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Sibéal Davitt – Embracing your inner goat

SIBÉAL is a traditional and contemporary dance artist from Dublin and has been performing for over 13 years. Her mother is from a Gaeltacht area and taught her sean-nós dancing in their family kitchen when she was a teenager, passing down steps which she learned from her grandfather and others. Irish was her first language and when she started making her own work in 2014 she knew that she wanted to make something about her personal experiences.

Sibéal won TG4s reality show Glas Vegas at 12 yrs old and she now brings a brand new dance show to live audiences this September at Dublin Fringe Festival, her first ever solo show called MINSEACH  (meaning ‘she-goat’ – in Irish) – to make this show she had to live her life, travel the world with all her awesome Irishness and Sean Nós dancing as she spreads Irish identity globally. In her new dance show she explores absurdity of the entertainment industry, the commodification of tradition, the universality of language, winning, failing, waiting.

Sibéal sets out to make a dance piece about the Irish language but it became clear through rigorous excavation that the story of Minseachcould only be told by her. This new dance work is about being seen, through success and failure, through ageing and injury, through past and present.

In late 2019 she began collaborating with actor and writer CaitríonaNíMhurchú whose work she has admired for years. The need to see and hear the Irish language in the work became less and less relevant and they began looking at her own life as a source of inspiration. As part of the process, they looked into the image of ‘ancailínálainn’ (beautiful girl) in history and she showed her videos of herself participating in the television talent show Glas Vegas.  The prize itself took Sibéal all the way to Las Vegas to perform for international talent scouts. It became clear from Caitríona’s reaction to the footage that it would have to be included. And while the videos of a baby-faced Sibéal are entertaining, there are also occasions when it captures an uncanny quality that mirrors the story of her name’s origins.

She was named after CeannSibéal or Sybil Head in west Kerry which is linked to the 17th century poet PiarasFéirtéar. The Head was named after Féirtéar’s young lover, Sibéal who tragically drowned in Poll anChaisleáin, a cave in CeannSibéal, while waiting for him to return home from battle. The image of Sibéal waiting for Féirtéar to return as the tide rose will always stay with her.

Minseach

“Minseach” is a unique experience featuring various dance styles from traditional to contemporary, some spoken word and a performative transformation from cailínálainn to full blown she-goat.

The wonderful SinéadDiskin has created a truly amazing score which is live-mixed on stage throughout the show, giving the show a gig-like feel at times. The opening section in particular presents a seamless interweaving of percussive dance and sound design which builds and gets pushed to the limit – it’s impossible not to bop along to! Original music by Cormac Begley also features.

The themes in Minseach are both very specific to Ireland but also universal – failure, success, overcoming adversity. The work is bilingual, blending both languages with dance so that all audiences can understand and appreciate the work without subtitles. It’s about messing up, dressing up, stepping up – and embracing your inner goat.

 

MINSEACH
runs at Draíocht, Blanchardstown

from 14 – 18 September as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2021: Superflux edition https://www.fringefest.com/festival/whats-on/minseach

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