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16th Irish-German International Conference: Connections in Motion

Date: 31st October – 1st November

Organised by the Irish Centre of Transnational Studies (Mary Immaculate College) and Centre of Irish-German Studies (University of Limerick) in collaboration with the Irish World Academy for Music and Dance, the National Dance Archive of Ireland, the School of Culture and Communication and the School of Design (University of Limerick).

This interdisciplinary and international conference will explore Irish-German connections through dance and other forms of movement in different places, institutions and media from the 1920s to today. On the one hand, presentations will focus on encounters between Irish Dance and Modern Dance, dancers, choreographers, writers, directors and architects in cities like Dublin, Berlin or Saarbrücken, and discuss modernism as a movement and its impact on Irish and German culture. On the other, participants will look at dance as a motif and specific form of spatial movement which allows for the transgression of boundaries and for connections in Irish and German literary texts as well as visual media.

Approaches may include inter-and transcultural studies, gender studies, spatial studies, concepts of performance, identity and embodiment. Modern Dance, understood as a Gesamtkunstwerk, influenced, and was influenced by, other art forms, including architecture and industrial design in the early 20th century, and has fundamentally changed perceptions of space and movement to the present. Gestural movement, choreography and corporeality took a central role on stage, in film, literature, in education and the design of buildings, which still finds its reflection in contemporary culture. In the Irish context, this is of particular interest, with regard to the leading role of Irish modernist literature internationally, and a continuing focus on traditional Irish dance and culture. “Emergency Dublin” became a safe haven for ex-pat Bohemians fleeing WWII in the 1930s and 40s, and a space of exchange between writers, directors, architects and artists such as the German-Irish dancer Erina Brady. Emigrants brought ideas of movement and space popular in the German-speaking countries of the time to Ireland, where these took on new directions in the Irish context, and vice versa. Examples include the influence of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, the movement choirs of Rudolf von Laban and the work of Mary Wigman on plays at the Abbey Theatre or on physical education in Ireland. Conference participants will discuss how such encounters have influenced Irish and German literature, dance and architecture, as well as views on corporeality in education.

The conference will also look at the significance of modernism as a movement in Irish and German dance, literature, film and architecture in the present. Impacts on the work of important choreographers in contemporary dance include Pina Bausch, the pioneer of modern dance theatre, or the Longford native Marguerite Donlon, whose innovative choreographies have been celebrated in the international dance scene. The conference includes an exhibition of the National Dance Archive on Marguerite Donlon, the screening of a documentary on Erina Brady, of Wim Wender’s film Pina, and consideration of the legacy of modernism in the form of dance and gestural movement crossing cultural, language and intermedial boundaries in contemporary writing.

VenueIrish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick NOTE: Room numbers will be provided at the registration desk.

Further Information:

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