Since the first Step Up in 2011, the project has featured 58 Emerging Artists, 18 Professional Choreographers, 34 Teachers and Coaches and 28 Public Performances.
On the project’s 10th Birthday, Step Up welcomes six promising young dancers to take part in an intensive programme of training, rehearsal, performance and development with renowned choreographers and coaches.
Step Up Dance Project is a partnership between the Arts Council, Dance Ireland, Dance Limerick and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. This year it once again plays host to some of the most promising recent contemporary dance graduates. Curated by International Choreographer and Director of Donlon Dance Collective Marguerite Donlon, this year brings a new format and fresh outlook for its latest iteration.
Following an open call early this year, six exceptional young dancers were chosen to take part in the project. They are Ellen Finlay, Dylan Holly, Nick Nikolaou, Niamh O’Flannagain, Hannah Rogerson and Eilise Sullivan. Scroll down for more info on this year's participants.
This year we are delighted to welcome our exciting creative team on board that includes choreographer Luke Murphy, contemporary dancer and musician Aoife McAtamney, dance artist Ursula Robb, personal coach Rivca Rubin, Laura Macken, the project’s Artistic Assistant and Rehearsal Director and performer and choreographer Emily Terndrup who joins us as a Guest Teacher. More on the Step Up 2020 Creative Team here.
Ellen Finlay graduated from Trinity Laban with a BA (hons) in Contemporary Dance in 2017. Since then she has worked with immersive and physical theatre in London, most recently as a choreographer and dancer in Riverside Opera’s production of A Cunning Little Vixen. Ellen has attended training at Shawbrook Dance, Longford and last year taught and mentored at the Shawbrook Summer School for a new generation of Irish dance artists.
Dylan Holly is a 26-year-old Irish dancer based in the Netherlands interested in contemporary dance with an Urban background. Dylan’s style is derived from the aesthetics and techniques of; Tutting, Waving, Contemporary Floorwork and Ballet. He is a graduate of Fontys Dance academy where he now teaches and runs workshops and also works freelance as both a dancer and as an assistant/outside eye for other groups projects.
Nick Nikolaou is a dance artist based in Dublin. He studied Contemporary and Jazz dance in Thessaloniki, Greece, where he is originally from. Before graduating with an MA in Contemporary Dance in 2020, Nick was part of the Dublin Youth Dance Company (DYDC).
Niamh O’Flannagain is a dancer with Ballet Ireland, having joined the company in 2018. With them she has performed in The Nutcracker, Bold Moves (2019) and Swan Lake. Niamh recently performed with Chrysalis London Contemporary in their UK tour of ‘Candy’ and was the sole Irish dancer invited to participate in the Young Rural Retreat at DanceEast, Ipswich led by Christopher Hampson.
Hannah Rogerson is a performer and dance artist originally from Kildare and now based in the Netherlands. Hannah has been working in Circus for the past three years, looking at combining the practice with dance. She recently performed in the What Next dance festival at Dance Limerick with her group, TeaTime Company.
Eilise Sullivan is a dance artist based in County Kerry, she graduated in 2018 with an MA is Contemporary Dance from the University of Limerick. Before focusing on contemporary dance, Eilise studied classical piano, voice, music composition and theory. She is also interested in rhythm and traditional cultural dances such as West African dance, Middle Eastern dance (dabke) and traditional Irish dance. Eilise has worked extensively with choreographer Catherine Young, most recently in the countrywide Welcoming Project.
About Step Up Dance Project
Step Up Dance Project aims to bridge the gap between dance education and professional contemporary dance practice in Ireland. It is an annual intensive programme of training, rehearsals, performance and development for selected dancers who have completed their professional training within the last three years. The specific elements of the programme include:
- Working with high profile choreographers to create new work.
- Working with Professional Dance Artists to enable the dancers in the reconstruction/setting of existing choreography.
- Development Workshops and Information Sessions.
Through a combination of performance platforms, residency opportunities, master classes, talks and lectures, Dance Limerick will advocate for artistic dialogue and exchange. In collaboration with dance artists across a range of practices, Dance Limerick will promote the creation of new and innovative work and will devise programmes of access, engagement and participation for the wider public.
Based at the premises of the former Daghdha Dance Company, Dance Limerick houses offices and a fully equipped studio space along with a separate performance venue known as the Daghda Space
Further information about facilities and opportunities for professional dance artists available from Jenny Traynor at