No school tour, no mingling with other classes on the school yard, no inter-schools GAA matches/chess competitions... the list went on for our unfortunate students who were unintentional victims of a global pandemic. However, as we lay basking in the sunshine, hidden in a lush meadow under a majestic oak tree which has survived many such pandemics and crises, Covid 19 was far from our minds. We were taking a short break from filming our creative dance piece in collabOration with Tipperary Dance Platform in the stunning grounds of Lismacue House....and all was suddenly right with the world.
The almost four months of rehearsals with Jazmin and Lucy were clearly bearing fruit. As formations and dance movements were called, children ran seamlessly to their designated spots to begin their piece. As I watched them move amongst each other gracefully and manipulate their bodies at impossible angles to each other, so as to almost morph into one abstract body, I was reminded of the first rehearsal all those months ago when boys stood a safe distance from their female classmates. No such inhibitions now as they glide, swoop, and dive as one murmur of starlings. It is the perfect ending to a difficult and emotional year for all of the students. The freedom and abandon of their movements as they skip through the grass is more than a dance piece. It is an expression of having come through the worst. The shackles are coming off, they see light where there was none before. It is beautiful and moving in equal parts.
We are indebted to the professionalism of Jazmin and Lucy who treated each and every student as if they were a fellow dancer and worthy of their attention at all times. A relationship had evolved between student and choreographers built on a solid foundation of mutual respect. The children would have attempted a triple somersault on a tightrope by the time filming came round (note: the children were NOT asked to attempt a triple somersault on a tightrope!!). The crew including Alex, Shane, Ariel and Caleb were great fun and knew exactly how to get the most from children with gentle coaxing and funny anecdotes. We couldn’t be more excited to see the fruits of everyone’s labour when the screening is scheduled in October. Thank you everyone at Tipperary Dance Festival for the joyful and fitting end to our very own "annus horribilis". We needed this release. We just didn’t realise it until now. Taimid faoi Chomaoin agaibh.