Festival TransAmériques presents

Oona Doherty – Navy Blue

Oona Doherty, the brilliant choreographer from Belfast, is shaking up the world of contemporary dance with her visceral honesty and her works haunted by Northern Ireland’s past—a legacy of violence, patriarchy, and religion. Navy Blue, her most ambitious piece to date, brings together a group of enigmatic dancers in blue work overalls – a monumental performance that is no less than a powerful antidote to the insignificance of the individual.

A dozen performers of different ages and body histories dance in splendid unison to Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2. It’s the Irish choreographer’s version of grand ballet, flamboyant and sublime—until it all comes crashing to a halt. Bodies crumple to the ground. If the whole world is feeling down, are we in free fall? Oona Doherty’s own voice conjures up a vision of a devastated landscape. But in the face of society’s unraveling, nothing makes more sense than the hypnotic grace of this furiously vital dance.

Originally Born in London, Oona Doherty returned to her mother’s home country, Northern Ireland, at the age of ten. She studied dance at the London Contemporary Dance School and Trinity Laban Conservatoire before becoming a performer during the 2010s.

For this intimate and political show, she adopted an approach combining sociological and  documentary techniques as well as simple human empathy, exploring the streets and pubs of Belfast to meet with residents and discover the traumatic impacts left by the Northern Ireland conflict as well as class issues. As she grapples with the concrete realities of the working class and its economical issues, Doherty avoids all forms of romanticizing and aestheticizing. She demands nothing less than total sincerity and abandon from her performers, calling for a hyper-awareness of the body—a legacy of her training under the clown Ira Seidenstein and her encounters with inspirational figures such as the French-Algerian choreographer Nacera Belaza. Awarded with the Venice Dance Biennale’s Silver Lion for Dance in 2021, Doherty has developed a highly personal style infused with references drawn from Biblical imagery, documentary photos, and films, that interrogates violence and social constraints by presenting their incarnations on stage, as she did with patriarchy in Lady Magma (2019).

Théâtre Maisonneuve
Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at 7:00pm
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at 7:00pm
Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 8:00pm

To purchase your tickets visit: www.placedesarts.com