of Limerick’s taught modules in aerial dance and the IACC is currently working with UL to develop Ireland’s first MA in Aerial.

WATCH Irish Aerial Creation Centre brings Ireland's performers to new heights
The Irish Aerial Creation Centre (IACC), now 7 years old, is a strategic catalyst project which arose from Limerick City of Culture. Chantal McCormick, Creative Director

University of Limerick Work Experience student Keva O’Neill the IACC is unique in some respects, “The Irish Aerial Creation Centre offers two modules, one per semester. The first module would be technique and then the next would be creative lab. And then at the end of each semester, a student would be able to perform a small piece that they themselves have created from what they’ve learned throughout their whole semester. So, there are no other aerial centres like this in the sense that you can come in here and you can create your own pieces and have your own space.”

The IACC and Fidget Feet partner with other international aerial creation centres, circus companies and companies around the world; connecting Ireland to this extraordinary international community of aerial artists.

IACC has also been funded by Creative Ireland since 2018 and now is the lead partner in a collaboration mixing classical music, hip-hop dancing and aerial dance, through the Limrockers Cru, Irish Concert Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Emerging Limerick filmmakers and Limerick Youth Dance Company.

The Irish Aerial Creation Centre (IACC), now 7 years old, is a strategic catalyst project which arose from Limerick City of Culture.

“We all come together with our youth that has been coming here for a while, and we create a show that we perform in this space. So, this is really a multi-purpose space,” said Chantal.

As well as Ireland’s youth, the IACC offers classes to a much farther reach, Head Teacher Sara Granda said, “We host a lot of residencies as well for artists, so we have artists coming from everywhere, and we just offer them these days so they can create. And then also, we just try our best to host different workshops and things. So at the creation centre, there are loads of things.”

The IACC also works with schools to provide one-off workshops introducing aerial dance and exercise as a mindfulness option. We run the TY class series and operate a teacher training and rigger for entertainment industry training courses.

Thinking to the future, the IACC hopes to expand their current setup to offer more space, with Chantal McCormick saying, “We have big plans here. We’re in the process of converting inside here, so we’re going to get it fully insulated, and then we’re going to separate the studios. And we’re going to build more office space and a small studio. So, it just means at the moment it’s an open plan, so a lot of things are happening at the same time. And if we’re able to separate the studios, it just means we can grow and grow and grow and be a warm space for the future to come.”  

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