Fearghus Ó Conchúir
Proposed as a modul-dance artist by Dance Ireland Dublin [Ireland]
Faithful? Devoted? Pure? Can we still shelter in God’s house? Tabernacle is a new choreography by Fearghus Ó Conchúir about the Catholic Church and the making of the Irish body. Created in collaboration with singer and composer Iarla Ó Lionáird, visual artist Sarah Browne and a quintet of experienced performers, Tabernacle investigates authority, control and the individual search for purposeful living. Typically of Ó Conchúir’s work, Tabernacle is brave, dynamic and thoughtful, continuing an investigation that he started in Mo Mhórchoir Féin, a commission for RTÉ’s 2010 Dance on the Box series.
Having started formal dance training only in my twenties, I’m aware that it is sports and religion that contributed most to my physical and aesthetic formation before that. It was in church that I learnt the choreography of control, of symmetry, of awe, of spirituality. As congregation or as altar boy, I knew when to stand, when to kneel, when to offer my tongue or beat my breast. As a budding performer, I also learnt how to deliver that movement with grace, precision and reverence.
Some time later, my relationship to the Church has changed. Social and economic development in Ireland had already weakened the very precise control over personal and social choreography that the Catholic Church had exercised. The discovery of the Church’s complicity in the abuse of young Irish bodies weakened its remaining moral authority. And yet, the Church continues to play a significant role in the life of the country, even for those who no longer acknowledge its authority.
Visiting churches as we looked for locations for Mo Mhórchoir Féin, I was struck by the numbers of Eastern European men praying there, the African families, the Filipina young women and their older Irish counterparts. I was struck by the number of people who looked like they had nowhere else to go using the church building as a place of sanctuary and shelter. I heard stories of young junkies who came in to hold spoons over the votive candles. The church still manages to be a place where contemporary Ireland can be investigated and where the relationship between the contemporary and the traditional can be given form.
Because I want in this choreography to model a way of organising ourselves that is more thoughtful, more open, more fruitfully challenging, it is important to me that Tabernacle is made in a way that allows into it many different voices and experiences. Some of that input comes from collaborators like Iarla Ó Lionáird whose music creates a rich and emotional sound world for the performance to inhabit, and from Sarah Browne whose practice as an artist engages with and reshapes the idea of economy as the dominant metaphor in contemporary social and political relations. The five performers in Tabernacle are creators in their own right and bring their own considerable ability and knowledge to the work, having danced with companies including DV8, Sasha Waltz, Pina Bausch, Rosemary Butcher, Felix Ruckert, Siobhan Davies, and Fabulous Beast. And finally the creation of the work is also influenced by people across Ireland with whom I have workshopped the ideas and dance material that have shaped the piece. They include SIamsa Tíre’s core company, MA students in dance at the University of Limerick and members of Dublin Youth Dance Company. I hope the variety of input will make this a stronger work than I could every have conceived on my own. Ní neart go cur le chéile
Choreographer: Fearghus Ó Conchúir in collaboration with the performers
Composer: Iarla Ó Lionáird
Visual artist: Sarah Browne
Lighting Designer: Sinéad Wallace
Performers: Mikel Aristegui, Elena Giannotti, Stéphane Hisler, Bernadette Iglich, Matthew Morris
Production Manager: Kevin Smith
Stage Manager: Miriam Duffy
Assistant to the Choreographer: Katrin Neue
Produced by: Fearghus Ó Conchúir in association with Project Arts Centre
With the support of: Arts Council of Ireland, modul-dance, Dance Ireland and with funds from Dublin Dance Festival’s 2011 Co-production Initiative.
Tabernacle was developed as part of modul-dance at The Place and Arts Station Poznan.
Fearghus O’Conchuir is an independent choreographer and dance artist. Brought up in Ireland, he completed degrees in English and European Literature at Magdalen College Oxford, before training at London Contemporary Dance School.
Fearghus’s work investigates the relationship between individuals and determining social and political structures. He involves audiences and performers in multi-layered encounters with our sense of place, identity and history. His film and live performances, seen in Europe, the US and China, are affecting, thought-provoking and deeply resonant with audiences. Recent work includes Tabernacle, addressing the impact of religion on the body and Starlight, a promenade performance about charisma. In 2013, he premiered Cure, a piece about what it takes to recover.
Fearghus is also Independent Dance Curator at the Firkin Crane, Cork.
Fearghus was the first Ireland Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme and continues to contribute to the programme as a facilitator and speaker. He is a Board member of Project Arts Centre and Dance Digital and is part of Project Catalyst, the Associate Artist Initiative of Project Arts Centre.
Upcoming artist events
There are not upcoming dates at this moment.
Past artist events
- 30-01-2011 - 06-02-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Research. Art Stations Foundation Poznań
- 04-04-2011 - 15-04-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Residency. The Place London
- 27-05-2011 - 28-05-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Presentation: PREMIERE. Dance Ireland Dublin
- 12-06-2011 - 18-06-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Research. Dance Gate Lefkosia Cyprus
- 03-11-2011 - 10-11-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Residency. Mercat de les Flors Barcelona
- 12-11-2011 - 13-11-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Presentation. Mercat de les Flors Barcelona
- 22-11-2011 - 22-11-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Presentation. Kino Šiška Ljubljana
- 22-11-2011 - 22-11-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Production. Kino Šiška Ljubljana
- 29-11-2011 - 29-11-2011
Fearghus Ó Conchúir. Tabernacle. Presentation. The Place London