There are lots of ways to get involved in the Festival and learn more about dance, with our programme of projects, discussion and events both during and outside the Festival dates.


Open Studio


Dublin Dance Festival in association with the Abbey Theatre, Live Collision and The Ark.

Open Studio is a creative lab exploring performance, connectivity and young people. It brings together a range of perspectives and methodologies around connecting to younger audiences and participants through dance, performance and live art.

Young people and artists from diverse backgrounds will take part in four days of workshops, seminars and scratch events exploring the potential of future programmes, including work co-curated by young people for young people.

This user-driven process, with participation from Collapsing Horse Theatre, The Ark, DYDC, The Autonomy Project, Limerick and Dublin Fringe Young Radicals, will explore the potential of digital platforms within performance, children and risk-based practice, and youth and gender activism.

Learnings will be shared in an open forum round table discussion for programmers, producers, venues and young people who are already involved or interested in this area.

Abbey Theatre, in the Peacock
Wed 18–Sat 21 April
Round Table: 21 April, 2pm–4pm
Admission free. Limited capacity.
Booking required for Round Table Discussion 21 April. Book here

A Life of Play - Emma O'Kane


Commissioned by Bealtaine in partnership with Dublin Dance Festival. A CoisCéim BROADREACH Project. Presented as part of Bealtaine @ Temple Bar.

Grandchildren, bring your grandparents! Come and take part in A Life of Play where everyone can create, anyone can dance, and all can play. Use your body, move to music, dress up and explore in a playground of the imagination – a place of mischievous, magical invention where fun feels right at home.

A Life of Play is a creative dance and play project for children aged 5–10 and their older family members aged 50+. Pair up and join Emma O’Kane on 3, 4 or 5 May at Project Arts Centre. Then on Sunday 6 May, everyone is invited to PLAY outdoors together in Meeting House Square, all as part of Bealtaine @ Temple Bar (3–7 May). No dance experience necessary.

Project Arts Centre, Cube
Thurs 3, Fri 4 & Sat 5 May, 4pm–5:30pm
Admission free. Pre-booking required here

Meeting House Square Sun 6 May, 2pm–3:30pm
Admission free. No booking required.
Limited capacity. First-come, first-served.


Fast Track to Dance


Our successful Fast Track programme takes place again at the 2018 Festival, presented in collaboration with Live Collision.

This is the ideal platform if you have not been exposed to much dance but are curious to explore what it’s all about. This year’s programme will run over 3 days, giving you the opportunity to attend spectacular performances, meet artists and engage with your experiences through group sessions facilitated by the Live Collision team.

If you’re keen to develop your critical eye and learn more about dance, this is the programme for you!

Places are limited. Please email for an online application form.

Applications close on Wed 11 April and successful applicants will be notified by Fri 20 April.

Fri 11 May, 6:30pm–9pm
Sat 12 May, 11am–9pm
Sun 13 May, 12pm–4pm

Cost: €50 (includes entry to 5 performances)

The Book and The Body

Junk Ensemble

In association with University College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway, Dance Ireland and Live Collision

Junk Ensemble presents two symposia arising from their new work Dolores, inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s disturbing novel Lolita, which will premiere at the Festival in May. These two complementary events will focus on the representation and misrepresentation of the body within literature and performance.

Themes including gender & performance, sexuality & abuse, and trauma & memory will be explored via a programme of master classes, open rehearsals, lectures and discussions with a host of artists, academics and international keynote speakers.

National University of Ireland Galway
13–14 April

University College Dublin
21–22 April

Admission free.
Booking required:

Janez Janša

Artist Talk

In partnership with Science Gallery Dublin as part of their FAKE exhibition

Slovenian artist Janez Janša’s work deals with problems of identity, reconstruction, copying and acting.

In November 2007, he directed Fake It!, a dance piece based on five famous choreographies by other artists. It was created in response to the lack of access to acclaimed international dance performances in post-communist Slovenia. In this talk, Janša discusses the process and the products of this performance, and how authorship and copyright can be viewed within performance art.

Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin
Thurs 10 May, 6:30pm–8pm
Tickets €5
Book through Science Gallery Dublin

Theatre Forum

Developing Audiences

In partnership with Theatre Forum

DDF partners with Theatre Forum for the second year on this initiative to support venue managers in developing audiences. During the Festival, this one-day programme for venue managers will look at growing audiences, especially for dance, in their venues and networks. In facilitated group sessions, they will share insights on developing audiences and some of their programming and marketing successes. This group will also meet with Irish dance artists and producers and attend a performance of a major international Festival show.

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Thurs 3 May

Conference of Irish Geographers

Dance and Geography

This year DDF coincides with the Annual Conference of Irish Geographers (CIG2018) held at Maynooth University. As part of the conference, choreographer Fearghus Ó Conchúir will host a panel on Dance and Geography.

Under CIG2018’s theme of ‘The Earth as Our Home’, he will bring together academics and artists to discuss topics that include bodies in Ireland, dance and place-making, dance and borders, post-human bodies, choreography and citizenship.

Maynooth University
Thurs 10–Sat 12 May

For information see:

A limited number of free places are available for artists to attend the panel. Please contact Fearghus at


Liz Roche Company

DDF Company in Residence

In its second year in residence, Liz Roche Company will continue exploring new ways of researching, making, experiencing and presenting dance.

The company’s Ideas Interchange event will develop further this year, as will the Active Audience initiative in association with the Civic Theatre, Dublin Dance Festival and Tallaght Community Arts.

Wrongheaded will tour nationally and be performed at Dublin Dance Festival and Edinburgh Fringe. The company will also present a new site-specific commission for the Goethe-Institut. Then, as part of One Here Now: The Brian O’Doherty / Patrick Ireland Project with Sirius Arts Centre Cobh, a site-specific work, Pilgrimage, will be presented for Cork Midsummer Festival and a major new work, I/Thou, will be commissioned, co-produced and presented by Cork Opera House.

Philippa Donnellan

Residency and Performances at axis, Ballymun

Philippa Donnellan, dance artist in residence at axis, Ballymun 2017–2018 explores stories and experiences about work – and the impact of work on the body.

Created in collaboration with and performed by dancer Lee Clayden and members of the local community, BODY OF WORK / What’s the story? is a dance theatre performance which reveals a world of dark mornings, long hours, aching feet and occasional triumphs. Amid the grit and glare, different characters take centre stage. Whether they live to work or work to live, their difficulties, desires and celebrations gradually emerge.

axis, Ballymun
Fri 18 & Sat 19 May, 8pm; Sat 19 May, 3pm
€10 full price / €8 conc.
Book through axis, Ballymun.

Colin Dunne & Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Dublin Dance Festival welcomes this initiative which brings together two major and undeniable international talents. Irish-based Colin Dunne has achieved more than most in the world of Irish dance, staging a dialogue with his own history and the history of the artform.

Morocco/Belgium-based Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is celebrated as one of the most original and ambitious artists working in contemporary dance today. They have been dreaming about working together for more than ten years.

Dublin Dance Festival was delighted to catalyse a preliminary joint research and development period in May and July in Antwerp, to be followed by further collaboration periods in November, with the support of Théâtre National de Bretagne in Rennes, and back in Ireland across 2018.