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© Sinje Hasheider

Navy Blue

Oona Doherty

Mood Swings

Oona Doherty, the brilliant choreographer from Belfast, is shaking up the world of contemporary dance with her visceral honesty and her works haunted by Northern Ireland’s past—a legacy of violence, patriarchy, and religion. Navy Blue, her most ambitious piece to date, brings together a group of enigmatic dancers in blue work overalls – a monumental performance that is no less than a powerful antidote to the insignificance of the individual.

A dozen performers of different ages and body histories dance in splendid unison to Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2. It’s the choreographer’s version of grand ballet, flamboyant and sublime—until it all comes crashing to a halt. Bodies crumple to the ground. If the whole world is feeling down, are we in free fall? Oona Doherty’s own voice conjures up a vision of a devastated landscape. But in the face of society’s unraveling, nothing makes more sense than the hypnotic grace of this furiously vital dance.

Read Oona’s full text here

General info

About the artist

© Luca Truffarelli

Oona Doherty (Belfast)

Originally Born in London, Oona Doherty returned to her mother’s home country, Northern Ireland, at the age of ten. She studied dance at the London Contemporary Dance School and Trinity Laban Conservatoire before becoming a performer during the 2010s.

Full biography

Media Coverage

“A properly brilliant piece. […] We’re lucky [Doherty] uses dance as her medium. Stay with the dance Oona. It needs you. And we need it. Pina is definitely applauding.”

Matthew Paluch, Gramilano (United Kingdom), 2022-10-22

“Doherty’s storytelling is extraordinary, creating two powerfully emotive set pieces that seem to emerge spontaneously from the music to grip the audience.”

Maryam Philpott, The Review Hub (United Kingdom), 2022-10-22

“Art needs passionate artists and there is no doubt that [Doherty] she is one.”

Sarah Crompton, The Observer (United Kingdom), 2022-10-30

“As ever her work is hugely ambitious, taking on explosive topics. […] Doherty’s work is always fascinating. The depth of her sincerity shines through and she speaks to her generation. […] She is a rare, talented and original artist who maybe could just change the world, if not the world of dance, given time.”

Stephanie Green, Broadway Baby (United Kingdom), 2022-10-22

“It’s an ode to the cruelty and pointlessness of life. […] Doherty’s honesty and wit is refreshing.”

Lyndsey Winship, The Guardian (United Kingdom), 2022-10-24


“I refer to the harshness of the ballet world in Navy Blue, but the show addresses all forms of tyranny. It’s not one-dimensional: on the one hand, the performers may evoke workers who are subjected to capitalism, but on the other hand, they’re also trying to work together.”

Read the interview