Galway woman Stephanie DuFresne is among six dancers currently taking part in an advanced training programme for contemporary dance graduates at The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick.
Stephanie was selected for the prestigious Step-Up Contemporary Dance Project following a national open call in April, which attracted 24 entrants. She and the other participants are studying under two of Ireland’s top choreographers, John Scott and German based Margeurite Donlon.
Stephanie, who is from Kinvara, graduated from Codarts Dance Academy, Rotterdam, Holland last year with BA in Dance.
A former student of the Galway based school, Youth Ballet West she regularly performs locally with Chrysalis Dance Company, most recently last March, at the Black Box Theatre.
“It’s a great programme for dancers who have graduated in the past three years or less and who are from Ireland or resident here,” Stephanie says of the eight-week Step-Up programme, which will culminate with three public performances of two new dance pieces.
Step-up is an initiative between the Arts Council, Dance Ireland and the University of Limerick, which aims to bridge the gap between dance education and professional practice in Ireland by getting participants to work with these two established choreographers, she adds.
Although Stephanie is classically trained as a ballet dancer, she specialised in Modern Dance at university and that’s also what she is doing in UL, where the dancers are spending four weeks each working with Margeurite and John.
Both the pieces they are working on are for six performers and she says the process is invaluable in terms of acquiring professional practice, by “picking up new movement styles, and working in a group”.
Since graduating last year, Stephanie has divided her time between Ireland and Holland.