Hot on the heels of The Dance, Pat Collins’ masterful documentary on the same subject, Episode Five of We Are The Makers takes a deep-dive into the making of a contemporary theatrical masterpiece, Mám, by choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan, which premiered at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2019.
Our host Dónal Dineen travels to the West Kerry home of Keegan-Dolan’s company Teac Damsa (house of dance or a place for dancing) and the base for both the production and the origin of the story itself. ‘Mám is abstract and instinctive… it effectively plays out a story of modernity intruding on traditional life’ (the Guardian).
This episode traces the acclaimed choreographer’s singular creative journey on a passion project which has intricately woven classical music with contemporary dance practice into the rich tapestry of traditional culture out of which it emerges. We hear in detail about how the unique musical collaboration at the heart of the production between West Kerry concertina player Cormac Begley and Berlin classical collective Stargaze, evolved and achieved concord under Keegan-Dolan’s hand. We discover the origins of his belief in dance as the art of transformation and the evolution of his practice to this point of true expression.
The investigation is timely as Mám is set to return to the Irish stage for an autumn tour. The production was universally praised upon its debut at the 2019 Dublin Theatre Festival and has since been rapturously received at both Madrid’s Teatros Del Canal and Sadler’s Wells in London. A graduate of the Central Ballet School in London, Keegan-Dolan has overseen productions at the English National Opera, The National Theatre in London and the Bavarian State Opera as well as a string of ground-breaking shows as artistic director of the Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre.