Sir, - I refer to Fintan O'Toole's Second Opinion, entitled "Learning to dance for ourselves" February 4th).

Sir, - I refer to Fintan O'Toole's Second Opinion, entitled "Learning to dance for ourselves" February 4th).

Opening excitedly with a laudatory comment on CoisCeim Dance Theatre's recent and highly successful full length dance work Hit & Run, at Project the Mint, the article rapidly plummets into a rather disjointed treatise on the reasons for this company's continued success. He cites "pleasure" as being what "dance is supposed to be about ... but for us it has long been tinged with despair". Surely, however, even social dance and dance as ritual can be "about" the full range of human emotions and feelings.

In his attempt to compare, contrast and categorise he draws on such luminous examples as Dancing at Lughnasa, Riverdance and The Ballroom of Romance, without making any reference to other recently acclaimed dance works by contemporary Irish artists. Where are, for example, Mary Nunan's Territorial Claims, Paul Johnson's Beautiful Tomorrow, Adrienne Brown's The Well, John Scott's Macalla. He finally concludes that - given that the boundaries between opera, dance and drama seem to be dissolving - CoisCeim Dance Theatre's work probably settles most comfortably into "a kind of physical drama".

CoisCeim Dance Theatre is a dance company. All the performers are dancers, and the artistic director/choreographer, David Bolger, is a trained dancer. Bolger's style is theatrical but the content is expressively and expressly dance.


By his own admission Fintan O'Toole professes ignorance of the subject - "I don't have the competence to analyse in any coherent way how CoisCeim's work relates to modern dance in general". Whilst I salute his honesty, this article should be no substitute for a cogent and well researched thesis on CoisCeim's performance, based primarily within the context of the art form (where it truly belongs) - dance. Dance theatre as an art form, be it theatrical, formalist, post-modernist, classical, neo-classical . . . deserves a more informed critical appraisal. In failing to draw comparisons from within contempory Irish dance theatre, he has failed to recognise and fully appreciate the growth, development and diversity of this art form during the Nineties. Ironically in so doing word by word, brick by brick the Ballroom of Romance has had an extension.

Yours, etc.

Dance Development Officer, Firkin Crane Centre, Shandon, Cork.