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Little Margaret Becker (about age 4-5) dancing in the studio

Little Margaret Becker (about age 4-5) dancing in the studio

After a busy and somewhat hectic day I was rewarded with a wonderful event yesterday evening. At 6.30 pm I sat in the Samuel Beckett Theater in Trinity College and watched a few enchanting Tiny Tots dance across the screen.

The wonderful Deirdre Mulrooney had invited me along to a special reunion screening of 1943 – A Dance Odyssey. The film shows original footage, shot by the great Liam OLaoghaire, of enigmatic Irish-German dancer Erina Brady in her studio teaching young Irish children the joys of modern dance.

As mainland Europe was torn by war, the 1940s in Dublin was a haven for bohemian creatives and free thinkers and during this time Erina Brady showed some open-minded people how the body could be used to express thoughts, be a symbol of freedom and be celebrated – no shoes required!

Over a period of about ten years Erina Brady taught some lucky children all about this way of thinking and some of those Tiny Tots from back then were heavily influenced by this unusual woman.

At the screening yesterday some of the little blond girls in plaits and flamed haired dancers were there, a reunion of the Tiny Tots to celebrate some very special childhood memories captured on screen.

It was wonderful to see these woman, 71 years after being filmed, and to hear all about how the seed of creativity, planted so very long ago, had grown for so many of them into a way of life. Creative strong women who told stories of a Dublin long gone, true treasures I was delighted to have met and talk to over wine and canapes.

In a few months time TG4 will be showing another film Deirdre Mulrooney has been working about the times and life of Erina Brady and I can’t wait to see it.

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