A new dawn for dance

Maiden Voyage are delighted to be part of the team led by Liz Roche Company to establish this new all-island dance company.

Press release from the Arts Council of Ireland.

The Arts Council has today announced the creation of a new all-island dance company, marking a transformative and significant moment for Ireland’s dance community. The Arts Council is making an initial investment of €2M in 2024 to support the establishment of the 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 platform for dance, collaboration and development, seeking to strengthen the existing dance ecology, develop the artform and develop pathways for artists to create work of scale and ambition.

In 2022, the Arts Council 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 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, 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 Dance Company and Maiden Voyage 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, incoming Artistic Director of the new dance company, said: “At this hugely exciting moment for dance, we applaud the Arts Council’s investment to initiate a new island-wide dance company. This company will see the birth of a unique dance ensemble adept in performing invigorating, brave and ground-breaking work from a range of choreographers based across the island and internationally. The new company will offer distinctive, high-quality experiences for all, with a clear commitment to strengthening the existing dance ecosystem in Ireland.”

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