OZ Arts presents Northern Irish choreographer Oona Doherty’s riveting and critically acclaimed breakthrough piece, Navy Blue, from May 30 - June 1

Channeling visceral passion and an eagerness for social change, rising dance star Oona Doherty and her company of a dozen brilliant dancers share a daring production that challenges audiences to consider the value of art in a constantly changing and broken society.

Nashville, Tenn. – April 25, 2024 – Contemporary arts center OZ Arts Nashville today announced that Oona Doherty, one of the most influential figures in Europe’s contemporary dance scene, will bring her groundbreaking piece Navy Blue to OZ’s expansive warehouse from May 30 - June 1. Hailing from Northern Ireland, Doherty and her company of a dozen highly skilled performers have already caught the attention of art lovers around the world. Navy Blue enjoyed a rave-worthy United States debut last summer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and now returns to North America for a three-stop tour that includes a visit to OZ Arts. This singular mix of contemporary dance genres and multimedia is sure to amaze Nashville audiences, who have a chance to experience the work the week before it makes its New York premiere at the Joyce Theater.

Navy Blue pits a group of 12 dancers against a destructive algorithm – generating a thrilling, in-your-face mash-up of visceral movement, spoken-word poetry, and political candor. Divided into two parts, this expansive work contrasts the beautiful blue-tinted imagery of dance set to the lush romanticism of legendary Russian classical composer Sergei Rachmaninoff (Piano Concerto 2) with the high-energy pulsations of modern English disc jockey Jamie xx. The hierarchies of dance clash with creative freedom and individual people with the immensity of the universe.

Throughout the production, the scope of the conflict expands from the world of dance to the broader context of history, politics, and society. The audience’s movement-induced trance is broken by a voice offstage reading a jarring yet honest monologue co-written by Doherty and director, author and actor Bush Moukarzel, which takes inspiration from Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot to explore an artist’s struggle to impact the world and effect social change.

“It’s a particularly spectacular end to OZ’s season to welcome Oona Doherty and her virtuosic performers and crew to Nashville for this brilliant, riveting performance,” said Mark Murphy, OZ Arts Executive and Artistic Director. “Oona has quickly distinguished herself as one of the most sought-after choreographers in the international dance community, and I hope lovers of dance and theater take this opportunity to see this latest, bravest work by a thrilling artist who is boldly moving dance forward.”

Doherty is a London-born and Belfast-raised mastermind of choreography who has never been afraid of weaving political messages into her work, which has been performed at the Venice Biennale, the Tate Britain, Sadler’s Wells in London, Jacob’s Pillow, the Dublin Dance Festival and more. In Navy Blue, she unflinchingly taps into personal and collective fears about society and the change we aspire to see. Doherty brings a distinctive, fearless style and refreshing wit to the stage, along with a troupe of expressive dancers whose movements communicate the intense feelings associated with a work of such gravity.

After winning the 2021 Silver Lion Award, an annual prize celebrating talented emerging artists, the 2023 debut of Navy Blue in Hamburg announced Doherty’s arrival to the preeminent circle of choreographers in Europe and beyond. On her way to superstardom as she brings her daring work to renowned festivals and theaters around the globe, viewers in the greater Nashville area have a chance to experience Oona Doherty’s unique voice and see her bravest work yet as she teeters on the cusp of becoming a household name in the dance community. Navy Blue is co-produced by a coalition of 12 of the world’s most prestigious contemporary dance and theater festivals from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

OZ Arts will present Navy Blue from May 30 - June 1 in its expansive warehouse. Tickets start at $30 and are on sale now at ozartsnashville.org/oona-doherty-navy-blue. Those interested in seeing a preview of the performance can view the trailer here.

This performance is made possible with generous support from donors and grants. To learn more about upcoming performances, please visit www.ozartsnashville.org.


Thursday, May 30 at 8:00pm
Friday, May 31 at 8:00pm
Saturday, June 1 at 8:00pm

Tickets: $30-$35
Seating is general admission, and tickets are available for purchase at ozartsnashville.org.

About OZ Arts Nashville

Founded in 2014 by the Ozgener family, OZ Arts Nashville has quickly established itself as one of the Southeast's most influential and respected producers and presenters focused on the creation and presentation of significant performing and visual artworks by diverse cultural visionaries who are making vital contributions to the evolution of contemporary culture. Through performances, exhibitions, and community events, OZ Arts focuses on producing and presenting the work of local and visiting artists who reflect our diverse society, utilize new artistic forms and technology in creative ways, and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement with audiences, students and cultural and civic leaders. OZ Arts' unique creative warehouse has developed a reputation as a major national and regional laboratory for experimentation and a home for contemporary dance and performance. More than 50,000 audience members have been introduced to adventurous artists from around the world since the organization opened, and hundreds of local and regional artists have used OZ’s 10,000 square-foot warehouse theater to develop new works. For more information, please visit ozartsnashville.org.

About Oona Doherty

Oona Doherty is a Northern Irish choreographer based in Belfast. She studied at St. Louise’s Comprehensive College in Belfast, the London Contemporary Dance School, the University of Ulster, and LABAN. She earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree in the Disciplines of Contemporary Dance. Since 2010, she has worked with several companies, including: T.r.a.s.h. dance/performance group (Netherlands), Abattoir Fermé (Belgium), Veronika Riz (Italy), Emma Martin/United Fall, Enda Walsh and Landmark Productions (Ireland).

She has won many awards for her choreographic work, which includes: Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus (2015), a 30-minute solo that won her the Best Performer Award at the Tiger Dublin Fringe (2016), the Aerowaves award (2016/17), the Total Theatre Dance Award and The Place Dance Award at the Edinburgh Fringe (2017); Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer (2018), which won the Best Dance Show 2019 award from the English daily “The Guardian”; Lady Magma – The Birth of a Cult (2019).

She has been an associated artist as the MAC Belfast HATCH Artist (2016), an Aerowaves Selected Artist, Prime Cut REVEAL Artist (2017), Maison de la Danse Lyon and La Briqueterie Paris Associate (2017-20), and again the MAC Belfast HATCH Artist (2020).

She has collaborated on music videos with the Rubber Bandits, Girl Band, Jamie XX. She participated in the digital Dancing Nation festival promoted by BBC Arts and Sadler’s Wells with Hope Hunt (2020). Carla Holmes made a documentary about her artistic work titled Welcome To A Bright White Limbo, which won the Best Short Irish Film Award and a special mention at Tribeca in New York (2020).

Her choreographic experimentation has extended to the world of visual arts in an exhibition titled Death of the Hunter, shown at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast, Lothringer 13 Halle in Munich, ADC Gallery in Geneva and the Kanal – Centre Pompidou in Brussels.