What We Hold

created by Jean Butler

What We Hold

Marking acclaimed choreographer Jean Butler’s return to working with traditional Irish dancers, ‘What We Hold’ is a site-specific work which unfolds as a series of encounters performed by an intergenerational cast of contemporary and traditional dancers that range in age from mid teens to late 60’s.

‘What We Hold’ illuminates the personal and cultural histories contained within the Irish dancing body and invites the audience to engage with traditional and contemporary expressions of the form side by side, up close, as never seen before; to experience what the body holds and what happens when we collectively let go.

Funded by an Arts Council Dance Project Award, Jean Butler researched, developed and honed 'What We Hold' with financial, administrative and residency support from the Dance in Process Residency at Gibney, New York. Further financial and resource support gratefully received from Irish Arts Centre, Dance Cork Firkin Crane and Aer Lingus. 

'What We Hold' is produced by Our Steps and Lovano.

Images by Ste Murray.


"Butler has created an astonishing dance work, a visual, aural, almost poetic performative archive of Irish step dance."

★★★★★ The Irish Times

"Her heartfelt What We Hold, pushing at limits of form, convention, history and memory, sees history and autobiography seamlessly interwoven... Butler is spellbinding. Feet grounded yet fluid, body moving from the centre, the upper body weightless."

★★★★★ The Arts Review

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Creatives and cast

Creator, Choreographer, Director

Jean Butler

Composer, Sound Design

Ryan C Seaton


Katie Davenport

Lighting Design

Steven Dodd


Shane O’Reilly

Associate Director

Laura Murphy


Louise Lowe


Pádraig Heneghan


Jean Butler

Tom Cashin

Marion Cronin

Kristyn Fontanella

Fionn O’Sullivan McCarthy

Jack Porter

Ryan C Seaton

Maren Shanks

our supporters

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