Dancers in Doorsteps: Kinesis Dance Academy captured in motion... at home

By Hayden Moore

M embers of Kinesis Dance Academy have been part of a project at home that raised funds for Lucan-based Aspen Counselling Services.

The project, which was led by Laura Mc Photography, is about taking a moment to create a memory of the dancers doing what they do best – except, at home instead of in a dance studio or on a stage.

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Grace Garner, Katie Mullin and Erin Sweeney

‘Dancers in Doorsteps’ pictures 26 members of the Palmerstown academy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Laura Mc teamed up with the dance academy for the project, and they raised €500 for the counselling service in the process.

Kinesis Dance Academy was established in 2017 by Palmerstown native Rebecca Daly and she caught up with The Echo to chat about the photographs, adapting classes to work through the pandemic and learning her trade in Co Limerick, Los Angeles, New York and… Doolin, in Co Clare.

How did the Dancers in Doorsteps project come about?

The photographer, Laura Mc Photography, had done a round of photos of people at their doorsteps in Palmerstown. So I got in touch with her about doing it with some of the dancers. But the reason that Aspen Counselling Services was chosen was because she had actually been there herself.

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Eliza Horgen Mulligan, Carly and Emil, Zoe and Lara, and Hollie O'Hanlon

How long did it take?

I reached out to her on the Sunday and by the following Sunday we were out taking photos of the girls. Altogether there was 22 houses that we went to, one of them had four and another one had two, so there’s 26 dancers in total. We started walking at 12 o’clock and we didn’t finish until 7 o’clock, we walked something like 30,000 steps overall on the day.

What did the dancers think of it?

They were so excited to do it. Even the little ones got to put their make-up on, they were all made-up. It was so nice to see them again. They thought it was just going to be the photographer going around to the houses and they didn’t know I was going to be there, so it was a nice surprise. I’ve seen them over Zoom of course but it was really lovely to see them in person again.

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Ava O'Dwyer, Ella Evers and Shannon White

Can you tell me a little bit about Kinesis Dance Academy and what it is you do?

We started in 2017 and there’s about 100 of us now – there was only five when we started. We’re a competitive dance school, so we enter competitions and tournaments, we were supposed to be in the St Patrick’s Day parade as well actually.

We had loads coming up before everything that happened but there’s nothing we can do about that now. We teach hip hop, jazz, ballet, musical theatre, contemporary and acro.

Is there many of you who teach in the academy?

It’s just me and one teacher comes in to teach ballet, and another comes in to teach acro – which is like gymnastics. It is mostly just me apart from that, I do three or four classes every day from Monday to Saturday.

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Beau and Elle, Isabella Sartini and Anna McEnroe

What is your background in dancing?

I have a degree in dance from University of Limerick. I went and spent a semester then in Los Angeles, in California State University Northridge. After that then I went over to New York and spent the summer there at the Broadway Dance Centre. When I came back [to Ireland], I moved to Doolin in Clare and started working for a woman from America who has a dance studio there. It’s called Broadway Dance Ireland and I worked there for a year before I came home to Dublin.

What do you think has led to the success of Kinesis?

I knew that if I was going to start my own academy that I wanted to be ready for it, to know what I was doing and thankfully I’ve watched it grow since then.

In terms of running your own business, that’s something that you’ve learned along the way too?

Yeah the lady in Clare, her name is Liz Shannon, has helped me a lot along the way – giving me advice, answering any questions I might have. We really have a great community of dance teachers in Ireland.

You are doing classes over Zoom, how has it been adapting to the current climate?

What we did the week we closed was set up an online platform called KDA Digital, where we created lots of YouTube videos with dance tutorials to keep the dancers going.

We’ve also had 12 special guest dance teachers from all over the world come on to do a session over Zoom. We actually had Briar Nolet on, who is basically like the Beyoncé of the dance world if you were to compare, she’s on this famous dance show and all of the dancers love it. Seeing their faces for that is one of my favourite quarantine moments for sure.

So, we’re doing classes three days a week over Zoom and it’s for all ages, three to 17-years-old.

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Casey and Kayla, Mia Gannon, Sarah Flood and Brooke White

When are you expected to open back up?

We’re recommended for re-opening in phase five, but we’re going to stick with what the schools do just to be sure.

We’re lucky in the sense that we have quite small classes and a big huge hall, so social distancing is not much of a problem but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Visit www.kinesisdanceacademy.ie or follow them on Facebook for more information and updates about the school.

Also, see Laura.Mc.Photography on Facebook to see more of her pictures.

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