Mags Byrne, Artistic Director of DU Dance, tells Harry Reid how the dance company she leads has both its feet firmly planted in community action
Mags Byrne pulses industrial quantities of energy and passion as she talks about her heartfelt conviction that dance can truly be life-changing for anyone.
When we meet to discuss the many facets of activity that combine to give DU Dance it’s unique personality, Mags is buzzing from some welcome news. She’d just heard that Merge Cru, one of the youth dance groups from across Northern Ireland, that she and her team are involved in supporting and mentoring, has been selected to perform at the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival taking place in Glasgow in July.
“It’s fantastic. The young people in Merge will get the chance to be one of 36 youth dance groups from across the world taking part in the festival. They’ll be performing alongside contemporaries from countries as diverse as Namibia, India, Malta and New Zealand, so as well as the confidence boost in being selected for such a showcase, they’ll be able to learn from and share with peers participating in the stunning line-up of this international celebration of youth dance.”
Yet as Mags goes on to explain, this development, while an exciting one, represents only one end of a broad spectrum of DU Dance’s activities and the aspirations these rest on.
“Essentially our mission is to assist people from any and all backgrounds to embrace contemporary dance – in whatever form – from ballroom to hip hop – and take their involvement with it as far as they want to.”
• DU Dance is located at 35 Donegall Street, Belfast. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org