19.05.2023, Boris Hristov House of Culture, Plovdiv
Duration: 55 min
“We arch up into the Galactic black of deep space. Scattered with shooting stars, with bodies tearing through the night sky a deep acrylic blue.”
The Northern Irish sensation Oona Doherty, awarded with a Silver Lion by the Venice Biennale in 2021, is visiting Plovdiv with her new work NAVY BLUE.
The performance, co-produced by Big Pulse Dance Alliance, features original music by Jamie xx and Sergei Rachmaninoff and will be presented on 19 May at the Boris Hristov House of Culture.
Tickets are available at EasyPay box offices nationwide and online at the EPAYGO network.
Oona Doherty uses her raw realism to embody a string of emotional states and existential questions in front of the audience. Her choreography mirrors life as a preordained transience, dance as the offspring of feelings, and the human being as a tiny dot in the bottomless stretch of the universe. In the performance NAVY BLUE, you can float on the surface, but you can also sink.
A dozen dancers in working-class uniforms move to the music of Rachmaninoff and Jamie xx, progressing through different moods – anxiety, pain, alienation, longing, determination, and enthusiasm. The darkness of the night surrounds them, or it might be the oppressive infinity of the universe that makes us all insignificant and temporary. A gloomy blueness, but with a ray of hope. An oppressive algorithm of insignificance but with the possibility of escape.
The graceful and delicate opening of the piece is like the azure water before the deep, and Doherty’s performance with a frank monologue hits like a cold shower. What is the point of the dance? What is the point of anything at all? Do our actions and words matter if life, as we measure and perceive it, is but a speck of dust in the grandeur of the cosmos? Doherty asks the big questions of existence, and the answers lie within each of us – more together than apart.
Praised as a star of the contemporary dance scene with her first solo pieces about the brutal beauty of Belfast, worker exploitation, sexuality, and religion, Oona Doherty has reached the world’s biggest stages with harsh topics, and in 2021 won the prestigious Silver Lion for Best Young Artist at the Venice Biennale for Dance. NAVY BLUE is her new and largest-scale work.
How can I develop unison dread on stage? Dance form as a problematic symbol of freedom?
Unison as a type of micro communism. individualism as a disease? Using classical dance
form and theater norms as the playing field of a violent act.
A destruction, A death of a form, A re-birth
We arch up into the Galactic black of deep space. Scattered with shooting stars, with bodies
tearing through the night sky a deep acrylic blue.
This is a bow to dance, this is a questioning of what to do next.
– Oona Doherty
”It’s a properly brilliant piece. It feels new. Not overly relying on the past or having an obvious agenda concerning the future. It feels in, and deals with the present. Rare.”
– Matthew Paluch / Granmilano
“They’re all doing the same moves, but they’re on guard, there’s fear, mental exhaustion, it’s very 1984: authority, freedom, control. And then it turns into Squid Game, gunshots punctuating the lush romanticism of Rachmaninov. It’s an ode to the cruelty and pointlessness of life.”
– Lyndsey Winshipр, The Guardian
“- – this complex and energizingly philosophical piece is an unmissable world premiere.”
– Maryam Philpott / The Reviews Hub
Oona Doherty’s distinctive and visceral choreography has sparked international attention, earning her multiple awards, rave reviews and prestigious artistic opportunities both in Ireland and abroad. She creates intense, compelling works that appeal for societal change. She has forged a wide range of artistic relationships locally and internationally, including Jamie XX, I don’t know (2019) and The Rubber Bandits (2017-2019). Doherty has produced highly acclaimed works with her solo work Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus (2015) winning the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival Best Performer Award in 2016 and the Total Theatre Dance Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. She also received Reconnaissance Grenoble 1st place (audience) and 1st place (judges) in 2017.
Oona Doherty was selected one of the top 10 Irish Artist in 2017 by the Irish Times. She created her first group piece Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer in 2017, which was then voted no.1 UK dance show of 2019 by the Guardian. She created Lady Magma: The Birth of a Cult in 2019. 2021 will see Oona Doherty’s first collaboration with (La) Horde, collective at the helm for Ballet National de Marseille (FR). She is now working on a new piece for 12 dancers, called NAVY BLUE(working tittle) to be premiered in August 2022.
Oona Doherty was one of the Aerowaves 2017 selected artists, a Prime Cut Productions REVEAL Artist and The MAC Theatre Belfast HATCH Artist in 2016-17, an Associate Artist at Maison de la Danse de Lyon (FR) in 2017-18, an Associate Artist at La Briqueterie Vitry-sur- Seine (FR) in 2017-19. She is Dublin Dance Festival Artist in Residence in 2020- 2022.
Oona has been awarded from the Venice Biennale Silver Lion in 2021. “Doherty’s interests, passions and singular outlier instincts – writes Wayne McGregor – have never gelled with the establishment dance world. Inspired by club culture and ‘informal’ dancing Doherty has refined her craft through trial and error, her approach unorthodox, creative, raw and brave. What is significant about her work is how it reaches out and speaks to many who would not normally come to the theatre. This award will remind the world that there is no one way to become a great artist. Art sits within you and will always out”.
Artistic direction – Oona Doherty
Management et Production : Gabrielle Veyssiere
Production, Administration : Jenny Suarez and Virginie Reymond
Choreography: Oona Doherty in collaboration with the dancers
Original Musique Score: Jamie xx © by Universal Music Publishing Ltd.
Music production: William Smith
With additional music: Sergueï Rachmaninov
Writer collaborator: Bush Moukarzel
Video conception: Nadir Bouassria
Lighting Design and technical Director : John Gunning
Costumes conception : Oona Doherty and Lisa Marie Barry
Dancers : Amancio Gonzalez Miñon, Andréa Moufounda, Arno Brys, Kinda Gozo, Hilde Ingeborg Sandvold, Joseph Simon, Mathilde Roussin, Ryan O’Neill, Sati Veyrunes, Thibaut Eiferman, Tomer Pistiner, Zoé Lecorgne and Magdalena Öttl.
Navy Blue is a creation of Oona Doherty, produced by OD Works, coproduced by Kampnagel International Summer Festival (DE), Sadler’s Wells (UK), Théâtre National de Chaillot (FR), La Biennale di Venezia (IT), Maison de la Danse (FR), Belfast International Arts Festival (UK), The Shed (USA) and Big Pulse Dance Alliance (coproduced by Dance Umbrella (UK), Dublin Dance Festival (IR), Torinodanza Festival (IT) and Julidans (NL) ) and presented by Tanz im August/HAU Hebbel am Ufer (DE), Zodiak – Side Step Festival (FI), ONE DANCE WEEK (BG), International Dance Festival TANEC PRAHA (CZ), New BalticDance (LT), CODA Oslo International Dance Festival (NW), funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union, Supported by Kulturstiftug des Bundes and the support of the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles d’Ile-de-France – Ministère de la culture
*Big Pulse Dance Alliance is co-funded by the Crreative Europe programme of the EU.