Yes and Yes, World Premiere Dance by Ireland’s Liz Roche Company
When Executive Director Miranda Driscoll of Solas Nua – Washington, DC’s premier contemporary Irish arts organization – reached out to Irish choreographer Liz Roche with an idea for a new commissioned dance work inspired by James Joyce’s iconic novel Ulysses, Roche was intrigued. Banned in its time, and later proclaimed as one of the landmarks in Western literature, Ulysses has inspired artists for a century, influencing works of literature, theatre, film, music and visual art. This newest Ulysses-inspired work, titled Yes and Yes, takes its title from famous last words of the book.
Roche said: “When I read Ulysses, it was beautiful and heartbreaking – like it was written by someone I could never understand and yet it felt like coming home, like strangely connecting with my hometown of Dublin for the first time. Joyce said that in Ulysses he wanted to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of his book…”
“What I take from this into the dance that I am making is this curiosity to explore the infinite detail in a single moment, and how we can apply the notion of the ‘epic’ to the everyday; the spatial relationships between people in relation to each other and their surroundings; and the physical reality of the body, with all its sensations, desires, and releases.”
“I also wanted to think about what the book means now, 100 years on. What it means on bodies of today. Yes and Yes is an intensely collaborative work involving the dancers performing in the piece – Mufutau Yusuf, Sarah Cerneaux, Grace Cuny and Diarmuid Armstrong – and composer Ray Harman, lighting designer Davison Scandrett, costume and set designer Katie Davenport, and dramaturg Wayne Jordan. With filmmaker Jose Miguel Jimenez, who is creating the video components of the piece, we are working with two Dublin women’s community groups to try and capture a sense of Dublin today – leaning into the stories and thoughts and responses from these groups of women, some who are living with and in addiction, who experience racism, and who know how it feels to live away from their home.”
The September 9-10 engagement at Atlas Performing Arts Center marks the premiere performance by Ireland’s Liz Roche Company on a Washington, D.C. stage. Yes and Yes will then travel to the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts at Villanova University, Philadelphia, and later to Project Arts Centre in Dublin and Cork Opera House.
Solas Nua – ‘new light’ in Irish, is dedicated exclusively to contemporary Irish arts. Founded in 2005, Solas Nua acts as an ambassador and advocate for Irish arts in the U.S., promoting contemporary Irish culture, multi-disciplinary arts and creativity. Solas Nua commissions, produces and presents thought-provoking and groundbreaking work across genres, work that is cross-cultural, representing today’s Ireland – a contemporary, globally diverse society – and reflecting how Irish culture is shared across borders, ethnicity, and economic lines.
Tickets for the September 9-10 Yes and Yes performances are available to purchase here.