This is a form of autobiography told with dance and words. Written by Michael Keegan-Dolan, we will spend a childhood in north Dublin with four brothers and five sisters; a period of training to become a professional ballet dancer in London; and his time was spent dancing in West End musicals before he was obscured by a scene.
hen follows her work as a choreographer in opera projects and original dance works; and finally, his return “with this shape-shifting woman to my late father’s hometown” – on the Dingle peninsula, where Teach Damhsa, his company, is based department. A magpie is jumping collecting jewels on his life path.
An odd representation of a 1970s and 80s Irish youth embodying the clumsiness of an Irish schoolboy who prefers dancing to rugby. The script is filled with keen wisdom: Keegan-Dolan’s inspired observability, familiar from his choreography, is also applied to his writing.
His work is choreographed and performed by Keegan-Dolan and his partner in life and dance, Rachel Poirier. It’s filled with brilliant theatrical touches; a huge wooden crate is a box of toys and a trap; Balloons, balloons and a bicycle were used and the show featured stand-up comedy acts. The dance is funny and entertaining as it works through ’80s hits from David Byrne to Depeche Mode. Poirier’s solo dance performance at the end is a wonderfully virtuoso choreography, full of humanity and humour.
Besides the lightness of the story of the dance career, there is also a surprising interplay with the darkness caused by Irish identity. Bigotry towards the Irish in England is experienced. We hear about Keegan-Dolan’s grandfather, an actor Abbey fought in 1916 who suffered a life-long lung injury. The Great Famine topped its history of starvation. Now in her fifties, Keegan-Dolan is the grandson of revolutionary Ireland, and the show is plagued by that genetic trauma. This is the serious tension hidden in the coldness of his career, which will be chewed up on the way home.
The general feeling is that this is an attractive, interesting and knowledgeable couple, and spending time in their presence is a pleasure. The show feels like home on the Gate stage, which offers such effortless intimacy. Grab a ticket if you can.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/theatre-arts/review-of-how-to-be-a-dancer-in-seventy-two-thousand-easy-lessons-performances-of-darkness-and-light-fun-and-wisdom-42026920.html Review of How to Be a Dancer in Seventy-Two Thousand Easy Lessons: Performing Shadows and Lights, Fun and Wisdom