Fearghus Ó Conchúir Choreographer and Dance Artist
June 12, 2008

Skerries installation

Working in these Martello Towers is quite an experience. There’s the adrenaline rush of scaling the walls, the mental and physical agility required to respond to the tricky terrain on top of the towers but there’s also the human encounters with owners, caretakers, tourists, teenagers and passers-by who turn out to have a long investment in the towers. People have been very generous to us in allowing us access to their towers and in sharing their connections to these unusual buildings.

Through anecdotes we hear of dancehalls near the Skerries tower, of dances prepared for on the top of Rush tower, of Thursday night hauntings when a young man in a white sheet would climb the tower to scare the holiday makers camped below.

How can choreography deal with all this information? It’s hard to articulate but all of these anecdotes do live in the performance I’ve tried to create for and through the towers. They are hauntings, they are playful, they are business-like, absorbed, ordinary and a little strange. They touch bird shit and plasma tvs.

The biggest structural device will be clear from the installation where twelve identical screens sit side by side and the same energy of rotation creates a particular connecting rhythm that belies the differences of the towers’ current state and the particular ‘performers’ that our films notice.

I’ll miss not having an excuse to dance on a tower any more. Thanks to all those people who made it possible.

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