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Meet the artists #9: Beverley Grant and Chrissie Ardill (Ireland)

Our last Island Connect 2021 group is formed by Chrissie and Beverly, a professional dancer, aerialist and rollerskater and a dancer and circus artist based in Ireland. They will be exploring with the cyr wheel, aerial hoop film and a long rope duet during their work in progress.

They will be exploring weight, restriction and balance with the wheel. Creating a duet but also finding ways to dance together and what happens when we aren’t in sync. The Aerial Hoop inspires a clash of skin, textile and metal. Fighting against fabric and yarn in the struggle to create beauty on a ring of steel. A visually beautiful circus film, rich in texture, moving between light, beauty, strength and dark, ugly struggle. Finally, the long rope duet mean for the artists separation. They want to revisit the apparatus without pinning a narrative on it.

Beverley Grant is a dancer and circus artist based in Edinburgh, she trained at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. Since graduating she has performed nationally and internationally with multiple dance, opera and aerial companies. In 2015 Beverley was awarded a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship in collaboration with Dance Base. She is currently performing regularly with All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre (AoN), Fidget Feet, Aerial Cirque and Wired Aerial Theatre.

Chrissie Ardill is addicted to exploring and creating with movement. With a degree in dance and over a decade of professional performance experience, she has worked extensively with performance companies, from Glasgow to Ireland and Skegness to Puerto Rico. Chrissie works in the air, on the floor and on any structure around, creating dynamic and original performances as well as teaching people of all backgrounds and abilities. She also works extensively for camera, having choreographed and/or performed in 12 music videos and counting.

Meet the artists #8: La Contrapiel Teatro (Majorca, Spain)

A boat held in the sway of time, anchored, adrift. Medea returns from death to re-present her story. A ritual journey that aims at collective healing: the community of the victims is the same as the one that unites the victim to the executioner. Those who pity Medea, who do not forgive her, will return to the starting point and will trace a spiral.

This is the main topic of the piece that the company LA CONTRAPIEL Teatro will work on during the Island Connect Residency. This Majorcan group, led by Sara Sánchez, was born with the need to reinvent, to oxygenate, to dream a theater: visceral, visual, and physical. Betting on performance: Back to the origin of the game and the ritual from creations that dialogue with new media, inhabiting unconventional spaces and creating synergies with artists from other fields that are not exclusively from the scenic universe. With the intention of shaking the spectator towards an active reflection… They will be creating on the island of Naxos, in Greece.

Meet the artists #7: teatreBLAU collective (Majorca, Spain)

“I wonder if we are not on the path towards a Great World War over Water”, Pope Francis, Seminar on the Human Right to Water, 2017.

Water appears to be unlimitedly available in Europe; the fear of drought and thirst is nearly unknown. The production “War on Water” shall contrast the fascination and beauty of water itself with the scientific facts that evidence how neglectful our society treats this vitally important common good. An international team of artists will start in May in Cres (Croatia) this theatrical expedition, aiming at forming the results of their explorations into a multi-media and multi-lingual drama, exploring movement, dance, theatre and audiovisuals.

Teatre BLAU is an artistic international network based in Majorca and Germany. The first project of the collective was “Voices of Damascus” (2018), which examined the city of Damascus through five art forms: drama, dance, music, painting, photography and film. In May 2018, teatreBLAU participated in INCART (Majorca) with a dance performance which was a collaboration with Harake Dance Company/Berlin. In 2019 the dance performance “Las Hermanas Verán” was produced in collaboration with the Andrea Cruz Company and the Teatre Principal de Palma. In 2020 they started the international dance and video project Close up/Zoom out, which has been produced in collaboration with the Kleist Forum in Frankfurt, the C.IN.E. in Mallorca and the T-Werk in Potsdam. The team of Close up/Zoom out was invited to develop an educational week at the Ciclop – Festival de Teatre Visual de Sineu and is also working in digital theatre and workshops though different projects.
Udruga Domino
Pic credit: Santiago Stankovic Fotografía

Meet the artists #6: Nikolina Komljenović and Irma Unusic (Croatia)

WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM? is the title of this work in progress

Performers are hanging in the air on the ropes above the audience. The audience lies comfortably on the floor. Bodies are creating one unidentified object. Around them are different objects and surfaces suspended on different levels. The idea starts from the experience of a touch — which has brought us to extremes: of understanding, sensing and needing it in context of today. This project is about the continuity of connection between various surfaces, modelling materials and/or elements that can be touched, remade and reshaped to make a new context for action. We want to work on fragility, uncertainties and to practice flexibility towards different surroundings and inclusivity. We would work to investigate and highlight our differences as individuals in terms of bodies, backgrounds and environment towards acceptance of those differences; simultaneously revealing the inevitability of togetherness and collaboration as primary conditions for the existence of the individual element.

Nikolina Komljenović has a master’s degree in art history and comparative literature. She is a professional contemporary dancer, choreographer, aerialist, pedagogue and producer of the ekscena Association. With her work and the work of other authors, she has toured around the world. As a performer and co-author, she participated in the work of Croatian and foreign visual artists and curated exhibitions. Nikolina has been teaching since the age of 19, working as a synchronised swimming coach, pedagogue of dance, circus, drama and physical theatre workshops. She is a member of the supervisory boards of the Professional Association of Dance Artists Croatia and the Association of Shadow Casters and a member of the Croatian Association of Independent Artists. She is the founder of the circus group S.VILA.

Irma Unušić graduates at Franjo Lučić Art High School in contemporary dance department. She is educator, choreographer and performer in field of contemporary dance. She shows her first choreographic work at Platforma.hr festival (2013) within the project TASK. She founded SHOOMA art organisation in 2017, whose main goal is to create interdisciplinary and innovative artistic content for young audience with emphasis on interactive models. Another field of interest is inclusive dance so she collaborates with IMRC (Inclusive Movement Research Collective). She strongly focuses on developing dance theatre for young audiences by participating in several regional and domestic projects (Generator, Kliker, Teen Generator). Astronauts (2018) is the first play for children in SHOOMA production. Irma works in the field of popularising contemporary dance in the area of Bjelovar and the county with diverse programmes. She holds a bachelor degree in pre-school education and a master degree in cultural anthropology.

Meet the artists #5: Group θΘ (Greece)

Something was pushing to breathe, to take shape. Occasioned by a song. “Antonis the boatman” by M. Vamvakaris. A ceremony set up with the aim of initiating the human, whose nature is male, into nature, which is female. A female figure who tries to reconstruct her memory, recomposing the song. Carmen who sings / Mora who remembers. Always having as vehicle the theatrical act, the group attempts to envision a transformation that will take place in the present time, though the final form remains a secret to us. We are, however, invited to unite the moment of the transformation’s conception with the moment of its first breath. Techniques used by the group in the past, are enriched, deepened and lead them to new ones, which are yet to be explored.

Konstantinos Pavlidis is a mixed media artist, graduate of the School of Fine Arts of the University of Thessaloniki, who has exhibited his work at the international centre GLO’ART in Belgium. He mainly focuses on performance and installations, while in sculpture he engages with soft materials, such as wood, creating compositions with abstract tendencies.

Andreas Konstantinou studied Social Work in Crete and graduated from the National Theatre of Greece Drama School. He works as an actor, performer and musician in Greece and abroad (Germany, France, Luxemburg, Spain, Poland, Cyprus, Iran, India). He is the founder of the artistic group θΘ (thetaTHETA).

Costis Kontos is an electronic music composer and sound designer with a PhD in Music Composition from the University of Birmingham (UK). In addition to his personal work, he has participated in various theatrical and cinematic projects.

As part of the group θΘ (thetaTHETA) the three artists have created the theatre performances “Francis Bacon Project” presented at the UKYA festival in Nottingham, “Project Bacchae” presented in Thessaloniki, Athens, Crete and Elefsina and “Moth” presented at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation.

Meet the artists #4: Eirini Tiniakou and Zoi Mastrotheodorou (Greece)

Zoi Mastrotheodou and Eirini Tiniakou create a performance by engaging in observation and research of the natural and social landscape of Bornholm and Naxos islands. They collect organic materials and relics of human activity that construct an entity of life and death. The entity embodies the falling, the violence, the ludicrousness and a neο-primitiveness. Remnants of the performance can be either picked up or renounced by the participator-viewer.

Eirini Tiniakou (Athens,1993), holds a BFA from the Athens School of Fine Arts (2018) and an MFA from the University of Applied Arts Vienna- Department of Art & Science (2021). Previously, she participated in the workshop “Disappearance” with Omer Fast and Heike Schuppelious and worked as a performer in documenta14 for Ibrahim Mahama. During her postgraduate studies she developed a project with CERN and presented a collective show at the Venice Biennale Sessions (2019). Her practice entails photography, text, and costume-hybrids with a focus on tradition and manual work in the rural and urban environment.

Zoi Mastrotheodorou (Athens, 1993), graduated from the Greek National School of Dance (KSOT) in 2019. During her studies, she collaborated with choreographers such as Anton Lachky, Yannis Mandafounis and Markella Manoliadi on performances in Megaron Athens Concert Hall and in Athens and Epidaurus Festival. In November 2019 she participated as a performer in Athens Digital Arts Festival with the work SYMBIOSIS by Eleni Xynogala. In January 2020 she was a resident of Fire in Kinono Arts Gathering in collaboration with Areti Athanasopoulou. Coming across various techniques, her interests and her artistic research focus on performance, the body in nature, comicality of the dancing body and acrobatics.

The two artists began their collaboration in 2019 on the occasion of a trip to Tinos, where they decided to explore the land and learn from the environment and its residents, thus placing their practices in critical discourse. Their research is based on body performativity and found materials and their work is shaped by the geopolitical landscape that surrounds them during each interaction. With Island Connect (2021) they have the opportunity to present a collective work for the first time.

Meet the artists #3: The Amazing Other (Denmark)

Through aerial arts and video projection, we place our universe on the wall, creating an island that can move in size and location. We intend to create a unique ecosystem that can include audiences in its perimeter and make them part of an island ecosystem.

Lalla la Courr and Eivind Øverland are who we are and trapeze of all kinds is what we do: Duo, solo, static, and swinging. And exploring all kinds of aerial opportunities. We are on a joyous mission to explore what we can do with our bodies, and what we can make our audience feel. We push our artistic expression, the format of our art form, as well as our physique and level of skill just a little bit further. Together we are Lalla and The Amazing Other.

Norwegian Eivind Øverland, coming from the world of martial arts, moved into the field of contemporary circus. Studying in Norway, Denmark and Montreal. He went through his education pushing boundaries and wowing the established circus community. From specializing in duo trapeze, with a flyer taller than himself to inventing a new trapeze, now being researched by more and more artists around the world. After graduating from École Nationale de Cirque in 2015, he started collaborating with Lalla la Cour, founding the duo The Amazing Other. Working for larger theater production, german variete or co-producing contemporary circus shows, people fall in love with the unique expression Eivind brings to all parts of his versatile repertoire. Always combining as much of his favored things into each project he joins, bringing stage fight, strapeze, duo trapeze, dance and theatre to a party of performative expression.

Lalla la Cour grew up in Denmark, where she quickly became interested in theatre and dance. She fell in love with the circus at AFUK in Denmark and went on to complete a BA honors in swinging trapeze at National Center for Circus Arts in London, 2010. She created her own company, Borderline Cirkus, which toured Scandinavia and Greenland, 2011-2014. She then decided to go freelance and worked as a performing circus artist, festival arranger and trapeze teacher internationally. She also worked for Clowns Without Borders in Uganda and Sweden, and was the daily manager of the circus department of Kulta in Norway. In 2015 she started working with Eivind Øverland and they formed the duo The Amazing Other. With their two full shows and “The High Life” and “The Low Life” plus their variety of acts they have toured the world always looking for new adventures.

Meet the artists #2: Christopher McAuley and Emmen Jude Donnelly (Ireland)

The Irish artists Christopher McAuley and Emmen Jude Donnelly will be working on their show “Boys, like us” in Cres, Croatia, thanks to the Island Connect Residency.

A tentative waltz between two male performers, “Boys, like us” addresses the physical characteristics presumed of males and aspects of habitual binary conditioning. This project is an ambitious insight into their individual experiences as men explored through an introspective narrative with an immersive display of physicality through circus disciplines.

Christopher McAuley

Christopher, 28 years old and weighing a whopping 58kg, began his circus adventures in Northern Ireland in a social circus direction. Now having devoted 4 years to Codarts University, Rotterdam, Christopher has graduated as an award-winning aerialist and has begun his search for rigging points throughout UK and Ireland. Lover of all things nerdy and absurd, he likes to incorporate his queer identity into his work in an array of styles. Having worked internationally on a variety of creative projects showcased in solo and group performances, Christopher is ready for his next adventure.

Emmen Jude Donnelly

Emmen is a consummate aerial performer and credited circus mentor. His diverse practices strike a balance between the understanding of physicality & an unabashed sense of whimsy, layered with the experienced handling of their technique. His work takes a confident creative stride towards exploring new methodology with aerial and acrobatics, unashamed of his fierce playfulness and untamed curiosity. Emmen cuts an impressive physical presence on stage and is highly respected for the use of his studious and personable creative skills.

Meet the artists #1: Kathleen Doherty & Alexandre Duarte (Ireland)

Kathleen Doherty and Alexandre Duarte have been selected as the Irish artists heading to Birca in Denmark. They will be working on their show “Martyr”.

Female-driven, emotionally charged, visually captivating. Martyr is a direct and threatening view into the human psyche.

From the raw realness of the female form, bound and trapped in a repetitive loop, to the chaotic movements of a soul driven mad. Heavily littered with esoteric and occult symbolism. This work is a daring use of body and props.

Martyr is a work in progress by Alexandre Duarte and Kathleen Doherty, it is multi-disciplinary, blending dance, physical theatre, butoh and the aerial arts. Combining innovative rigging and atmospheric design with Shibari, ladders, moveable lights and a chair. We invite you to enter what may be experienced as a nightmare that hints at current events and darker political agendas.

Kathleen Doherty

Kathleen trained from a young age in ballet, making a smooth transition into contemporary dance and then aerial, she has toured extensively; Korea, Hong Kong, Europe and the USA with various companies including Dance Theatre of Ireland and Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company.

Her own work: “Chasing Shadows”, “Longing, Here” and “Pandora” have been shown across the Europe in various festivals and theatres including Trengo and Fara (PT), Pitch’d Arts Circus festival and the Irish Aerial Dance Festival (IRE), Cirque du sZiget (HU), Derida Dance (BG), The Place and Dance Space (UK).

As co-creator, mentor and director, she worked in sell out shows for the Paper Dolls, Guinness Storehouse and Alexandre Duarte’s “The Newspaper Man”. She has mentored artists from all around the world including Rachel Strickland, Arlene Caffrey and Jen Crane from “Cirque Physio”.

Alexandre Duarte

Alexandre is a gender-fluid multi-disciplinary artist from Portugal, currently based in Italy. He regularly performs, creates and coaches across Europe, having toured internationally with his own projects and external companies.

He studied gymnastics, dance and the aerial-arts, gaining spots in both Ginasiano Dance School, Portugal and Codarts Hogeschool Voor de Kunsten, The Netherlands. Alexandre has over a decade of experience in the performing arts with companies such as Companhia Instável, Teatro da Didascália, Cirko Vertigo, Compagnia Sarabanda and SONICS etc.

Currently working for Compagnia Blucinque and Fondazione Cirko Vertigo in Italy. He also divides his time on his own productions and shows; melding dance, circus, dance theatre and butoh with site specific and theatre based performances. In the recent years, he toured in different theatres and festivals between Portugal, Ireland and Italy with his most recent work “The Newspaper Man”, which has been extremely well received by both critics and audiences alike.

2021 Residencies Announced

25th January 2021

The Creative EU-funded project ISLAND CONNECT will support 8 Performing Arts projects from Croatia, Denmark, Ireland, Greece and Spain in 2021. This support will be dispersed via granting residencies and a “SpringLab” in Limerick including different Capacity Building Workshops. ISLAND CONNECT’s goal is to support and assist artistic creation and the mobility of artists. The 2021 call for residencies received 81 applications.

The 8 selected companies are:

  • Kathleen Doherty and Alexandre Duarte (IR) – residency at BIRCA (Bornholm, Denmark)
  • Christopher McAuley and Emmen Donnelly (IR) – residency in Cres (Croatia)
  • The Amazing other (DK) – residency in IACC (Limerick, Ireland)
  • Eirini Tiniakou and Zoi Mastrotheodorou (GR) – residency at BIRCA (Bornholm, Denmark)
  • Konstantinos Pavlidis (GR) – residency at C.IN.E. Sineu (Majorca, Spain)
  • Nikolina Komljenović and Irma Unusic (CR)– residency at C.IN.E. Sineu, (Majorca, Spain)
  • teatreBLAU (SP) – residency in Cres (Croatia)
  • La ContraPiel Teatro (SP) – residency in Naxos (Greece)

The 8 companies will develop their projects during a 2-weeks residency in their own country and a second 2-weeks residency in the partner country, fights & coaching/mentorship included. The supported artists distinguish themselves by the richness and originality of their artistic approaches, as well as their aim to experiment.

Furthermore, the program will support this year 2 more projects in the framework of the Islander Focus productions, aimed at more established artists that have already been researching specificities of the insularity conditions. In 2021, a Danish company will travel to Majorca and Greece and a Croatian company will create in Ireland and Denmark. Both will benefit from and a final presentation of their work abroad.

The ISLAND CONNECT program not only supports new emerging companies of the 5 countries, but it also encourages artists’ interaction with the island area and community. Specific community members are contacted to spend a day with the artist on an island field-trip exchanging experiences, practices and reflections. Other public activities are artists’ work-in-progress presentations organised at the end of each residency and presentations of finished works of selected artistic companies in partners festivals. All presentations are followed by an artist-audience feedback session.

Download the press release PDF here.