Tue 18 Feb 20

Deadline extended to 17th April, auditions to be held in mid June, date TBC.

Step Up Dance Project 2020 continues to bridge the gap between dance education and professional contemporary dance practice. Step Up is curated by Irish born, Marguerite Donlon, International choreographer. She is the Artistic Ballet director and resident choreographer of Ballet Hagen at Theater Hagen. She is also the founder and director of Donlon Dance Collective, A project company based in Berlin. More on Marguerite here.

Step Up aims to enhance young dancers’ professional networks, by connecting them to the Irish and international contemporary dance community, thereby improving professional opportunities for young dancers in Ireland and abroad. The eight-week programme is open to dancers who have completed their professional training within the last three years and participants will be selected via audition on 10 April.

This year’s eight-week programme combines:

– Creation of new works with leading choreographers
– Working on specific technical skills from a renowned improvisation teacher
– Learning repertoire from a former dancer with renowned international companies
– Personal and professional coaching
– Performances in Limerick, Galway, Cork and Longford

Creation and Performance of New Choreographies

Oona Doherty, Choreographer (Ireland). Oona is based in Belfast and since 2010, has created and toured internationally dance and theatre works with companies such as TRASH (NL), Abbattoir Ferme ( BE), Veronika Riz (IT) and Emma Martin/United Fall (IRE). Since being selected as an Aerowaves artist, Oona’s choreographies have been seen through Europe and at many high profile festivals including Dance Umbrella in London. More on Oona here.

Lucyna Zwolinska, Choreographer (Poland, Germany). Lucyna has performed with many internationally acclaimed companies including The Forsythe Company, Ballet des Saarländisches Staatstheater in Saarbrücken and Company Susanne Linke. Her own choreographies have been presented by Stuttgarter Ballett, TANZtheatre INTERNATIONAL and Tanzcompagnie Gieβen among others. More on Lucyna here.


Ursula Robb, Rosas Repertoire and Methodologies (New Zealand, Ireland). Ursula Robb has had an extensive dance career spanning over twenty years, working with internationally acclaimed companies such as ROSAS, Brussels (A.T De Keersmaeker), ULTIMA VEZ, Brussels (Wim Vandekeybus), cie.ZOO, Brussels (Thomas Hauert), among others.  Ursula has taught at dance schools and institutions worldwide including P.A.R.T.S (Brussels), The New Zealand School of Dance (Wellington, NZ), the Danish National School of Performing Arts (Copenhagen) and is currently teaching at Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.  

Prof Dieter Heitkamp, Improvisation teacher (Germany). Dieter is a professor of contemporary dance at the HfMDK Frankfurt am Main and director of the education department at the ZuKT (Zeitgenössischer und Klassischer Tanz). He is a founder and former collective member of Tanzfabrik Berlin, and was one of their artistic directors until 1995. For the last 40 years he has been working intensively on the study, teaching, documentation and performance of contact improvisation. More on Dieter here.

Eoin Mac Donncha, Ballet master and Rehearsal Director (Ireland). Eoin trained at The Rambert School of Ballet in London before working at various state theatres in Germany including Stadtheater Giessen and Staatstheter Saarbrucken. He has worked with the Cathy Sharp Dance Company, Switzerland, the Expressions Dance Company, Australia, and has danced for Ballet Hagen under the direction of renown choreographers including Wayne McGreggor. Currently, he works as a soloist in Budapest with choreographer Pál Frenák.  Eoin has taught at the Hong Kong academy of performing arts in Hong Kong, and has set a piece for the students of the graduating year there.

Eoin will teach morning class and will assist the choreographers and rehearse the new works. He will be in the studio at all times, to assist with artistic matters.

Guest teachers working in Ireland will provide opportunity for participants to connect with Irish-based working choreographers and performers. The teachers in 2020 include Lucia Kickham, Maria O’Malley & Laura Mackin. See for further information.

Personal Development

Independent dance artists are required to initiate their own opportunities, to manage their career paths and often their own projects. The Personal Development aspect of the Step Up dance project aims to give participants a broad toolkit or road map for taking the next steps in their career path. Activities will include:

Coaching with Rivca Rubin, Personal Coach (England). Rivca encourages artists to ascertain their vision, locate the essence and refine their practice, grow purpose, align practice to values, and create working cultures people engage with, flourish and enjoy working in. More on Rivca here.

Meeting key personnel within the dance field in Ireland

Meeting Step Up Alumni to hear their experiences since participating in Step Up

Workshop facilitated by Jenny Traynor of Dance Limerick emphasising self-empowerment, tips and guidance on presenting yourself professionally, online and in approaches to dance companies, programmers and funders.

Timeframe / Key Dates

The full training / rehearsal / performance period runs from Monday 6 July – Saturday 29 August, using state of the art studios and facilities at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at University of Limerick initially, and then at Dance Limerick, before performing in Limerick, Galway, Longford, Cork and Dublin.

Terms & Conditions

Rehearsals will take place 10.00 – 6.00 pm Monday to Saturday for the duration of the rehearsal period. Some additional hours in the evening or on Sunday will be required, at the discretion of the choreographers.

A full scholarship on the programme includes:

– Accommodation on campus at UL, and subsequently in artist-friendly houses in the city for the second period of rehearsals.
– Tour accommodation and tour travel as required, will be arranged and paid for by Step Up.
– A weekly stipend will be paid toward day to day living costs

Participants must be available on an exclusive basis for the full programme

What’s Not Covered

– Travel Expenses to and from Ireland / Limerick
– Health Insurance
– Visa Costs (if applicable)

How to Apply

We are seeking applications from exceptional young dancers who will graduate prior to Summer 2020 or who have graduated from professional level dance training within the past three years.

Please send your CV and a personal statement describing why you would like to be involved in Step Up and confirming your availability for the full programme which runs Monday 6 July to Saturday 29 August 2020.

Applicants should send web links of recent live dance footage, on stage or in studio to include:

– An excerpt of a dance solo
– An excerpt of improv

Closing Date

Applications should be submitted via email by 5pm Friday 17 April to with Step Up Application in the subject line.

Next Steps

A shortlist of applicants will be invited to an audition in mid June, date TBC. Up to eight dancers will be selected from audition to take part in the Step Up 2020 programme and letters of offer will be sent in the week immediately following the audition.

Queries on the application / process can be addressed to Jenny Traynor, Programme Director at

Step Up Dance Programme is a partnership between Dance Limerick, Dance Ireland, the Irish World Academy for Music and Dance at the University of Limerick and the Arts Council.


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