In such a difficult year for culture, the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture has managed to move against the tide. The Óró performing arts project, which fuses not only different artistic disciplines, but also diverse minority language cultures, is one of the initiatives they have managed to keep on the programme. Dancer and choreographer Amaia Elizaran will be representing Basque culture. Elizaran shared her feelings about the experience with us.
Elizaran (Tolosa, 1992) has been at work in the Irish city for several weeks now, after spending the first two in quarantine. "It has been a very enriching experience,” she insists, “to be able to work with artists from so many disciplines. I’m incredibly lucky.” Seventeen people from all over Europe, seventeen speakers of minority languages have come together with a single goal to create the piece Óró..: "To bring together our ideas and points of view to give birth to a new creation based on the universal language of art." The process is not only the performers: "Personally, I was surprised that costume and light designers, visual artists and scenographers accompanied us throughout the creative process... it’s a luxury," said the dancer.
Óró.. is a work that mixes contemporary dance, theater, music, poetry and visual arts through six minority languages, with themes such as identity, language and survival. The limitation of public life and the loss of physical contact caused by the COVID-19 are also two important themes on which this piece orbits. "The challenge of carrying out such a process with the measures required by COVID-19 is proving difficult for everyone. However, the power of art and artistic creation is a language so powerful that it acts as a link, a thread and a transmitter. Like all the languages that have brought us here, including Basque."
However, in this extraordinary year in which most cultural activities have been suspended, Elizaran is extremely grateful that this project has prospered. "It has been a good thing, without a doubt, to have the opportunity to represent Gipuzkoa and the Basque Country in this project. And a huge responsibility. Beyond the artistic synergies, to travel to another European enclave, outside my comfort zone, to work for a common goal, to share the project with professionals from different disciplines and to contribute my small grain of sand makes me very happy. I still don´t know how our project has managed to survive. We’re very lucky; let´s see if we can get to the premiere!”
If the luck continues in their favor and they make it to the premiere, Óró.. will be exhibited in a factory in An Cheathrú Rua, a town near Galway, every day from September 21 to 26, ending with the European Day of Languages celebrated on the 26th. Additional information and link to tickets here.