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Last Dance at Clonakilty Community Hospital

Date posted: 23 December 2017

Image shown: Justin Grounds (violinist) and Inma Pavon (dancer) performing Last Dance at Clonakilty Hospital as part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme. Photo credit: Clare Keogh.

‘Last Dance’, a five-week collaborative project with residents of the Clonakilty Community Hospital, Baroque violinist Justin Grounds and contemporary dancer Inma Pavon, culminated in a special event in the wards of the hospital on 12 December. The two artists explored the famous ‘Chaconne in D minor’ for unaccompanied violin by J.S.Bach. 

Justin, who lives in Clonakilty, described the project as ‘a participatory performance into the landscape of grief and loss, and how we can explore it through dance.’

Written in 1720 when Bach, then aged 35, returned home after two months travelling to find his beloved wife Maria Barbara had died and been buried, with no news sent to him, this striking piece of music is a technically challenging musical journey for the violinist and a deeply rich experience for audience and performer alike. Recently discovered have been many hidden chorale tunes in the harmony, relating to themes of loss, death and resurrection.

The two artists delivered this exploratory project over five sessions as part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme, which has supported Justin as Composer in Residence at the hospital for the past year. Arts for Health currently takes place in six hospitals and fives day care centres in West Cork and is managed by staff at West Cork Arts Centre.

The project concluded on 12 December with a double bill of performances in two wards. Each of the live performances were designed so that all the residents could participate in their own ways. After the performance, a hospital residence remarked, ‘This means so much to us.’


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