Offaly Youth Dance goes international

On Thursday, June 28 Offaly Youth Dance members will take a flight to Rome to take part in the Cultural Bridge Festival, a youth-centered initiative created by Italian choreographer Andrea Cagnetti.

On Thursday, June 28 Offaly Youth Dance members will take a flight to Rome to take part in the Cultural Bridge Festival, a youth-centered initiative created by Italian choreographer Andrea Cagnetti.

Andrea is a well-known dance artist in Italy who trained at the Jeun Ballet in Cannes under the direction of ballet legend Rosella Hightower. He spent many years in Rome directing ArsMovendi Dance Company and managing a busy dance studio, which had more than 100 pupils subscribed at any one time.

Andrea first visited Legitimate Bodies Dance Company in Birr in 2009 when he performed in the ‘If Only’ solo dance festival and formed his links with the company. It was only a couple of years ago that Andrea moved to Oriolo Romano, a beautiful town about an hour from the Italian capital. He became the artist in residence of the Tuscia county.

His new situation made him a perfect candidate for an exchange with Legitimate Bodies Dance Company, as both realities are based in rural areas yet pursue artistic excellence both professionally and educationally.

In particular Andrea has incredible talent in inspiring young people to study contemporary dance and this has become his trademark. Therefore when he approached LBDC to take part in the Cultural Bridge Festival, we were honoured to accept.

Cultural Bridge Festival will take place over the period of a week, where three young companies, OYD from Offaly, Oriolo Romano Youth Company and a company from Southern California directed by Franz Spectra will take class together every morning and rehearse every afternoon to co-create a piece. This will be performed at the Teatro Greco in Rome as well as in an open-theatre in Oriolo Romano.

OYD will also present a piece made by LBDC Artistic Directors Cristina Goletti and Nick Bryson as well as two new pieces, one by Shamita Ray, a UK based classical indian dancer and Andrea Cagnetti himself who was in Birr in May.

Andrea’s piece ‘Happens Inside’ was warmly received at the recent launch of the Offaly County Council’s Artsplan in Birr Theatre & Arts Centre.

For these young Offalians, the opportunity to travel outside the country, work with internationally renowned choreographers and to meet other young people who share the same passion, is an incredible, life-changing opportunity. Some of these young dancers have never been outside Ireland and the idea of touring as a dance ensemble is a very exciting proposition.

Moreover they have worked hard all year to get ready for this big adventure, learning that good things happen only through hard work and commitment.

The Offaly Youth Dance trip is partially sponsored by Offaly County Council but the group is still seeking funding to cover air fares. If you think you can contribute please contact Maureen De Forge on 087 2836675. Even €5 can help bridging the gap between the dream and the reality.