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great reaction Dream come true for dancer as Irish language film receives rave reviews

Film includes a poem written and read out by local author Myra Zepf

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Professional dancer and choreographer Clara Kerr

Professional dancer and choreographer Clara Kerr

Professional dancer and choreographer Clara Kerr

Clara Kerr is a happy girl.

A two-year dream came true for the 24-year-old professional dancer/choreographer when her film Spéirbhean was chosen to headline the Irish Language Festival last week.

Shared globally online due to the pandemic, the film, which includes a poem written and read out in Irish by local author Myra Zepf, has received rave reviews from across the world.

Clara, from Holywood, had the idea of a women-inspired choreography almost two years ago yet felt the time wasn’t right until now.

“The film is a look at how women and their bodies change across their lifespans,” she told the Sunday World.

“At every age it is different so I wanted to do something that was a celebration of women, their resilience. It really is all about celebrating women throughout the years, I wanted it to be joyous, I wanted to lighten everything especially considering the times we are in.”

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Clara Kerr

Clara Kerr

Clara Kerr

Clara felt it was important to incorporate the Irish language as she has done in previous work, a language she admits she is desperate to learn.

“I can’t speak Irish but I really wish I could. I love the culture, the language and the community of the people involved. I grew up as an Irish dancer but I never mastered the language.

“I have given it a go but to be honest it wasn’t a good try so I will try again.

“Myra is fluent, she writes poems as well as children’s books in Irish so it was great to work with her. The poem is amazing, so powerful, like I said I wanted it to celebrate but also empower women.”

Clara can’t believe the reaction to their work which she says she will be forever proud of.

“For our work to be chosen for Irish Language Week was unbelievable. The interest has been amazing and I think Covid actually worked to our advantage which must be a first.

“Covid opened up bigger audiences online and on TV instead of one live show. You can see physically how many people are in a theatre but with this you are reaching out to so many which was wonderful.

“It was hard work because of the Covid restrictions but the cast and director Joe Gutherie were fantastic. I hope when people watch it they won’t be able to tell it was filmed during the pandemic. I want people to watch it and for it to stick in their minds because the message is so powerful.

“The feedback was fantastic. I personally had people from Ireland and England messaging me saying how great they thought it was but the comments on Facebook came from everywhere and they were all hugely positive.”

The Holywood girl says the timing of the release on International Women’s Day and the murder of Sarah Everard made people’s reactions to the film more emotional.

“People were emotional when they watched the film, the treatment of women being very much on their mind so I think it was a good time for them to watch because it really is about celebrating women’s resilience.”

The professional performer had just completed her degree at Liverpool’s Institute of Performing Arts when she was offered a scholarship at the Bobby Dance Centre in New York.

“I was all set to go but fingers crossed I will get to New York by September. I couldn’t believe I got a three-month scholarship, training alongside all the big New York-based dancers. It will be a dream come true.

“It will be absolutely amazing to be in New York for the three months but you never know where it might lead.

“Either way I suppose I will be able to say I was on Broadway, yea I’ll use that one,” Clara laughed.

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