“The Area” is a collaboration between choreographer/director Ríonach Ní Néill, film artist Joe Lee, professional dancers, and 60-80s year old members of The Macushla Dance Club, which Ríonach founded in 2007 for older residents of Dublin's north inner city. Developed over three years, it is a 25min inter-generational biography of people & place set in Ireland's post-Celtic Tiger capital city, Dublin.

“The Area” is a re-imagining and retelling of fragmented biographical stories of the city. It was inspired by the Macushla dancers' intimate relationship with their city, in which the streets act as their diaries, revealing their life stories, as they pass through them. A widower recalls the first dance with his wife, a family relives tenement hooleys, a woman tapdances on the site of a former theatre, where she'd performed as a child - loves, losses, struggles and celebrations all recounted through the prism of dance.

Imaginatively superimposing the footprint of events from the 1930s onwards onto the present streetscape, scenes were filmed in their original locations, but as they are now – leading to such surreal scenarios as a ball held in what is now a department store loading bay; a poker game at a kitchen parlour turned carpark; and serenading tailors dummies in an abandoned post-industrial dockland. Interview voiceovers contrast with fantastical situations - as a chorus-line kick their legs at the unfinished hulk of the failed Anglo Irish Bank, a woman's voice gives a pithy synopsis of five decades of booms and busts.

Their Dublin neighbourhood has transformed massively around them, passing from slums and factories, to international financial centres, decline, regeneration and collapse - but through it all, the dancers held on, reclaiming and re-identifying it. What was once public is now private, heavily monitored, land, and scenes had to be shot while dodging security guards. The dances are a physical, ephemeral, graffitti. 'We were here! This is ours!'

The Area was financially supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

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