Six Dance Collective presents White Doves

2nd August, 2023

This week Belfast based ballet company Six Dance Collective will open White Doves, a stunning new ballet, based on the story of the Peace People (3-5 August, The MAC, Belfast).

A female ballet dancer poses expressively on stage

Created by Moneymore choreographer Ruaidhrí Maguire and Donaghadee composer Amelia Clarkson, White Doves looks back on Northern Ireland’s history, telling the story of the first march for peace and the formation of the Peace People in 1976. A mesh of abstract and narrative storytelling, the choreography weaves moments from history together by two White Doves, performed by Leigh Alderson, originally from Portadown and Italian-Scots dancer Danila Marzilli. The project has been developed in collaboration with High Points Ballet and is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery Small Grants Programme, PRS Foundation, the Vaughan Williams Foundation and Hinrichsen Foundation.

Ruaidhrí Maguire founded Six Dance Collective to develop the future of ballet across the island and bring contemporary stories to audiences through dance and music, whilst also giving aspiring performers access to high quality training. The production provides the opportunity for a junior company of 28 aspiring dancers from across eight counties to perform Maguire’s new choreography side-by-side on stage with professional dancers Marzilli and Alderson.

Providing these cast members with valuable first-hand experience of professional dance company life, the pre-professionals will take on roles including Peace People founders Mairead Corrigan, Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, and the wider Belfast community.

Ruaidhrí explained, “We are really grateful to our funders for bringing White Doves to life, especially to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland who are facilitating Leigh Alderson and Danila Marzilli’s leading roles in the project. This support will bring these powerhouse dancers to our audiences here in Belfast and provide this training opportunity to our dancers of the future.”

Amelia Clarkson’s new two-act score will be performed live by an ensemble of classical musicians under the baton of international conductor Jonathan Mann.

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Development Officer for Theatre and Dance said, “Thanks to funding for good causes raised by National Lottery players, the Arts Council is pleased to support this ground-breaking debut production from Six Dance Collective, a new contemporary ballet company led by artistic visionary, Ruaidhrí Maguire, in collaboration with gifted composer Amelia Clarkson. This compelling production, combining classical dance and abstract movement language with local social-political themes, will undoubtedly hold much appeal for audiences when it opens in August.”

White Doves runs for four performances at the MAC from 3rd-5th August 2023, with a Q&A on Friday 4th August with the creative team and principal dancers.

Tickets are available now at