Irish Film Institute -THE DANCE


Director: Pat Collins

86 mins, Ireland, 2021, Digital

As the curtain rises to give a tantalising glimpse of the opening night of Irish choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan’s new production, Mám, at the 2019 Dublin Theatre Festival, Pat Collins’s latest documentary immediately cuts to a community hall on the Dingle peninsula eight weeks previously. There, an international gathering of musicians such as Cormac Begley and dancers under Keegan-Doyle’s leadership begin the long, arduous undertaking of the piece’s construction. What follows is an enthralling account of the creative process, depicting the painstaking accumulation of details as Mám finds form, with movement and music taking shape in tandem through willing experimentation and fearless trial and error. Without recourse to interviews or wider context, the viewer is completely immersed in this remarkable exercise, with thrilling moments of artistic communion taking centre stage before the utterly joyous climax returns us to the finished piece’s triumphant premiere.

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