Marguerite Donlon with her daughter and extended family
Internationally acclaimed contemporary choreographer Marguerite Donlon is all set this week to create an original work right here in her hometown of Longford with American based, Trinity Irish Dance Company
The dance company will have its first Donlon piece created for them on Irish soil and it will also be its first time to set foot in Ireland since its inception in 1990.
Founding Artistic Director, Mark Howard made contact with Ms Donlon because of her unique mix of pioneering contemporary work and knowledge of the Irish step.
Indeed, speaking to the Leader this week, Ms Donlon said learning Irish dancing here in Longford as a young girl provided her with her first steps into the world of dance.
This project is something that she is very excited about
Initially, when the dance company asked her if she could come over to Chicago to create something new for them she said she'd be delighted to but suggested they come to Longford where she would be spending time with family and friends. The dancers said yes and raised the money for the flights through crowdfunding.
Having recently been to the States to create a new piece and, not long before that, to Canada, Ms Donlon says she was delighted that they took her offer up to come to Longford.
“We are going to create something very special here, something that will merge contemporary dance and Irish dance,” she added, before admitting that she enjoys pushing boundaries together with teams of passionate people.
Ms Donlon’s celebrated work has been set upon distinguished companies such as the Rambert Dance London and Bolshoi ballet who will be subsequently performing one of her works in November at the London Coliseum. She is known for her humour and profound creativity.
This latest project here in Longford, which is due to begin this week at the Backstage Theatre, will see her delve right into that new world passion that has struck at the very heart of Irish dance.
“The guys involved in this are all world champion Irish dancers and in a lot of my work Irish dance is there,” Ms Donlon continued.
“There is a wonderful rhythm and bounce in Irish dancing; there is so much there to be explored.”
The Longford woman’s stylistic innovation, Irish wit and the combination of different art forms secured her a place in the international dance scene many years ago, and the fact is, that her talents continue to dazzle world wide audiences.
Back here in Longford she and Trinity Irish Dance Company will begin with a blank canvas.
The group has just one week to create their masterpiece before members of the dance company leave Ireland on August 9
“It will be intensive and short but very exciting,” she added, before pointing out that the plan of action over the next few days would also include a short informal showing or sneak preview to a Longford audience upon completion.
“We are planning the event to take place at Backstage Theatre and that will be Tuesday next week,” she smiled.
“We will post it on Facebook and the online section of the Longford leader.”
Recognised internationally as a centre of excellence for dance and performance, Shawbrook has fostered a nurturing environment of dance creativity for over 30 years now.
From humble beginnings, Shawbrook Dance is now home to dance studios, a theatre, an outdoor studio, forest walks and a range of on-site accommodation, including Forest Cabins in the woods.
And, it is right here at Shawbrook that Marguerite Donlon started out as a dancer at the tender age of 16.
“I want to take the opportunity to thank Backstage Theatre for all their support on this project and for showing an openness and responsibility in enabling new creations and also Geraldine Stewart who has provided accommodation for our visitor. It's great to be a small part of getting tourism to Longford, and what better way to do it then through dance,” concluded Ms Donlon.