Interview: Áine Mooney on Intuitive Creation

Alexandra Pedro

Written by Alexandra Pedro

15 Nov 2021

6-minute read

Áine Mooney is a professional ballet and jazz dancer and choreographer based in Athboy. Her artistic passions do not stop there though; Áine is also an actress, poet, songwriter, and even singer. A glance at her YouTube channel is all it takes to see how various her passions are; open each video and you will see the talent is definitely there to back them all up too!

ALEXANDRA PEDRO: Áine, thank you so much for accepting to go on this journey with me. So many artists find themselves pulled in different directions by their various passions. How do you balance yours?

ÁINE MOONEY: It has always been such a struggle for me to balance my various passions. I have always had such a strong yearning to express myself through the mediums of dance, poetry and song. A modern renaissance lady you could say.

I personally find myself focusing on one passion at a time. For example, during the winter months I tend to favour poetry and writing, as I've learned throughout the years that I am at my most poetic during gloomier seasons. I then find that dance and singing erupts out of me in the spring and summer months. It could have to do with the specific turn of the seasons and my emotional reaction to them, or it may simply be that I just don't like wearing tights and a leotard when it's snowing out! Either way, I tend to focus on one art form at a time over the year and give that specific passion 110%

AP: It sounds like you take an intuitive approach to the creative process. How does that translate to choreography and then dance for you?

AM: I definitely would agree, yes. I view the arts, specifically dance, as an almost spiritual practice. It's a cathartic experience for me which I can't get from anything else.

When I choreograph, my process begins with meditation. I sit with my eyes closed and listen to the specific piece of music I want to use. I allow myself to drift off and I begin to visualise a miniature silhouette of a dancer moving to the music. I try to remember what I've seen and use that as either inspiration for my choreography or else I copy it exactly.

Áine Mooney dancing at the top of the Hill of Slane

When it comes to movement for the sake of movement, or improvisation, I still keep my eyes closed and listen carefully to the music. However, I move freely around the space and do not focus my attention on the silhouetted dancer in my mind. This form of movement is definitely a lot freer, there is no pressure or judgement within the music. Just interpretation and expression. Which is ultimately what makes dance so special.

AP: Perfectionism and fear of judgement are two aspects that many artists battle with during their creative process. I admire how you seem to distance yourself from those within dance improvisation. Is this something you battle with within your various artistic passions? If so, please tell us more about how you overcome that aspect of creation.

AM: Oh yes definitely. It is something I have struggled with in my poetry in the past. Within writing there is always a danger of self judgement, which can spiral into seeking perfection in your work. Which isn’t attainable. Perfection isn't attainable. When you write, you are pouring your heart and soul out onto a page for everyone to criticise. It can be scary and messy and incohesive. But I find solace in that fact that everyone is a little different, a little broken. It's one of the most beautiful aspects of being human. Once you sit down with yourself and realise this, creativity becomes much more fluid an entity. I believe that the arts should never be perfect, yes you can strive for it, but in doing so embrace the mess and the chaos and the anger, because that is where true emotion lies.

Áine Mooney dancing in Giant's Causeway

AP: It sounds like for you the arts need true emotion. This has been asked many times to many artists but I want to hear your answer: how do your emotions impact your art?

AM: I don't just believe that my emotions impact my art; they are at the base of it, they create it! Without emotion I would really struggle to create, well, anything. That goes for all of my preferred disciplines: dance, poetry, drama.

Emotion is the seed for my need to express myself. I have been described as 'too emotional' , 'sensitive' , 'defensive'. Which at the time seemed like insults, but really those traits are gifts.

Being sensitive isn't a bad thing, being emotional isn't a bad thing. In fact, I believe them to be wonderful things. They add depth and complexity to people. Being 'too emotional' gives me the ability to empathise, to express and to understand the world around me.

To put it simply, my emotions do have an impact on my art, because my emotions are my art.

AP: You are so inspiring, Áine, and I am yearning for your art. Where can we find your various artistic expressions?

AM: Thank you so much for having me, and for your wonderfully interesting questions

You can find my choreographic and acting work on the Aine Mooney YouTube channel. Start at the Birth of Aphrodite and the Lockdown Chronicles for choreography, and perhaps take a look my Showreel 2021 for a glance at my poetry and acting.

You can also follow my dance and writing career through my Instagram @aineavenue.

Alexandra Pedro

Alexandra is a business owner, marketer and creative based in Ireland. She founded Alexandra Pedro Marketing in 2018. Her purpose is to farther the arts and culture industry through both her services and her free resources.