As Croi Glan approach their 10th anniversary Tara Brandel talks about the last ten years…
When Rhona Coughlan and I set up Croí Glan ten years ago, it would have been hard for us to imagine where Croí Glan would be today, or all the myriad of projects and experiences that have happened in the last ten years.
It’s been interesting over the last ten years to watch how attitudes toward disability have shifted, and also how attitudes to integrated dance within the contemporary dance community in Ireland have shifted as well. Dancers with disabilities are becoming more visible now in Ireland.
Our attitude at Croí Glan has always been that working with diverse bodies is about pushing the edge of contemporary dance as an art form and seeing where else it can go. As a professional integrated contemporary dance company we are always challenging the assumption that we are a community group that’s making amateur work, where the focus is on ‘helping’ people with disabilities.
It’s been very important to us to work with really good choreographers, and our focus has been about making good art that people want to see, and that feels relevant to people. Work that touches and inspires people. I hope that we’ve stretched people’s perceptions of who can dance and what dance looks like, and of what dancing bodies look like. And perhaps inspired other contemporary dancers to feel more comfortable and more accepting of their own bodies and their own dance.
It’s been exciting this year to work with David Bolger and Jess Curtis a second time. As we’ve rehearsed these new pieces this year I’ve reflected on how much we’ve evolved as a company since then, but also how Croí Glan’s work is always about revealing what lies beneath, our authentic stories, who were really are, both as individuals, and on a universal scale, who we are as humans.
These new pieces Remote and Fancy Dress continue to celebrate our shared humanity, with a level of subtlety and depth. Both pieces ask complex questions. I hope the audience will leave feeling emotionally and intellectually challenged to ask “Who are we and what does it mean to be human?”