Dance Recommendation: NAVY BLUE (Oona Doherty, The Joyce)

Post image for Dance Recommendation: NAVY BLUE (Oona Doherty, The Joyce)

by Paola Bellu on May 6, 2024

in Dance,Theater-New York

JUNE 4 – 9, 2024

Oona Doherty (photo Luca Truffarelli)

The Joyce is hosting one of the most promising and vital voices in contemporary choreography, Oona Doherty, who makes her Joyce debut with the New York premiere of the evening-length work Navy Blue. This urgent appeal for societal change that draws a direct line from the past to the present will play The Joyce Theater from June 4-9, 2024.

Oona Doherty's Navy-Blue (photo © Sinje Hasheider)

Combining ensemble movement, spoken word poetry, and political candor, celebrated Irish contemporary choreographer Oona Doherty makes her Joyce debut this spring with her latest large-scale work, Navy Blue. Part existential crisis, part demand for redemption and freedom, the piece for twelve dancers seeks a new future for us all by reveling in and then liberating artists from the beautiful yet binding order and rules of classical art and the world as a whole. The eclectic soundtrack, which juxtaposes the luxuriant music of Sergeï Rachmaninoff with the pulsating electronic compositions of Jamie xx, fuels the dancers’ transition from harmony to protest and resistance. Mirroring the dissonance in the dance world to that of the world at large, Doherty and Navy Blue ask audiences to examine more closely these conflicts and contradictions, putting into perspective the insignificance of life and what we do next in this vast expanse of infinite space.

Oona Doherty's Navy-Blue (photo © Sinje Hasheider)

In Navy Blue, the inky blue night descends on a group of twelve dancers of different ages and from different backgrounds. They are dressed in identical navy blue work overalls – or are they prison uniforms? Like a classical corps de ballet, they dance to Rachmaninoff’s insidiously romantic second piano concerto, trapped within a destructive algorithm. Does the source of liberation lie in this relentless disruption of the status quo?

Oona Doherty's Navy-Blue (photo © Sinje Hasheider)

Based on her ambivalent relationship with ballet, the hierarchical dance style she admires for its form and athletic ability on the one hand, and describes as “a theatrical symbol of oppression” on the other, Doherty goes in search of dance that serves as a catalyst for social change in a world fraught with exploitation. Doherty states that “Navy Blue is about how we stand as tiny dots on our blue dot and fight each other to control a fraction of that damn dot.”

Navy Blue
Oona Doherty
The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at West 19th St
plays June 4-9, 2024
for ($12-$62), call 212.242.0800 or visit Joyce

choreography, artistic direction Oona Doherty, with the collaboration of the dancers
music collaboration Jamie xx and Sergei Rachmaninoff
music collaborator Jamie xx © by Universal Music Publishing Ltd
music production William Smith
with additional music Sergei Rachmaninoff
writer collaborator Bush Moukarzel
video conception Nadir Bouassria
projection Nadir Bouasria
costume Oona Doherty, Lisa Marie Barry
stage manager Lisa Marie Barry
lighting design and technical director John Gunning
rehearsal direction Jade Adamson
dance & choreography Amancio Gonzalez Miñon, Andréa Moufounda, Arno Brys,Louise Gourvelec, Hilde Ingeborg Sandvold, Joseph Simon, Mathilde Roussin, Ryan O’neill, Sati Veyrunes, Thibaut Eiferman, Tomer Pistiner, Zoé Lecorgne And Magdalena Öttl
management and production Gabrielle Veyssiere
administration and production Jenny Suarez, Virginie Reymond
text Oona Doherty, Bush Moukarzel


Oona Doherty was born in 1986 in London. She moved to Belfast when she was 10. She studied at St Louise’s comprehensive college in Belfast, The London School of Contemporary Dance, University of Ulster and LABAN London. She has been performing dance-theatre internationally since 2010 with various companies, including: TRASH (NL), Abattoir Fermé (BE), Veronika Riz (IT), Emma Martin/United Fall (ROI), Enda Walsh & Landmark Productions (ROI). She created her first solo work Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus in 2016. With this performance, she was awarded the “Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival Best Performer Award” in 2016 and the winner of the “Total Theatre Dance Award” at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 and the 1st Audience place and judges’ 1st place at Reconnaissance in Grenoble in 2017. She created her first group piece Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer in 2017, which was then voted “No.1 UK Dance Show of 2019” by The Guardian and was selected as one of the “Top 10 Irish Artists” in 2017 by the Irish Times. Doherty’s distinctive and visceral choreography has sparked international attention, earning multiple awards, amazing reviews and prestigious artistic opportunities in Ireland, Europe and worldwide. She creates intense, compelling works that appeal for societal change. Oona was awarded the Venice Biennale Silver Lion in 2021. She was one of the Aerowaves 2017 selected artists, a Prime Cut Productions REVEAL Artist and The MAC Theatre Belfast HATCH Artist in 2016-17, an Associate Artist at Maison de la Danse de Lyon (FR) in 2017-18, an Associate Artist at La Briqueterie Vitry-sur-Seine (FR) in 2017-19. She is Dublin Dance Festival Artist in Residence in 2020- 2022 and a Big Pulse Dance Alliance Artist 2021/2023.

Leave a Comment