Laura Macken channels her experience, focus and energy into choreography that is firmly rooted in the classical style, whilst taking influence from the many other styles she has encountered in her career to date. Developing this art form in Ireland is her goal, and thanks to Arts Council funding she has begun developing neoclassical work of her own: Connections (2018) and Lift (2019).
Laura’s second work Lift (July 2019) was an exploration of the daily cyclical rhythms in which we all find ourselves. Not only does it examine how we are influenced by societal norms, but also asks how we can avoid these influences and live within our own individual pace and structure. Laura was able to develop Lift thanks to the support of the Arts Council of Ireland and through residencies at the Fringe Lab, and St Catherine’s Community Sports Centre. As with Connections (2018) the piece was danced by seven Irish and international dancers and performed at St Catherine’s Sports and Community Centre, Dublin.
In July 2018 Laura presented her first neoclassical work Connections at Dancehouse. Connections focused on the various ways in which we find connection in our everyday lives; the importance of connection to self; how we connect to others and the differing levels of those relationships. The piece also featured a reoccuring theme, looking at the way in which dance can be connected to its historical roots in early court dance; echoed in the five pieces of music by Bach which connected beautifully to the classically influenced choreography.
This project was supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, and through residencies with Shawbrook Dance and Dance Ireland. Choreographer Marguerite Donlon mentored the project and Connections was performed by seven Irish and international dancers.
Laura Macken trained at The Irish National College of Dance and joined Dublin City Ballet at the age of 15. Dancing with the company for several years Laura danced both corps de ballet and solo roles in ballets such as Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Pas de Quatre, and Gisele as well as many contemporary and jazz works such as Transfigured Night by Anna Sokolow and works by Arlene Phillips. Whilst dancing with Dublin City Ballet Laura also featured in Dublin Grand Opera Society’s productions of Aida, Macbeth, and Turandot.
Following the closure of Dublin City Ballet Laura worked as a freelance dancer and was a founder member of Irish Modern Dance Theatre featuring in many of their productions. She has worked with Dance Theatre of Ireland, CoisCéim Dance Theatre (touring in Ireland and the UK), Co-Motion Theatre, and numerous other musical theatre productions in Dublin at the Gaiety, Tivoli, and Olympia theatres. Additional theatre credits include The Secret Fall of Constant Wilde, at the Abbey Theatre, the Barbican Centre in London, and the Melbourne Theatre Festival, Australia and more recently The Dead (2012) at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.
Laura has travelled the world performing on Regency, Celebrity and Radisson cruise lines. Laura settled in America for six years working both as a dancer, and choreographer for several large productions, including Cruisin’ 57 for Dick Clark Productions. Film and television credits include Penny Dreadful, Sunday Night at the Olympia, Waves, Circle of Friends, Widow’s Peak, An Awfully Big Adventure, and The Bernadette Greevy Show.
Since returning to Ireland, Laura has been a regular ballet teacher for Dance Ireland’s professional programme. She teaches company classes and has worked as rehearsal director for John Scott Dance. Laura has also assisted John Scott with his “Step Up” dance project (2013 and 2018), and work with students at the University of Limerick. As well as teaching company classes for many of CoisCéim Dance Theatre’s productions, she has recently assisted David Bolger with the choreography for RTE’s Centenary at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. The centenary year also gave Laura the opportunity to perform in Laochra for the GAA at Croke Park. Choreography credits also include Pan Pan Theatre’s production of The Seagull and Other Birds, and A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream at the Abbey Theatre.
Laura is a qualified yoga teacher, an element complementary to dance training that many dancers desire. In 2016 she received an Arts Council travel and training award to train in Autism Movement Therapy in New York. She currently teaches dance classes for people with intellectual disabilities for Stewarts Care, Dublin. In January 2017 Laura graduated from the University of Limerick, with a MA in Dance, receiving first class honours on her thesis examining The Versatile Dancer. Laura’s findings demonstrated that dancers seeking to work in various styles of dance, can all truly benefit from ballet training, a philosophy that Laura encourages with all her students in all her classes.