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A dance by John Scott and 13 survivors of torture from ten countries

John Scott’s 'Fall and Recover' is a weaving of material created by Scott with survivors of torture from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. In 'Fall and Recover' the personal experiences of 13 survivors are transformed into a non-narrative dance with the memories, stories and emotional responses suggested rather than literally expressed. While there are words, sung phrases, and a music score, it is through the language of the body that the terrifying and uplifting stories are told. The power is in the simplicity of the movement: a single gesture, a shrug of the shoulder, or a raised arm intimates compassion, hope, great violence or great love. The material carries huge imprints from the dancer’s personalities.


Presented at Dublin Dance Festival and Ellen Stewart Theater at La MaMa, New York, 'Fall and Recover' is the result of John Scott’s collaboration with Spirasi, the Centre for the Care for Survivors of Torture in Dublin, where he conducted dance workshops for victims of torture who were offered asylum in Ireland. Movement was a means to heal, to release, transform and share experiences still too brutal to speak about. John Scott has conducted dance workshops at Spirasi since 2003. He also successfully challenged several Irish Government deportation orders. Speaking of his experiences with Spirasi clients, Scott says: “What blows me away is their dignity. They are survivors, positive, optimistic and forward looking. They have lost their homes, careers and families. They are making new lives. They are so hungry and motivated."

Choreography: John Scott

Choreographic assistants: Philip Connaughton, Aisling Doyle
Live Music composed and performed by: Rossa O’Snodaigh of KÍLA

Lighting: Eamon Fox

Premiered at: Project Arts Centre, Dublin, June 26 2004, for UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture
Commissioned by: Spirasi, the Centre for Care for Survivors of Torture, Dublin

Funded by: the Arts Council

"We are fallen. We have come up. When you get the chance to move on, we move on. It is essential that someone has to lift you up – when you get up you can help the next person up." - A survivor of torture from Fall and Recover.

"Fall and Recover… may well be the most beautiful work created by Scott to date. It invokes hope and togetherness … there is much joy in the performance… Fall and Recover is urgent, uplifting and deeply humbling and beautiful"  - Patrick Brennan/

Irish Examiner

The Village Voice: Review by Deborah Jowitt, 2011

The Irish Times: Making moves to survive torture by Arminta Wallace

The Irish Times: Getting the globe to dance to the same groove by Christine Madden, 2003

New Hibernia: Review by Matthew Spangler, 2006

John Scott interview: on La MaMa website



Project Arts Centre, Dublin: June 25-26 | 2004 

SFX City Theatre, Dublin: September | 2004

NUIG, Galway: 14 February | 2005

Project Arts Centre, Dublin: March 8-12 | 2005

Grange Theatre, Monaghan: 7 February | 2006

Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny: 9 February | 2006

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray: 14 February | 2006

Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun, Dublin: 16 February | 2006

Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick: 8 April | 2006

Roscommon Arts Centre, Roscommon: 10 February | 2006

Dublin Dance Festival - Project Arts Centre, Dublin: 14-16 May | 2009

Ellen Stewart Theatre - La MaMa - Imagine Ireland Festival, New York: March 24 - April 10 | 2011

Kilmainham Gaol - for UN International Day in Memory of Victims of Torture, Dublin: 26 June | 2012

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