Bealtaine Festival

Ancestor Movement Workshop With Fiona Quilligan and Olwen Grindley

Mermaid is delighted to welcome reknowned choreographer Fiona Quilligan and dancer Olwen Grindley to Mermaid Arts Centre for this special workshop to celebrate this year's Bealtaine Festival, celebrating the arts and creativity as we age.

Drawing on Quilligan's recent film work ANCESTOR (2022), participants are invited to consider the gestures and bodily movement that may have been part of the everyday lives of our early Neolithic forebears. Quilligan's research envisages the movements of Neolithic bodies; their physical interactions with each other and the landscape of an emerging farming community; and crucially with passage graves.

Taking inspiration from these tombs, imaginatively exploring the pace and activities of their builders and users, she creates a repertoire of moves suited to a people that presumably cared for nature, experienced time, the night skies and perhaps even death, in an entirely different manner to the way in which we inhabit the contemporary world. She considers, “and what would our Ancestors think of this virus bending low to plant their first seeds in Spring?”

  • Wear loose clothing
  • Dancers of all levels come and join in this exciting workshop.
  • No previous dance experience needed!

NOTE: This workshop is for older people

Bealtaine is run by Age & Opportunity, the leading national development organisation working to enable the best possible quality of life for us all as we age. Its aim is to encourage more older people to participate in the arts and to increase the quality and opportunities of existing participants.

What to expect

This workshop will include three aspects of embodiment.

1. Warm up and movement response to the subject of caring for your environment and embracing nature.

2. Making art work related to early stone carvings.

Please bring objects: It could be something common to shoreline a small stone, shells, seaweed or piece of flotsam from the beach.

3. Conversations on the creative process of the workshop and related ideas in ANCESTOR.

About Fiona Quilligan

Fiona Quilligan is an award-winning choreographer, born in Dublin. She trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance and from 1982-86 performed with Dublin City Ballet. In 1986, she founded Rubato Ballet, creating original works for the company which received high critical acclaim, including the Nijinsky medal from Warsaw and AIB Better Ireland Award in Arts and Culture. In 2014 Fiona received an MA in performance from the University of Limerick. She is also a founding member of Dance Ireland.

ANCESTOR premiered in the Irish Film Centre in March and was hosted on RTE ARTS July in 2022. Watch the trailer here:
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