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Those Dancin' Feet : Fidget Feet's Irish Aerial Dance Fest in Letterkenny Co. Donegal

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Irish company Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Theatre present the only aerial dance production of this year’s Dance Base programme, and their thrilling show promises to sweep you off your feet.

Aerial dance – a blend of dance and circus - has been practiced since the early 1970s but has recently reached an elevated status - in the public's consciousness. It has always been an elevated art form, involving dancing suspended from ropes and harnesses.

Founded in 2000, Fidget Feet also perform outdoor work and recently they presented a show in Edinburgh.

The work featured seven performers, including a live DJ who had “a very important and shamanic role”, and the artists- “a big company in this poor climate” - will consume all the space.

Fidget Feet founder Chantal McCormick says, “If anyone likes dance, using circus and aerial dance just take it one step higher! In dance you only use the ground and there is such a lot of space above you. With aerial we fill that space with dance too. Everyone loves watching aerial dance and circus, and RAW was a treat for the senses”.

"RAW was set in a nightclub, and both background and lighting explore the spectrum of blues and purples. We might assume that dark undertones come from more than just the designer’s palette, but while the dancers don’t spend much time on the floor, audiences might expect to leave the venue feeling less than uplifted. The performers show some darker sides of human nature, but you need the dark with the light – life is all about balance”.

This is certainly true for aerial dance, which requires not only balance but also formidable core and upper-body strength. Fidget Feet’s dancers are trained in dance and circus skills, with Chantal having trained at London School of Contemporary Dance, where she was “always interested in mixing dance with other art forms”, before going to London’s Circus Space to learn trapeze.

“In truth,” she says, “I never wanted to do aerial, I just fell into it. I remember when I was hanging forty meters off a building about to abseil down and thinking “why am I up here? I’m a dancer, I should be on the ground, not up here!”. But then once you start you’re hooked.”

As well as floor-bound dancing, the dancers use ropes and harnesses, and there is even pole dancing. As well as conventional pole dance, the company will also use a Chinese pole, “climbing up the pole and hanging and sliding down”. The Chinese pole originates from the circus and Chantal says it “takes a lot of upper body strength: it’s a boy thing!”

Fidget Feet’s IADF is a unique opportunity to experience the joy of dancing in the air and will include classes for beginners through to advanced aerial dancers, circus aerialists and anyone who wants to keep fit.

The main aim of the Fest is to bring international and national circus teachers to the Fest and offer high quality classes to aerialists, dancers, actors and anyone that might want to give it a go; There are classes to suit all levels of experience.

A Fairies Tail - Tullynally Castle, Sat 27 & Sun 28 of August, 2011

For one magical weekend Fidget Feet Aerial dance Theatre & Westmeath County Council present A Fairies Tail, a series of performances and Children’s Circus Workshops.

Set in the mystical gardens of Tullynally Castle, one mile outside Castlepollard on Edgeworthstown Rd, Co.Westmeath. Performances will take place in August on Sat 27th @ 1pm + 6pm and Sun 28th @ 1pm. Circus Workshops for children on Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm (1 hour duration).

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