Unleashing the Fabulous Beast

Having reached the heady heights of prestigious venues such as the Barbican (London), London Coliseum, the Royal Opera House, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, and Houston Grand Opera, Michael Keegan-Dolan would be forgiven for having a certain level of artistic arrogance. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Having reached the heady heights of prestigious venues such as the Barbican (London), London Coliseum, the Royal Opera House, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, and Houston Grand Opera, Michael Keegan-Dolan would be forgiven for having a certain level of artistic arrogance. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Artistic Director of the highly accomplished Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre company, Keegan-Dolan is a down-to-earth father of two who lives and works in the calm surroundings of Kilmacannon, Newtownforbes.

In keeping with what is already a highly successful year, Fabulous Beast was recently chosen as one of four Irish dance companies to adorn An Post’s latest selection of postage stamps. The stamps were designed in celebration of the Dublin Dance Festival (May 11-26).

A son of James Dolan (Kilmacannon, Newtownforbes) and Mary Keegan (Marino, Dublin), Mr Keegan-Dolan is the first to admit that his father would be very proud to see his son’s company on an Irish stamp.

“I think my father, if he were alive, would have been really proud of me for this,” he said.

Looking at his relationship with the county he and his family now call home, Mr Keegan-Dolan finds contentment and inspiration in the quiet of the midlands.

“I would be very interested in setting up a dance studio here in Longford. The challenge however is to raise the capital. Plus I also have to pursue my own work as a creator,” he said.

As a creator, Mr Keegan-Dolan has been involved in many notable productions including; Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’ (2009), Giselle (2003), The Bull (2005), James Son of James (2007), and The Flowerbed (2000).

Life shows no signs of slowing down for Mr Keegan-Dolan. Currently his active projects include overseeing the ‘Rian’ world tour, a production he developed with Liam O’Maonlaí (Hothouse Flowers). Liam is a man that Keegan-Dolan now calls a good friend.

‘Rian’ features eight dancers and five musicians (one of which is O’Maonlaí), and the dancers come from countries dotted throughout the globe such as: India, Africa and Finland.

“It’s a mixed bag. We opened in the Gate Theatre (Dublin) last October and have had a huge response so far,” he said.

He added that the production had since visited London.

“We have now been invited all over the world this year,” he said of the tour that is set to visit cities and large towns such as New York, Lyon, Sydney, Hong Kong, Cork, Norwich, Wiesbaden, Umea and Carlow.

Coupled with the pressure of a world tour, Keegan-Dolan is also facing the challenge of directing a Handel Opera, ‘Julius Ceasar’, in London in October 2012.

Moreover, the father of Milo (3) and Ellie (1) will travel Stateside this year to undertake a four week residency at the Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, Texas. He will be joined on this residency by playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh.

“There is certainly quite a lot of travel this year,” said Mr Keegan-Dolan.

When he gets time to relax, the Dublin native likes to unwind in nature and listen to music. It is through these simple pleasures that the creator within continues to fabulously flourish.