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New film series re-imagines Belfast streets as a performance space

Wednesday 21st July 2021 at 9am 0 Comments

Inspired by the empty streets and ‘stay home’ message during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, choreographer Aisling McCormick's latest work reimagines Belfast as an outdoor performance space for her latest project, 'In Situ Solos'.

The six short films, captured by Elspeth Visher (Vish Films), each follow a female dancer, as they move through different parts of the city, exploring the familiar streets in the town centre and pathways around the docklands. Based on unique movement scores, the miniature solo dances explore the idea of becoming hypersensitive to the space around us, when told to stay and not go.

Back in October, Aisling was one of 242 artists to receive National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Support for Individual Artists Programme (SIAP). The funding package worth almost £475,000 provided grants of between £1,000-£2,500 to artists working across all disciplines including visual arts, literature, music and community arts to develop new projects and develop their skills.

Speaking about her project Aisling said:

“The idea stemmed from my curiosity about visiting different public spaces in the city after the experience of lockdown. I was also curious about finding ‘new theatres’, spaces outdoors where COVID restrictions are not a problem. So I wandered the streets and hills of Belfast, from Black Mountain, to the Falls Road, all the way through the city centre to the Docklands dancing, writing and filming as I went.

“This project allowed me to grow as an artist, to explore new territory and new ways of working and to imagine the city I live in through a fresh lens. Being a dance artist in a global pandemic where we could not work indoors, touch other bodies, could not work much at all, has been extremely challenging. This project has allowed me to dance, explore and make new and meaningful work in a safe way. It was a relief! A literal breath of fresh air and a very fulfilling and liberating project for me.”

The funding also allowed Aisling to work with dance collaborators, Janie Doherty, Mayte Segura, Paula O’Reilly, Sandy Cuthburt, Vasiliki Stasinaki, as well as Elspeth Vischer of Vish Films.

Aisling explained:

“Each dancer brought a different approach or style as they interpreted my scores. We were all so genuinely excited to be moving and performing in the year that we’ve had. We are all very proud of the final films.”

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Support for Individual Artists Programme Is designed to help artists develop their practice and embark on new creative projects. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on an already fragile arts sector here but we hope interventions like this will help to bolster the sector, enabling individual artists to develop new ideas, to adapt their practice and find new and engaging ways to present their art.

“Thanks to National Lottery players 36 million pounds is raised for good causes every week. That means that we are able to support artists like Aisling to keep working, to stay creative and continue on with their careers.”

To watch ‘In Situ Solos’ visit the Accidental Theatre website at Tickets cost £6.

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