CV & contact




DAN SHIPSIDES (with Echo Echo Dance) - Vertical. Nature. Base.


V.N.B. - Dance / Movement

Not The First To Come This Way To Dance - notes by Steve Batts

I found out some interesting stuff about the location. An older man was picking dulse and carrageen moss at low tide.

The flattish area just before our camp was the place where people would come to dance. They would come on good weather with a couple of musicians.

He told me about the rocks where the young people would come down to carve their names and to propose to each other.

We found names back to 1909. He told me to look out for M O’D... his carving

He told me that the stream near our tents is The Madmans Well. The place to drink from to cure madness. I climbed up a bit to find the source. It was very overgrown. He said “... ah well... no-one is bothered with those things any more”.

He asked what we were up to and as he was leaving suggested that “You wouldn’t want to be drinking to much from the well and go too far the other direction”.



In order to be there we need “civilisation”. We need our tents, our shopping, our “community”. We make effort. For the seals it is just home. We are outsiders. Perhaps it is the human condition to be outside.

Alpha and Climbing

Getting there. Top Dog. Being The Best. Succeeding. Conquering. Getting it over and done. Moving on to the next challenge


Taking the time to enjoy. Meandering. Postponing the end.


I begin to know the cove. I can see it smell it. Hear it. Lots and lots of detail. The climbing gives an extra dimension to the memory. I think if I just climbed without the other activities I would remember less clearly. The focus would be on the effort, the routes, the achievement. The sound recording, the building, the dancing, the videoing and photographing are given a new perspective by the ascents. The vertical becomes just another dimension with it’s own qualities and potentials. Not the object of the excercise which can happen when visiting a place just to climb. This vertical dimension gives a wider frame. For some reason the memory of the sound of the pebbles is very linked to this.


The sound environment is very contained. In the cove it is intense even when it isn’t so loud. When you step out from the cove, through the arch, there is a release, a peacefulness. Twice I sat for over an hour in the middle of the dark night... stars disappearing gradually behind rain clouds, as I recorded the time of the high tide in the cove.


My fear becomes a little more balanced but I still like to downclimb after climbing up. Remembering the accident I saw several years ago, every time I sit back into my harness. Pleasure in climbing returns to being as strong as the fear. It is a gift to get this back. The topophilia rises and the topophobia recedes, always in movement, like the tide or the breath. No longer sudden overwhelming floods of topophobia.


Back home. Pleasure. The bath feels very very hot. A nice easy meal. Tonya says I am slow. She thinks this is a good thing. I am tired.

Stresses begin to return. The afterburn of the cove sustains but fades. I gather ante-burn material to take back to the camp with me on Wednesday.

My perspective. My evaluation process is unstable. What is important? What do I like? What do I want? The patterns, the “logic” of the Derry life takes hold of me. Work, money, responsibilities. I find my attitude swings from re-attachment to dismissal.... where is the balancing place between... do I want a balancing place? If you stay too long in one place as you climb you get tired and it gets more difficult to move on. If you rush you miss the pleasures and learn nothing....