International Contemporary Dance Festival

Swan Lake / Loch na hEala

Created by Michael Keegan-Dolan

Cast and creatives list

Writer, Director and Choreographer: Michael Keegan-Dolan
Set Designer: Sabine Dargent
Costume Designer: Hyemi Shin
Lighting Designer: Adam Silverman
Music: Slow Moving Clouds


Elizabeth Cameron Dalman
Danny Diamond
Zen Jefferson
Anna Kaszuba
Saku Koistinen
Alexander Leonhartsberger
Mikel Murfi
Mary Barnecutt
Erik Nevin
Rachel Poirier
Carys Staton
Molly Walker

Co-Production Credits

Co-production by Michael Keegan-Dolan; Sadler’s Wells Theatre London; Colours International Dance Festival, Theaterhaus Stuttgart; Dublin Theatre Festival; Theatre de la Ville, Luxembourg. With support from The Civic Theatre, Tallaght, and South Dublin County Council Arts Office.

Culture Ireland Credit

International touring is supported by Culture Ireland

1. Running time

Circa 75 minutes with no interval

2. Text

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala

From the imagination of one of Ireland’s foremost dance and theatre makers comes a magical adaptation of one of the most famous of all story ballets, Swan Lake. Michael Keegan-Dolan has forged a searing new vision for this beloved tale, creating a world of magical realism, powerful imagery and potent storytelling.

A critical smash In Dublin and at Sadler’s Wells, winner for best production at the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2017, this Swan Lake is rooted in a place where ancient Irish mythology and modern Ireland meet. The Dublin based band Slow Moving Clouds has created a new score that combines Nordic and Irish traditional music with minimalist and experimental influences. The result is a Swan Lake for our time and a stunning debut for Keegan-Dolan’s new company, Teac Damsa.

3. Biographys

Michael Keegan Dolan

Michael Keegan-Dolan was the founder and director of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre from 1997 - 2015, an international dance and theatre ensemble based in County Longford, Ireland.

This company was best known for several ground-breaking productions, delivered in a unique style blending dance, theatre and music. These include three Olivier Award-nominated productions: Giselle (2003) and The Bull (2005), and The Rite of Spring (2009).

In 2004, Giselle won an Irish Times Theatre Award and The Bull won a Critic’s Circle Dance UK Award in 2008.

Rian, created in 2011, won a Bessie Award (a New York Dance and Performance Award) in 2013 for ‘Best Production.’

In 2012 he directed and choreographed a new production of Handel’s Julius Caesar at the London Coliseum, for English National Opera.

Fabulous Beast presented a Stravinsky Double Bill in 2013, a reimagining of 2009’s The Rite of Spring with a new production of Petrushka. The world premiere was at Sadler’s Wells, London before touring to the Movimentos Festival, Germany, the Galway Arts Festival, the Brisbane Festival and the Melbourne Festival.

In 2015 Michael created a new work ‘The Big Noise,’ for the GoteborgOperans DansKompani where he worked closely with celebrated Nordic Folk Musician, Ale Moller.

He was Guest Artistic Director of National Youth Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells London for the 2015 - 2016 season, where a new piece, In-Nocentes, was created.

Swan Lake / Loch na hEala premiered at the 2016 Dublin Theatre Festival and will tour extensively in 2017 and 2018.

In March 2017, he also created a new work to Dvorak’s 8th Symphony for the Dance Company at the Gartnerplatztheater, Munich.

Michael’s new company is called Teac Damsa (House of the Dance) and was founded in 2016.

Michael is an associate artist at Sadler’s Wells London.

Teac Damsa

In the winter of 2014, the Fabulous Beast, a mythical creature that had lived in the imagination of Michael Keegan-Dolan for seventeen years grew weary and unwell. The following spring this extraordinary a-zoological beast expired and after months of mourning its passing, something new began to appear.

In supporting Michael’s ongoing creative journey of forging deeper connections with his cultural roots, folk music, language and native traditions and coinciding with the development of Swan Lake / Loch na hEala, the new company name was decided.

Teac Damsa is derived from the original Irish way of writing Teach Damhsa. (pronounced Chak Dowsa). It means ‘house of the dance,’ and reflects Michael’s wish to deepen the connection between his dancing and the place from which it originates.

Swan Lake / Loch na hEala is the first production forged in the cauldron that is now Teac Damsa.

4. Sample Press Quotes

“raw, raucous, redemptive, majestic, vital and empowering.”

***** The Irish Times

“The runaway success of this year’s festival, Swan Lake / Loch na hEala, likewise rolls drama, dance and music together to create a haunted and haunting piece…
… It’s a show can that be both ugly and extraordinarily beautiful, as it shifts through darkness to an eruption of light and joy at the end.”

***** The Financial Times

“utterly rooted in Ireland, it is utterly original, it is utterly brilliant.”

***** Irish Independent

“A skilfully crafted work that touches on weakness and power, darkness and transcendence, this is clear-voiced theatre with magic in its veins.”

***** The Evening Standard

“Michael Keegan-Dolan, who has a rare gift for transforming old ballets into new, has taken the 19th-century story and hammered it into a thing of wonder”

***** The Observer

“It’s a show of terrible beauty and extraordinary craft. It melds music, text, storytelling and dance into one light-as-a-feather package that never shirks the ugliness and messiness of life.”

****** The Guardian