A unique programme of eighteen improvisation performances for City of Culture 2013

Motion Ensemble artwork

About The Motion Ensemble

The Motion Ensemble was a unique programme of eighteen improvisation performances at indoors and outdoors locations around Derry-Londonderry by an ensemble of 19 international artists and musicians. The project took place in summer 2013 and was supported by City of Culture.

Welcome from Artistic Director

It is a fantastic privilege to have met, worked with and become colleagues of many wonderful artists over the years. Among them are some who share my interest and passion for improvisation. Motion Ensemble project has given me the chance to do something unique in assembling a group of experienced and accomplished improvisers to collaborate in creating instantaneous compositions over an extended period. All of the artists know some of the others but I think I am the only one who knows everyone. I hope that among them you will find some whose movement, creativity, bravery, accessibility and spontaneity touches you.

Steve Batts

Artistic Director, Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company (August 2013)

About the Artists

  • Alexandra Soshnicova co-founded the Chisinau based, Modern Dance Group “Voices”. She choreographs, performs and tours widely. She is co-founder and Vice President of the Association for Development of Modern Dance in Moldova (ADDM) and has organised 8 international festivals of modern dance. She also teaches contact improvisation internationally.
  • Antonina Sheina trained as an actress and became a member of the repertory company of Malaya Bronnaya Theatre in Moscow playing leading and supporting roles. She developed a deep interest in movement work through the practice of Contact Improvisation and joined the Echo Echo ensemble in 2009. She also performs with Luxe carnival and street theatre group.
  • Ayesha Mailey has danced with Echo Echo since the late nineties. She became Associate Artistic Director of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company in 2012. She has co-devised and performed in many Echo Echo productions. She also works with Luxe carnival and street theatre group.
  • Benno Voorham is co-founder of LAVA-Dansproduktion, an international association for dance, based in Stockholm. He was a member of the Greek dance-theatre company ‘Wrong Movement’(1993-2007)  and a dancer/actor at the City Theatre of Stockholm (2005–2007). He has choreographed numerous works which have toured internationally and is a widely acclaimed teacher of improvisation.
  • Emily Welther is a founder of the dance theater collective, Crap Girls and also co-founder of the dance-media group MIRA. She creates work for these companies as well as teaching and choreographing for children and youth. She has a long and deep association with Echo Echo.
  • Esther Alleyne has been an ensemble member with Echo Echo for the past three years. During this time she has performed with the company in various pieces including Feel of Play and The Cove, as well as creating her own work. She also performs with renowned carnival and street theatre company Luxe.
  • Janie Doherty is an Echo Echo ensemble member and has performed in many of their productions. She regularly collaborates on improvisation performances with Echo Echo colleagues and musicians. She is a performer with the renowned carnival and street theatre company Luxe.
  • Kelly Quigley joined Echo Echo in 2009 and regularly performs in improvisation events in all sorts of contexts.  She is currently creating a new piece of work for Echo Echo’s dance festival in the autumn. She teaches extensively on Echo Echo’s education programme working with groups of all ages and abilities.
  • Klaas Voigt is a saxophonist, composer and arranger who player performs throughout Europe. He has created music for dance productions since 2001, including work with Bruno Catalano and MIRA. Since 2011, he organises the JAZZT monthly events in Solingen which feature his ensemble “First Klaas Quintet”.
  • Leilani Weiss is co-founder and artistic director of Central de Movimiento Company in Italy. She performs and teaches Contact Improvisation and Argentinian Tango and is one of the key people developing Contactango a beautiful hybrid form of the two dances. Leilani organises the Italian Contact festival and Lunati Contact Improvisation events.
  • Lorna McLaughlin is a singer and multi-instrumentalist best known for her work with The Henry Girls. They have recorded 5 albums and toured extensively in America and Europe.  In 2005 she co-founded and directed the renowned Inishowen Gospel Choir. She has regularly collaborated creating and performing with Echo Echo.
  • Maria Grudskaya has danced for the contemporary dance-theatre company Tabula Danza and has worked with art-project Shepot, a collaboration of musicians, actors and dancers. She is a student of the Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy Institute and performs and teaches Contact Improvisation internationally.
  • Mark O’Doherty has been working as a drummer, percussionist, session musician and tutor  for the last 14 years. He has toured in Ireland, the UK and Europe with various bands.  His current band Little Bear have gigged widely appearing on TV and radio. He recently began collaborating with Echo Echo on improvisation projects.
  • Mirva Mäkinen works internationally as a choreographer performer and teacher. In 2010 she began her doctoral studies in the "Somaesthetics of Contact improvisation” at the Theatre Academy in Helsinki. In 2011 she was a Fulbright scholar in the USA.
  • Sergey Golovnea is the Artistic Director of the dance company “Scotch” and choreographer at the children’s dance school “Fantasy”. He is a member of The Association for the Development of Modern Dance in Moldova and co-organises international the modern dance festival in Chisinau. 
  • Shahar Dor established Artness.org in 2005 as an international art space focused on movement, performance and improvisation. He travels widely, collaborating with artists from all around the world, performing, teaching and facilitating numerous creative projects in Europe and in Israel.
  • Steve Batts is the Artistic Director of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company. He creates, performs and teaches internationally as well as overseeing Echo Echo's wide a varied programme of work in Derry-Londonderry.
  • Yaniv Mintzer performs and teaches  internationally as both musician and improvising dancer. He also creates music scores for theatre and dance productions and writes songs. He has two recorded albums, one of songs, the other of pieces for dance improvisation.
  • Zoe Ramsey has been associated with Echo Echo for many years, first as a member of the youth dance company and later as an ensemble member. She went away to study in England and has now returned to rejoin the ensemble.

Performance Programme

Tuesday 30th July ~ Echo Echo Dance Studios. 8pm (indoors)
Wednesday 31st July ~ Craft Village. Outside Cafe Del Mondo. Off Shipquay Street. 8pm (outdoors)
Thursday 1st August ~ Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Doire. 1pm (indoors)
Friday 2nd August ~ St Columb's Park House. Limavady Road. 1pm (indoors/outdoors)
Saturday 3rd August ~ Guildhall Square. 4pm (outdoors)
Sunday 4th August ~ Peace Bridge/Ebrington Square. Waterside. 3pm (outdoors)
Tuesday 6th August ~ The Playhouse. Artillery Street - 1pm (indoors/outdoors)
Wednesday 7th August ~ Verbal Arts Centre. Bishop Street Within. 1pm (indoors)
Wednesday 7th August ~ Craft Village. Off Shipquay Street. 8pm (outdoors)
Thursday 8th August ~ Craft Village. Off Shipquay Street. 8pm (outdoors)
Friday 9th August ~ Echo Echo Dance Studios 8pm (indoors)
Saturday 10th August ~ Guildhall Square. Outside the Guildhall. 2pm (outdoors)
Sunday 11th August ~ St Columbs Park. Limavady Road. 3pm (outdoors)
Tuesday 13th August ~ Great Hall Magee. University of Ulster. 8pm. (Supported by the University of Ulster) (indoors)
Wednesday 14th August ~ Void Gallery. City Factory. Patrick Street. 8pm. Sharing the space with the "Shirt Factory Project". (indoors)
Thursday 15th August ~ Void Gallery. City Factory. Patrick Street. 8pm. Sharing the Space with the ‘Picturing Derry Exhibition'. (indoors)
Friday 16th August ~ Echo Echo Dance Studios. 8pm (indoors)
Saturday 17th August ~ Stendhal Festival. Near Limavady. 1pm-5pm

Audience feedback

Awesome, weird, wonderful, funny, light, theatrical and a one-time only experience. How privileged are we?

Amazingly creative - diverse - engaging - stunningly visual

Fascinating to see what can be done on the spur of the moment. Fantastic discipline and great moments of humour - wonderful.

Thanks to Sarah Bryden Photography and Ailbe Beirne for images, and to Zoocreative for the artwork.