Matthew, Mikel, Stéphane and Bernadette have gathered again in the wonderful studio 4 in Dancehouse and Niche is being transformed in to Open Niche. We were joined this week by dancers from the core professional company of Siamsa Tíre, The National Folk Theatre. I was expecting that Anne, Adrienne and Jo would come but unfortunately injury prevented Jo from taking part so the material we had made together last Autumn had a gap in it. I hadn’t intended to have the visiting and local dancers work together physically, intending instead that they would share the same space in their separateness, but this gap invited a response and so I asked Anne and Adrienne to teach some of their traditional steps to Matthew, Mikel, Stéphane and even Bernadette.
That generous sharing of the Siamsa tradition and the responsiveness of the Niche dancers has created a dynamic I did not expect and which I welcome. Anne talked about ‘folk’ being what people do in the streets and since Niche has been made by what we’ve seen around us on the streets on Dublin, I think Open Niche can be a new kind of folk performance where the tradition embodied in Siamsa’s generous dancers is transmitted to and transformed by new people.