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National Dance Archive of Ireland

Brown, Adrienne

Identity Statement

Reference Code: IE 2135 N45
Title: The Adrienne Brown Papers
Dates of Creation: 1976-2013 (predominantly 1987-2001)
Level of Description: Fonds
Extent and Medium: 7 boxes, 3 photographic boxes, 1 outsize box (420 files)


Name of Creator(s): Brown, Adrienne (b. 1956).

Biographical History: Dr Adrienne Brown was born in Dublin and began her dance education with ballet classes. She later developed an interest in contemporary dance and spent three years studying at London Contemporary Dance School. Between 1991 and 1998, she attended the Martha Graham Center of Dance in New York, where she gained first place in her teacher-training certificate course. She was co-founder with Anne Lise Schmitt of New Balance Dance Company in 1987, and a founding member of Dance Ireland, acting as its chair from 2008 to 2013. Adrienne taught movement to actors at the Gaiety School of Acting for twenty years, developing a programme suited to the needs of the training actor. She also teaches technique and choreography at Inchicore College of Further Education.

As a choreographer, Adrienne has remained true to dance as a specific form of expression emerging from the mastery of the human body in motion. For her creative work, Adrienne draws on movement, narrative, text, musicality and compositional elements. She has collaborated with several composers, including Paul Hayes, JJ Vernon, Michael Seaver, Mel Mercier, Trevor Knight and Siobhan Cleary, and has taken inspiration from the writings of Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, Paula Meehan, Charlotte Mew and Beth Ann Fennelly. Her repertoire, which has been staged in Ireland, England and France, comprises over 40 choreographies, including Fin de Siecle (1989), Of No Dreams Remember (1989), Six Women in Search of a Dance (1990), The Wounds of Art (1990), Two Into One Won't Go (1991), Cry (1992), For Delia (1993), The Well (1994), The Sin Eater (1995), Meeting Points & Translations (1995), Four Points of a Circle (1995), Sculptura (1996), This Happened (1996), Mapping a Route Home (1996), Love is a Beautiful Bondage Too (1997), You Who Have Never Arrived (2001), Voices (2002), Who Moves You (2004), A Study of Bach's Musical Offering (I) (2005) and (II) (2006), Lumen (2010), One (2011), Arctic Birds' Song (2012), and Exodus: A New Earth (2013).

In 1997, Adrienne was the first Irish choreographer to be invited to participate in the Righting Dance project at the Institute of Choreography and Dance, Cork. This was a mentored research project, which took place over three years under Adrienne's chosen mentor, the international choreographer Kim Brandstrup of Arc Dance. This extensive creative process gave rise to a full-length dance work, Colmcille, which premiered in 2000 and toured Ireland in 2001.

Between 2002 and 2006, Adrienne completed a BA degree in University College Dublin, graduating with honours in Music and English, and an honours MA in American Studies. Following her MA thesis in 2006, she was awarded an Ad Astra Research Scholarship from UCD to undertake a four-year PhD in Musicology and Dance, leading to the completion of a doctoral dissertation, Meaning Indicators in Twentieth-Century Music and Dance, in 2012.

Content & Structure

Scope and Content: This collection comprises promotional material, photographs, audio-visual recordings, correspondence and grant applications illustrative of Adrienne Brown's career as a dancer and choreographer. The collection highlights not only Brown's long and varied career but on a wider scale the financial and logistic difficulties faced by dance artists in pursuit of creative expression.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access: Please contact us in advance to make an appointment to see this collection.
Finding Aid: Descriptive List (click on link below)

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