Sighile Hennessy to perform debut dance show in Johannesburg

Sighile Hennessy attending the launch of The Dublin Theatre festival

By Ger Cody

This October, Equinox Theatre’s Sighile Hennessy will be presenting her debut solo dance show ‘Out There’ at the Sibikwa Arts Centre Body Moves International Dance Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sighile has been developing this work over the last two years with mentorship from Stephen Batts (Echo Echo Dance Company) and Cindy Cummings (Aos Dána).

From 10 – 16 October 2022, Sibikwa Arts Centre presents the Inaugural BODY MOVES International Inclusive Dance Festival for able-bodied and disabled dancers. The Festival includes dancers and dance companies from Ireland, Flanders, Italy and Netherlands, supported by their Embassies, as well as from South Africa and Uganda, supported by the British Council.

Providing disabled dancers the same opportunities to perform as abled dancers, the Festival intends to challenge perceptions and expand understandings of dance and disability, while promoting cultural exchange, collaboration and cooperation between African and European countries.

With “Out There”, Sighile invites you to join her as she dances through time and space in an exploration of memory and imagination.

A number of shows

Sighile has quite a lot of experience under her belt.

Her performance with Equinox Theatre Company in ‘The M House’ was outstanding and the cast received great praise when it was staged.

The production toured to different venues in Ireland and the company was invited to perform The M House at the Axis Theatre as part of The Dublin Theatre Festival.

Reviewer Ciaran Leinster, described the Medb Lambert directed play as being full of perception, moving and extremely insightful.

Mr Leinster paid special tribute to Sighile for ‘an amazing comedic set piece’.

Sighile performed in other shows including ‘The Big Chapel’ with Asylum Production performed in Callan as part of Kilkenny Arts Festival.(2019)

Coreographer cindy full of praise

One of the driving forces behind the production is choreographer Cindy Cummings from Aosdána .

Born in Washington, USA, Cindy studied dance and theatre at the university of Oregon.

This week, Cindy spoke to The Kilkenny Observer

“Working with Sighile has been a really rewarding experience and a wonderful opportunity to deepen our connection as performing artists. Sighile is a highly skilled and intuitive performer who draws on her long experience of creating work nationally and internationally with Equinox Theatre Company.

From my first days of working with Equinox at KCAT Arts Centre, I saw Sighile equally as a dancer as well as an actor. She has such a clear and joyful connection to her dancing and these past two years of developing her solo has been an exciting process. I’m so delighted that she can take her work internationally and be a guest artist (supported by the Irish Embassy of South Africa) at the Sibikwa Dance Festival.

Echo echo dance

Speaking to Steve Batts from Echo Echo Dance Company , the artistic director spoke highly of Sighile Hennessy are her powerful drive to fulfil her artistic dreams.

“It has been such a pleasure to work with Sighile Hennessy making the solo piece, ‘Out There’.

It’s really been one of the most straightforward, pleasurable creative processes that I’ve been involved in for a long time.

Sighile is such an easy person to work with. She’s dedicated and imaginative, confident and prepared to take risks, and, just as importantly she’s a lovely, sensitive, responsible person with a very good hearted approach to everything, including the creative process.

She’s also funny and really good craic. One of the most special things about Sighile, as an artist, is her remarkable ability as an improviser in performance. Every time she performs the show she does it a bit differently but every time it makes such clear sense because she always does things with reason and feeling. That is a wonderful quality for a solo performance as the show is always fresh and interesting. I am really looking forward to going to South Africa with Sighile and Cindy Cummings, who also worked with us and supported the creative process. I’ve never been south of the equator and I’m excited to see the southern skies at night. I’m excited to share the experience with these two great women.”

Fears are left side stage

Prior to her departure, Sighile took time out from rehearsals to speak with The Kilkenny Observer.

Sighile spoke of her excitement at the prospect of performing in South Africa. “I suppose I’m excited and nervous all in one” she said.

However she was adamant that because of the work she has done with Steve and Cindy she is confident that she will be fine and that she is really looking forward to the festival and in particular meeting with other participants from different countries. “Throughout the rehearsal you learn how to become relaxed and to leave all negative thoughts and fears side stage”, said Sighile.


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