Originally created for the ruined abbeys of the Scottish Borders Dudendance bring together performers, international guest artists and the local community in a highly visual landscape intervention with costumes designed by Heather MacCrimmon.
Dudendance’s new large scale out-door work draws on the juxtaposition of spirituality and war in a meditative interpretation of invasion, conquest and contemplation. The slow white figures have been described as “eternal migratory souls” moving through imaginary borders- a phantasmagoric, invading army or a banished people, looking for their promised land.
We chose the Scottish Borders to make the original work as historically the region suffered dramatically during the Scottish Wars of Independence becoming one of the most turbulent and anarchic places in Britain. The ruined abbeys are a testament to the devastating cross -border disputes, often used as battlegrounds and fortress’s.
Inspired by paintings of the Renaissance, the costumes by Canadian Heather MacCrimmon are, stylistically, a combination of ecclesiastical wear and armour designed for shape- shifting and movement flow. The slow meditative pace and sculptural quality unfolds like a dream around the audience who discover different “views” through and into a the buildings or landscape.
Twelve performers are placed throughout the site building into an interventionist choreography with live music sung by local choirs. Using Renaissance polyphony and a whispered and spoken soundscape by Argentine composer Fabiana Galante the whole experience gives an over-riding emotional arch of cycles of death and resurrection. The slowness of the movement and the flow of fabric has a mesmerising effect– many people in the Borders and at Huntly Castle were clearly moved:
Quotes from audience members:
“Powerful and sombre, emotive and controlled -saw the ruined abbey in a new light..”
“Excellent and surreal performance, atmospheric and moving..”
“ The most fantastic experience, spiritual and peaceful, I was moved to tears, made me think of a the tragic history of these abbeys..”