Emma Meehan is a Research Fellow at Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research. She received her BA and PhD from the Drama Department, Trinity College, Dublin, where she taught part-time on the BA and MA programmes. She is an associate editor for the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices and co-convenor of the Performance as Research Working Group at the International Federation for Theatre Research. She has recently published a co-edited collection with Matthew Causey and Neill O’Dwyer called Through the Virtual, Towards the Real: The Performing Subject in the Space of Technology (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre (1979–1989) was a significant company in the development of dance in Ireland, and the first state funded contemporary dance group. For a period, the company were leading innovators in the country in contemporary dance and explored the boundaries of what constituted the dance form, leaving a lasting impact on Irish dance heritage, although relatively little has been written about their work to date. This paper explores the context for the company’s work, discussing the relationship between the body and language in Irish social, political and cultural history. Specifically, I focus on their production Bloomsday based on James Joyce’s Ulysses, which reveals key issues about the relationship between body and language in the company’s work.