A Tribute to Women of the Irish Revolution, By Chance

The use of chance procedures in the process of the making: a tribute to the Women of the Irish Revolution.

By Inma Pavon, PhD Candidate UCC School of Drama and Theatre Studies


Choreographer Inma Pavon describes her upcoming site-specific work at St Peters Cork.


Following the steps of composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham whose work was created in part using chance procedures, and which came to influence others in many contemporary art forms such as music, visual art, dance.


In my work, chance procedures are put in place to decide how many dancers will be dancing in such a section of the dance, or who is dancing with who in what section, or how many dance steps will be in certain section of the dance, or how long is the dance going to be. This can be the throw of a dice or drawing a piece of paper from a hat, anything…


Chance procedures allow me to remove my personal aesthetics, to remove my own ideas of what is right or what is wrong in a dance piece.

It allows me to go deeper in the creative process of a dance piece and to allow it to become something that perhaps I did not plan before. Chance allows me to see the work with an open mind. Chance allows me to see the dance as the same way when I see the world pass by in a plaza somewhere in the city of Cork.


Choreographed by Inma Pavon, UCC.


For many years I have been interested in the images that happen in front of us, everyday life experiences, images that only happen once and then are gone forever, images that if you try to choreograph in a closed dance studio are hardly going to be the same, as what it happened in the street at that moment was a combination of chance encounters: birds flying by, the child crying, the group of tourists crossing the traffic lights, the loud motor bike that passed by…


Since I began my studies at UCC, I have become more open minded about making dance pieces and I have used every chance that has appeared into my life to bring it into my work and so, even if it was risky, I saw it as an opportunity to make something new, something creative and to collaborate with new people. Chance procedures have also become an important creative tool in many of my workshops with people that might not have much dance performance experience. This tool has helped them to overcome the fear of performing or even the fear of starting making work. This fear element is very present in our lives, with chance procedures I can begin the process and so the work begins to take form and then it is juts a matter of keep it going. 


Chance brings the element of play and creativity into my work.

This particular project, The Women of the Irish Revolution, started by a chance encounter, when I passed by St. Peter’s church in North Main St. one morning on my way to work and decided to go in for a minute to see what was inside. My very first impression once I stepped into the church was a “wow” moment and immediately a dance idea came into my head. Suddenly Eileen O’Shea appears to welcome me to the space and asks me if I would be interested in making a dance piece there.

I could not believe it, I said that I would love to. And so, the project began. I then began to research and ask women to collaborate with me. Those women are: Eimear Reidy (Cellist), Carolyn Collier (Visual Artist), Claire O’Brien (Singer), Orla Kelly-Smyth (Actress), Maria Sinnecker (Dancer) Elena Coderoni (Actress), Leanne Foxwell (Dancer) and Ewelina Dombkowska (Fashion Designer).


‘The reasoning behind having chance central to the process was we were able to experience how things can come together creatively in lieu of any obvious intentions or causes. This left endless possibilities for us as the composers of our artistic voyage.’

John Brown, former Drama and Theatre Studies student, UCC.


Upcoming event:

Inma Pavon invites Cork’s Public to engage in a new site-specific dance-theatre performance inspired by the important work that women of the Irish Revolution carried on during the early 20th Century in Ireland. Through a combination of dance, music and theatre this piece wishes to acknowledge their voices and their stories which might had been unheard before.

This performance has been created specially for St Peter’s Church, North Main st. Cork. All welcome at the performance, Wednesday 29th of June at 18:15pm (40 minutes duration). Entrance is free and there will be a series of durational performances during the day from 11am until 4pm.


Inma Pavon is Dance/Movement Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies, UCC, currently undertaking a practice based PhD in dance choreography with Drama and Theatre Studies, UCC. Learn more about her biography here.


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