Fearghus Ó Conchúir Choreographer and Dance Artist
May 16, 2018

Refuge: Finding my place on Walthamstow Wetlands

20180508_122557One of the themes of my residency is refuge and I’ve been wondering where my refuge is on the site. The viewing platform in the Engine House has quickly become that place for me since it has a beautiful view, there’s some space (enough for me to warm up), it is not too busy during the weekdays (but still has enough traffic to allow for some interesting conversations), it has a metal floor that is much more comfortable and forgiving than the tiled floors below and it has wifi. I’d like to have a sign that welcomes people in when I’m warming up there. I want people to feel that my work there is as natural and/or surprising as the Thames Water workers or the flora and fauna outside. And it’s also important to acknowledge that as a human I need a place to shelter, to rest, to prepare, to process. Though I’ve always been keen to bring dance beyond its comfortable familiar settings, the resilience that requires has to be supported by some care and respite.

The success of the Wetlands opening in terms of visitor numbers means that it’s not necessarily helpful for me to attract many more people to it. However, it’s important that my work and that of the residency is visible. A mixture of visible and invisible therefore. When I mentioned this to Emma, the London Wildlife Trust Reserve Manager, she told me of the newts onsite that are undetectable to predators above because of their camouflage colouring but that have brightly coloured under-sides that they can expose to attract potential mates – safe and flamboyant. How can I be similarly discreet and attractive?


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