Oona Doherty announced for Dance Umbrella Festival 2022

Oona Doherty is the first artist announced for Freddie Opoku-Addaie’s inaugural Dance Umbrella Festival.

Navy Blue coming October 2022 to Sadler's Wells, photo Ghislain Mirat

Award-winning choreographer Oona Doherty makes her Sadler’s Wells debut this October as she returns to Dance Umbrella Festival following critically acclaimed productions Hard to Be Soft – A Belfast Prayer (named Best Dance Show of 2019 by The Guardian) and Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus (also included as part of Sadler’s Wells and BBC Arts’ Dancing Nation series).

Navy Blue is the newest choreographic work from the Belfast-based artist, featuring a group of 12 dancers. Soundtracked to music by Sergeï Rachmaninoff and Jamie xx, Doherty’s distinctive and visceral choreographic style explores where we have been and where are heading, as it urgently appeals for societal change.

Navy Blue isn't the first collaboration between Oona Doherty and Jamie xx. Back in 2020, she starred in the music video for Jamie's track Idontknow in Belfast, the night before the city went into lockdown.

In 2019, Doherty made her Dance Umbrella debut with two critically lauded works. At the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Hard to Be Soft – A Belfast Prayer was a searing evocation of her native city’s streets and inhabitants, delving deep into Belfast’s psyche. It was a show after which The Guardian announced her as “the most exciting young voice in contemporary dance.”

As part of Dance Umbrella’s 2020 digital festival, Oona broke down her choreographic process as part of the Choreographer’s Cut series, which you can watch here.

Oona Doherty - Hard to be Soft

"The Sugar Army" featuring local students from the BRIT school in London, who worked with Doherty. Hard to Be Soft - A Belfast Prayer at the Southbank Centre, photo by Teresa Elwes.

Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus

Doherty in Hope Hunt and the Ascension Into Lazarus, photo by Teresa Elwes.

Doherty’s blistering solo performance in Hope Hunt and the Ascension Into Lazarus, saw a sold-out run at the Yard Theatre and a National Dance Award nomination. Described by The Times as a “phenomenal performer who makes the air electric,” Doherty adopts multiple personas of disaffected male youth with fury, swagger and humanity.

Doherty is a Big Pulse Dance Alliance selected artist and Associate Artist at Dublin Dance Festival. Her ambitious work has drawn international attention and in 2021 Doherty was named winner of the Venice Biennale Danza Silver Lion Award. Doherty has collaborated with numerous artists, recently creating music videos with Jamie xx and Rubber Bandits.

Navy Blue is a Big Pulse Dance Alliance co-production, co-produced by Dance Umbrella and Sadler’s Wells.

Watch 21-22 October at Sadler’s Wells. Tickets go on sale Monday 16 May. Learn more.


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