Meet the artists
Alison Clarke: Wicklow
Ali Clarke is a Bray born and based choreographer and dance artist. Following her Bachelor Degree in Dance Performance from Fontys, in the Netherlands, Ali went on to develop her own company, KNOT Kollektiv. Her work is defined by its interdisciplinary aspect researching the liminal space between the dance and circus worlds with a particular focus on contemporary aerial circus and juggling. With a prolific portfolio of over 11 commissioned works and more than 150 individual performances throughout Europe and Brazil Ali has developed a unique and personal choreographic language which focuses on audience engagement at the heart of creation. Her work has been widely awarded for its innovative participative aspects with awards including the Café Theater Festival Jury Prize for Young Audiences (2018), the Chasse Theater Talent Award (2019), Dance Ireland Launchpad Award (2020), Arts Council Ireland Dance Bursary (2021) and Dance Ireland HATCH Award (2021). Alongside her choreographic work Ali works as a freelance dancer, arts producer and teacher nationally and internationally.
Rachel Ní Bhraonáin: Waterford
Based in Waterford, Rachel is a performer and maker of multidisciplinary shows and short films. She is a keen collaborator and works across the fields of circus, dance, film and theatre. Currently a participant on the 8th International PanPan Mentorship programme, she is researching a new show and is a recipient of Dublin Theatre Festival's Futures commission 2021. Her latest short film Marian was selected by AEMI to be screened at Gaze Film Festival 2020 and her show Losing Your Body won the Wild Card Award at Dublin Fringe Festival 2019 and was nominated for an Irish Times Award for Best Movement Direction. Despite cancellations 2020 had some highlights including receiving an Arts Council Dance Bursary, (virtual) Hot Desker residency at Dublin Fringe and Firkin Crane's ReFramed Bursary.
Alessandra Azevedo: Dublin City
Alessandra is an Afro-Brazilian Dancer, Capoeira performer and instructor from Salvador, Bahia - home to the largest African diaspora population and of Afro-Brazilian culture. Since moving to Ireland in 2015 she has championed her culture by setting up a performance group and a Capoeira group. Alessandra arrived with no English and developed her dance practise while cleaning in both Trinity College and John Scottus school. She went on to study a course at Trinity and to teach Capoeira at John Scottus. From 2018 she established herself as a leading Afro-Brazilian dancer with notable performances at major festivals and stages with her dance group Criola Dance. She has worked with Catherine Young, featuring as performer in her work with The Welcoming Project at Abbey Theatre in 2018 and at the Big Bang Festival. In 2021 she was awarded an Arts Council Bursary to develop her artistic practice through mentorship with key Afro-Brazilian practitioners and with Catherine Young and Lou Cope. Currently working with Justine Doswell and John Scott, as well as teaching Capoeira and Afro-Brazilian dance sessions for Dublin City Council, Alessandra is driven by the potential of her heritage to lead cross-cultural collaborations. Her practice here has led to establishing connections between Afro-Brazilian dance, women’s groups, and immigrant and minority communities. Her vision is to continue this work by developing her skills as a performer, facilitator and ambassador for Afro-Brazilian dance and cross-cultural growth.
Alan Howley: Dublin City
Alan began acting with Dublin Youth Theatre, subsequently studying Performance at Dartington College of Arts in Devon. Other training includes Devising Contemporary Performance (with Desperate Optimists Theatre) at the Green Room, Manchester, and the Theatre Maker Summer School (with Chicago’s Goat Island Theatre) at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. In 2020, Alan was an Associate Artist and bursary recipient at both Axis Ballymun and Riverbank Arts Centre where he wrote a draft of a new performance ‘Remember You Must Die’ Alan has worked in professional theatre since 1989, including artist residencies at Junction Arts Centre, Cambridge, The Performance Corporation’s SPACE Programme, and MAKE at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Alan has also been a participant on Pan Pan’s Mentorship Programme. Alan has performed nationally and internationally including shows in Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, as well as festivals in France, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Malaysia. Alan’s solo performance works have been shown in the ICA London, the CCA Glasgow, and the Expo Live Art festival, Nottingham. Alan is director of performance group Breach & Quinn. Their work has played Project Arts Centre, Carlow Arts Festival, Galway Theatre Festival, as well as Theaterszene Europa Festival, Cologne and George Town Festival, Malaysia.
Elena Lalucat: Balearics
Elena Lalucat graduated in Choreography and Interpretation of Dance from the Institut del Teatre (Barcelona) in 2014. She was involved in a programme with Compagnia Zappalà (Italy) in 2016 and finished her academic studies with a PG Programme at London Contemporary Dance School. She has worked as a freelancer since then, mainly as a performer with Cia Baal (Mallorca) Tilted Producctions (London), Zero en Conducta, Big Bouncers or Tercio Incluso. She works in physical theatre, movement and improvisation, visual theatre and puppeteering. In 2020 she created her first theatre piece Unexploded Bomb as a co-production with Teatre Principal de Palma (Mallorca), an improvisation system where commands, projections, music and dance are happening live and building together. She premiered "esberlar" with her own Company L'Atapeïda, her first outdoor piece this Summer at Danseu Festival.
Bridget Ní Dhuinn: Kilkenny
Bridget graduated in 2017 from IADT with a 1 class honours degree in Design for Stage and Screen specialising in Production Design. In 2018 she moved to Taiwan seeking experiences in the art world that would leave a valuable impact on her artistic style and mindset. There she was introduced to the world of carnival and street theatre and spent two and a half years in Taiwan developing skills in puppetry, sculpture, mask making and performance. In 2019 she had the opportunity to be the Creative Director and Designer of all in-house art projects of the annual Dream Parade Carnival, South East Asia's largest street carnival. Over the last three years she has begun creating her short theatrical shows and performances both on stage and for film. She has collaborated with artists and performers from various disciplines and cultures. Her style has varied depending on the project but most of her work is heavily inspired though pre-existing texts and folklore. She enjoys incorporating a wide range of mediums into her creations, such as puppetry, projection, costume and set design, sound, acro-yoga and dance. Bridget is a self-trained fire-dancer of 5 years; mainly working with fire poi however she also performs with veil poi.
Laia Santanach: Catalonia
Laia Santanach is a choreographer, dancer and pedagogue who is resident in Barcelona. She currently directs her own company under her name. She created the solo Bailando Bailábamos in 2016 and still on tour, and in 2017 she presented Réplica, with a short version premiering at the Mercat de les Flors. In 2019 she premiered her latest creation ÀER, currently on tour. She is currently immersed in her new creation TRADERE. She has presented group video dance creations like 1714 and Cobosmika Seeds. In collaboration with other choreographers she has created 's'he' together with Roser Tutusaus, and Vaivé with Miquel Barcelona. As a commission, she choreographed part of Móbilus by the visual theatre company Addaura and HIRAETH, awards together with the audiovisual artist Ignasi Castañé for Cobosmika Seeds. She has assisted the choreography of several dance and circus companies since 2018. She is winner of several awards such as Premio Delfí Colomé 2018 for ÀER, candidate of the MAX awards as best choreography for AER and finalist of the Dansacat awards in the category of sound space. She was also awarded a prize to support the creation for NOW within the festival Mits 2017, the Tanzhaus Zürich residence prize, and the Choreographic Contest of Madrid for Vaivén s well as being finalist of the Prizes Institut del Teatre for Replica. In 2016 she created the Festival Menorca en Danza, which she continues to co-direct.
Beth McNinch: Wexford
Beth McNinch began her freelance career in London after completing her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music, where she performed regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, English National Opera and the London Mozart Players. Since moving to Ireland in 2007, Beth has held the position of principal viola of the Wexford Opera Orchestra since 2008 and has appeared as guest leader with both the RTE Orchestras, the Royal Ballet Orchestra and London Sinfonietta. Founded in 2012 by violist Beth McNinch, Musici Ireland is a chamber collective that takes pride in presenting interesting and evocative programmes, highlighting composers from diverse backgrounds, and shining a resplendent light on Irish composers. Musici consists of a core of players that welcomes collaborations with nationally and internationally celebrated musicians. Over the last decade they have created lasting relationships with venues and guest artists, performing regularly at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, making their debut at the Kilkenny Arts Festival in 2019, and enjoying a successful partnership with RTE Lyric FM through regular broadcast of their performances.
Mark Buckeridge: Carlow
Mark is a visual artist from Co. Carlow. His practice incorporates performance, installation, painting, and sound with a focus on community, collective experience and music history. The resulting works are open-ended and communal, inviting the viewer to become active participants in the production of meaning. He holds an MFA from the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam and a BFA from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork. He is the co-founder of the new contemporary arts organisation Muine Bheag Arts which will host exhibitions, performances and site-specific projects in southeast Ireland. Past exhibitions + projects include performances at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, (2019); solo shows at Scaffold Projects, Belfast, (2020); Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, (2019); Rietveld Pavilion, Amsterdam, (2019); Pallas Projects, Dublin, (2016); and group shows at Outpost, Norwich, (2019); Rongwrong, Amsterdam, (2019); Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin, (2017); Catalyst Arts, Belfast, (2016); and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, (2016) Previous awards include: 2021, Freelands Foundation, London, 2020, Arts Council Visual Artist Bursary, 2020, Creative Carlow Project Award, 2020 - 2021, RHA Grant, 2020, Individual Artist Bursary, Carlow County Council, 2019 and Art links Emerging Artist Bursary, 2017.
Polina Shapkina: South Dublin County
Polina is a Russian born, Dublin reared, contemporary lyra and fire artist, performing solo and group acts across Ireland since 2016. In 2019 she co-founded a circus theatre group called Erebidae with her partner. Together they have written, directed and produced 3 full length shows and multiple acts throughout Ireland, India and Thailand. Her work looks at themes of selfhood, ego, nature and archetypes and she is drawn to these concepts having been an asylum seeker as a child with a conflicted sense of identity. A good example of this can be found in her lyra solo "Storonoyu Dosjd" (2018), where she communicated the deep sense of melancholy she feels in connection with the generational trauma of the communal Slavic spirit, exploring the theme of the artist archetype in the writing, directing and performance of "Who's There?" (2019). Her work "Essence" is a piece about embodying elemental archetypes within nature and was conceived at the Irish Aerial Creative Intensive in 2020 under mentors Chantal McCormick and Kathryn Cooley of Fidget Feet.
Emma Finegan: Kildare
Emma is a performing artist from Kildare. She works primarily as a theatre-maker, deviser and performer. Her practice is focused on devised work and she is interested in making theatre in a collaborative way and dismantling the traditional writer-led model. Emma has a background in ballet and, from that, the work she creates relies heavily on the body, with movement and mime overtaking language and text to tell a story. She is inspired by Jaques Lecoq’s methods of physical theatre and mime, and Yoann Bourgeois' dance and acrobatic approach to theatre. In 2020, she co-wrote and performed in the one-woman show ‘When I was young, I never talked to Clouds’ at Scene + Heard 2020. She is currently co-developing this show with Dublin Fringe and Fishamble as part of Fringe’s ‘Big Ambitions’ programme. In 2019, she directed, choreographed and co-devised the clowning show ‘The Epiphany of Eileen O’Keefe’ which performed at The Samuel Beckett Theatre, The Whale Theatre and on the Sanctuary stage at Electric Picnic 2019. She is a recipient of the Riverbank Arts Centre’s Momentum Award 2020 where she is co-developing a piece of documentary theatre that investigates the evolution of nightlife culture in Kildare.