On a snowy Friday morning, we met with the Culture Ireland team and a New York press photographer to take pictures of Niche on Brooklyn Bridge. We recreated the original poster image and variations of it that included Bernadette with the iconic bridge in the background and a fortuitous construction worker in high-vis vest passing through the shot.
The pictures (photographer Bryan Smith) were used in Irish Times articles about the Culture Ireland sponsored delegation of Irish artists at APAP and while none of my dancers are Irish, the fact that they converged in Dublin in that period of economic wealth and have maintained a relationship to Ireland, makes their experience telling and typical of strand of the Irish story.
Of course that Irish story has already woven New York into its historical plot twists and so it’s not surprising that Niche looks right under the skyscrapers. Belinda Mc Keon’s Irish Times article gives a sense of the hustling that appearing in APAP required and that too is part of the ongoing cultural narrative. Now the Irish government, through Culture Ireland is investing in the promotion of Irish artistic talent in this particular North American market, hoping not only to create opportunities for those artists but through them to attract tourism to Ireland. Being part of that effort isn’t a problem for me since it’s clear that the programmers of the selected Irish work have chosen a range of that reflects the range of the Irish experience. The contemporary dance showcase had four works with very different aesthetics, ranging from Dylan Quinn’s dance theatre, to Liz Roche’s crafted delicacy, to Daghdha’s improvisational aesthetics and my…, well it’s always easier to summarise others’ work than one’s own! I’m grateful ultimately that what the New York audience saw was that even in the relatively small field of contemporary dance in Ireland there is a variety of interests and approach that communicates something about the complexity of the contemporary Irish experience.