If you’ve ever happened to be in the Garter Lane Gallery on an evening when Traces dance ensemble are rehearsing, you’ll have some idea of the energy they bring to their craft. The hypnotic sound of strategic footwork on wooden floors is punctuated with peals of laughter, before the door opens and a sea of smiling faces runs down the steps eagerly discussing the session’s learnings.
Traces was established by Libby Seward in 2010 as part of her dance residency in Garter Lane, and is now under the leadership of Dee Grant. There are many reasons that this talented ensemble stand out from the crowd, and one of them is because all of these talented young dancers have disabilities. Traces enjoys a close relationship with both Down Syndrome Ireland and the children’s disability network, who have been instrumental in signposting the group to potential performers.
Under the experienced tutelage of professional dancers Dee Grant, Rachel Ní Bhraonáin and Trish Murphy this innovative ensemble have had some huge milestones — but this month saw their most exciting yet.
Traces was one of just nine projects nationally to receive significant funding under the pilot Creative Youth Nurture fund, as announced by Minister Catherine Martin on 16th August. Never known to shy away from being ambitious; Traces of course have big plans for how to spend their generous grant.
Traces’ proposed two year programme, “Glór”, focusses on increasing the voices, visibility and participation of dancers with disabilities in society. Glór will empower Traces dancers to take more control of the direction of the ensemble, while the professional facilitators take a supportive backseat.
Glór will see Zoe McAuliffe and Seán Upton, experienced and confident members of Traces, taking the positions of youth ambassadors within the group. In addition, we can expect youth-led dance workshops, post-show talks with the dancers, and a recruitment drive for potential new members of the ensemble.
Traces will be opening its doors for new members who want to be part of this exciting chapter. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for further updates if you know a young dancer who might be interested.