Athlone girl taking dance world by storm

Kiltoom girl Orla Shine (far right) with other dancers on the Step-Up project. Photo: Maurice Gunning

Kiltoom girl Orla Shine (far right) with other dancers on the Step-Up project. Photo: Maurice Gunning

Kiltoom girl Orla Shine is making waves in the dance world, having won a place on a prestigious dance project. The 24-year-old from Moyvannion, Kiltoom is one of just six Irish students to secure a place on the Step-Up Dance Project currently being held at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.

The initiative gives dance graduates an opportunity to work under the direction of two guest choreographers, New York’s John Jasperse and Liz Roche, and to appear in the premieres of their new works.

Having graduated with a first class honours degree in dance from Manchester Metropolitan University, Orla is spending eight weeks this summer working on the project, which is a partnership between the Arts Council, Dance Ireland, and the University of Limerick.

Orla’s mother Catherine Shine says the project is allowing Orla to gain such valuable experience in her field; “It is great experience for her and it will help her to make contacts and to launch her career. It is very intensive, and very demanding physically and mentally,” she added.

Orla was born in South Africa, and moved to Kiltoom with her parents Catherine and Des Shine when she was 12. She attended St Joseph’s College, Summerhill, followed by two years of dance training at Sallynoggin College of Further Education, before undertaking her degree in Manchester. At MMU she received a dance excellence award for her choreographic work in 2011 and 2012, and she also attained an award for academic excellence in the contemporary arts department.

She has performed in the work of Vincent Cacialano, Leen Dewilde, and Anna Macdonald of Forecast Dance, and has taught for Cheshire Dance, 2Many Dance Moves in Wexford, and for the South West-Wexford School Completion Programme.

She is a former member of Attitude Dance in Athlone and Dance Zone in Moate.

The Step-Up Dance Project culminates in the production and performance of two original choreographic works, which will be premiered at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance on August 23; in DanceHouse, Dublin on August 24 and 25; and the Firkin Crane in Cork on August 26.

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