taking our culture forward

New Manx dance commission

Tue, 14 May 2024

Culture Vannin is extremely proud to have supported an exciting new Manx dance commission.

Encouraged by the phenomenal standard of young dancers in the Isle of Man, and the strength of Manx dancing at the moment, one of the leading dance schools in the Island has commissioned a new Manx dance piece for their summer show.

With the support of a Culture Vannin grant award, Gena's Dance Academy, based in Peel, have commissioned Grainne Joughin, Manx dancer, instructor, choreographer and leader of Skeddan Jiarg dance team, to create a brand new piece specifically for the event, GDA On Tour, in the Gaiety Theatre, 17 & 18 May 2024.

Grainne Joughin says:

"I was thrilled when Gena Walker approached me to choreograph a Manx Dance piece as part of the ‘GDA on Tour’ show at the Gaiety, and to be given the creative control and opportunity to really challenge Manx Dancing and push it in directions it’s not been pushed previously.
I’ve been working with this wonderful team of GDA [Gena's Dance Acaademy] dancers between the ages of 8 and 16 - most of whom have never done any Manx dancing previously - and together we have created a dramatic piece which we really hope our audiences will enjoy. I hope all the girls now feel some sense of ownership and pride in being part of this poignant step for our Manx culture.
The choreography takes us on a journey ‘In search of Manannan’ and aims to portray the feeling of adventure and bravery. It’s a rather dark piece which marries Manx music and song by ‘Barrule’, with Manx traditional steps, alongside more contemporary movements and formations. I’m so delighted with how it has all turned out.
We are extremely grateful for the support GDA and I have been given by Culture Vannin to commission this piece. A huge thanks to the GDA teachers for making me feel so welcome, and to the parents who have been taxiing for all the extra rehearsals!
I am both excited (and a touch nervous) to see what everyone thinks.
Gura mie mooar eu!"

Caairliagh of Culture Vannin, Chris Thomas MHK, says:

"We are always delighted to support our talented creative community. We are particularly excited when traditional skills and innovation come together like this."

Gena Walker, director of Gena's Dance Academy, says:

"We feel very honored to have received funding from Culture Vannin in order to produce a Manx dance piece for our show. A first for GDA, and a first for any dance school in the Island.
Thank you to Grainne Joughin for her choreography and Jamie Smith for the music track. We feel very privileged to have such support and expertise on board!"

Details of the event:

GDA On Tour
Fri 17th & Sat 18th May 2024
7.30 - 10.30pm
Gaiety Theatre, Douglas
More information here

More information about Culture Vannin grants is available here.