DDF News — 31 May 2022

In Conversation Series: Artist Pass Recipients Sarah Saxon and Emma Foley

In Conversation Series: Artist Pass Recipients Sarah Saxon and Emma Foley

We caught up with 2022 Artist Pass recipients Sarah Saxon and Emma Foley to hear more about their experience with the 2022 Edition of Dublin Dance Festival.

Arts festivals are unique environments – generative, exciting and collective. In the midst of a festival you can immerse yourself in an artform or genre, bouncing from performances, to workshops, to talks, to exhibitions, filling your day from breakfast to bedtime. This is a particularly valuable experience for artists to learn about and develop their craft through this immersion. However, filling the day with events can prove expensive, even with myriad free events on offer throughout the Festival. This is what prompted Dublin Dance Festival to create the DDF Artist Pass. Recognising the challenges for young artists in accessing a wide range of performances and connecting with a diverse network of artists, the DDF Artist Pass provides selected artists with access to a curated selection of Festival events, most suited to their interests and ambitions.

This year, the Artist Pass recipients are Favour Odusola, a Nigerian-Irish multidisciplinary artist who has worked across several contexts from traditional dance and percussion to commercial work and contemporary theatre; Sarah Ryan, multifaceted freelance dance artist; Sarah Saxon, an emerging dancer, choreographer and dance-filmmaker based in Australia; and Emma Foley, a dance artist who is currently investigating the effect loss of senses from the human body has on our movement quality and emotional reactions.

We caught up with Sarah Saxon and Emma Foley to hear more about what the Artist Pass means for them.

What drew you to apply for the Artist Pass programme?

Sarah: I am from Australia but grew up visiting family friends in Ireland. I applied for the Artist Pass programme because I am really keen to make connections with the Contemporary dance community in Ireland and making the most of what the Dublin Dance Festival has to offer seemed like a great step in that direction - especially for someone coming from overseas, it’s great to have some support in knowing how to approach the festival.

Emma: I was drawn to the Artist Pass programme because I want to experience as many live pieces as I can to support local and international performers and gain inspiration from conversations with other amazing artists in Ireland.

What are you most looking forward to about the Festival?

Sarah: I’m really excited for the Modes of Capture Symposium workshop in the second week. It seems like it’s going to be a great way to meet other dancers and artists. Melbourne is a great city for dance and art but I’ve been stuck here for a while now so I’m really looking forward to being in a room full of new people from new places. I find those kind of experiences super inspiring and nourishing.

Emma: I am most looking forward to being given the opportunity to open the door to staged work which may resonate with my own personal research and discover the impact they will inevitably have on my dancing journey. I am also looking forward to the immersive, interactive pieces which will get the community involved and build relationships with participants.

Why should someone apply to the Artist Pass programme?

Sarah: I think the Artist Pass is a great tool personally because it provides a framework and guidance for me in a community I’m brand-new to and, in general for any emerging artist, to have something like this gives a kind of foundation or boost to their attendance at the Dublin Dance Festival that can have so many unforeseen, positive repercussions for their artistic development.

Emma: The Artist’s Pass is an amazing opportunity for anybody who wants to continue their personal research through attending shows and performances but may not have the funds to do so. It also gives myself the chance, as a newly emerging dancer, and the platform to meet and build relationships with other artists who I could create work with in the future. As artists, we need to support each other, now coming out of the pandemic as much as ever, and this programme gives us the opportunity to do so with no strings attached.

What do you hope to take away from your experience of the Festival?

Sarah: I’m hoping that following the festival I will have made some new friends and exciting connections and that the whole experience will have been an artistically inspiring and mentally refreshing one following that stagnation I’m sure we’re all familiar with after so long doing very little.

Emma: I hope to take away a new lease of life within my dance practice, and any insights possible to allow me to continue my winding and weaving dance career. I am extremely grateful to have been given such an amazing opportunity and I want to make the absolute most out of it as possible. I want to thank all the team at DDF for their tireless work and countless hours behind the scenes to bring this festival together for all of us. Thank you!