A packed programme of contemporary dance awaits

Oona Doherty
Oona Doherty

The third Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement starts on Thursday with a packed programme, with something to suit all ages, and stretch everyone’s perception of contemporary dance.

Based in the beautiful purpose-built dance studios on Derry’s Walls, the festival has a wide range of performers, travelling from across the globe to take part in what the Artistic Director Steve Batts calls “11 days of ‘poetry in motion’”.

Yet, the artist making her first full length programme of work is based in Northern Ireland, with a number of the Echo Echo ensemble dancers involved.

Oona Doherty, is presenting three episodes, Leather Jacket, Echo Hunt and Hope Hunt, together in a programme entitled DOCNITE.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ she said, “I’ve performed at the previous two Echo Echo dance festivals in their Short Works programme but I am delighted that the crowdfunding has enabled me to put together the new piece entitled ‘Echo Hunt’.

“It’s a pretty aggressive form of contemporary dance; and I don’t think anybody else in Ireland is really doing anything like it.

“I’ve seen elements of it in Europe but not here. The piece uses the body as a soundscape so there is no other music and the sounds are injected through script and voice; it can be quite rough and shocking in places, so the age limit has been placed at 12+; however, it’s a piece that will, hopefully, make you think, laugh, cry, be scared and then laugh once more.”

Artistic Dircetor Steve Batts is also “very happy to have Oona here for the third time, and to see her develop her already distinctive voice.”

He continued, “The overall programme is a very high quality and very serious in its intent yet, it’s also not in any way obscure.

“As a company and festival we are interested in people dancing, rather than bodies moving. I would say the programme pieces overall are mysterious, interesting and warm.

“We fully believe that dance as an art form is as rich as literature and music.”

Finally, he said he hopes that the funding can be secured for next year.

“Our budget this year is already down on the last two years and we have had to rely on a lot of goodwill to get this year’s programme to fruition.

“If we had paid for the programme ourselves it would have cost three times as much to produce.

“So it’s very hard to plan ahead in the longer term when the funding streams are simply not there.”

In the meantime, a full programme of events as part of this year’s Echo Echo Festoval of Dance and Movement starts on Thursday 5th November, running until Sunday 15th November.

For more details see www.echoechodance.com or call (028) 71308883.