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an early-career training programme


We have had an amazing response to our call out for early-career mentees to join a dance training programme facilitated and mentored by Joan Davis.  This training is titled ESSENCE, which brings us into a deep awareness of ourselves and explores how to bring this awareness into performance. It offers a new and transformative relationship with our bodies and also with Dance in the natural environment.

  Meet our Mentees  


What is ESSENCE?

Over six modules, we will deep dive into the systems of the body, exploring muscle, bone, fluids, organs and nerve. Alongside an exploration of our inner landscapes, we will work outdoors and in direct relationship with all that is alive in nature, moment by moment. Amongst many experiential and embodied approaches, we will use the practices of guided somatizations. We will explore co-creating with the land, leading to the creation of an environment from which to offer interactive and immersive performances outdoors.

Joan Davis offers wisdom honed over fifty years for dancers, makers and artists who love to explore into the future. Mentees will work closely with mid-career artists who have already trained and performed with Joan over the last two years.  This intergenerational support, together with an environment of curiosity, safety and positive regard - will be conducive to us being at our most creative, supporting us to imagine new movement and performance ideas.


It is highly recommended to attend ‘Garden as Gallery’ (outdoor dance events with Joan Davis and mid-career artists) which take place in the gardens of Gorse Hill in July, August and September 2023.  


  Meet our Mentees  


Fay Burnett studied Fine Art at Falmouth, ESAD Valence and Kingston School of art where she received her BA in 2018. She is a Welsh multidisciplinary artist, currently based in Cardiff. Her practice is focused on performance, dance and sculpture within the natural landscape. She draws on themes of relationship, communication and folklore. She is currently producing work linked to Welsh traditional culture. She is interested in a relationship between Irish and Welsh heritages. She has performed, exhibited and undertaken residencies in Wales, Ireland, Europe and Internationally. Her work has been supported by Mayo County Council Arts Office.

Sophie Hutchinson is a dance artist and facilitator from Waterford. She trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds UK, where she was based until 2021. During that time, she worked with Company of Others (UK), Song of the Goat theatre (Poland) and Surface Area Dance Theatre. Independently, she has worked collaboratively with musicians, filmmakers and poets including the widely anthologised poet Shamshad Khan. Currently based in Clare, Sophie is a panel artist with the Clare Arts Embrace Programme and is receiving mentorship with choreographer Adam Benjamin thanks to support from the Arts Council.

Claire Keating (she/her) is an interdisciplinary dance artist. While rooted in dance, her work spans voice and sound art, eco-somatic practices and performance art. Her investigations spiral around the listening body and emergent energetic architectures, exploring how sound and bodies move space in porous reciprocity. She has presented solo and collaborative work both as a creator and performer nationally in Ireland and across the UK and Europe.


Patrycja Kwiecień is an art historian and dancer based in Dublin and holds an MA in History of Art from the University of Wrocław, with a focus on theatre and live drawing performances. She expanded her artistic exploration through a Dance Technique, Performance, and Choreography course at Bray Institute of Further Education. Guided by a deep connection to nature, her current investigation delves into the intricate relationship between the human body, mind, and the natural environment. Patrycja is actively researching the fascia system and sensory receptors to deepen her understanding of this intimate dialogue.

Maia Nunes is an Irish-Trinidadian performance artist whose work weaves with voice, cloth, movement, sound and the land to create immersive and multi-textural performance worlds in the form of films, audio-sculptural installations and live performances.


Based in Dublin, Sarah Ryan has worked as a dance performer with a wide range of choreographers, directors and companies from different artistic backgrounds; these include Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Liz Roche, Philip Connaughton, Jess Rowell, Laura Murphy, Opera Theatre Company, Áine Stapleton, Jessie Keenan, Mary Wycherley, Cie Willie Dorner, amongst others. She has toured nationally and internationally with these works. She has also assisted in the creation of numerous new works including work for the Abbey Theatre, as well as assisting in the choreography for 'Morrigan', an opera by John O'Brien and Eadaoin O' Donoghue for Cork Opera House in which she also performed. 

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