‘We were grounded but it’s time to fly again’

A DONEGAL aerial dancer has been flying high since coming through the London School of Contemporary Dance. Chantal McCormick, from Ballybofey, is the founder of Fidget Feet, an aerial circus performance company.
For the past decade, Chantal and her team have been coming to Donegal each summer with their Irish Aerial Dance Festival.
From Today, Wednesday, they will be hosting free outdoor workshops in Letterkenny, Ballybofey and Gaoth Dobhair as they encourage young people to take to the sky as part of the Earagail Arts Festival!
Traditionally, the Irish Aerial Dance Festival has attracted more than 200 performers from all over the world to Letterkenny each summer but for the second year in a row this isn’t happening due to the pandemic.
Instead, the festival organisers have decided to do something different.
“It’s been a tough time for artists but we’ve adapted. The first part of lockdown was awful but we’re a resilient bunch and we’re no longer grounded,” she said.
Chantal, who has toured with established dance and circus companies in the UK, always wanted to dance and was a member of the local No Name Club and Balor Theatre growing up.
“It’s important for me as an artist to come home and bring my skills with me. Growing up I always wanted to be a dancer but there was no place for my parents to send me. Hopefully, through Fidget Feet, we can make sure that any young Donegal person who thinks they would like to do aerial dance then there’s somewhere closer to home for them to learn – giving them possibilities that I didn’t have growing up,” she said.
“We’re offering free workshops next week while we have commissioned a vertical dancer from Dublin to do a piece at the back of An Grianán Theatre on Saturday next. Anyone can fly and it’s important that we get that message out to the young people of Donegal.
“Okay, we won’t be able to do what we normally do next week but we’re still full of the Fidget Feet spirit that will help to bring some happiness as we slowly reopen the country.
“Unfortunately the Letterkenny workshops are all booked out but we’ve still a few places left in Ballybofey and Gweedore,” she said.
They performed their new show Handful of Dreams in front of one hundred people at the Carlow Arts Festiva and continue to train and keep fit while creating new work to tour outdoors whenever restrictions lift, she said.
“We may have been grounded for much of the past two years but now it’s time to come fly with us,” she added.
In 2021 Fidget Feet will run the IADF Local funded by Donegal County Council, offering free outdoor aerial workshops for all the family, from 6 to 80 years old at Finn Valley car park in Ballybofey (7th & 8th July), at Aura Leisure Centre car park in Letterkenny (9th & 10th July) and at Amharclann Gaoth Dobhair car park in Gweedore (11th July). Limited capacity, booking required.
Also as part of IADF Local Fidget Feet has offered Ria Murphy from Aerial Cirque a residency to research a new vertical dance duet that will be performed outdoors on the back wall of An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny on Saturday 10th July at 19.30. Limited capacity, booking required.

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