A unique live artwork, inspired by Nan Shepherd’s masterpiece The Living Mountain, will bring together song, dance and a guided walk within Scotland’s dramatic Cairngorm mountains.
Into The Mountain, the first project of its kind, has been developed over the past six years by artist and choreographer Simone Kenyon, in collaboration with hundreds of women who live and work in the Cairngorm Mountain Range.
At the project’s heart is The Living Mountain, Nan Shepherd’s celebrated book charting her own journeys into the harsh yet beautiful Cairngorm Mountain Range. Written in the 1940s during the Second World War, the Aberdeen writer’s book remained unpublished until 1977, and has recently been championed by luminaries of nature writing, including Robert Macfarlane.
Each Into The Mountain performance is open to just 30 audience members, whom will be led in small walking groups (offering a short, mid and long-range route) through Glenfeshie (an area vividly described by Shepherd in The Living Mountain). The groups will converge within the landscape at which point they will witness a choreographed performance by five dancers (Jo Hellier, Claricia Parinussa, Caroline Reagh, Keren Smail and Petra Söör) moving in collaboration with the mountain ecology. Their performance will be accompanied by a vocal score composed by artist Hanna Tuulikki, which will be performed by the Into The Mountain choir, made up of women local to the Cairngorms and led by vocalist Lucy Duncombe.
“Typically, mountaineering is an adrenaline-fuelled activity that seeks to conquer heights and overcome the challenges of difficult terrain,” says Simone Kenyon, lead artist. “Nan’s writing proposes an entirely different approach, attempting to collaborate with the changing conditions of the variable mountain landscape and offering ecstatic revelations about how being with the mountain alters her state of being.”
As she meticulously developed the concept for Into The Mountain, Kenyon held numerous talks and workshops and collaborated closely with the many women who have personal relationships with the Cairngorms, to explore how they navigate, encounter, embody and exist within this unique landscape. Simone’s collaborative approach uniquely brings together voices and experiences from varied disciplines and backgrounds.
Into The Mountain is commissioned by Scottish Sculpture Workshop and co-commissioned by Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), City Moves Dance Agency, Dance North Scotland and Tramway. The project is also supported by Mountaineering Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council and Creative Scotland. Into The Mountain takes place in Glenfeshie, with thanks to Wildlands Ltd.
Performances of Into The Mountain will take place on Friday 31 May, Saturday 1 June, and Sunday 2 June (with Take Me Somewhere Festival, Glasgow’s contemporary performance festival). Tickets cost £30 per person and are available from www.intothemountain.co.uk