Woman Stood Regardless (Photos)

Photos: Luca Truffarelli

WSR Reviews

Review - Project Arts Centre Apr 4-5

Women's bodies are beaten down in Catherine Young's visceral dance. How will they be able to stand back up?

by Chris McCormack (Musings in Intermissions)

"If you were under the impression that the continued campaign for gender equality is an exaggeration, this production will smack you back to reality."

As Dancer in Residence at Siamsa Tíre, the National Folk Theatre in Kerry, Catherine Young spent time working with women support groups in the locality. Their stories of how they dealt with their afflictions inspired Woman Stood Regardless, a visceral dance in which the female body tries to withstand being bent and warped into defeat.

Take Lucia Kickham's opening movement: a turn that tremors, misaligning her leg to the degree that you'd picture it dislocating. She rests on a foot that bends towards a frightening thought; you can't help but imagine an ankle shattering into pieces.

The tall and slender Mariam Ribon doesn't tremble in the same manner. Her flow retains an elegance. As her hands wave from her bowing head, they weave a descent, a distress that's more mental than physical. Young's production begins to lose its nerve.

It's only in the glide of Ivonne Kalter that we see a gesture, a feeling out of the female body, that can be construed as a sexualised image. If this were amplified, it would restrain the performance's scope to that of a specific abuse. Instead, Young's choreography critiques a much wider gender reality, illustrating a societal purview where women get beaten down, in any walk of life.

If you were under the impression that the continued campaign for gender equality is an exaggeration, this production will smack you back to reality. The women depicted onstage are pulverised, dropping to the strains of Michael Fleming's music, which pounds as opposed to builds, until what's only left is hissing static.

After Deirdre Griffin is barraged across the stage, she appears to us as a victim. She evades another dancer who tries to connect with her, connoting a trauma that doesn't clear as easily as a bruise. From this despair you'd wonder where else Woman Stood Regardless can go. But with the hopeful strokes of a violin, and in Stephen Dodd's golden lighting, Young shoulders her struck down dancers on, healing them with her gentle choreography.

It's been a week of discussions as the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Cumann na Mban provoked debate about the status of women in Irish society. What's prevalent in Young's production is its violence more that its rehabilitation. If ever there was a reminder that the fight needs to continue, it's here."


Review by Joseph Kearney (No More Workhorse)
"Go and see it for the beauty and the pain."
Dance, contemporary, explorative, figurative dance, that’s the measure of the show tonight at The Project Arts centre; doors at 8. The piece
was incepted in the Kingdom, my homeland, the county of Kerry and has premiered in the Capital on the main stage at the Project. The piece
opens with darkness and a half light, four women placed or torn onto the stage like wounded warriors.
While much of the dancing is symmetrical and all four women moving as one, the lady in the red dress kept catching my eye. Dancers scoop
each other up and pour each other out, bodies writhe and wriggle. The battle of the sexes, women dominated by other women, tender affection, learning difficulties, abuse, control, sitting on someone else for support or destruction, the use of body language is powerful. A
repeated movement, an inescapable tick, a shaking hand, a knocking head all convey the frustration of being trapped, perhaps within your
body, or your life; perhaps both.
The show flows seamlessly from loud chaotic industrial music to silent movement and back again. A rhythm all the while gathering pace to a
crescendo, dancers enter, leave, re-enter with a new energy, status shoots up and dips right back down. It is as if the animals are running the Zoo. This piece is hard hitting, strong and has a powerful image to impart.
I am a not usually a huge fan of dance myself, especially modern explorative but Cois Ceim’s Agnes and now Catherine Young Dance are
forcing me to reconsider my position on an art form I previously thought had escaped me, it has now engulfed me. Go and see it for the beauty and the pain. 

WSR Tour Dates & Tickets (2014)


Project Arts Centre (Space Upstairs) | April 4th & 5th, 8pm                   Box Office: +353 (0) 1 881 9613 | Book now


Firkin Crane Theatre  April 6th, 8pm                                                   Box Office: +353 (0) 21 450 7487| Book now


Siamsa Tire Theatre | April 11th, 8pm                                               Box Office: +353 (0) 66 712 3055 | Book now


WSR Videos



Siamsa Tire Rehearsals - part 1 (Feb 2014)


Siamsa Tire Rehearsasl - part 2 (Feb 2014)


The Beginning, DanceHouse (Nov 2013)

WSR Cast & Creative Team


Stephen Dodd (Lighting Design)

Stephen trained at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, Dublin. His recent lighting designs include: at the National Theatre of England: riverrun (The Emergency Room / Galway Arts Festival); at Dublin Theatre Festival: Tom and Vera (Desperate Optimists); at Dublin Fringe Festival: Lippy (Dead Centre; winner of Best Production at Irish Times Theatre Awards 2013, and Best Design and Best Production, Dublin Fringe Festival 2013); Way Back Home (Louise White, Performance Maker); In Dog Years I’m Dead (Mirari Productions); Dogs (Emma Martin Dance; winner of Best Design and Best Production, Dublin Fringe Festival 2012); and Listowel Syndrome (Emma Martin Dance).



Michael Fleming (Composer)

Michael Fleming WSR Programme Photo

Michael Fleming composes for film, TV, digital-media and dance. His TV and film work has been showcased both nationally and internationally and includes numerous award-winning projects such as Nuala, Voices from the Grave, W.B. Yeats: No Country for Old Men, and the BAFTA-nominated animation film, Here to Fall. Notable dance work has included Touching Distance by Legitimate Bodies Dance Theatre and two dance films from the ‘RTÉ Dance on the Box’ series: Deep End Dance (choreographer - David Bolger; director – Conor Horgan) and Monitor (director - Luke McManus). 
Upcoming work includes the score to a children’s i-Book Finn and the Forest with BlackNorth Animation and Visual FX and an RTÉ/BBC co-production After Braveheart...



Deirdre Griffin (Dancer)

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Deirdre graduated with a BA in Dance Theatre from Fontys Dansacademie in Tilburg, Netherlands in 2011. She is based in Dublin and to Date, has worked with Maiden Voyage(NI), ponydance(NI), Trash(NL), Johan Greben (NL) and Uri Itzik (Israel), Milla Virtanen (Fin), Katja Heitmann (Ger), Jelena Kostic( Ser), AiliSh Claffey (Irl) and Alicia Christofi- Walshe (U.S.). Deirdre has performed in Ireland, the Uk,  The Netherlands and the U.S.  She has also performed at the High Performance Rodeo Festival in Calgary and Adelaide Fringe Festival winning 'Best Dance Award' with ponydance. Deirdre has also performed her own work "Pantatic!!" at 10 Days in Dublin Festival and "Beetroots:nwon (k) di fi" at International Dance Day Dublin. 


I first became involved in Woman Stood Regardless in April of last year when I was invited to take part in the first research at Dance House, Dublin.  Catherine was looking for a very strong physicality. A lot of the material that was generated from that period came from particular emotions Catherine wanted us to improvise with. Resulting in movement which gave a certain duality of power and fragility. Through group, duet and solo work we each created and learned each others material which proved challenging because we all five of us have our own unique styles. Bodies which have different flexibilities and strengths can be hard to adjust to your own body.  It was great to get to work in the dance Limerick space and Siamsa Tire, Tralee. It's nice to be in other parts of the country. I think it has influences on the work and atmosphere that is created. During these last residencies I also had to relearn work I hadn't seen in nearly a year because I missed the the November block. This was also a challenge to know the material and keep up with the others. The theme of the piece which is based on a woman's struggle and her resilience to get through incredibly tough times comes from these women's stories. Because we don't know these women personally we can only imagine what they've been through. So for me I have to relate this theme to my own world to find my understanding and try to put this in my work and performance.



Ann Hickey (Costume Designer)

Ann Hickey is a designer with a 20 year career in fashion and retail design in both Ireland and California. She met Catherine while they were both pursuing careers in San Francisco and this is their first time working together. Ann originally trained in design at D.I.T. 



Ivonne Kalter (Dancer)

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Ivonne was born and trained in Germany and is currently based in London. As a freelancer she has worked with several companies and choreographers around Europe such as Jochen Heckmann, Patrick Delcroix, Katja Wachter, Johannes Härtl, Leda Franklin, Minka Marie Heiß. She was nominated for the International Solo Dance Festival Stuttgart, is a finalist of Seoul International Dance Competition and awardee of the Isadora Award. Ivonne became involved with CYD in October 2013.


It has been really great to rehearse in different cities as it's my first time working in Ireland and I've already got to know several different dance venues. The first week we all got together was back in November at Dance House Dublin, a week of research, a chance for me to get to know Catherine's style of movement a little bit better and a chance for her to see us as a group. The process continued in January at the beautiful venue Dance Limerick. Two busy and intense weeks of learning, creating, sharing and embodying a lot of material, didn‘t leave any space for me to worry whether I will be able to understand anybody in Kerry or not! We are four diverse types of dancers with different backgrounds and different ways of creating and learning material, which can be challenging while getting to know each other, but it also keeps things fresh and exciting. Every venue has its own energy to it and influences the rehearsal process. It was really good to be able to rehearse on stage and have first runs at Siamsa Tire, as it is easy to forget how much choreography, movement and timing can change when having a bigger space to fill vs the dance studio. The next and last block of rehearsals will happen at Dance House Dublin, where it all started. This time will be about details, finding the connections and getting really comfortable in the material. It is good to think back sometimes, to remind yourself of where the process started and how you connect to the theme personally. I very much look forward to being back in the studio with CYD and I am excited to see where the journey of ‘Woman Stood Regardless‘ will lead us to.



Lucia Kickham (Dancer)

Lucia trained at Fontys Dansacademie Tilburg, The Netherlands. Now based in Dublin, Lucia to date has worked with Liz Roche  TRL0503 webCompany (IRE), Maiden Voyage (NI), TRASH (NL), Iseli-Chiodi (IRE), Undernad Dance Company (SCT), John Jasperse (US), Maria Nilson Waller (SE), Filip Van Huffel (BE), Charles Linehan (UK) and Philip Connaughton (IRE). She has performed in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Belfast Theatre Festival, Dublin Dance Festival and toured work through the UK, Sweden and The Netherlands. In 2013, Lucia choreographed the one minute dance film 'Anticipated moment' commissioned by Dance Ireland as part of it's 21 year anniversary programme. Lucia is also a member of the Frith Collective.


In April of 2013, I got involved in Catherine's research for WSR in DanceHouse, Dublin. In this initial stage it was great to work on very physical contact duets. Working with this aggressive physicality was something I hadn't done in some time. It was an advantage that Deirdre and I had trained together in The Netherlands, as we were then more comfortable when it came to throwing each other about. Within the tasks Catherine set, it was great to find freedom to explore and take plenty of risk, searching for an honesty within the struggle and retaining this even when the movement became set. It was interesting to look back at material created during those first few weeks in the studio and put it back on my body now. At times proving a little awkward. My personal style, I feel, is still a very fluid concept and naturally over ten months I've changed a bit. I enjoyed noting how my physical preferences or patterns have changed in this time. Pleasant to see a personal development and to be able to, hopefully enhance the material for this piece by layering it with new experiences.

The most challenging element of the process for me, particularly in this more recent period of rehearsing and setting the piece in Limerick and Tralee, has been the development of a common movement quality or language between the group as a whole. The cast of four dancers have very individual ways of dancing and creating movement. These differences in movement qualities challenged me to address my use and range of dynamic, flexibility and tonus. It's been good to be forced to let go of the comfortable or ingrained dynamic, not always easy but good all the same. 

And other random bits of information...

Bread soda baths are amazing. I was introduced to this just a couple of weeks ago. Great for silky soft skin and rejuvenating for tired acid filled muscles. Try it!

Tralee has more pedestrian crossings that i've ever seen in a town before. My accommodationg was approximately ten minutes walk from the theatre and en route I passed five pedestrian crossings. Amazing! And another little road related unusuality - At the pedestrian crossings in Limerick City, there is a countdown to the red man rather than the more common county down to the green. Its like a challenge. You have three seconds left to cross the road, can you make it?!



Mariam Ribon (Dancer)

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Mariam Ribon was born in Spain. As a professional Dancer she has worked with New Balance Dance Co., Daghdha Dance Co., MaNDaNCe, Cois Céim, Opera Ireland, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Shakram Dance Company and YoCo Dance. Mariam holds a First Class Honors Master in Contemporary Dance Performance from UL. She is the Artistic Director of the Dublin Youth Dance Company and the Irish Youth Dance Festival. She has choreographed for The Dublin Dance Festival, Inchicore Core Dance Company, Dublin Youth Dance Company,The Irish Youth Dance Festival and Diverse Space Dance Theatre (USA). In 2009 Mariam was awarded by dlrcc the Per Cent for Art commissions. Straight after 'Woman stood regardless' production Mariam will travel to Germany to perform  'Mere Mortals' one of her solo pieces at the Listros Art Gallery in Berlin.


The process has been good, some days more challenging than others. The theme is very interesting and I look forward to meeting the women before the rehearsal process finishes to enhance our understanding of the material. I relate to the theme in many ways, everybody can relate to the suffering, anxiety and unworthy feelings.  Everybody can be subject to hard times, and the level of the coping from person to person is as different as the threshold for pain... A great example of it is the film 'Blue Jazmin' by Woody Allen... I like to think that the piece is about all women and not about a particular sector of our society. The cast is formed by 4 women very different in technical background, ages and moments in their lives. Sometimes this can be a challenge when trying to achieve the same goal. But I think it enhances the piece though to show different people and different ways of interpretation of the theme or choreographic ideas. Rehearsing in different venues can bring the energy of the different places into the piece. The movement vocabulary was formed from Catherine's phrases, improvisation around these with the dancers and through creation of different solos and duets by dancers following certain specifications from Catherine. It is difficult for me to say what is the predominant style in the piece so I am interested to see what emerges and in hearing people's opinions when they see the work.


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