A new dawn for dance in Ireland

The Arts Council of Ireland announces the outcome of the call for proposals for the new all island dance company.

After a competitive selection process, a team led by Liz Roche Company, with foundational strategic partners Maiden Voyage Dance and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, was appointed to form the company. This team comes with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in dance, both nationally and internationally.

This new company will provide a national platform for dance, collaboration and development, seeking to strengthen the existing dance ecosystem, develop the artform and develop pathways for artists to create work of scale and ambition.

The Arts Council of Ireland is making an initial investment of €2M in 2024 to support the establishment of the dance company.

In 2022, the Arts Council of Ireland published its Advancing Dance policy, setting out a vision for the future of the dance sector in Ireland. A key action of this policy was the creation of an all-island dance company that would lead to expanded opportunities for audiences and artists across Ireland to engage with dance, as well as extending the reach of Irish dance internationally.

The Arts Council of Ireland currently supports a dynamic sector of dance companies, individual dance artists, festivals and resource organisations that have created an exciting and diverse community of practice. According to the national arts engagement survey, Arts Insight, dance boasts some of the highest participation figures in Ireland, second only to music among all artforms.

Minister Catherine Martin said: “I am delighted that the Arts Council is developing dance in Ireland and to witness the establishment of this new dance company, a groundbreaking company that promises to shape the future of dance in Ireland. Through its strategic vision and inclusive programming, the company will serve as a catalyst for cultural development and artistic excellence across the island. I commend the founders and collaborators of the company for their dedication to advancing the cultural landscape of Ireland and look forward to the transformative impact of their work throughout the island.”

Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council of Ireland, said: “As stewards of Ireland’s cultural legacy, the Arts Council is thrilled to spearhead a new departure for dance in Ireland. With members of Liz Roche Company in partnership with Maiden Voyage Dance and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick at the helm, dance as an artform will be enjoyed by more people than ever before. This new All-Ireland company exemplifies the power of dance to unify, inspire, and enrich our communities. We congratulate the newly founded company for their commitment to fostering artistic excellence, promoting inclusivity, and advancing the cultural landscape of Ireland. We look forward to witnessing the transformative impact of this endeavour as it unfolds across the island.”

Liz Roche Company says: “We are thrilled at the Arts Council’s announcement that a team led by Liz Roche Company along with strategic partners Maiden Voyage Dance and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick has been awarded funding to support the establishment of a new all-island dance company. Liz Roche Company will be engaging with all our stakeholders as we enter this new phase. Exciting times!”

Further details about the planned programme of activity for the new all-island dance company will be announced in the coming months.

Photo by Naoise Culhane of dancers Inez Berdychowska and Vitor Barboza da Silva on Sandymount Strand.