The Morrígan is an ongoing choreographic research project investigating the figure of its namesake, a key goddess entity in pre-Christian Irish mythology. Its first solo iteration was developed in Spring/Summer 2022 as part of ChoreoLab at the Junction Dance Festival in Vermont.
Who Is The Morrígan?
The Morrígan is known variably as a goddess of war, fate, death, sovereignty, and fertility. She appears as a maiden, a crone, animals including crows, cows, and eels, and at times a disembodied voice, with no clear primary body although she is consistently described as female. She has mysterious connections to the Irish landscape, and can be a violent or vengeful figure while also rewarding or assisting certain people or gods in warfare. She resists ownership and categorization.
This is a research- and contemplation-driven work. Research has included a course on connecting with The Morrígan figure through the Irish Pagan School, as well as scholarly articles and texts on Irish mythology and interpretations of the stories involving her character. Meditation and improvisation on the themes of shapeshifting, wildness, triptychs, body as/in landscape, feminine power versus vulnerability, and the unknowability of intention have all informed the movement choices. Text-based movement was also developed from a translation of one of the prophetic poems The Morrígan speaks to the warrior figure of Cú Chulainn.
The goal is both to learn about and spotlight the lesser-known parts of Irish mythology amongst the Irish-American community; and to connect the complexity of this goddess figure to contemporary themes of lost connections to natural landscape, perceptions of powerful female figures, and the nuanced, poetic areas between realities.
The work is currently (Fall 2022) being investigated as a trio, in relation to the three ‘sisters’ who make up The Morrígan figure in myth and the sacred nature of the number three in Celtic druidic philosophy. The group is undertaking a research-and-development period entirely outdoors in natural spaces, connecting physically and spiritually to the environment. My dancers are Upper Valley-based artists Kassady Small and Emily Higgins.
The trio is anticipated to premiere as an excerpt in mid-2023, with an evening-length site-specific premiere in the fall.
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