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Jerome Bel's unusual take on dance

Published on Jul 29, 2014 11:46 AM

In 2002, an audience member sued the International Dance Festival of Ireland for €38,000 over a performance of the eponymous work Jerome Bel.

The piece, which incorporated public urination and manipulation of genitals, was obscene and falsely advertised as dance, claimed Dublin businessman Raymond Whitehead.

Dance, Mr Whitehead wrote in a letter to The Irish Times, is "people moving rhythmically, jumping up and down, usually to music".

Ruffling feathers, not "moving rhythmically", is what Bel does best. The case against the festival was dismissed in 2004 and Bel's career has gone from strength to strength as he revels in playing the part of the enfant terrible and turning the notion of dance on its head.

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What: Disabilities are not something most people are familiar with. For some, it brings about discomfort, while for others, a sense of helplessness. Regardless of what disability invokes, most people tend to put it out of their minds.

Disabled Theater looks to confront it instead of sweeping it under the carpet. Performed by actors with learning disabilities from the Swiss company Theater Hora, the 90-minute show puts disabled performers in the spotlight.

Each of the actors introduces himself to the audience, stating his name, age and occupation. As their fellow performers sit in a row behind them, they break into dance solos which they choreographed themselves.

Some dance with abandon; others are more self-conscious. Regardless, the audience is forced to watch them, and in doing so perhaps confront their own fears and preconceived notions.

Where: School of the Arts, Drama Theatre

When: Sept 3 to 6, 8pm

Admission: $30, $40 and $50 from Sistic