Born in Dublin, Michael Keegan-Dolan is considered one of Ireland’s most talented, challenging and innovative choreographers, recognized for his ability to fuse the visual immediacy of dance with the narrative strength of theatre. He is co-founder and artistic director of Dublin’s Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, an award-winning company launched in 1997. Fabulous Beast creates productions that have their roots in Ireland and Irish experience, but deal with universal and often controversial issues in modern society, making them accessible and challenging entertainment for a large audience.
With Fabulous Beast, Keegan-Dolan has created such works as Sunday Lunch (1997), Fragile (1999), The Flowerbed (2000), Giselle (2003), The Bull (2005), James Son of James (2007), and The Rite of Spring (2009), a co-production with English National Opera.
Giselle, The Bull and The Rite of Spring were all nominated for Olivier Awards (the British equivalent of the Tony Awards), and The Bull won the U.K. Critics’ Circle Award for Best Modern Choreography in 2008. That year Keegan-Dolan and Fabulous Beast also received a nomination for the 2009 Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities, the first Irish company ever to be nominated for the prestigious award. Fabulous Beast also won the Judges’ Special Award in the Irish Times Theatre Awards in 2003.
Keegan-Dolan’s other choreographic work includes productions of Ariodante, Manon and Alcina at the English National Opera; The Rake’s Progress (La Monnaie, Royal Opera House Covent Garden); Faust and Macbeth (Royal Opera House); The Duchess of Malfi, Carousel and The Oedipus Plays (National Theatre, London); Idomeneo (De Vlaamse Opera); The Love for Three Oranges (Cologne Opera); Pique Dame and Ariodante (Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich); and Ariodante and Manon (Houston Grand Opera). Michael Keegan-Dolan and Fabulous Beast have been artistic associates of London’s Barbican Centre – a U.K. counterpart to New York’s Lincoln Center – since 2007.
Keegan-Dolan’s newest work, Rian, a collaboration with musician Liam Ó Maonlaí, was performed in October in the U.K. to critical acclaim, and is expected to tour internationally in 2012. The production takes its title from Ó Maonlaí’s 2005 solo album Rian, which means “mark” or “trace” in Irish. Rian explores the tension and harmony between Irish traditional music and modern dance and was created as a response to “the current seismic changes in Irish society.” Keegan-Dolan is also directing a production of Julius Caesar for the English National Opera in 2012 and has several other projects in the works.
Keegan-Dolan will be in residency at SMU at the same time as fellow winner Enda Walsh for four weeks in fall 2012. They will collaborate with SMU theatre and dance students to create a new dance/theatre piece tentatively slated for a major European festival in 2013. The piece also will receive public workshop performances in Dallas during their residency.
For more information on Michael Keegan-Dolan, visit http://www.fabulousbeast.net/site.html.