… it starts as these things often do with a pint down the back of the Oval next to the fire, with a coffee on Bridge Street or around a kitchen table at The Lough… 

Reflecting on the story of CDI over the past twelve months or so I am struck less by the absence of touch but more by the abundance of connection that has fostered the group’s work. We were fortunate to have started our conversations in different constellations and frames before the pandemic arrived so we carried that sense of each other physically into the digital space. What happens when dancers, choreographers and movers gather to work outside of the studio, with its vernacular of mirrors, marley floor and ballet bars? We have supported each other’s individual development over the past months while also trying to articulate from our own nooks in the ecosystem what felt pressing for the community as plans were being made, as changes were taking place, as strategies were drawn.

It feels important to say that biographies and lists of achievements and accolades seem to me, in this moment unimportant, part of a very different mechanic that really only drives people apart. How can we move out of competition and into community? We’ve not always been successful in our endeavors but we have tried to use our failures as learning opportunities. The strength I’ve felt has been in the companionship throughout a very difficult and uncertain year, it has been in the small ways of checking in and the holding of a kind of continuity of connection that has been missing in the City & County for me.

I have a friend who runs a queer bar in San Francisco with a collective of people, I was telling him about our work and he remarked how brave (or maybe foolish!) it was to commit to a collective work with a group of people I knew very little about but there has been a pleasure in  finding a commons between us. There is this little plot we have been tending with a kind of joyful militancy and soon we will invite others to rest a while there or perhaps arrange a jam or a rave, God knows we need to dance together.

We are like a piece of a map, or a bisection of fertile earth Lee side. It has been a way for us to orientate and navigate. It’s not always been metaphors and allegory, it’s been hard work but it’s always been clear that we are in it for the long run.

– Ruairí Ó’Donnabháin