Paul Johnson: In my last week as Chief Executive

Earlier this year we had the open call for our 2020 Mentored Residency Award. This is an opportunity for a dance artist(s) to undertake a resourced self-directed mentorship project with a chosen international mentor at a key stage of their career.  

We are pleased to announce this year's recipient is Millie Daniel-Dempsey. Millie will be working with dancer Amy Robyn Lyster to explore work that incorporates use of character, text, movement and sound under the mentorship of renown UK choreographer and artistic innovator Lea Anderson in DanceHouse in the autumn. Read more here.

This announcement comes at a time when we are looking to the future and ways to sustain our livelihood and artistic endeavours. Also, as much as possible, it is about business as usual for all at Dance Ireland. It is important that we continue to work with you and plan, no matter how challenging it is at the moment. 

In my last week as Chief Executive, I want to assure you that we are honouring all the commitments we have made to our dance artists, teachers and collaborators at this time. Not only is it a matter of principle for the board and I; but we believe it is the right thing to do. 

In looking forward, the team are actively planning an autumn programme that continues to meet the artistic needs of our members and the sector. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be announcing more opportunities to support you and give continuity to your work. 

Now more than ever, keeping in contact and staying connected is important. We will continue to host our weekly members’ gathering through Zoom which I encourage you to be a part of. Simply contact Andrea Bolger, Membership Engagement Officer for details at andrea.bolger@danceireland.ie and/or watch out for our regular updates. Also all other staff are available, even if it is only to say hello and ‘shoot the breeze’. 

In the meantime, the National Campaign for the Arts are organising an online sectoral meeting this week to discuss the government's response to COVID-19. To be part of that meeting, and have your say, just sign up to their newsletter, and they will be in contact with details on how you can attend.

Throughout my tenure, I have spoken many times about our resilience, tenacity, innovation and community. Now over the past four weeks, I have witnessed those qualities and more under very trying circumstances, in action again and again.  

I salute you all, not only for the bravery and support you have shown each other but for the sheer bloody-mindedness, and creativity you have all demonstrated online, with your Zooming, FaceTiming and Skypes, and above all by your sheer good humour. 

With best wishes, stay safe and sane. 

Paul 

Paul Johnson
Chief Executive.