New Dance Ireland Podcast Series

Dance Ireland has commissioned arts writer and editor of DRAFF, Rachel Donnelly, to develop EMBODIED, a new podcast series as part of Dance Ireland’s online Dance Conversations.

In this six-part series, Rachel brings together choreographers and experts from other fields, including neuroscience, theatre and literature, to explore the ideas dance artists are working with. The six episodes, covering topics like what our gut bacteria mean for our idea of community, and how watching a dance performance affects our nervous system, uncover the important and wide-ranging research happening in dance studios today.

In the first episode of the Embodied podcast series, Gut Punch: How dance works on an audience, Oona Doherty and neuroscientist Francesca Farina (co-author of the book Why Science Needs Art) speak about ‘bodily memory’ and mirror neurons, and what this means for how dance affects an audience.

In this first episode, Oona and Francesca discuss: what is the language in which dancers are communicating with the audience, if not using words? Is it possible for a dancer to ‘transfer’ the emotional state they’re experiencing on stage to the audience? On what level does dance affect an audience: is it a bodily or a cognitive level? 

Over the course of subsequent episodes listeners will hear how there’s much more to dance than aesthetics or entertainment. There’s a growing school of contemporary dance that acts as a form of research – and, in our hyper-digital society, it’s an increasingly important one. Contemporary choreographers working in the studio with the body are building a reservoir of insight and understanding that could benefit all of us. It touches on our physical and mental health, and feeds into how we relate to each other and the objects and materials in our world.

The first episode is available to listen to here. Our second episode, to be released on Tuesday 9 October, Borders: The edges of bodies brings together Catalan choreographer Aimar Perez Gali and Ireland's foremost microbiome researcher Dr. Gerard Clarke. They will talk about how shifting ideas around where our bodies end and begin can affect how we think about community and our connections with each other.

Future episodes will explore the intersection of art, dance and technology, and the shifting limits of choreography, with guests including artist Emily Aoibheann, author Mark O’Connell (To Be a Machine), Irish theatre artist Grace Dyas and Irish choreographer Ruairi Donovan.