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Tickets on sale for Belfast’s new ballet at the MAC: White Doves

Updated: May 21, 2023

Six Dance Collective's new ballet is set to take the stage at The MAC this August, in a first-of-its-kind performance.

White Doves promotional banner. A female dancer wearing a long sleeved white leotard and dramatic shimmering makeup lunges, with her arms moving fluidly above her head.

Running at the MAC Belfast from Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th August, Six Dance Collective presents White Doves, a new ballet which tells the story behind the first march for peace. Through new dance and music, the historic events which led to the formation of The Peace People are woven together by two White Doves in a unique take on Belfast’s past.

White Doves is a collaboration between Six Dance Collective Artistic Director and choreographer Ruaidhrí Maguire and composer Amelia Clarkson. In collaboration with High Points Youth Ballet, the production brings together both local and international talent. The work’s title Doves are performed by two international ballet dancers, who are joined on stage by a Junior Company of 26 aspiring dancers from across eight counties.

Choreographer Ruaidhri Maguire rehearsing in a dance studio. In the foreground, a female dancer is moving with her back to us. In the background, Ruaidhri is seated, watching on.
Choreographer Ruaidhri Maguire in rehearsal. Photo by Krzysztof Mystkowski.

White Doves choreographer Ruaidhrí Maguire said, “Over 65 young dancers came from across Ireland to audition for White Doves. I’m proud to be able to showcase the wealth of emerging local talent on stage alongside two seasoned classical dancers.”

Storytelling through dance

Using his athletic and intricate movement style drawing on his experience as a classical dancer, Ruaidhrí is combining narrative scenes from history with abstract bird imagery to communicate the origins of The Peace People in August 1976.

“For me, ballet is about storytelling without words; to show emotion through the body’s strength and individual physicality.”

"We are really grateful to have had the support and blessing of The Peace People during the creation."

A female ballet dancer in a long sleeved white mesh leotard. She has dark hair and has dramatic shimmering pastel makeup on her eyes and cheekbone.  We can see mostly her shoulder and arm as she touches her hand to her shoulder and neck.
One of the works title 'White Doves' as performed by Danila Marzilli. Photo by Krzysztof Mystkowski.

The Moneymore-born choreographer and dancer is making his Northern Ireland choreographic debut with the work, following performances of his work across Poland, Ireland, Japan and the UK.

He says, “For a long time at home, we have missed out on important evolutionary periods for dance. That’s why it’s important to me that the first performance of my work in Belfast is a story about home, created and performed by both local and international artists. There is a canon of iconic story ballets set in countries across the world. I think it’s important to give Belfast its own story through dance.”

New music at the MAC

Composer Amelia Clarkson stands outdoors in an open green space with a wall behind her. She has dark hair and wears a bright pink sweater vest and grey trousers.
Composer Amelia Clarkson. Photo by Jannah Claire.

In development since 2020, White Doves includes a new score by composer Amelia Clarkson. The 60th Mendelssohn Scholar, recent performances of the County Down composer include those by the Crash Ensemble, Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, Royal Air Force and at Opera Holland Park.

Amelia says, “Every single moment of White Doves is shaped and molded between us, with collaboration right at the heart of the project.”

White Doves will be Amelia and Ruaidhrí's second collaborative narrative work after several years of collaborating on projects including one-act ballet Dear Frances (2019).

Under the baton of conductor Jonathan Mann, the White Doves score is performed live all performances by an ensemble of musicians. Jonathan was also at the helm of Dear Frances.

Dancer Gwenllian Davies performing as 'Frances' in ballet 'Dear Frances'. She is moving on a dark stage, wearing a pale floral dress. She points one foot forward, about to move, as she reaches the opposite arm  into the air, looking towards it.
2019 ballet 'Dear Frances'. Pictured: Gwenllian Davies.

Amelia says, “The live music is integral. The unique nature of White Doves means I’m using the score to blend two completely different worlds for the audience as they experience the story on stage.”

Tickets for White Doves at the MAC Belfast from 3 - 5 August 2023 are on sale now. Book here.

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