Creative Intensive

Updated COVID-19


The 2021 edition of the Creative Intensive will still be affected by COVID-19. We don’t believe the “intensive” part of the programme works if people are wearing masks, but even with vaccinations Covid is still a risk.

All participants will have to take extra precautions, before and during the programme. This probably means having a Covid test before arriving, not going home for the weekends, and avoiding interaction with other people or services, e.g. restaurants.

We are expecting to have a public performance.

The Creative Intensive is an annual three week training on aerial technique and creativity. This training program for professionals was designed for aerialists who want to work on improving their technique and produce aerial acts, and also for dancers who want to get more aerial training and create an aerial dance solo. The course is hosted by tutors Chantal McCormick and Kathryn Cooley from Fidget Feet Aerial Dance.  A third international tutor is usually also brought in.

The next announced dates are: November 21st to December 10th 2022 – applications are not yet open.


There will be a public showing in the IACC of the work created, on the last day of the intensive.

Once you have read all the information below, you can apply for the Creative Intensive here. We are taking expressions of interest first, to gauge demand.


The course is designed for intermediate through to professional level students. We offer contemporary dance classes, stretching, strengthening and conditioning, aerial technique classes in rope, fabric, hoop, trapeze, and vertical dance. We also offer creative labs, and one to one mentoring from the 3 tutors.

The work will be geared towards the creation of a piece to be filmed / performed at the show. There is a creative lab or session with external professionals every day, on a variety of subjects.

The course ends with a public performance of the acts in the IACC on the last day. Each performance is filmed with a professional set-up of three cameras and audio. You’ll receive the footage after the intensive, so that you can use it for show reels etc. All are welcome to book for the show, so invite family and friends. The IACC will invite funders and theatre managers.


This course is funded by the Arts Council to support higher-level training in Ireland.

One scholarship and eight half fee bursaries (€500) for Irish born or Irish based aerial circus performers and 7 full price spaces @ €1000 each. That’s a total of 16 places. If you receive direct funding from the Arts Council for this programme, you cannot receive a bursary as it would be double funded. If you apply for indirect funding, e.g. travel and accommodation, then you may still receive a bursary.

Duos or groups are generally charged as two people, as they need double the mentoring time. It’s possible to negotiate this.

Once you are offered a place, you must pay a deposit of 50%. If you cancel within one month of the start date, you must pay the full fee regardless. This is due to multiple late cancellations in the past. The international panel will make the decision within one month, and all applicants will be notified whether they were successful.

Click here to pay the deposit.

To Apply

For the program aerialists need to bring their own apparatus and a proposed act; which can be at any development stage. We can cater for solo, duets and group pieces. To apply you will need :

  • Your general information
  • Performance videos
  • A C.V. and a reference
  • Your medical information
  • Parental/guardian consent if you are 16-18yrs.

To apply for the bursary you will need to provide

  • A paragraph explaining your suitability for the bursary
  •  Proof of Irish residency or nationality (if requested)


Chantal McCormick

Chantal McCormick

Fidget Feet
Chantal Mc Cormick trained as a dancer and choreographer at the London School of Contemporary Dance. After graduation she became interested in aerial circus and trained at Circus Space, London. Chantal has toured extensively with established dance and circus companies in the UK from 1999-­‐2008. The company Fidget Feet was founded in 2004 by Chantal (Donegal) and her husband Jym Daly (Cork). Chantal has directed, choreographed, and performed shows with FF including; Wired and Free, Fairies Tail, Remember Her, Madam Silk, Raw, Hang On, Catch Me, Fire Birds and Elves and the Shoemaker she was recently invited along with FF to choreograph all the aerial work and perform and collaborate with CoisCeim in the acclaimed RTE, Centenary. Chantal is also the Artistic Director of Irish Aerial Dance Fest and professional development manager at the Irish Aerial Creation Centre.
Kat Cooley

Kat Cooley

Fidget Feet
Originally from Cornwall, Kathryn Cooley graduated with a BA (Honours) Degree in Performing Arts (Dance) from L.I.P.A, (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) in 2009.As soon as she graduated she was taken on Fidget Feet and is now an associate artist with the company. Over the past eight years Kat has also worked for: All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre, Scotland Scarabeus Aerial Theatre, London Cantabile 2, Denmark Attik Dance, Plymouth Iron Oxide, Scotland Cscape Dance Company, Cornwall and Les Commandos Percu, France Kat has been fortunate enough to perform on large scale ceremonies including Ringo Star’s concert for the Liverpool Capital of Culture Opening Ceremony, the CommonWealth Games Handover Ceremony in Delhi, Cervantino in Mexico and was offered a place on the aerial team for the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony in London.




For more interviews and videos about the Creative Intensive see here.

Trying to describe the Irish Aerial Creation Centre’s Creative Intensive, is like trying to describe the ocean to someone who has never seen it.  It is achingly inspiring, stunningly beautiful and for seeing it you are forever changed, but finding adjectives to do it justice is a daunting, if not impossible task. Nevertheless, I will try.

The Creative Intensive is a holistic immersive exacting adventure that allows you to truly access your creative potential and to explore it in ways you never imagined possible. Once you begin you will be overwhelmed by the nurturing atmosphere promoted by the exceptional mentors and fellow participants. You are encouraged to challenge yourself technically, learn earnestly and create assiduously. The expertise you have access to is incomparable but most of all it is the caring indefatigable humans you get to know that make it truly special.  While at times it may be demanding, both physically and emotionally, it is the sort of exertion that breeds something profoundly precious.

But most of all, it is the gift of time. Time for you to undeniably indulge and luxuriate in your own creative undertaking, wherever you are in your practice, and give yourself permission to play.

Although it may seem cliché, I mean every single word…you will be forever changed and so incredibly grateful for this experience.

Jennifer de Brún


If you are looking for a space to learn some new tricks, or head on a circus holiday to relax – don’t come to the Creative Intensive.

There are plenty of other retreats where you can lie on a beach as well in Mexico or Bali (I’ve been on quite a few). The Creative Intensive isn’t for that. It’s for the harder things, the deeper things. It’s a space to explore movement quality, and artistic voice. It is somewhere you can try new things, try to understand how to translate a thought into something someone can watch. It’s that which I’ve been unable to find anywhere else in the world, a program that will hold space for you and let you develop yourself instead of telling you what to be and how to move. 

From the little things (dance warmups that I still miss every time I start training, spontaneous group massages, or the crazy way Chantal can enter a room), to the big things (trying harness work for the first time, discovering lyra isn’t the bane of my existence, or building an act that is so much different than anything I’d done to date), to the unparalleled community (witnessing someone else’s discoveries, being there for a hug, or just being next to them), there was nothing I would have changed. And I cannot emphasize how rarely that happens for me.

If you are on the fence, or wondering if its worth it to make the trip – for me I can only say it was more than I expected, and I hope you make the same choice. I’m reminded of the experience every time I touch an aerial fabric, it changed my relationship with the apparatus and the work in a way I’ll never forget.

-Sean Heisler, San Francisco