Non Parade Parade - Review by Geoff O Keeffe

A Non Parade, Parade: What is it? That was the burning question on everyone lips. We all know about ‘real’ parades. We stand at the best vantage point we can find, more often in the rain and spend the next hour or so, watching a conveyor belt of advertising for local business, while desperately hoping for a bit of colour, a touch of the exotic or a taste of the unexpected to numb the boredom. When you have seen one truck, you have seen them all. So, there was hope that this event might confront our notions of what a parade can mean and how we engage with it. That it was devised and curated by The Trans-Art team, gave me hope. It was going to be different.

And so…we start at the corner of Main Street and Ashe Street and line either side of the street- well that’s what you do in a parade, isn’t it? And then dancers are moving in the street, creating patterns, sometimes walking at speed, sometimes at a slow, stylised pace. Bunting is tied up, love hearts on banners fall into place. Three women in evening dress ‘vogue’ outside a local fashion house. A man on an office chair, wheels himself, furiously inputing data to his lap top. They are exploring rhythm, tempo and architecture, within a riot of colour as music washed over us and then they are off, moving up Main Street. And in the next moments as the crowds that filed the foot paths start to follow, we realise that we the audience, the community, ‘become’ the parade. We are more than passive observers, we have become active participants. A stylised scrum from Cavan Rugby Club, is juxtaposed with beautifully choreographed movement as dancers, working with umbrellas create stunningly realised moments that are breath taking.

We were engaged in such a profound way with the beauty, the simplicity and the beating heart of the Non-Parade, Parade. It challenged us to re-evaluate our notions of how art can impact on us in public spaces. It was beautiful, inclusive and it felt like this was ‘our’ parade. In creating a complicite between performer and audience we were reminded that good art is not a luxury, but a necessity. For that short space of time, the main street of Cavan town became transported and uplifted. It was a place in which the ordinary became extraordinary. It became a place where we could celebrate.