Fearghus Ó Conchúir Choreographer and Dance Artist
November 07, 2008

Performing in Artium, Vitoria

I arrived today at Artium, an unexpectedly interesting art museum in the Basque city of Vitoria. It’s the first venue of a tour called ‘A Man’s Touch’, organised by Mikel Aristgui who is Basque and who just danced in Niche. It was thanks to him that I brought Match to Bilbao this summer and now I’m back with Match and the solo from Cosán Dearg that I performed in China last year. The evening is called ‘A Man’s Touch’ because it’s choreography by men (me and Mikel) performed by men (Matthew, Mikel and me). Mikel and I both have duets and a solo to present and we finish the evening with a improv coda that brings all three of us on stage.

I was impressed by Artium from the minute we arrived. It’s new, beautifully designed and has an interesting collection. More importantly for us, they are welcoming of dance and though they don’t have a theatre or studio space, they have a team that transforms one of their spaces into a spacious and flexible performance venue. The lighting is limited but given that I’ve performed Match and Cosán Dearg in all kinds of technically unsupported spaces that’s not a problem.

It was a pleasure to return to Match and feel secure in the reliable relationship with Matthew. Adapting to new spacing is easy in theory but it’s interesting that it takes longer for the body – my body, at least – to be assured in that adaptation. Matthew and I performed well but I was aware that we would come out of some passages of movement and orient ourselves by different internal maps that set us fractionally at odds with each other when we would come together for the next physical interaction. I don’t imagine that many will have noticed this from the outside but we are aware of the adjustments necessary in those moments of misdirection.

It’s been longer since I did the solo but that was a pleasure too. I’ve done it in so many different places (in Project’s Space Upstairs, in a wood in Cúil Aodha, on the Bird’s nest building site and on a roof terrace in Hong Kong) and there is something of each of those iterations that lingers when I perform it again. To those memories I now add a sense of long rows of Basque faces in the sensitively lit Artium as I find out how my body has changed (aged) in a year, what it accomplishes with ease, what now feels alien, how I respond emotionally to these perceptions. It’s like meeting an old friend

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