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For A Dancer

She may be wife of the U2 guitarist Edge, but Morleigh Steinberg is a fine artist in her own right. Her latest work premieres in Dublin in November.

Adrienne Murphy, 15 Nov 2010

Unlike so many Americans, Morleigh Steinberg – dancer/chorerographer/lighting designer/filmmaker – claims no Irish line in her heritage. Born in LA in 1961, Hollywood-raised and Beverley Hills High-educated, Steinberg’s connection to the Green Isle came about through her husband Dave Evans, better known as U2’s guitar maestro, The Edge.

Steinberg first met Edge during her work as choreographer on the Joshua Tree Tour, although they didn’t start dating until the end of the subsequent Zoo TV Tour, on which Steinberg also worked. By then, Edge had separated from his first wife, Aislinn O’Sullivan, with whom he has three daughters. Steinberg moved to Dublin in 1994 to be with her new partner. The couple’s children, Sian and Levi, were born in 1997 and 1999. Morleigh and Edge married in 2002.

Since she came to Ireland, Morleigh has been involved in a number of cutting edge dance productions, including Rex Levitates’ Bread & Circus.

Now Steinberg’s latest work, entitled Cold Dream Colour: A Dance Homage to Louis Le Brocquy, is to receive its world premiere in Dublin. She is the artistic director of the piece, which is inspired by the work of the great Louis Le Brocquy, regarded by many as Ireland’s foremost living artist.

“It was Edge who first introduced me to Louis’ work,” says Steinberg. “Louis is such a lovely, gentle, beautiful man. And he’s 94 years old – from another time. When I saw Louis’ paintings, it was obvious to me that they could be danced. They contain so much light and theatre and hope – and the magic of something appearing out of nothing.”

The music for Cold Dream Colour is composed by The Edge in collaboration with Feltlike, the experimental electronic outfit of composer Paul Chavez. Steinberg describes its genesis.

“I asked Paul and Edge to relate to the paintings themselves, independent of our choreograph or our dance,” Morleigh explains. “How does this painting feel to you musically? I really wanted this to be an investigation for them. The music is very textural and atmospheric. It was great getting Edge to do something which he doesn’t do normally. We get along very well, so it was great fun working together. And he was very open to my direction. But then again, I’m his wife (laughs).”

Having spent many years based in Dublin, Steinberg and Edge recently re-located their family to New York. Does Steinberg find it tough being away from their kids – now 13 and 11 – while she works on the show in Dublin?

“Yeah, it is hard,” she admits. “This is the longest I’ve been away from them for a long time. But Edge is with them. One or other of us are always with them, pretty much. I’m very careful about what I choose to work on. I try to time it so I’ll only spend two or three weeks away. But with a husband who works the way my husband works – I mean, when he’s on tour, he’s really on tour – it can be hard to get the timing right. It’s good that he’s at home with the kids right now, but it’s not ideal, in that he’s been gone a lot, and now I’m gone, and then when I get back, he goes. So that part of what we do isn’t great.

“But I’ve made my peace,” adds Steinberg. “I’ve had an amazing career. I accept that I’m not going to be a touring dancer. I pick projects that are based in places that are a bit more reasonable and logical in terms of the kids. It’s always been about shaping ourselves around my husband’s work. It’s a big thing, and I always knew that’s what would be required.

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