John Scott’s Irish Modern Dance Theatre was founded in 1991. The Dublin-based ensemble mixes virtuoso Irish and international dancers with African and Middle Eastern refugees and torture survivors. Scott has pioneered dance in Ireland, a country known more for its literary traditions and text based drama. His work is witty, theatrical with startling imagery and addresses ideas of diversity, love, metaphysics.
The company is working with Merce Cunningham Trust on performing early Merce Cunningham works, including ‘Night Wandering’ (1958) and ‘Totem Ancestor’ (1948) and Solo from Second Hand (1970). Scott has commissioned works from John Jasperse, Sarah Rudner, Thomas Lehmen, Chris Yon, Sean Curran and Adrienne Truscott. He has brought Meredith Monk, Deborah Hay and members of The Forsythe Company - Jone San Martin, Josh Johnson and Fabrice Mazliah - to Ireland to teach and perform. Scott is one of the subjects of '52 Portraits' by Jonathan Burrows, Matteo Fargion and Hugo Glendinning, produced for Sadler’s Wells, London.
Recent tours include John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, Dance Place, Washington DC, 92Y at Harkness Dance Center, New York Live Arts, La MaMa, New York, PS122, New York, Philadelphia Dance Project, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, Les Hivernales, Avignon, France, Schwankhalle, Bremen, Tanzmesse, Germany, Queer Zagreb, Croatia, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, Kanuti Guildi SAAL, Estonia, Galway International Arts Festival, Dance Base Edinburgh, Forum Culturel Mundial and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Dublin Dance Festival and Kilkenny Arts Festival, Ireland.
Recent works include ‘Inventions’ at Dublin Dance Festival, ‘Divine Madness’ at Project Arts Centre, ‘LEAR’, with Valda Setterfield, at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London, New York Live Arts, Kilkenny Arts Festival, ‘Quad’ in collaboration with PanPan Theatre, Dublin Dance Festival/Beckett Summer School, ‘HYPERACTIVE, La MaMa Moves Dance Festival/GalwayInternational Arts Festival, Dublin Dance Festival, ‘Feathers’ Tiger Dublin Fringe, ‘Actions’, ‘Fall and Recover’,‘The White Piece’and Merce Cunningham’s ‘Totem Ancestor’ and ‘Night Wandering’.
African Refugee Network’s Culture Award for work with Refugees and Survivors of Torture awarded to John Scott
Best Dance award by Dance Magazine, New York for ‘The White Piece’, 2013
John Scott awarded Best Choreographer of the 2014-15 Season, Critic's Choice, Tanz Magazine Yearbook, Germany
Light Moves 2016 Outstanding Irish Work award for short film ‘Proclamation’, Director Jason Akira Somma, Choreographer John Scott
Herald Angel Award for Valda Setterfield’s performance in John Scott’s ‘Lear’ at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 2017
"Four remarkable international dancers journey across the bleakness of a vast Beckettian anywhere, through oases of peace, playfulness and beyond...vintage work from the dance maker: physical, exhilarating, humorous, and deadly serious" - Seona Mac Reamoinn, The Irish Times
"The sheer athleticism on display is impressive" - The Scotsman
"With the athletic twists and syncopated rhythms in John Scott's choreography...it becomes a celebration of dance as an art form" - Mary Brennan, The Herald
"Bessie award winner Valda Setterfield takes the crown in a portrayal that highlights the vulnerability awaiting us in the end... Setterfield's descent from graceful, steely royal into dementia is deeply moving. The Lear Project is a timely and tender exploration of aging, loss and regret that gets to the very heart of who we are" - Alison Martin, Irish Daily Mail
"There is a feeling that the twenty-one-plus years of Scott's disparate choreographic life are being distilled into a single and singular vision of what it means to dance and what it means to live" - Michael Seaver, Irish Theatre Magazine
"Boulé and Connaughton are the utmost combination of athlete and artist, delivering riveting performances with grace and prowness...highlight of the week" - David O'Shaughnessy, entertainment.ie
“Scott is bravely attempting to reposition modern dance in Ireland, through his challenging themes and his captivating choreography" - Niamh Mongey/Headstuff (2018)
"John Scott...knows how to skillfully handle the image without forcing aesthetic effect" - Marie Christine Vernay/ Liberation, Paris (1998)
"Ireland's dance landscape has been given a splash of colour by iconoclast John Scott, spearheading Irish Modern Dance Theatre, a group which has already become something of a national institution....Scott also addresses the details of aesthetic, social and spatial hierarchy...words and gestures somewhere between Beckett, Chaplin, and Monty Python" - Thomas Hahn/Tanz Magazine, Germany (2007)