Belfast Telegraph

Trailblazing dance group steps up to support city of culture campaign

Megan Ryan, who collected the 14-16 years old Hornpipe Cup at the Feis Doire Colmcille at the weekendMartin McKeown.
Megan Ryan, who collected the 14-16 years old Hornpipe Cup at the Feis Doire Colmcille at the weekendMartin McKeown.

One of Ireland’s leading dance companies is the latest organisation to back the Belfast Telegraph’s campaign to ensure Londonderry is named UK City of Culture.





Echo Echo Dance company based at the Waterside Theatre in Derry believes securing the City of Culture status for the city would help ease the pressure on arts groups and attract investment into the sector.

The Telegraph this week launched a major Back The Bid campaign to garner support from across Northern Ireland for the Maiden City.

Echo Echo’s manager Ailbhe Bierne said: “We would absolutely welcome this campaign. I think there is a massive opportunity for an international spotlight to be shone on Derry.

“The arts scene in Derry has many different artists and organisations and this a chance for everyone to work together. We are all about supporting artists, taking opportunities to be creative, to perform and be involved.

“It would be great to get the wider public involved and doing that can only help bid.”

Mr Bierne said he felt that Derry had a fantastic chance and also has most to gain from achieving the accolade as it goes head to head with Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield.

“We have a fertile ground here for the arts sector to grow. However the arts is facing cutbacks but maybe this could open the door for more public investment. The US economic envoy is on board and that could bring investment from the US.”

Echo Echo have been trailblazers in the development of modern dance and have worked internationally with performers from Russia, Germany, Italy and Israel, with an extensive programme — over 20 dance performances in the next six months alone.

They also do education programmes with children, adults and the elderly.

Part of this will see dancers converging for a game of ‘human chess’ in the Guildhall in Derry city centre this summer.

“The City of Culture bid could bring some other dance companies here to inspire local people and get more people involved in dance,” Ms Bierne added.

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