Saturday 1 October 2016

Shock over 'nudity' during performance at 1916 commemoration event

Amy Reidy

Published 02/08/2016 | 09:22

Fearghus Ó Conchúir and the dancers from 'Butterflies and Bones' at Féile Fáilte, a day-long celebration of dance on Banna Strand. Photo: Clare Keogh
Fearghus Ó Conchúir and the dancers from 'Butterflies and Bones' at Féile Fáilte, a day-long celebration of dance on Banna Strand. Photo: Clare Keogh
Taking flight during the Banna contemporary dance performance in honour of Roger Casement. Picture Clare Keogh
Welcoming the Stranger by Catherine Young at Féile Fáilte. Photo: Clare Keogh

An Irish festival, which was heralded as one of the county's most unique 1916 commemorations, has been criticised for the presence of some "nudity" in one of the evening performances.

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Féile Fáilte on Banna Strand, Co Kerry, a free event which took place on Saturday July 23, was advertised as an event suitable for all the family.

Hundreds gathered from all over Ireland and abroad for the one day event which featured music and dance performances from Catherine Young, Siamsa Tíre and Alma Kelliher.

However, the most memorable performance was Fearghus Ó Conchúir's 'Butterflies and Bones: The Casement Project' in which dancers shocked some of the parents and children in attendance.

Taking flight during the Banna contemporary dance performance in honour of Roger Casement. Picture Clare Keogh
Taking flight during the Banna contemporary dance performance in honour of Roger Casement. Picture Clare Keogh

Local Sinn Féin representative Toiréasa Ferris attended the event with her family and insisted that the interpretation was not offensive but may have been considered unsuitable for children.

"I'm not very cultured but the people next to me explained that the purpose of the production was possibly to place emphasis on Casement's alleged sexuality. It was effective in showing how the courts tried to discredit him and the significance of the black diaries," she said.

"The dancers were wearing full brief underpants with two holes cut out on the backside. It wasn't so uncomfortable that I felt I should take my kids away," she added.

Some parents around the county were disgusted with the outfits however and slammed the performance as inappropriate.

A modern dance interpretation of Roger Casement's landing on Banna Strand with ammunition for the Easter Rising, the display was the finale of the one day festival and was rounded up with a disco afterwards.

Despite the controversy, festival organisers are delighted with the response to the commemoration event and paid tribute to the performers and the people of Kerry.

Welcoming the Stranger by Catherine Young at Féile Fáilte. Photo: Clare Keogh
Welcoming the Stranger by Catherine Young at Féile Fáilte. Photo: Clare Keogh

"We understand that some people had difficulty with the content of the work. However, a bare bottom is not legally defined as nudity and it was late at night," said Artistic Director Cian O Brien.

"It's a dream that became reality, a hope not only that an event would happen but that together we could be a shifting, diverse collective of bodies that could celebrate our connectedness in that beautiful location on a blessedly glorious day."

This was the first display of Butterflies and Bones in Ireland following its world premiere in London recently and tied up the jam-packed day of céilís, music and song.

Kerryman

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