Laura Sarah Dowdall

Laura Sarah Dowdall


Laura Sarah Dowdall is an innovative dance artist creating engaging performance that is experiential, immersive and permeable to audience interaction. Laura is ‘Dancer in Residence’ at Rua Red for 2017 and has been selected for the ‘Next Generation Artist Award’ for 2017, a selection panning all art-forms nationally.

Laura incorporates instant composition, immersive theatre and durational performance into work that is site-specific, staged and on film. She is inspired by the vitality of presence and connection these influences create within audience and performer. Laura’s research and choreography centre on developing new avenues for audience engagement, breaking boundaries of hierarchy and expectation, and offering experiences of heightened awareness.

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Laura enjoys collaborative practice and interdisciplinary exchange, she has worked with community organisations, visual artists, accessible rights activists, care-workers, the deafblind community, performance artists, sound composers, scientists and dramaturges in her projects
and research.

Her project Running Blind focuses on heightening personal awareness an perspective through the stimulus and hindering of our sensory and kinaesthetic environments. She was awarded the Artist in the Community Award managed by CREATE (Ireland) to work with the Anne Sullivan centre for DeafBlind in 2015, since then she continues her relationship and weekly class with the residents of this centre.

Since 2016, Laura has extended this project to investigate new forms of experiencing dance through haptic communication, audio description and sensory technologies. She was awarded the Dance Ireland 2016 Tyrone Guthrie centre residency award to facilitate this research and developed a new work with a Blind artist and accessibility activist, Walei Sabre (New York) and dancer Janie Doherty, that explores how to be accessible
integrated performance.

While in residence at Rua Red Laura is facilitating the next stages of this project through a programme of creative lab sessions with participants who are blind, integrated workshops with participants of mixed vision and the further development of her research towards the creation of an accessible dance performance.

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The artistic intention of her Residency research is to extend the notion of dance beyond the central stimulus of the eyes and to make dance and its performance accessible and meaningful to mixed ability audiences in particular those without vision. She intends to do this through heightened sensory experience, haptic touch, immersive sound and creative use of audio description in performance environments.

Her choreography has been shown at Smock Alley Scene+Heard Festival 2016, National Choreographic Showcase, Boston (USA) in February 2016, Echo Echo Festival 2015, Derry (NI) and Dance Theatre of Ireland in 2015. Her Screen Dance Films ‘Elan’ and Between’ have been shown in festivals in Ireland and abroad. From her artistic practice and movement research she developed the workshop “Practicing Presence” which she has facilitated in Ireland and the USA. Laura works with choreographers, dance theatre companies, film makers and collaborators in Germany, Ireland, France and the USA. She works with a collective of international artists researching the performative body in its expanded, transformative, political and imaginative states.

Laura has had the opportunity to work and train with innovative creators in the field of experimental physical performance, contemporary dance, voice, CI and improvisation some of which include: Rosalind Crisp, Andrew Morrish, Julyen Hamilton, Andrew Harwood, Nancy Stark Smyth, Maya Carroll, Bettina Neuhaus, Eva Karczeg, Stephanie Skura, Karen Nelson, Kirstie Simons, Stephanie Maher, Noa Zuk, German Jauregui and Tom Pritchard.

Laura’s residency is supported by South Dublin County Council.

Recent collaborations, awards, and performances include:

  • New Collaborations with Jennifer Walshe and Kirkos Ensemble in 2018
  • Next Generation Artist Award, Arts Council Bursary, 2017
  • Rua Red Dancer in Residence 2017
  • Residency Collaboration, Venasque, France, June 2017
  • South Dublin County Council Artist Bursary Award 2017
  • ScreenDance screening ELAN, Wicklow ScreenDance Festival, Apr 2017
  • Dance Ireland Mentored Residency Award with Tom Pritchard, Nov 2016
  • Tyrone Guthrie Dance Ireland Residency Award 2016
  • Duet performance- KEEP, Submerge Dance Festival, Germany, Aug 2016
  • Dancer in Residence & Performance, Improv Xchange Festival, Berlin, July 2016
  • Director, Dancer- RUNNING BLIND, Smock Alley Theatre, Scene + heard Festival, Mar 2016
  • Opening Solo Performance for NACHMO (National Choreography Month Boston), Feb 2016
  • EarthDance, Massachusetts USA, Jan 2016
  • Amanda Coogan Retrospective- The Passing, RHA Gallery, 2015
  • Urban Reflects, Dance Theatre Company in Frankfurt, Jan 2015
  • Ricean School of Dance in Greece, Sept 2015
  • Performance, Improv Xchange Festival Berlin, Aug 2015
  • Dance Theatre of Ireland’s Creating Space Dance Residency, 2015
  • Echo Echo Dance Festival, Nov 2015
  • Massive Owl Physical Theatre Company, Bristol, 2015
  • Emerging artist for Stand With Us professional development, Live Collision Festival 2015
  • Performance and Collaborations, Berlin, 2012-2014