Laurie Uprichard from Danspace in Dublin is the new artistic director of International Dance Festival Ireland (IDFI). Dublin mightn’t have a frenetic dance activity, but the relatively well-supported IDFI can reward ambition, as it becomes an annual event next year. Previously, under the direction of founder Catherine Nunes, the festival managed to mix glamorous headliners with ancillary events from screen workshops to projects in prisons.
With Uprichard’s track record at Danspace there is every reason to hope for a continuation of a balanced programme that introduces audiences to international companies while nurturing local dance companies. Before she became director of Danspace in 1992, Uprichard was managing director and co-producer of Dance Theater Workshop, and it’s this career bloodline that’s responsible for the hum of expectation around her first festival next spring.
But there are challenges ahead, such as Dublin’s dearth of dance-friendly performance spaces. The premier venue remains the Abbey Theatre – host to Merce Cunningham and Mark Morris in past festivals – but it has no pit and a fan-shaped stage that pinches to 13m wide at the proscenium. Issues like this may be ...