Portrait: Jessie Keenan
Jessie Keenan is an Irish choreographer whose work intersects science, visual art, architecture and archives. Interdisciplinary connections are at the heart of her work. Keenan creates nuanced, intricate choreographies with a strong visual and architectural aesthetic.
Selected choreographic projects: Fragments, Dublin Fringe Festival 2018 (nominated for Best Design), British Neuroscience Association Festival 2019; Low Lying, Dublin Fringe Festival 2016; Her Supreme Hour, Embodied 2016, commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival/GPO Witness History Public Art Commission. Keenan is the recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award.
In 2019 she began collaborating with academic researcher Dr. Zosia Kuczyńska and composer Robbie Blake on Don’t Anticipate The Ending, resulting in a digital exhibition and two short films co-produced with the Museum of Literature, Ireland (2021).
In 2020 / 21 Keenan created a number of short films: Submerged (commissioned by Cavan Arts for Culture Night 2020), Fragments (film) (commissioned by Cavan Arts), So What Is Surfacing (solo) (Dancer from the Dance Festival 2021).
These portraits capture a specific moment in time for eight individuals. The unwavering single-shot focus of the camera offers a poignant and intimate closeness to each subject. They were filmed in April 2021 in locations specially chosen by each subject: a place of sanctuary within the five-kilometre radius of their home. The films are inspired by Andy Warhol’s Screen Test from the 1960s and Jane McCormick’s This Moment capturing the significant people behind the TownHall Cavan Arts Space. The films pay homage to the dedication and talent which sustained the Don’t anticipate the ending project.
Directed by Robbie Blake
Filmed and Edited by Steve O’Connor
So what is surfacing, original improvisation
This is Jessie Keenan’s original dance improvisation to audio she recorded in response to the question ‘So what is surfacing?’, adapted from a phrase written by Brian Friel during the composition process for Dancing at Lughnasa (1990).
So what is surfacing (rehearsal), 25 February 2020
This is a version of Jessie Keenan’s live dance improvisation to audio she recorded in response to the question ‘So what is surfacing?’, adapted from a phrase written by Brian Friel during the composition process for Dancing at Lughnasa (1990).
Jessie Keenan interview, extract 1
Jessie Keenan talks about the origins and development of her dance film ‘So what is surfacing’.
So what is surfacing
This film, directed by Jessie Keenan, is set in the stunning surrounds of the Museum of Literature Ireland. Three dancers - Lucia Kickham, Marion Cronin, and Sarah Ryan - move between their individual interior world and their collective exterior world.
Jessie Keenan interview, extract 2
Jessie Keenan talks about the origins of the three dance solos that form part of her film ‘So what is surfacing’.