Fearghus Ó Conchúir Choreographer and Dance Artist
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October 24, 2007

Oxwarehouse: Echo a friend

The growing sense that dance and, by extension, my work isn’t entirely welcome in this Live Art context has made it harder for me to be open in performing. I’ve been aware for a while that some of the artists were uncomfortable with having dance in the programme. However, no one has really asked me why I am here and what I think my work is trying to do here. There is no question but that what I do comes from and relies on a dance tradition – it is the discipline I follow. But that discipline is a means to an end or, more precisely, a means to a process of discovery that takes place in relation to the environment and the new context in to which I bring the work. I don’t hide a message in the work for an audience to decode. Instead, I see the work as an opportunity to learn something and I try to create an environment where others can participate in that discovery. I’ve seen a number of works that have inspired me in this touring festival, some from artists with a dance background, some with visual arts or theatre training. It’s the work and its impact that matters to me and not the tradition from which it derives or the manifesto to which it adheres.

In the beautiful Oxwarehouse space in Macau, I carried the shadow of this sense of being unwelcome until a Chinese woman, Echo, stepped into the space as I was warming up and began to copy my movements. Before we spoke, she established a connection between us that made me feel welcome and through her, I found a positive focus for my last articulation of the Cosán Dearg solo. Thanks to Elena’s filming, Echo sits in the middle of the frame, making this a duet that prepares for Bernadette’s arrival. The glitz of Macau’s casinos is an odd contrast to the pastoral environment of the Oxwarehouse space.

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