Last Dance at Clonakilty Community Hospital

A unique and special event occurred in the wards of Clonakilty Community Hospital this week with Baroque violinist Justin Grounds and contemporary dancer Inma Pavon. The two artists undertook a five week collaborative project called, ‘Last Dance’ with residents of the Clonakilty Community Hospital, exploring 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 explorative project over five sessions as part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme, a programme that 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 12th December with a double bill of performances in two wards. Each of the life performances were designed so that all the residents could participate in their own ways. After the performance a hospital residence expressed, ‘This means so much to us, it means so much’ and the artists too agreed with the sentiment, ‘Such a transformative experience’