Fidget Feet Celebrates 10 years of the Irish Aerial Dance Festival

IADF, Donegal, Fidget Feet, Gravity & Levity, Irish Aerial Dance Fest, An Grianán Theatre

Caption – Lindsey Butcher and Lee Clayden from Gravity & Levity rehearse on back wall of An Grianán Theatre ahead of their international premiere of WHY, Saturday 29th June, as part of Fidget Feet’s 10th Irish Aerial Dance Festival celebrations in Letterkenny, Donegal. Photographer Jym Daly.

Ballybofey native Chantal McCormick had a dream to fly, perform and travel the world, and she made her dreams come true. In the past 21 years, she and her husband Jym Daly set up an aerial dance and circus company called Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Theatre. They have created over 15 indoor and outdoor shows and toured all over the world, they are most famous for flying and performing from cranes.

Every year for the past decade she brings her knowledge and skills back to Donegal and runs a 2 week festival, the Irish Aerial Dance Fest where people travel from all around Ireland and the world to come learn how to fly and watch shows in An Grianán Theatre.

Chantal is thrilled to celebrate the 10th year of the festival in 2019 as a proud Donegal mother.

Chantal McCormick, Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Theatre, Irish Aerial Creation Centre, Irish Aerial Dance Fest

“When I started I had no idea it would run this long and grow so much. The thing that is important for me is coming from Donegal, at a young age I wanted to be a performer and travel the world, it’s important for me to run this festival in my home county. If there are any young people like I was who have that same dream, and that desire, then the Irish Aerial Dance Fest can offer them what I didn’t have, and that is really important to me,” explains Chantal.

This year over 200 participants are travelling from all over the world to come to Donegal to take part in this training festival, where they can take part in beginners classes, professional classes, different aerial techniques and creative classes.

Chantal continues, “we are also a showcasing festival and create a platform for companies to show new work on the stage and on the back wall of An Grianán Theatre. What is really important to me our collaborators, Donegal County Council have been supporting the festival since it started, Patricia and all her team in An Grianán Theatre, without their support the festival would have never started. Their venue is an extraordinary facility in Donegal and it allows us to programme stunning indoor and outdoor national and international work, they have an amazing technical and marketing team. Also thanks to the Aura Leisure Centre Letterkenny, it is a magical place. The festival is known as Disneyland for aerialists and it’s because of the Aura. The size and its facilities allows us to rig all sorts of aerial equipment there and it’s incredible. Also special thanks to the Arts Council of Ireland for their continued support.”

“The festival is really important to me as it marks the loss of one of our best friend’s Emma Insley who died in 2009 in a fatal accident in Letterkenny. So it is important to me that the aerial community continues to come to Letterkenny every year, to celebrate aerial and to celebrate her life. She loved aerial and Ireland and we miss her dearly every day.”

“This is a world wide aerial community and this is what I have built in Letterkenny over the last ten years. What is unique in holding the festival in Donegal is everyone stays together in student accommodation in Ballyraine and this global community comes here every year. I am so proud and so thrilled and I wouldn’t be able to do this without my staff and crew, everyone gives 110%. We hope to see everyone at An Grianán Theatre and try a class in the Aura and celebrate our 10th anniversary with us. Nowhere else in the world can offer such amazing facilities and the festival is for everyone. We want to be here for another ten years and hope the locals will be apart of that growth.”

The Irish Aerial Dance Fest runs from 24th June – 6th July with classes taking place daily in the Aura Leisure Centre and shows taking place in An Grianán Theatre Friday 28th, Saturday 29th June and Friday 5th and Saturday 6th July, tickets available from www.angrianan.com. For more information about the festival, visit www.irishaerialdancefest.com.