Thursday, December 15, 2011

Achieving Excellence

 Espectáculo "Cruel" da Cia de Dança ...

In many cases in my opinion, dance artists are busy worried about fundings etc, forgetting that when we achieve excellence in what we do there's not much to be worried about it.
There's a belief out there that excellence in dance only represents what is aesthetically pleasing with  certain level of difficulty in terms of technique and tricks. To me however, excellence in dance or in any other art form means to make achievements in creating a piece of art that expresses who we are  independently if it is simple as dove or magical and elegant as Toucan. Actually, I often tell my students and dancers that simplicity works! (Took me a while to understand this, but since I did, it became a tool in my creativity and style).
Of course is important to challenge ourselves as artists but that doesn't mean that we should be or do what is not part of us. Excellence is about our honesty in our creativivity and professionalism to explore, investigate and refine our piece of art.
I believe the audience is attracted to what pays off their money and they only will support us when they see in us professional people with vision and purpose that don’t use replication of what is already there but works with innovation and creativity, sharing not only an idea , but what is real in our soul.
In terms of honesty and innovation there are 3 dance companies that I admire. They are brave  professionals and became inspirations to me: The Brazilian Company ‘Deborah Colker’, the English ‘Siobhan Davies Dance Company’ and the Irish led by the Spanish Mariam Ribon ‘Dublin Youth Dance Company’. These are companies strive for excellence not only in their statement, but when they meet together and deal with one another, mirroring to the audience quality in what they do, establishing their space and creating a legacy.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dance in Education

This video is about a 'Dance in Education' project called 'Sports Dance' that I thaught at Portlaoise College, Co. Laois during autumm 2011. It was funded by Laois Arts Office. I hope you enjoy it:

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dance and Pregnancy

Woman pregnancy month by month.
When I reached the second trimester of my second pregnancy and was still dancing, many people asked if it was safe for both the baby and me. My answer was that for dancers dancing for over 2 years it's safe to dance until the 7th month of gestation and in my own and actual experience I can tell that I feel great when I am moving and am grateful for the benefits of it as I get bigger! However, it's important to remember that you need to be careful in what you do and always to listen to your body  when it asks to rest. Also, if you consider yourself unfit, don't try to go for the 2 hours in the gym just because you don't want to put too much weight during your pregnancy - This is not the appropriate time for that - choose light exercises such as pilates and stretches always accompanied by a fitness expert, in a safe environment.
Bellow, there's an article from about the "Benefits of Dancing During Pregnancy". I hope you enjoy it as much as I am enjoying my bump! :-)
"According to Ann Cowlin, the founder and director of Dancing Thru Pregnancy (DTP), a Connecticut-based fitness and well-being program that trains professionals to work with women of all ages, dancing during pregnancy, like pilates and walking, can provide numerous benefits for mom and baby. Among them are:
  • relief from pregnancy-related discomforts;
  • improved stamina before, during, and after labor;
  • reduction in the need for medical intervention during labor and birth;
  • and shortening of the postpartum recovery period.
The Mind-Body Connection:
DTP classes around the world teach women a variety of skills through modern dance. In particular, the classes focus on the connection between mind and body. Cowlin explains that, "Mind-Body exercises evoke the Relaxation Response," which helps the brain and body counter stress, "which in turn helps women pay attention to their bodies while they work out. This improves motor efficiency and reduces the risk of injury, and is a central tenet of dance training." Some of the "Mind-Body exercises, or Centering, that is, balancing the body, deep abdominal breathing" are taught using techniques borrowed in the early 1980s from yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, and tai chi, explains Cowlin." 

Days of rain and  roses
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dance Career (Ireland)

Dance is an Art Form that formally started in the French court ballets of the 16th and 17th centuries and can be taken today in a recreational, Therapeutic, educational or/and performing level. If you are confident, dedicated, hard worker, have self-discipline and love dance and the performing Arts, you may have the skills to engage in the dance industry (which can be larger than a lot people think it is).
To start this beautiful and hard career is important that you dedicate few years of your life in the dance training. If you had or not the opportunity to take some classes as a kid, to go on full time vocational training is recommendable to go deeper and understand what kind of artist you are or who you would like to be: a dancer, a choreographer, an administrative dance staff or a dance Practitioner (teaching for the community, educational schools, dance schools or in therapy programmes).
If you want to become a professional dancer in Ireland, here are some tips that you may follow to achieve your goals:

1) Take full time vocational dance training. The options available in Ireland are:

College of Dance -
Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa -
Inchicore College of Further Education -
Sallynoggin College of Further Education - 
University of Limerick  (Certificate in Dance & Music; BA Irish Music and Dance or BA Voice and Dance) - 
University of Ulster (BA Hons Dance) -

       2)       After taking step number 1, you may apply for full time training in UK to be more challenged and to get in touch with stronger choreographers and professional dancers. This means also more opportunities to get into the professional dance and to achieve a successful career. Some options that you may take is:

Bird College
London Studio Centre
Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
Performers College
Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance
Scottish School of Contemporary Dance
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
      Urdang Academy

3) If you don’t have much money to stay abroad for a while, you may go to the University of Limerick. The options there are:

MA Dance Performance: Contemporary Dance
MA Dance Performance: Irish Traditional Dance

4) During your training years, is recommendable that you also take part of extracurricular dance activities that offers you opportunities to perform in a pre-professional level. The opportunities in Ireland are:

Dance House / Artist Opportunities -
Dublin Youth Dance Company -
Irish National Youth Ballet Company -
Irish Youth Russian
Shawbrook Youth Dance -
       Even if you want to become anything else in dance that does not involve performing on stage, is important that you go on dance training. If you cannot afford full time, take regular classes that can challenge you. Search on your local directory for private dance schools/classes and attend workshops related to the Performing Arts as much as you can. Once you feel confident on the way that you move and find what kind of professional that you are, you must take it more seriously and study dance.  The courses in Ireland that offers qualification to teach dance are:

Offered by Inchicore College of Further Education (

·         DDI / DDE (Diploma in Dance Instruction and Education) full time

Offered by University of Limerick (

·         MA Ethnochoreology: University of Limerick  full time
·         MA Dance Performance: Contemporary Dance  full time
·         MA Dance Performance: Irish Traditional Dance full time
·         Graduate Diploma in Dance / MA in Dance part time

Offered by University of Ulster (

·         Dance [BA Hons]
·         Dance [BA Hons]
·         Dance [Modular Programme]
·         Dance with Drama [BA Hons]
·         Dance with Irish [BA Hons]
·         Dance with Music [BA Hons]

Offered by Kildare County Council Arts Service:

· The Laban Guild Dance Leaders Course (internationally renowned for its expertise in community dance training)                       part time

          During your ‘studying years’, is recommendable that you also take part of extracurricular dance activities in a pre-professional level that offers you opportunities to develop your skills and gets you in touch to stronger choreographers and professional dancers. This means also more opportunities to get into the professional dance world and a successful career. To access regulary is a good idea to find out what is going on.

             Once you are trained, understanding fully what dance is and can be, knowing who you are as dance artist, be open to every good opportunity that comes across in your life. Be enthusiastic, honest and generous to yourself and others, not losing the vision that you have for your career, remembering always that a true artist influences people and allows the self to get inspired by the others! Good luck!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Behind the Scene - Blog's editor:

Erica Borges
Graduate Diploma in Dance with honours, University of Limerick
Certificate in Dance/Drama, Inchicore College Dublin
Certificate in Community Dance, Laban Guild
I am an Irish-based dance Artist whom likes to engage with my cultural background to what is current, aiming to create spaces where the body may tell its own story. I believe dance encourages us to stay rooted in our bodies as we act, decide, and participate in the world, so my art transpires from the personal.
I am principal and dance teacher of Laois Dance Academy, artistic director of Laois Youth Dance Ensemble and have been honoured to be funded by Laois Arts Office in the past 4 years to teach dance in Laois  primary and secondary schools.
Since 2013 I have been working as director of Laois Dance Platform. An event to celebrate and promote dance in County Laois.
In October 2014 I was in dance residency as part of Tipperary Dance Platform with Iseli-Chiodi Dance Company, under the mentorship of the French choreographer Hélène Cathala.