Inaugurated in 2002, the Dublin Dance Festival (formerly International Dance Festival Ireland) has become the premier dance event on the Irish arts calendar. 2011 will see the 7th edition of the festival, and the fourth as an annual event.
In 2002, the Festival was established under the guidance of Founder and Artistic Director Catherine Nunes to pioneer the presentation in Dublin of the best contemporary dance and to establish a dedicated audience for the art form. The first festival quickly set out to make a statement by presenting the hugely influential Merce Cunningham Dance Company as the festival’s flagship performance.Following the success of the first festival, the 2004 and 2006 festivals provided equally exciting programmes, featuring a range of international work from such notable artists as Mark Morris, Alain Platel, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Jérôme Bel, among many others.
In September 2007 Laurie Uprichard was appointed as the new Artistic Director for the first annual Dublin Dance Festival, which took place from April 17-May 3 2008 and featured the Irish debut of The Forsythe Company. DDF 2009 took place from May 8-23 and featured a breadth of international artists, many of whose works explored cultural identity and all of whom represent the nomadic lifestyle and global reach of contemporary dance.
The programme for DDF 2010 featured a number of works which explored notions of age and its reflection in dance, inspired by the poetic title of the centrepiece performance Young People, Old Voices by Raimund Hoghe. A related strand looked at the inclusivity of contemporary dance in terms of body types and abilities as well as chronological age. The 2010 Festival closed with a rousing performance by Noche Flamenca for a capacity audience at Vicar Street.
DDF 2011, which takes place from May 13-28, will focus on the work of Asian choreographers, both those still living in their countries of origin as well as several who were born abroad or have emigrated. The centerpiece of the 2011 Festival will see the world-renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan perform Lin Hwai-min’s signature work Songs of the Wanderers at Dublin’s newest and largest venue, the Grand Canal Theatre. In addition to the Asian artists, some new and some familiar artists from Europe and North America will perform in Dublin. More than 40 performances will be complemented by a rich programme that includes an outdoor headphone disco, workshops, film screenings, artist talks, master classes and DDF’s first ‘off’ event.