STEP UP Open Call 2022

Fri 15 Oct 21

Open Call for Recent Dance Graduates/Recent Dance Professionals | Deadline Friday 26 November 2021

STEP UP is a project of professional development for recent dance graduates or equivalent early-career dance professionals. It aims to connect participants to the range of practices and practitioners that make up Ireland’s dance ecology and to the international networks of dance in which we operate. It is focused on developing artists as performers while recognising the creativity necessary in the performer’s work. Dance artists rely on a range of skills including technical competence, improvisational facility, the ability to process input from a variety of creative stimuli, alongside a capacity to perform and engage with audiences and publics in different circumstances. We’re hoping you’ll come with some of those skills and with an appetite to develop them further.

We’re looking for dancers born or resident in Ireland who graduated in 2019 or since then and who are interested in being part of a paid professional development programme. You’re also eligible if your professional dancing career has started since 2019, but you have come through other training routes that didn’t involve graduation. This is an opportunity for dancers in the early stages of their professional career. Previous Step Up participants who match the criteria above are eligible to apply again. We’re recruiting up to five dancers for this programme.

In 2022, the programme has three core elements and an optional fourth.


A Performance in Context project with choreographer Fearghus Ó Conchúir to develop a new work in Limerick. Building on Fearghus’s work with communities of place and of interest, the dance-making will be supported by a process of reflection on the opportunities, challenges, ethics and aesthetics of dance-making in context or in collaboration with a community. This reflection will also include conversations with other choreographers and experienced performers to explore a range of approaches and to encourage you to think about what role you have as a dance artist when making work in this way.

Fearghus Ó Conchúir, Choreographer (Ireland). Fearghus Ó Conchúir is Curator of the STEP UP Dance Project from 2022-24. He is a dance artist who frequently collaborates with practitioners from other disciplines and is a champion for what dance can help us understand about how we live in the world.


Finola Cronin is Emeritus Assistant Professor in The School of English, Drama and Film at UCD. Finola danced in Germany with Vivienne Newport in TAT Frankfurt, and with Pina Bausch in Wuppertal, and with many other choreographers including Raimund Hoghe in Düsseldorf and the Liz Roche Company in Dublin. Finola’s workshop will focus on her involvement with German Tanztheater.

Mufutau (Junior) Yusuf is a Nigerian/Irish performer based between Dublin and Brussels. Trained mainly in dance and physical theatre, Mufutau regularly works with Brussels company Ultima Viz and is known to Irish artists and audiences through his work with Irish choreographer John Scott’s Irish Modern Dance Theatre and through his own choreography. Mufutau will lead a workshop focusing on Ultima Vez repertoire which he has been involved in devising and how it relates to his own creative practice.


Independent dance artists often have to make their own opportunities, to manage their careers and build networks. The Personal Development aspect of the Step Up programme aims to give participants a broad toolkit or road map for taking the next steps in their career path. Activities will be arranged online and will include:

Career skills – a series of workshops designed to support early career dancers in the practicalities of making a career in dance: topics will include self-employment, contracts, application writing, CV development.

Coaching – each participant will receive 2 x 45 minute sessions with a personal coach.


All five participants will have an opportunity to audition / interview for one of three paid placements. The placements will be offered by John Scott, Artistic Director of Irish Modern Dance Theatre; Emma Martin, Artistic Director of United Fall; and Liz Roche, Artistic Director of Liz Roche Dance Company. The placements will be for a paid two-week period during the Research and Development process for new work.


– Thursday 13 January 2022: Audition in Limerick
– Tuesday 19 April – Saturday 28 May 2022: Training/Rehearsal/Performance
– Week commencing 6 June: 3 days Online Personal Development Activities
– September 2022 (dates tbc): 2 days Online Personal Development Activities


Covid Protocols: Dance Limerick will operate all of the appropriate protocols necessary at the time of participation, to minimize risk of infection. In any event, participants will be housed in an apartment together and will operate as a bubble. Should it be necessary, we may ask you to limit your outside contacts for the duration of the contract. This will be made clear prior to the start date.

Rehearsals: Take place in Limerick 10.00 am – 6.00 pm. Different hours may be required in the lead up to the performance(s) but will not exceed the regular daily total.

Artists’ Fee: Five selected dancers will receive a weekly fee of €650 over 7 weeks, along with accommodation for the period 18 April – 28 May. The fee is payable on receipt of two invoices. Participants will be responsible for their own living expenses, travel costs to and from Limerick, and for incidental travel while in Limerick.

Time Commitment: Participants must be available on an exclusive basis to take advantage of the full programme. We will agree the dates for the online personal development programme before you have to sign the contract.


Please send your CV and a personal statement outlining your motivation to be involved in Step Up along with a weblink to a 1 minute improvisation. Your personal statement can be written (100 words max.) or in video form (1 minute max. submitted as a weblink)

Applications should be submitted in one pdf, as an email attachment, to include cv, personal statement and weblink. Please note individual video files and documents linked to Google drive cannot be accepted.


The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 26 November to with Step Up Application in the subject line.

The programme is committed to equality of opportunity, supports and encourages under-represented groups and values diversity. We guarantee an interview to any dancer with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the opportunity. To be eligible for the guaranteed interview, you must have a disability or long term health condition which puts you at a significant disadvantage in either obtaining or keeping jobs. The disability could be physical, sensory or mental and expected to last for at least 12 months. You do not have to be registered as a disabled person to apply under this scheme.

If you have additional access needs please get in touch with us at


You might also like

Join our mailing list

Keep up to date with performances, classes, residencies, competitions and all our news by joining our mailing list.

Sign me up