Although she didn’t know it, renowned dancer Emma O’Kane has been preparing for this show most of her life. Emma had never ridden a horse before but the first time she did she realized that all her years of dance training had prepared her well. She became fascinated by the similarities between jockeys and dancers, both honing the same muscles, both so physical, needing the same stamina, the intensity of training, striving to be the best and that same rush adrenaline of performing or riding in a race.
Not only that but the first time she went near a horse the trainer told her she was a natural, that horse racing was in her blood. Although Emma discounted the idea some research unearthed the fact that her grandfather Phillip de Burgh O’ Brien who died before she was born, had been a bloodstock agent and racing journalist. From Phillip’s writings to Emma’s own experience of recently learning to ride a racehorse, Jockey explores the physical relationship between the dancer, the jockey and the Irish thoroughbred horse.
This extraordinary piece is the culmination of a year-long collaboration between WillFredd Theatre, Emma O’Kane and the Irish Racing Community.
Download our information pack here: JockeyInfoPack
Credits: Directed by Sophie Motley, Designed by Sarah Jane Shiels, Composition and Sound Design Jack Cawley, Video Design by Kilian Waters, Choreographed and Performed by Emma O’Kane.