Colin Dunne’s new solo dance work, Out Of Time, has been a long time coming. In fact, it would appear that it has taken his entire life as a dancer to get to this point. This is a remarkably uplifting and extraordinarily moving memoir in motion on the subject of the dancer and his dance, seeking to explore where he personally fits into the inner sanctum of traditional Irish dance, and where that dance itself fits into the wider tradition of dancing as a form of creative expression.
Dunne has spent a lifetime dancing his way to here from the fiercely competitive arena of the Irish dancing feis and, more perhaps than most, he has earned the right to ask all the big questions. In Out of Time he asks them, with passion, but without a hint of arrogance, so that what surprises is the intimate and almost tender manner in which he is also prepared to answer them.
Alone and barefoot at the beginning in a deliberately restrained section of the space, he gradually expands his movement to encompass the entire performance area, eventually strapping on his dancing shoes as he is joined on various screens by the projected images of the ghosts of Irish dancing past, as well as his own ghosts — his 10-year-old self dancing on the BBC’s Blue Peter programme. It means that past and present merge into one almighty chorus line of dancers, beating out an ancient rhythm that refuses to be confined or defined in any narrow or constricting way.
There have been few, if any, more eloquent or effective contributions to the decades of debate that have taken place on the subject of what constitutes the nature of Irish step dancing. Certainly, there has been none whatsoever presented with such grace of movement and gently deprecating humour as this genuine labour of love. Out Of Time will delight and provoke in equal measure.