The Source Regional Arts Centre, Thurles, thanks to funding from the Arts Council of Ireland, now have a dance artist in residence, Cathy O’ Kennedy, who is overseeing a fantastic community dance project at The Source Arts Centre for 2012 and 2013.
The Fluxusdance ‘Divine Normal’ community dance residency project is designed to allow for maximum participation by community groups and individuals in Dance-Making, Dance-Learning and Dance Performance. The project links traditional Irish sports, including hurling, with dance which is particularly relevant in the context of Thurles, the European Town of Sport for 2012.
This community dance project is based on the excitement and physical endurance of Gaelic Games and was created by Fluxusdance as a site-specific dance event at Croke Park and was performed there on the hurling, football and camogie finals days in 2005. Professional dancer, Cathy O’Kennedy, told us she was inspired by her grandfather, Wexford hurler, Seán O’Kennedy, Captain of the winning Wexford team from 1914 to 1918.The dance action is introduced to the audience by the voice of legendary broadcaster, Micheal O Muircheartaigh. Micheal’s score blends the language of movement with the passionate rhythms of Gaelic Games. The show is further enhanced by two films created during the Croke Park residency in 2005 by London based filmmaker, Jana Riedel.
The Fifth and Sixth Class students of St. Michael’s NS, Holycross, who took part in the high energy, imaginative and very ex citing” Divine Normal 2012” show included Aoife Butler, Kate Ryan, Briana Batist, Karina Bergin –Maher, Nancy Cox, Kate Dwan, Stephanie Dwan, Shannen Irwin, Niamh Morris, Roisin Nally, Kate Quinn, Brooke Slattery, Kornvelija Varnelyte, Sean Harrod, Tom Hynes, Cameron Kirk, Tom McGrath, Jamie Lee Dwan, Ben O’ Sullivan, Eamon Ryan, Luke Scally, Jordan Ferncombe, Gary Delaney, Sean O’Dwyer, Aaron Hayes, Eanna Ryan, Jack Ryan(Cormackstown), Jack Ryan (Farney), Liam Ryan, Gemma O’Dwyer, Lily Chadwick, Stephan Condon, Claire McGrath, Kamil Rusinek, Shannon O’Halloran, Cameron Fernombe, Chantelle O’Dwyer, Aine Flynn, Katie Ryan, Luke O’Shea, Seamus Stakelum, Eoin Morris, Siobhan Hennessy, Denis Caesar, Vincent Long, Gavin Hourihane Clancy, Adam O ‘ Donoghue.
The Ursuline Transition Year students, who also entertained us, included: Treise Gleeson, Rebecca Chute, Ellen Lanigan, Claire Russell, Chloe Shelly, Aine O ‘Brien, Ann Connolly, LeahMurphy, Cait Ryan, Ann Marie O’Dwyer, Adrienne Kelly, Fiona Shortt, Martha Irwin, Aoife Phelan, Leona Bowe, Eimear Teehan, Emma Ryan, Maria Dooley, Claire Fitzpatrick, Kira Burke, Catriona Skehan, Mary- Claire Fitzgerald, Leanne Ryan, Roisin Putti, Irene O’Sullivan, Ciara Cummins, Leah Carroll.
‘The Divine Normal’ draws on the dynamic, social and personal histories connected to the community ownership of the GAA, and was created with input from Micheal O’Muircheartaigh and specially commissioned music by John Spillane. The capacity attendance in the Source Theatre enjoyed every minute of this breath taking theatrical spectacular which augers well for many glorious dancing years in Thurles and district. And in a crass commercial world, with so many negatives, this was youth- positive, passionate and highly skilled- demonstrating that, indeed, life is wonderful and worth every effort to produce the magical results we saw last week.
Cathy O’Kennedy, who is credited with the concept and choreography for the beautiful project and dance artists, Lucy Dundon and Jen Fleenor, are heartily congratulated on a magnificent achievement and we await with heightened interest future visionary work from these highly professional folks. Tribute was paid to the expertise and experience of Cathy O’ Kennedy by the highly competent Ms Aisling O hEo cha, Acting Artistic Director of the Source Regional Arts Centre, who deserves a special bualadh bos and who announced also their new brochure had been launched and a new website was in the offing. Aisling also thanked North Tipperary County Council, Thurles Town Council and the Arts Council. North Tipperary Arts Officer, Ms Melanie Scott, Nenagh, was present for the occasion when a major art exhibition and musical performances delighted the huge attendance. And all the time eighteen community groups were engaged in a marathon all night reading of the James Joyce classic, ”Ulysses”, .on a Culture Night to remember. It was a night when Thurles and district relaxed, and got together for some sparkling cultural entertainment, with fine hospitality from the Source Staff for good measure. Let’s hope for many more such nights of bliss and beauty.
Introductory workshops for community groups have taken place. The first event ‘show and tell’ dance performance based on ‘The Divine Normal’, linked in with Culture Night at The Source Arts Centre.
In early 2013, the next phase of the project will involve dance in education projects with rural primary schools, transition year students, adults and children with special needs as well as local community groups. These workshops will also culminate in an exciting performance event. If you want to dance, perform and learn about dance this is the project for you. Performance focused community events would ideally include all age groups to fully represent the community. These can also include workshops in schools (primary and secondary) and community contexts (afterschool/youth dance) and adults (evening classes, disability groups, active retirement groups).
The huge attendance at the Culture Night show and other events included Joe and Michelle Putti, Garrenroe, Mary and John Ryan, Cormackstown , Breda Ryan Glenreigh ,Holy cross, Ellie, Brooke and Ben Slattery, Galbertstown, Jean Forbes Cooke, Ballingarry, Pat Hogan, Moycarkey,. Thurles Councillors, John Kenehan and Jim Ryan, and Mrs Teresa Kenehan, whom we met with Hannah and Siobhan Flanagan, Thurles, Bill Cooke of Thurles Writers Group who had tremendous input into the marathon reading session, and Michael Kennedy, Bohernamona .
Clergy present included V Rev Martin Hayes, Adm. and Fr. Tomas O ‘Connell, C.C. Thurles Drama Group folks there included Mary Slattery and awards winning All-Ireland Drama Festival Director, Margaret McCormack Purcell. Poets present included Liam Cooke and Larry O’ Sullivan who was accompanied by his wife, Mary. Anne Marie Brophy of Thurles Library was with drama enthusiasts, Dr. Mary Maher, and Noreen Maher. From Littleton Community Alert came Matt Purcell and Noreen Haughney.
Teachers present included former Tipperary goalkeeper, Jimmy Duggan of Thurles Sarsfields, the Principal of Gaelscoil Bhride, Thurles, and Ger Corbett, Principal of St. Michael’s NS, Holy cross. Joe Bourke of Holycross Drama Group and Cabragh Wetlands was there and from Rahealty came Jim and Patricia Cummins and family. The ensemble who provided entertainment of sheer class included Mary Rose McNally on keyboards, John Cooke on trumpet and absolutely delightful singers, Michael Molumby and Joan Farrell Butler. Joan’s lovely contribution included “Marble Halls from” “Maritana” by William Vincent Wallace who composed the world famous opera on the banks of the nearby Suir in Thurles. He worked as a Music Teacher in the Ursuline Convent. Joan of Thurles Musical Society, to next stage “Titanic”, is a music teacher in the Ursuline Secondary School today and Wallace’s harp is in that school, renowned for its musical accomplishments.
James Joyce, who wrote “Ulysses”, won a Dublin Feis Cheoil prize and would have been enchanted by this richly talented ensemble. Joyce, incidentally, remarked that anyone who had not seen a Munster Hurling Final did not know Ireland. Imagine Buck Muligan with a hurley and sliotar. Then again, the Dublin hurlers are improving.
Thurles Silver Band entertained on the Source Boardwalk by the river and well done to Michael Loughnane, Denis Carroll Rachel Curran, John Cooke and friends.
Members of the awards-winning Sean Treacy Pipe Band from Moycarkey/Borris present included Michael Flanagan, Gerard Neville, Andy Cooney Andrea Cooney and John Moloughney. Members of the Pipe Band read from “Ulysses” on the following day.
Also met Noel Kennedy, Pat McCoole, Madeleine M cCoole, Therese Butler, Tom Noone, Paddy Loughnane, Martin Shanahan of Thurles RFC, Author, John Fairbrother, Kay Ryan, Mitchel Street. Jane Ryan, the Source Bar Manager, was celebrating her birthday and happy birthday, Jane! Also met artist, Patricia Baird, Eloise Loughnane, Vincent Clegg, Arno Nauwels.