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Choreographer Luke Murphy On his "Your Own Man/ Mad Notions" New York Premiere This Friday

Choreographer Luke Murphy On his "Your Own Man/ Mad Notions" New York Premiere This Friday
Garnet Henderson/Follow @garnethenderson on Twitter

By Garnet Henderson/Follow @garnethenderson on Twitter
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Published on June 24, 2015
photos courtesy of the choreographyer

Identity - and both sides of the "cultural shock" experience

Your Own Man/Mad Notions -University Settlement

Friday, June 26 at 7:00pm and 9:30pm

Saturday, June 27 at 3:00pm and 7:00pm           for tickets go to University Settlement Website


Choreographed and performed by Luke Murphy

Film by David Fishel

Photography installation by Hope Davis

While working alone during a residency, dancer and choreographer Luke Murphy said he was reminded of the sense of isolation he felt when he first moved away from his home in Ireland. Further exploration of this theme led him to create the new solo work Your Own Man/Mad Notions, a dance theater piece including a short film and photography installation.

Your Own Man premiered in Ireland in February, and its first U.S. performances take place June 26 and 27 at University Settlement. The semi-autobiographical work examines "patriotism and the displacement of cultural identity," said Murphy. He developed the dance during stints in Ireland and the U.S. Though most of Murphy's professional work as a dancer has been in the U.S., he has always traveled between the two countries when making his own dances, something he feels is important to his process.

"I find that being in New York gives me so much exposure to so many ideas, and it's both an amazingly supportive and also an amazingly competitive environment. All those things feed you, they push you, and they challenge you. But then there's space, and there's time, and there's a sense of calm when I work in Ireland, where I develop material. I find myself much more productive when I leave the roaring intensity of New York City," he said.


Currently, Murphy tries to split his time as evenly as possible between the U.S. and Ireland. This was a very deliberate decision on his part, made after a year when he couldn't leave the U.S. for immigration reasons.

"I realized was either going to have to start working in Ireland, or else I was only ever going to be home for a week at Christmas," he said. "I'd never live there again, I'd never connect there again, and I'd never be able to call myself an Irish artist."

Murphy is eager to perform Your Own Man on "both sides of the culture shock experience." Irish audiences found the story of an Irish man leaving home particularly resonant considering the fact that so many young people left the country following the economic collapse in 2008. The unemployment rate for young adults skyrocketed, making it necessary for many to leave home in order to find jobs.

"Even though the country is starting to regain its economic footing, it's become a standard thing that people do now. People used to stay in Ireland, and now people leave Ireland. And so the country is short of all its young professionals, all its people in that age range between 20 and late 30s," says Murphy.

Luke Murphy in Ireland

The themes of isolation and identity are also explored in a short film by David Fishel and a photography installation by Hope Davis. Murphy said that these three components of Your Own Man are all able to stand on their own, but work together to tell the story.

Murphy said he is looking forward to seeing how American audiences will receive the piece. "The U.S. is a country that so many people chose to immigrate to, and not just in terms of the country's heritage but in an active way," he said. "Pretty much everyone in New York is not from New York. I'm really interested that dialogue."

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