It Takes a Village – Welcoming The Stranger Collective

A brand new experience for the Girls’ National School Hall in Dingle as drums, dance and laughter reverberate during the ‘Global Rhythm Festival, Cuisle Chorca Dhuibhne.’ Photograph: Mark O’Rourke.
Dancing on the Street in Dingle during the Global Rhythm Festival, Cuisle Chorca Dhuibhne. Photograph: Mark O’Rourke. 
Performers from: Afghanistan, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Burundi, Ethiopia and South Africa all came together for a performance as part of the festival. Photograph: Mark O’Rourke.

The Girls’ National School Hall in Dingle was buzzing with drums, dance and laughter recently during the town’s Global Rhythm Festival, Cuisle Chorca Dhuibhne.

Natives and Refugees

Welcoming The Stranger Collective, a dance group of Kerry locals from Dingle, Tralee and Killarney as well as migrants, asylum seekers and refugees from Afghanistan, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Burundi, Ethiopia and South Africa all came together for a performance as part of the festival.

Dancer in Residence

This dance collective is guided, directed and choreographed by Catherine Young. Between May and July, Catherine worked with returning and new participants of It Takes A Village in Dingle, Killarney and Tralee.

Catherine is dancer in residence with Kerry County Council and the residency is also co-funded by the Arts Office and Creative Ireland.

Musicians and Singers

Accompanied by live musicians and singers, the group presented the work in Dingle to a full house and standing ovation. The work has played a key role in providing avenues for integration as Irish people to get to know recent immigrants and immigrants have a way to connect and mix with locals.

The event was a huge success with a full house and standing ovation.

Positive Feedback

The audience feedback was very positive with many commenting on the importance of the work in integrating ‘the other’ into our society. There were comments about the immense joy the performers brought to the stage and how that infected the audience in an overwhelmingly positive way.

“There has been huge support to keep the work going and in addition to the benefits the audience felt, it had a huge impact on the wellbeing of the participants who felt valued, respected, included and joyous on the day,” says Catherine Young.

Joy, Creativity and Positivity

“It showed the immense power dance and music has to connect people from all walks of life together and to foster joy, creativity and positivity to counter the times we live in. It showed a version of a new Ireland and how things can be if we work together.”

New Piece for Culture Night

Local, professional artists employed on event included: Martin Scharer, music director; Jade O’Connor, singer; Eilise Sullivan, dancer; Jon Sanders, musician; Eoin Duignan, musician and Minte Getachew, dancer.

Catherine and the dance collective are currently working on a new dance piece to be presented as part of Culture Night on September 21st.

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