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An Rinceoir Briste – The Broken Dancer

POSTED: 14 November 2018

Courtney Jelley addresses disability in her work, on display now in Young London Photographers: Common Ground.

Responding to the theme of 'where we belong', Courtney Jelley's video work addresses the impact of disability. 

An Rinceoir Briste – The Broken Dancer...represents how my identity and what I would call a safe place have been ripped away from me. For me, my home was embedded within Irish dancing.

However, that was torn away from me when my disability, a medical condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, started taking over my everyday life. My work represents the emotion I felt being unable to dance.

Traditional Irish dancing requires you to stand up straight, however as my disability does not allow me to do so, the dress maker made my dress to suit my posture when dancing to make it appear that I was stood up straighter, to allow a judge to not mark me down for postural elements in dance; embodying the physical changes that I went through.

The video work produced, sees the subject bent over to enhance the curve in her spine, the steps shown are those than an Irish dancer would perform, however when I hang up my dress, the dance stops. Although I may have hung up my Irish dancing shoes it will always be a part of me."

-Courtney Jelley

Courtney worked with Autograph and University of the Arts London's Insights Programme in our Album project. Album provides access to artists, curators, mentoring and Autograph's Archive - supporting a new generation of photographers.

See her work in Young London Photographers: Common Ground, open 14 - 20 November at our gallery in Shoreditch. Admission is free. 


Common Ground

New work by 16 to 19 year-old London photographers

14 - 20 Nov 2018


Read about Chantae Henry's work addressing homelessness 


Supported using public funding by Arts Council England
UAL: University of the Arts London

Images, from top: 1-2) Courtney Jelley, An Rinceoir Briste ~ The Broken Dancer~, 2018. Film stills. 3)Rihaz Uddin, Retro Future [detail], 2018. 4) Chantae Henry, Couch Surfing [detail], 2018