top of page

12 Minute Dances - Liz Roche Company: Set by Joe Vanek, Lighting by Kevin Smith, Costume by Catherine Fay, Dancers Katherine O'Malley and Ryan O'Neill PHOTO LUCA TRUFFARELLI

Lighting Design for Dance Project

This professional development opportunity is for choreographers interested in working collaboratively with lighting design. 

The aim is to offer a supportive and resourced environment to learn about and experiment with lighting design for dance productions. The project pairs choreographers with MFA students in lighting design from The Lir Academy offering a series of structured supports including: 


  • Residency periods at DanceHouse to devise work

  • Guidance and mentoring throughout the process

  • Use of The Lir Academy theatre space and Irish World Academy Theatre space

  • Technical support and expertise throughout the process

  • Informal presentation to an invited audience at The Lir Academy.

This professional development opportunity is aimed at creative dance makers at varying stages of their careers.  

The project can cater for choreographers who wish to learn more about the lighting design process, as well as provide experimental time for experienced choreographers who wish to realise a specific idea in advance of a creative process. 

Contemporary dance choreographer Liz Roche, will mentor the choreographers as part of the professional development process. Lighting designer Sinead Wallace from The Lir Academy faculty will oversee the design students.

2020 Participants and dates


Project Dates: November 1st 2019 to January 22nd 2020.

The project culminates in an informal showing of the work for an invited audience at The Lir Academy on Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at 7pm.

The Lighting Design for Dance is a professional development partnership between Liz Roche Company, The Lir Academy and Dance Ireland,  and this year we are delighted to welcome The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at University of Limerick as project partner. Working with the MFA's in Lighting Design from the Lir, the postgraduate students from the MA in Contemporary Dance Performance will now take part in the project developing their choreographies alongside choreographer/dancers Roisin Whelan and Sarah Fennell. Over the course of the project all participants can access high quality mentoring, resourced studio and theatre spaces, technical support, advice and feedback and the opportunity to make new connections within the arts community.

CHOREOGRAPHERS: Roisin Whelan, Sarah Fennell, Melissa Bori, Adrika Subhash, Wu Fei,Yumi Lee


LIGHTING DESIGNERS: Stephen Bourke, Israel Del Barco, Brian Mitchell, Roberto Ventruti


MENTORS: Sinead Wallace & Liz Roche

Sessions together:

Nov 1st DanceHouse

Nov 8th DanceHouse/ Irish World Academy Theatre 1/The Lir Studio 2

Dec 6th The Lir 

Jan 10th The Lir Studio 1

Jan 17th - 21st The Lir Studio 1


Jan 22nd The Lir Studio 1 at 7pm


On-going at DanceHouse Dec 16th - 20th and 6th - 20th.

About the choreographers and designers:

Roisin Whelan Headshot.png
Sarah Fennell.jpg

Roisin Whelan is currently working with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures on their UK tour of Romeo and Juliet. Roisin began dancing at the Aedeen O’Hagan Ballet School (Ballet Barn) and credits her early training to Aedeen O’Hagan, Adele Mealey, and Anica Louw. Roisin continued her dance training past her Leaving Certificate in Ireland by spending a year at Inchicore College for Further Education and working with Mariam Ribón and Karla Holden of the Dublin Youth Dance Company. Following her early training Roisin completed her Bachelor of Performing Arts degree in the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and continued on to be awarded the Kathleen Tattersall Leadership award. This year she completed her Masters in Performance with the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Upon graduation Roisin joined Black Box Dance company in Denmark as an apprentice dancer and toured Denmark and Sweden prior to working with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures in the UK.

Roisin was chosen for the Emerging Choreographers Platform (Dublin) in 2018 and was also shortlisted as one of five to be Matthew Bourne’s Young Associate Choreographer. Throughout her training Roisin’s choreography was chosen to be performed in professional settings and she most recently performed her own work ‘I see Light’ co-choreographed with Tommy Cattin in the Musikteatret Holstebro, Denmark for their five year anniversary concert.

Sarah Fennell has just completed the MA in Contemporary dance at the University of Limerick. She comes to the contemporary dance world with a background in traditional Irish step dance, having completed a BA and MA within the field, and worked professionally with a number of dance companies including Ragus, GFD Promotions, Eriu Dance Company and Kristyn Fontanella Dance. She currently teaches students of the BA in performing arts at the University of Limerick. Her interests lie in the development of, and inquiry into performance.


Melissa Bori is an Italian-British contemporary dancer. She is currently pursuing an MA in Contemporary Dance Performance at the Irish Word Academy, University of Limerick. As a dancer she has performed extensively in the UK and Europe, including in works by: Simona Argentieri (2019), Rosemary Lee (2018), Simona Scotto (2018), Bouchra Ouizguen (2017), Tony Thatcher (2017), Joelle Pappas Projects (2015, 2016), and Lunas Dance Project (2014-2016); and she has taught dance in a number of different community settings, including: Tac-au-Tac Dance Theatre, a community contemporary dance school, and Dance to Health, a falls prevention dance programme. She trained in contemporary dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance in London, where she was a Dance Award Scholar. Melissa originally trained in social sciences (anthropology and law), driven by her passion for social justice. She pursued this passion by working with a number of support organisations, including language support for refugees and emotional support for women who have been through experiences of violence. She turned to dance as a career when she discovered its power to positively impact people’s lives and its potential to bring about personal development and social change.


WU Fei graduated with the Bachelor Degree in Dance (Dance Education) in June 2011 and the Master Degree in Dance in June 2014 at Minzu University of China. After graduating from the university in 2014, she started her career life as an independent dancer and choreographer and has worked with different artists who engage in different art fields, such as independent musicians, film makers and professional choreographers. She has also dabbled in the exploration and applications of cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary theories to arts creation and practice. She has created 3 pieces of screen-dance entitled  ‘Elevation 13’, ‘Elevation Negative 2’and ‘lie’. The ‘lie’ was involved a collaboration with German musician, Derkalavier and was also shown at the Disklavier’s music festival. Furthermore, she founded the event ‘Dance in the corner’, which aims to bring together different professional dancers to learn from each other the advantages of different forms of dance in physical training. Through this process she became more aware of the urgent need and necessity to further study abroad and is now a student of University of Limerick on the MA in Dance Performance.


Yumi Lee has trained in contemporary, ballet, modern, Korean traditional dance and jazz dance from six years old in South Korea. She undertook a BA in English Language and Literature at Chonnam National University in South Korea but restarted her career as a dancer from 2016. Since then, she won the Grand Prize from the Global Korea Dance Competition and the Korea Male Dance Forum, and the Silver Prize from the Four Seasons Dance Competition. She has a background of different movements approaches, holding certificates in Yoga, Pilates, Aerial Yoga, a second-degree black belt of Taekwondo. In 2018, she moved to Europe and trained in ballet and contemporary dance at professional dance studios in London and Berlin. In Berlin, she joined a project of sound and dance collaboration with Wanqian Lin. Currently, she is studying on the MA in Contemporary Dance Performance at University of Limerick.


Adrika Subhash is from India and is currently undertaking her Master’s in Contemporary dance Performance at the Irish world Academy. She has been initially trained in the Indian classical dance form Bharathanatyam, which originated from the southern part of India,  from a very young age. She was trained in the same dance form during high school and higher secondary education . Adrika pursued her love for dance by doing a three year Diploma in Bharathanatyam at the Govt. Music college, Adyar, Tamil Nadu, India. She graduated with a distinction and received a gold medal and subsequently, continued her training in Nattuvangam. She graduated first class in Kathak & choreography from Natya Institute of Kathak & Choreography, also studying Kalaripayattu from Kerala and Thang tha from Manipur as a stylised dance artform and Indian Contemporary Dance. She was selected to join the institute’s performing unit, Natya STEM Dance Kampni, becoming one of the principal dancers in the group and travelling extensively with them. She was in their recent production ‘Kalpavruksha’ which was a collaborative work with the painter SG Vasudev on his lifetime work called Vriksha.

Lighting Designer MFA's: Stephen Bourke, Israel Del Barco, Brian Mitchell, Roberto Ventruti

Roberto Ventruti is a Stage Designer for Drama, Musicals and Opera. After joining courses at RADA and UAL in London he built up his career as lighting and set designer for short films, drama and opera. Since then he has designed lights for musicals, festivals and set for recent Mozart's Operas in the UK and France. Currently he is doing his Master of Fine Arts at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Dublin.

Israel Del Barco has been working as a lighting designer and programmer since 2011. In 2016 he graduated with a BT in Scenic Production Technology with honours from the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil). He designed and participated in more than 50 productions including theatre, concerts, musical theatre, dance and festivals. In 2019, he worked as a lighting technician and operator with theatre, electronic music festivals and corporate events in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. He also has experience with set and video design and technologies. For two years in a row (2015-2016) he operated the lighting for the Dance Festival of Joinville (Brazil), one of the biggest dance festivals in the world counting more than 80 companies and 15 days of performances. Also worked with a few productions of the Bolshoi Theatre School in Brazil.


Choreographers: Justine Doswell, Mihaela Griveva, Matt Szczerek


The Lir Academy MFA Students
Lighting Designers: Matt Burke, Colin Doran, Blue Hanley

THE ELUSIVE APPLE OF MY “I”, by choreographer Justine Doswell, created in collaboration with the cast, and lighting design by Matt Burke.


“In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference.” Douglas R. Hofstadter


Performers: Millie Daniel-Dempsey, Aoife Kelly, Oran Leong, Valentina Gaia Lops, Emily Kilkenny Roddy, Emma O’Kane

Music / sound: Bach's Sonata for solo violin in G Minor, Adagio played by Aoife Kelly; Sonata XIV by John Cage played by JohnTilbury; The Atomium Pt. 3 by Stars of the Lid.

Text written by Douglas R. Hofstadter, recited by Cathy White and recorded by Brian Hogan; Nauwe Egberts by Unders & Soares

DEMONS ON MY COUCH, by Human Collective, choreographed by Matt Szczerek with lighting design by Colin Doran.

"If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose."

This is a new work that explores complex relationships, the search for self and the power shift within friendship. Influenced by the writing of Charles Bukowski this tangled piece of dance examines the nuance of blame and shame. By observing the points if intersection between these two states, do we eventually find balance?

Performers: Matt Szczerek and Cristian Dirocie
Music Composer: Grzegorz Szczerek


“Creative process during this project was very smooth and I felt our collaboration with designer informed me more about world of perception through shadows and light.

It was a luxury to be able to spend so many hours on developing the piece with Colin and how quickly we understood each others vision for this work.

Liz your help with shaping nature of our dance was very organic and helpful.

Thank you all again” Matt Szczerek


Choreography / Performer: Mihaela Griveva | Lighting: Blue Hanley
Music: Josiah Steinbrick, Jóhann Jóhannsson


A solo performance that delves into the scientific conundrum that is dark matter. The only way to detect dark matter is to observe it indirectly. By looking at how the path of light is distorted the observer can map out how space bends and therefore how the matter is distributed. The work transforms and evolves as it's performed. Shaped by gravity, rotation and reaction to the impulses the performer attempts to bend space and time and illustrate what the essence of dark matter may be.

“Dark matter is a mysterious substance composing most of the material universe, now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe's existence, known as primordial black holes.” NASA


“I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of Lighting for Dance Project. It really excited me and gave new focus to my work.
I had the chance to explore aspects of working with light I had never considered before.
The mentorship and support were invaluable and much appreciated.......
...I feel that I'm still processing everything and over time will be able to articulate more clearly the whole experience.” Mihaela Griveva

The 2017/18 Lighting Design for Dance Project Participants

Choreographers Dagmara Jerzak, Justine Cooper and Lucia Kickham, under the mentorship of Liz Roche. used the space provided to them by Dance Ireland to begin the process  of collaboration with The Lir Academy MFA students Isreal Negrao, Johann Fitzpatrick, Danielle Donnally and Fenna Von Hirschheydt

The choreographers and MFA students have their first meeting at the LIR academy with MFA lighting tutor Kevin Smith and Liz Roche (the photographer)

Irish World Academy.png
bottom of page