LotusEater show

LotusEater is my first collaborative show with the artist Aoibheann Greenan, a trip/rock band LotusEater and my fellow dancer Kadri (Stacey McPartlin). This show was a curious hybrid between an art exhibition, a music gig and a dance show.

The band’s performance incorporated costumes and props that referenced her recent travels to India and Iceland, exploring a mythological hybridisation of these two cultures. Our movement was supposed to highlight the sculptures and shift peoples attention from the band to the art pieces and back. 

The theme of Aoibheann artwork is best described with the words of her curator:

“The Greek myth that surrounds the lotus-eater story infused the exhibition with a similar sense of entering an exotic set or the liminal space that is often associated with altered states of consciousness. Odysseus returning from the Trojan War tells of a North African people who lived in a state of blissful forgetfulness, drugged by the fruit of the legendary lotus. Greenan deliberately attempted to illustrate the experience of disorientation and dislocation through her sculptural assemblages. Myths and symbols were reconfigured creating a pastiche of tropes that we recognize but which became unfamiliar and somewhat sinister in Greenan’s reinterpretation.”

 

LOTUS EATER X Aoibheann Greenan // Project Arts Cantre // 10.Jan.14 from Steve O’Connor on Vimeo.

 

LotusEater

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LotusEater

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photography courtesy of Davey Moor 

 

As dancers we had an interesting task of representing ethereal spirits floating around the space while still being connected with one another and the central figure of the singer. Our costumes covered most of our bodies, apart from arms. This meant that our movement language had to be different as well, the focus shifting from the torso and hip movements to more sculptural ‘whole body’ ones.

We painted our feet and hands black to blend even more with the dark background and give our bodies deathly features. Long black veils, though see-through, erased most of the facial features. Given that there was no stage or seating area and we had move through the audience, sometimes much closer to them than in a normal performance, having a veil worked as both a barrier for us to stay in character and as a shield from connecting with the people too much.

For me it was particularly interesting to explore different rhythms of movement within our forty-minute set. Beginning with complete static, moving so slowly people would forget we were alive, then coming into a slow gliding movement in circles around the centrepiece, gaining momentum and moving faster; but also stopping completely again to highlight a particular statue long enough for the watching people yet again to forget about us, only to surprise them by a sudden quick transition after.

Each statue carried a particular meaning and it was interesting to explore it both as an object and as a theme. So, next to the anchor statue, both Stacey and me became sirens from the Odyssey, silently singing on a rock and reaching for the sailors. The only choreographed part of show was our piece with the lead singer – a variation of the famous many-handed Shiva.

We did two shows in a row that night, each one having a different audience and energy. It was interesting to get a strong feeling from each one and see how the audience can affect the show, not just the artists. It was a slightly nerve-wrecking but amazing experience and I was happy to be pushed out of my comfort zone into a sphere of improvisation.

 



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