Van Cleef & Arpels
Prize for Ballet 2018
Here be Dragons © United Fall i
A dance piece for 8 dancers, 5 children and a choir.
Bodies heaving. A chorus of young men shouting. Stamping on concrete can be heard 2 streets away. Sweat darkens their clothes. A small figure emerges through a forest of humans, all limbs and ponytail whipped out into world like it’s her last breath. All fury and might and faith. God is a marching band. May the salt from our sweat unite us.
Here be Dragons sets out to imagine what the world might look like today if Dionysus was as popular as Jesus.
It’s about how we hold history, good and bad, in our bodies, which if channelled with intent also shares something with the sacred. It’s partly inspired by Ireland, attempting to confront the body and culture that’s part of the fabric of the environment I grew up in. The work is a continuation of a search I began with Dancehall in 2015.
Imagine if a group of young white disco dancers encountered a Sufi- Zikr gathering? An unlikely meeting, but as a thought, this collision of worlds is what I’m interested in: the abandon and raucousness of popular culture meeting transcendent spiritual practice.
Honest and raw in its transmission, the work embraces vulnerability and realness with a core cast of 8 professional dancers, 5 young girls and a choir of 8 non-professional men. The non-professional element in the piece comes from a desire for authenticity, a desire to bring differtent bodies and stories together on stage, to conjure a new picture, to create new icons.
The contradiction between refinement and rawness in the music, the dance, the visual world and the incorporation of a diverse cast lies at the heart of Here be Dragons. Class, high-art, pop culture, strength, order and chaos. All smashed together. For the future.
Irish Arts Center