Floating on a Dead Sea

National Tour 2024 Oct 12-Nov 2 Details TBA

Premiere: Dublin Dance Festival 2022 Winter Edition, at Backstage Theatre, November 27 and 28

Running time Approx. 60 minutes (no interval)

In 2017, Catherine Young took her dance company to Palestine to perform the critically acclaimed work Welcoming the Stranger. Compelled by the experience, Catherine returned in 2019 with filmmaker Luca Truffarelli. Floating on a Dead Sea is inspired by these experiences; the feeling of being lifted and held by the generosity and kindness of a people, in a place where nothing is normal. A place where everyday life, dreams and aspirations are stifled, basic rights denied, and lives lived unfulfilled. Floating on a Dead Sea is Young’s immersive and visceral reflection on life in the West Bank Palestine prior to the 2023/24 war, interweaving dance, film, live music & text.

With a cast of international dancers and stunning visuals by filmmaker Luca Truffarelli, this moving performance places us in the footsteps of ordinary Palestinians. We feel their enduring sense of injustice, urgency and need for action. Floating on a Dead Sea is a chance to look and listen more deeply, especially to those whose voices are often unheard.

Originally commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival and premiered at DDF’s Winter Edition in 2021

RTE Lyric FM: Finally Floating on a Dead Sea | Culture File

RTE Culture: Choreographer Catherine Young responds to life in Palestine

The Irish Times: Beckett-inspired dance piece to headline pop-up winter festival

Back to all Productions.



Director & Choreographer: Catherine Young
in collaboration with:

Hanna Slattne

Luca Truffarelli

(live) Salma Ataya, Vanessa Guevara, Amir Sabra
(film) Yousef Areh Sbeih, Abdallah Damra, AbdalwahabHmidan, Ahmed Kullab, Ameed Sayeh & Mohammed Smahneh

Martin Schärer  (music director/percussion), Jade O’Connor (vocals/spoken word), Jon Sanders (mandolo) & Colm Ó’Snodaigh (whistle/vocals)

Sound & Sound design
Alan Kelly

Text & Sound Design
Fiona Sheil

Lx Design
Sarah Jane Sheil

Chief Lx
June Gonzalez Iriarte

Set Design
Luca Truffarelli with Catherine Young

Catherine Young

Production Manager
Mikee Lonergan

QLab Programmer
Michael Stapleton

Irish Language poetry & coach
Mícheál Ó Dubhghaill

Luca Truffarelli & Alaa Aliabdallah

Line producer
Kristyn Fontanella

Conall Ó Riain, DDF & Backstage Theatre

Catherine Young

Commissioned by
Dublin Dance Festival. Co-presented by Dublin Dance Festival and the Abbey Theatre in association with Backstage Theatre.

Funded by The Arts Council of Ireland | An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Backstage Theatre, Kerry County Council | Comhairle Contae Chiarraí, SiamsaTíre, and supported by Shawbrook Dance, Dance Limerick, A.M. Qattan Foundation & University of Limerick.

Shukran (thank you) to everyone who contributed to the making of this work, to our funders and supporters who enabled this creation come into being, to all of our wonderful collaborators for their invaluable contributions and talents and to all we met along the road in Palestine, who shared their stories, dancing, music, food and time with us:

Ahmad Ackar, Alaa Aliabdallah, Rand Ajarma, Salah Ajarma (RIP), Salim Al Kelani, Fatin Al Tamimi, Ala’ Abu Ayyash, Jires Babish, Noora Baker, Rima Baranasi, Jonathan Conlon, Mona Considine (Backstage), Philip Dawson &A nicaLouw (Shawbrook), Khaled Elayyan, Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Brian Fleming, Laila Hasan, Atta Jaber & family, Hani Abu Haikel & family, Kate Kennelly (Kerry County Council), Ahmed Lulu, Jonathan Kelliher & Róisín McGarr (SiamsaTíre), Lisa McLoughlin & Vicky O’Brien (Arts Council), Mohammed Omar, Saleem Othman, Gerry O’Sullivan, Jenny Roche & Sandra Joyce (UL), Raed Said, Faris Soufan,Jenny Traynor (Dance Limerick), Lauren Waller, Askadar Centre for Culture & Arts (Nablus), Defence for Children International, El Fara’a Youth Centre, El Funoun Popular Dance Troupe,The Lajee Centre (Aida Camp, Bethlehem), Sareyyet Ramallah Dance Troupe, AM Qattan Foundation and the YMCA Hebron.

Special thanks to Carina McGrail, Benjamin Perchet, Jazmin Chiodi & all at DDF for weathering the Covid cancellations and supporting this work until it got to the stage. And to the Palestinian dancers whom we couldn’t bring over to perform with us tonight.

Dublin Dance Festival: We are very grateful for the support of the Abbey Theatre and Backstage Theatre in bringing Floating on a Dead Sea to Backstage Theatre. DDF would also like to thank our funders, sponsors, partners, DDF Friends and Volunteers.




Next screening
June 23rd, VISUAL CARLOW (Fundraiser for Gaza)


Premiere Oct 11 2021
Tipperary Dance International Festival Excel Theatre, Tipperary
Light Moves Festival, Dance Limerick, November 2023
Dublin Dance Festival, April  2024 in partnership with Project Arts Centre
Fundraiser for Gaza. Book here

Running time: 30 mins

Director Catherine Young
Camera & Editing Luca Truffarelli
Sound Design Fiona Sheil
Sound Mastering Alan Kelly
Original Music Mohammed Omar
Additional Music El Funoun

In 2019, Young returned to Palestine with film maker Luca Truffarelli to experience more time in the place in order to find a way to share this Palestinian encounter in her new live show. This moving new documentary places the body and movement at the heart of things and puts us in the footsteps of ordinary Palestinians, giving us a sense of their enduring sense of injustice, urgency and need for action. It is a chance to look and listen more deeply, especially to those whose voices are not being heard.

Funded by The Arts Council, Kerry County Council and supported by the Dublin Dance Festival.

To book screening: