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LAURA

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ABOUT THE DANCE ARTIST -

Laura Sarah Dowdall is an innovative dance artist creating engaging performance that is experiential, immersive and permeable to audience interaction. She integrates instant composition, immersive theatre and durational performance into contemporary dance work that is site-specific, staged and on film. Her practice and choreography focus on researching the performative body in its expanded, transformative, political and imaginative states, breaking boundaries of hierarchy and expectation, and offering experiences of heightened personal and social awareness. 

Laura has performed solo works in theatres, galleries, outdoor spaces, victorian houses and festivals, she performed as the international opening act of the National Choreography Showcase (USA 2016), she created and performed 6 new dance works for the Irish Composers Collective (2022), has worked with international choreographers, ensembles and performance artists in Dance and Performance Festivals (since 2012), in the gallery works and retrospective of Amanda Coogan at the RHA (2015) and Jennifer Walshe at the Model Gallery Sligo (2018), and was mentored by renowned artist Ulay, longtime artistic collaborator of Marina Abramović while at the Ricean School of Dance in Greece in 2015.

Laura is a socially-engaged artist working collaboratively with communities and collectives to support action and awareness of access, inclusion for all bodies and abilities, climate awareness and conversation amongst communities, and the importance of creativity for innovation, health and wellbeing . She integrates her skills as a dance artist, collaborative arts practitioner, somatic movement facilitator, nature-based practitioner, life coach and systemic constellation-work facilitator to create transformational experiences through the workshops and performances she presents.

 

Laura’ is the founder of Running Blind Dance, Healing Yoga and facilitator of inclusive dance projects in collaboration with the Anne Sullivan Centre for the Deafblind, Vision Ireland and Fighting Blindness since 2015. Laura was a tutor on the first Inclusive Dance Training in Ireland in 2023 supported by University College Cork and Dance Cork Firkin Crane.

Laura's Inclusive Dance work "RunningBlind' featured on Nationwide, on RTE, Irish Television on June 7th 2024 - Click to watch this!

ACHIEVEMENTS -

In 2023 Laura was inaugural artist-in-residence at the newly renovated Dún Laogaire Baths Artist Studios in 2023. Her research focused on our human relationship to the sea, our physiological water make-up, socio-cultural rites and rituals connected to water, and looking at the human body as another body of water in need of respect, care and conservation. She collaborated with local communities offering movement workshops, interactive talks, sea-inspired gatherings, dance dialogues and performances. 

In 2023, Laura was a dance tutor on the first Inclusive Dance Training in Ireland supported by Firkin Crane and University of Cork.

She was guest artist at MOVE ME! Festival in the Netherlands where she gave a performative-talk and facilitated workshops.

In 2022, Laura initiated a new research bodies of water investigating our biological, cultural and ritualistic relationship to water and the sea, exploring water-dancing and Janzu water techniques while based in Mexico. 

During the pandemic, Laura took her research outdoors exploring embodied ecological connection to natural environments. From which she developed the working practice and performance ‘embodied nature’, which she presented as an outdoor online performance with musicians in a Dublin Park for Biosphere Festival in 2021. This work focuses on a return to a more organic state, tuning-in to the earth of our bones, dropping embellishment, extra and excess, nature-led, with the senses as guide and instinct as language, impact is minimal. As part of Laura's outdoor work, audience and performers engage in a cleanup of the local area pre-performance as an act of care and connection to the natural setting and each other.

In 2021 during lock-down, Laura undertook a self-directed residency in a Victorain building while it was in the interim stages of being sold. Working within the main house, old school and gardens, Laura explored movement scores and filmic perspectives that have led to the creation of a series of short films and award-winning photographs.

Laura is a socially-engaged artist working collaboratively with people who are blind and deafblind to support awareness of access and inclusion. She founded Running Blind Dance in 2015, focused on researching and developing new ways to make dance and its performance accessible to people with vision-loss. Over the years she has collaborated with Anne Sullivan Centre for the Deafblind, National Council for the Blind, Vision Sports and Fighting Blindness. She has presented her work in inclusive dance at Vision 2020 Global Conference, MoveMe! Dance Festival in the Netherlands and taught at the first Inclusive Dance training in Ireland in 2023.

Laura was awarded the Pavilion Theatre Studio Space award for 2019 and Dance Limericks' Percolate Residency Award for the development and performance of new work in 2019. In 2018, Laura was selected and mentored by International Performance Artist Jennifer Walshe for Body Noise Work, a multidisciplinary project throughout 2018 supported by the Arts Council.

 

 Laura was a recipient of the Next Generation Artist Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2017 and Dancer in Residence in RUA RED Arts centre in 2017. In 2016 she was awarded the Dance Ireland Tyrone Guthrie Centre Residency Award and Mentoships award to work with dancer, writer, director -Tom Pritchard. In 2016 she was awarded the Artist in the Community award mentored by Amanda Coogan.

Her choreographic work has been presented at: 

  • Barnaslingan Woods, Dublin Mountains 2024

  • Dun Laoghaire Baths, 2023

  • Dance Moves Festival, Netherlands 2023

  • Irish Composers Collective Festival, 2022

  • Biosphere Festival, 2020

  • Dance Limerick, Oct 2019

  • Temple Bar Gallery, December 2018

  • The Model Gallery, Sligo August 2018

  • Rua Red Performance Space 2017

  • Submerge Dance Festival, Germany 2016

  • Smock Alley Scene+Heard Festival 2016

  • National Choreographic Showcase USA 2016

  • Echo Echo Festival, Derry NI, 2015

  • Impro Xchange Festival, Germany, 2015

  • Dance Theatre of Ireland 2015

  • Screen Dance Films ‘Elan’ and ‘Between’ shown in festivals in Ireland & abroad

INFLUENCES -

Laura enjoys collaborative practice and interdisciplinary exchange. She works with choreographers, dance theatre companies, filmmakers and collaborators in Germany, Ireland, France and the USA. She has worked with a collective of international artists researching the performative body in its expanded, transformative, political and imaginative states. 

Laura has had the opportunity to work and train with innovative creators in the field of experimental physical performance, contemporary dance, voice, contact and improvisation, some of which include: Rosalind Crisp, Andrew Morrish, Julyen Hamilton, Andrew Harwood, Nancy Stark Smyth, Maya Carroll, Bettina Neuhaus, Eva Karczeg, Stephanie Skura, Karen Nelson, Kirstie Simons, Stephanie Maher, Noa Zuk, German Jauregui and Tom Pritchard. 

 

INCLUSIVE DANCE PROJECT -RUNNING BLIND: 

Laura's choreographic work 'Running Blind' began in 2015. It focuses on heightening awareness and perspective through the stimulus and hindering of our sensory and kinaesthetic environments. She was awarded the Artist in the Community Award managed by CREATE (Ireland) and supported by mentor Amanda Coogan, to work with the Anne Sullivan centre for DeafBlind in 2015. Since then she continues her relationship and weekly class with the residents.

In 2016, Laura extended this project to investigate new forms of experiencing dance through haptic communication and audio description. She was awarded the Dance Ireland 2016 Tyrone Guthrie Centre Residency Award to facilitate this research, working with collaborators, Walei Sabre,  accessibility activist working in New York and Janie Doherty, contemporary dancer based in Derry. Laura was the recipient of the Dance Ireland Mentored Residency award in 2016 where she worked with, Writer, Dancer and Theatre Director, Tom Pritchard to explore the use of text and voice in dance as a creative tool and integral element of dance performance. 

As Dancer-in-Residence at Rua Red in 2017, Laura facilitated a programme of creative lab sessions with participants who are blind and integrated workshops with professional and community dancers. In August 2017, she presented an accessible dance performance that incorporated tactile environment, immersive soundscape, interactive performance and live audio-description. Three of the six performances included audience with sight-loss. In 2018, Laura further developed this Inclusive Dance project ,delivering two six week programmes in collaboration with the National Council for the Blind, supported by the DLR Arts Office, Sports Partnership and  Vision Sports Ireland. 

In 2018, Laura further developed her Inclusive Dance work, Running Blind, and delivered two six week programmes in collaboration with the National Council for the Blind, supported by the DLR Arts Office and the Arts Access Grant. The impact of this work was acknowledged with receipt of the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Award.

In July 2018, the Irish Independent featured this project as the cover story of their Health Supplement. 

Click here to see the 2 page article. 

Running Blind is an interactive dance performance that brings the audience on a journey of the senses, guiding them to experience dance in a new way.  This work is accessible to all.​ 

For more details on this work see: www.runningblind.ie

Contact laura@runningblind.ie to receive Press and Media Pack.

CONTACT

Laura creates and collaborates internationally with artists, collectives and communities to create unique, engaging dance works and performance projects find out more about ways to collaborate!

Dance/Choreography- www.laurasarahdowdall.wixsite.com/dancer

Inclusive Dance - www.runningblind.ie

Somatic Dance & Holistic Practice - www.healingyoga.ie

Instagram/Facebook- @laurasarahdowdall  @healingyogasoma

EMail Contact: laurasarahdowdall@gmail.com

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David Keane- The Reviews Hub

 

“Dowdall’s performance vacillated between ecstasy and despair, and she was a visual feast in pure flowing white… Dowdall was mesmerising and hypnotic ...an intriguing performance with Dowdall and O’Braoin being above par in their respective field."

 

Tatiana Lobza- Dance Reviewer

 

“Laura’s movements were mesmerizing and flawless making you part of something special and intimate – the world you don’t explore or see every day... you feel the strength and  more confident steps, emotions, light and darkness, momentous joy and realization of reality. Laura is magnificent to watch."

 

 

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