top of page

Migration Sonata

A few words from John Scott, Artistic Director IMDT | Choreographer Migration Sonata~

Migration, refugees, trauma survival and diversity has been a constant theme in my work since 2003, when I began working with clients from SPIRASI, the Centre for Care for Survivors of Torture and created a series of works with the clients beginning with ‘Fall and Recover’. In 2022, following discussions with Kilkenny Arts Festival Director, Olga Barry and Marjie Kaley, Festival Producer, Migration Sonata began development in workshops with with Kilkenny based Ukrainian refugees and Brazilian migrants, supported by Creative Ireland,. A sonata is an Italian music term meaning ‘sounded’ or ‘played’, in several movements and contrasting forms or keys. The opening image of Migration Sonata on red plastic chairs, evokes the Asylum Seeker’s interview, dictating if they receive Refugee status or a Deportation Order. The cast, from Ukraine, Brazil, Ireland, Poland and the US create a shared space together and dance in the present moment as a unique community. The workshops were facilitated by Brazilian dance artists Alessandra Azevedo and Yves Lorrhan and co ordinated by Celine Reilly. Migration Sonata. The material reflects the personal universes of each dancers, including poems by the great Ukrainian poet, Yevgey Yevtushenko, simple conversations, movement language and linguistic and cultural meeting points. 

Migration Sonata was commissioned by Kilkenny Arts Festival in 2021. Regular community workshops with the local Ukrainian community have taken place since in November 2022. This community development work has been supported by Creative Ireland.


Workshop Facilitators: John Scott with Alessandra Azevedo and Yves Lorrhan


Research Material developed by John Scott with the entire cast and with Conor Thomas Doherty, Magdalena Hylak, Mufutau Yusuf, Diarmaid Armstrong, Simone O’Toole, Favour Odusola, Alex O’Neill

IMDT gives very special thanks to Olga, Marjie, Celine and the whole team at Kilkenny Arts Festival. Thank you to Rachael Gillkey, Kestrel Wolgemuth, Aidan Connelly and the amazing team at Irish Arts Center, New York. Thanks to Creative Ireland, the Kilkenny Arts Office, and Kilkenny County Council.


Photo by Paula Trojner


Text Translation

Read by Oksana Kurovets


By Taras Shevchenko

Translated by John Weir

“Why did to me from childhood days
The people bear ill-will?
And why was 1 when but a maid
By those same people killed?
And yet today why do they prize
My presence in their rooms,
Call me a queen, can’t feast their eyes
Enough upon my blooms?
Why ao they now my praises sing
Ana hold me in esteem?
Pray tell me, flower-of-the-king,
What can the reason be?”
“Alas, my sister, I don’t know,”
Said flower-of-the-king,
As tenderly to her he bowed
His head of rose-and-pink
To touch the Lily’s pallid cheek,
A crumb of comfort bring.
And then the Lily gan to weep,
Her tears the purest dew....
She softly wept, and then she said:
“My brother, I and you
Have loved each other lone, yet I
Have never told vou, friend,
The story of my human life,
The woes I suffered then....

Why did my mother always grieve 
And sorrow over me?
When looking at me, why did she
So sadly sigh and weep?
The reason then I did not know,
My brother, why she cried,
Or who it was had wrong’d her so.
I was a little child
And child-like busily 1 played, 
Quite happy at my games,
While she grew weaker day by day
And cursed our master’s name.
She died. The master took me then
Into his manor hall.
And so I spent my youth within
Those stately mansion walls.
There I grew up, yet did not guess
I was his bastard child.
And then abroad the master went,
While I was left behind.
The people cursed him, and they came,
The manor set afire....
And me... they did not kill or maim,
But - I can’t fathom why -
Cut off my braids, my tresses fair
That were my joy and pride,
And on my head, now shorn of hair,
A dirty rag they tied.
All jeered. Even Jews spat in my face,
Although themselves despised.
Such were the ills I underwent
In life, my brother dear.
The people did not let me spend
In peace my youthful years,
They hounded me to death. I died
In winter by the road,
But in the spring time came alive
With petals white as snow.
A flower growing in the downs!

I brightened up the grove.
The previous winter... oh my God!
The people, jeering, drove
Me from their midst. But in the spring
With wonder and with love
They looked at me. My snow-white blooms
The girls in garlands twined
And called me lily-of-the-snows;
And I began to thrive
In hot-houses and palace rooms
As well as I grew wild.
Oh floWer-or-the-king, explain,
My brother dear, pray tell:
For what was I by God ordained
A flower here to dwell?
To please the very people who
Detested me and Killed,
And killed my gentle mother too?
Dear God! Is that Your will?”
Again the Lily began to weep.
The flower-of-the-king
With tenderness and pity deep
His head of rose-and-pink
Bent to the Lily’s pallid face
And brushed her tearful cheek.

Тарас Шевченко


«За що мене, як росла я,
Люде не любили?
За що мене, як виросла,
Молодую вбили?
За що вони тепер мене
В палатах вітають,
Царівною називають,
Очей не спускають
З мого цвіту? Дивуються,
Не знають, де діти!
Скажи мені, мій братику,
Королевий Цвіте!»
«Я не знаю, моя сестро».
І Цвіт Королевий
Схилив свою головоньку
До білого пониклого
Личенька Лілеї.
І заплакала Лілея
Заплакала і сказала:
«Брате мій, з тобою
Ми давно вже кохаємось,
А я й не сказала,
Як була я людиною,
Як я мордувалась.
Моя мати... чого вона,
Вона все журилась
І на мене, на дитину,
Дивилась, дивилась
І плакала? Я не знаю,
Мій брате єдиний!
Хто їй лихо заподіяв?
Я була дитина,
Я гралася, забавлялась,
А вона все в’яла,
Та нашого злого пана
Та й умерла. А мене пан
Взяв догодувати.
Я виросла, викохалась
У білих палатах.
Я не знала, що байстря я,
Що його дитина.
Пан поїхав десь далеко,
А мене покинув.
І прокляли його люде,
Будинок спалили...
А мене, не знаю за що,
Убити не вбили,
Тілько мої довгі коси
Остригли, накрили
Острижену ганчіркою.
Та ще й реготались.
Жиди навіть нечистії
На мене плювали.
Отаке-то, мій братику,
Було мені в світі.
Молодого, короткого
Не дали дожити
Люде віку. Я умерла
Зимою під тином,
А весною процвіла я
Цвітом при долині,
Цвітом білим, як сніг, білим!
Аж гай звеселила.
Зимою люде... Боже мій!
В хату не пустили.
А весною, мов на диво,
На мене дивились.
А дівчата заквітчались
І почали звати
І я процвітати
Стала в гаї, і в теплиці,
І в білих палатах.
Скажи ж мені, мій братику,
Королевий Цвіте,
Нащо мене Бог поставив
Цвітом на сім світі?
Щоб людей я веселила,
Тих самих, що вбили
Мене й матір?.. Милосердий
Святий Боже милий!»
І заплакала Лілея,
А Цвіт Королевий
Схилив свою головоньку
На білеє пониклеє
Личенько Лілеї.

Read by Yevheniia Dmytrenko

By Taras Shevchenko

Translated by T. L. Voynich

I care not, shall I see my dear
Own land before I die, or no,
Nor who forgets me, buried here
In desert wastes of alien snow;
Trough all forget me, — better so.
A slave from my first bitter years,
Moat surely I shall die a slave
Ungraced of any kinsmen’s tears;
And carry with me to my grave
Everything; and leave no trace,
No little maik to keep my place
In the dear lost Ukraina
Which is not ours, though our land.
And none shall ever understand;
No father to his son shall say:
— Kneel down, and fold your hands, and pray;
He died for our Ukraina.
I care no longer if the child
Shall pray for me, or pass me by.
One only thing I cannot bear:
To know my land, that was beguiled
Into a death-trap with a lie,
Trampled  and  rumen  and defiled...
Ah, but I care, dear God; I care!

Тарас Шевченко


Мені однаково, чи буду
Я жить в Україні, чи ні.
Чи хто згадає, чи забуде
Мене в снігу на чужині —
Однаковісінько мені.
В неволі виріс між чужими
І, неоплаканий своїми,
В неволі, плачучи, умру.
І все з собою заберу,
Малого сліду не покину
На нашій славній Україні,
На нашій — не своїй землі.
І не пом’яне батько з сином,
Не скаже синові: — Молись,
Молися, сину, за Вкраїну
Його замучили колись. —
Мені однаково, чи буде
Той син молитися, чи ні...
Та неоднаково мені,
Як Україну злії люде
Присплять, лукаві, і в огні
Її, окраденую, збудять...
Ох, не однаково мені.

bottom of page