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bringing together environmentalism and performance
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Siobhan Davies Dance

   
www.siobhandavies.com
info@siobhandavies.com
t : 020 7091 9650
London
England

 
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Productions and Projects

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Endangered Species
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2008
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Endangered Species developed from Siobhan Davies' experiences on the third Cape Farewell voyage to the Arctic in March 2005, and was created for the Cape Farewell exhibition The Art of Climate Change, touring internationally in 2008.

From Siobhan Davies' description of Endangered Species:

    On the 2005 voyage, Siobhan Davies found using her body expressively severely limited in nature and range in the sub-zero temperatures of the High Arctic. Her attention centred on her bones, skin, breath; the fragility of her material body versus the effort and basic purpose behind her every movement.

    Back home in London Davies quickly formed the idea for a work that would embody some of the primal emotions and rational thoughts the journey had evoked for her. Working with fashion designer Jonathan Saunders, she created a projection, Endangered Species, in which a small, semi-human figure dances gracefully inside a museum display case, her movements exaggerated by a costume of long bending rods that increase in number as her dance progresses. While at first they liberate her by extending the boundaries of her body, the many rods eventually restrict and finally extinguish her small life form.

    With its ever-increasing adornment and subsequent restrictions on expression, the dance points to how increased consumption alongside so-called technological ‘advancement’ is fast becoming more of a hindrance, rather than a help, to the development of our species. The figure put on show in a glass vitrine, re-emphasises the fragility of the dancing form and the need to preserve it. It is presented here as a specimen, a rarity; a branch of the genus Homo sapiens that has either died out or is yet to evolve.

Endangered Species was first shown in the large-scale Cape Farewell exhibition, The Ship: The Art of Climate Change at the Natural History Museum's Jerwood Gallery, the Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool Cathedral, The Place and the Oxford Playhouse.

photo: Vicky Long / Marije de Haas
text courtesy of www.siobhandavies.com

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Endangered Species
Endangered Species

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Bird Song
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2004
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For Bird Song, Siobhan Davies began rehearsals with the dancers listening to phrases from the songs of birds. Later, short pieces of music were introduced into the rehearsal process. The rhythms and textures of these became embedded into the dancers' bodies, creating a clear physical language.

By the time the music that would be heard during the performance was introduced the dancers had developed a more embodied rhythmic response.

The overarching structure of the piece sees clusters of sound, light and motion spiralling in towards a pivotal solo (the song of the Australian Pied Butcher), then spinning out again towards the far edge; like a galaxy with the song of the bird as its gravitational centre.

The dance was initially performed 'in the round' with the audience seated on four sides, and was later reworked for presentation in proscenium arch venues.

Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
Music: Andy Pink
Design: Sam Collins
Garments: Genevieve Bennett

photo: courtesy www.siobhandaviesreplay.com

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Bird Song

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Arctic Heart
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1991
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Arctic Heart is the result of a collaboration with American writer Gretel Ehrlich, winner of the 1989 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the British composer John-Marc Gowans. Davies had first worked with Ehrlich on Wyoming, using a previously written essay as a ground for making the movement. For Arctic Heart the poems were all commissioned.
    ‘Floor markings suggest animal bones and human outlines. A dancer rises from her own white shape; another twists suddenly and falls into his silhouette’ (Norma Cohen, Dance and Dancers, Jan/Feb 1992).

    ‘The Arctic is where life is hidden under the snow and ice and so you have to look for it and there you will encounter the history, the carcasses and bones of what has been left’ (Siobhan Davies, 2009).

Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
Music: John-Marc Gowans
Design: David Buckland
Garments: David Buckland
Lighting: Peter Mumford

photo: courtesy of www.siobhandaviesreplay.com

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sue davies arctic heart
Arctic Heart

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Wyoming
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1988
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Wyoming was the first work made for Siobhan Davies Dance Company and was influenced by her travels across the US. Wyoming began by asking the dancers to imagine the different qualities of the surface that they moved on as well as the sensation of having 360 degrees of great distance all around them. They worked on the sensation of isolation that one or two figures might feel when in a vast terrain not normally marked by human activity.

John-Marc Gowans' original score did not have Gretel Ehrlich's spoken words which were added for the television production, broadcast in 1989.

‘On the film of Wyoming, as Julie Covington reads the writing of Gretel Ehrlich, there are images of huge landscape, subtle textures of ground surface, weather conditions, and the physical sensations produced by these external features. Although the inclusion of text suggests a more literal meaning, the dance concerns itself more with the play among areas of expansive space, and among intimate spaces in meetings between dancers. Davies rehearsed the piece with a variety of instructions: “think of how it would feel to be working on an uneven floor surface” or “imagine that you are dancing in an irregular space”. Thus, movement that is plain structurally could be infused with a particular liveliness and made strange’ (Jordan & Whatley, 1999).

Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
Music: John-Marc Gowans
Design: David Buckland
Garments: David Buckland
Film Director: Peter Mumford

photo and text: courtesy www.siobhnadaviesreplay.com

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sue davies wyoming
Wyoming

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Carnival / Carnival of the Animals
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1982, 2008
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Carnival is set to Camille Saint-Saens Carnival of the Animals (1886). Originally choreographed for a cast of eight Second Stride dancers in 1982, it was televised in 1983 and has subsequently been remade several times, either in part or as a whole work. Siobhan Davies re-worked the choreography in 2008 for the Rambert Dance Company production, which used the full title of Carnival of the Animals.

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  Siobhan Davies Dance
www.siobhandavies.com
info@siobhandavies.com
t: 020 7091 9650

85 St. George's Road
London
SE1 6ER
England

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