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Emma O'Kane Pageant photo by Ros Kavanagh
Emma O'Kane Bursary



By David Bolger and Christopher Ash
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FINDING TIME started life during the first Covid lockdowns in Ireland - in May 2020 as an online project together to try and capture the momentous event that we found ourselves in.   The project brought together Emma O'Kane, myself, Christopher Ash and other dancers with whom I had worked with regularly.


The aim was to gather choreographic material that reflected the reality we found ourselves through exploring choreography and text in the context of our own homes and personal environment - and to document the process using our mobile phones.  I set several choreographic and writing tasks with Emma and all of the dancers who were encouraged to improvise around the task being set.  We would meet twice a week on Zoom and review the work as it was being created and directed.  In July 2020, all of the material was archived on a central hard drive - the plan being to look at it in one years time.

When I was commissioned to make a resource for the Emma O'Kane Bursary, I was stuck with what to create. I had worked with Emma for nearly twenty years, and was lucky enough to spend hours, days , months, years in the studio with her. I watched her grow as an artist of great integrity, creating some of the most memorable dance performances I have ever witnessed. 

How could I best do justice to Emma’s great artistry, her friendship, her generous spirit and her outlook on humanity. I decided that the first place I would look was on the hard drive and review the material that Emma had created.  I was blown away at what I found. The profound nature of what Emma was communicating with her dance and her words in May/ June of 2020 spoke volumes to me.  Filmmaker and media artist Christopher Ash became my key collaboration partner once more - he suggested that we narrow down the material and edited, layered and created the music for the work you see.

FINDING TIME is the last work that we created together, which I think speaks to the future.  All of this short film was choreographed, filmed, sound recorded and performed by Emma herself. 

They are her words.
They are her steps.
They are her thoughts. 

As she wrote in June 2020:
I think it is time to be brave and accept these changes.
If I miss the past I can’t fully move on…
I miss being with the people I love, but this too shall pass.
I believe Nature is speaking to us loudly now,
we must listen and move on.

On a personal note,  I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity to work on this short resource - I hope that the work will give future artists and bursary recipients an insight into just how special, talented and trailblazing Emma O’Kane is as an artist.  I hug the sky to embrace Emma to thank her for being part of my life. We all miss you so much, fly high dear one x David.


Please see BIOGRAPHIES for more information about the artists involved.

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