CriticalDance Forum

Dance Umbrella - Siobhan Davies, 2 Quartets
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Author:  annielwells [ Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Dance Umbrella - Siobhan Davies, 2 Quartets

Dance Umbrella 2007
Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Thursday 3rd October
Siobhan Davies – Two Quartets

Solid and coherent, Two Quartets worthily marks the current position of British dance stalwart, Siobhan Davies four-decade spanning career. Simple and spare, quality triumphs over quantity in this work of two parts. Set astride an interval, the twenty minute sections are superficially easy to consume. But for those who require their dance to be more than just a visual tit-bit; there is plenty within and between these disparate halves to sustain good cerebral analysis.


More to follow, please move as appropriate. Couldn't find Dance Umbrella 2007...

Annie Wells

Author:  annielwells [ Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:06 am ]
Post subject:  A Feeling for Practice

A short guide to understanding choreographic process with Siobhan Davies and Shobana Jeyasingh

Chaired by Dr Dick McCaw

Dancers: From Siobhan Davies Dance - Deborah Saxon and Sarah Warsop
From Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company - Navala Chaudhari, Kamala Devam and Mandeep Raikhy

There was a moment that I suddenly got what an honour it was to be present to the intimately generous and infinitely interesting conversation that took place between the great dance-makers Siobhan Davies and Shobana Jeyasingh this Sunday afternoon...

Author:  annielwells [ Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:46 am ]
Post subject:  Amanda Miller / Pretty Ugly Tanz Koln

QEH - 11-12 October

Giselle - on love and other difficulties

Former Ballet Frankfurt's resident choreographer Amanda Miller's take on the ballet tragedy Giselle is fascinating and enthralling; at moments funny and then lump-in-the-throat beautiful.

Her 'jumbly' collective of dancers are not to be missed either for their idiosyncratic dramatic qualities or stunning dance techniques.

I think its also an unique chance to see this unusual artist perform in her own work. She's stepped in to the part of Giselle's mother while the usual artist is incapacitated.


Author:  annielwells [ Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Siobhan Davies - Two Quartets

Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Thursday 3rd October
Siobhan Davis – Two Quartets

Solid and coherent, Two Quartets worthily marked the current position of British dance stalwart, Siobhan Davies’ four-decade spanning career. Simple and spare, quality triumphed over quantity in this work of two parts. Set astride an interval it was superficially easy to consume. But for those wanting more than just a visual tit-bit; there was plenty both within and between the disparate halves to sustain a more cerebral analysis.

In two teams of four, eight mainly long-associated Davies dancers – Andrea Buckley, Laurent Cavanna, Theo Clinkard, Henry Montes, Pari Nederi, Sasha Roubicek, Deborah Saxon, Sarah Warsop - gave performances that bolstered the strong composition of each quartet. Unerringly intense, their contributions remained simultaneously true to their individuality and community as artists. Weaving into the collective product in the same seamless way, the voices of composer Mateo Fargion, visual artist Sam Collins and fashion designer Jonathan Saunders added further depth and texture.

With the link between the two quartets by no means explicit, aesthetic evaluations would be based more productively on contrasts than comparisons. Their deliberate juxtaposition therefore gives the spectator a reason to step beyond the immediate sensual satisfaction offered, to explore a more intrinsic territory.

Though set back in the conventional proscenium-framed space, the first quartet was reminiscent of Davies’ other non-figurative explorations of shape, time and rhythm (Plants and Ghosts 2002; Birdsong 2004). The second was more representational. In the first the individual dancer was valued in the objective terms of his or her function as a cog in the kaleidoscope of abstract groupings. In the second, choreography, staging and design revealed the dancers in a more singular, subjective capacity. As their own corporeal response to story and emotion, the movement allowed four distinctly human characters to develop.

Included in the programme Theo Clinkard’s rehearsal diary gave an engaging insight into the impetus and process of Two Quartets’ creation. He talks of the ‘fundamental simplicity’ Davies’ prioritizes as the ‘key’ point of access to her work. Practising this principle she hooked the spectator into her first quartet with patterns that, eventually however complex always emerged from and returned to the elementary foundation of a line, circle or square. The oppositions that swung through these patterns like pendulums of dynamic and texture were visually referenced by the flow of black to white in Saunders’ costumes. Fast related to slow, back to front, intense to light in a correspondingly primary but equally hypnotic manner.

Mateo Fargion’s sound-track of formerly unstructured vocal observations was a further aspect to the first quartet that shouldn’t go without comment. The apparently random nature of words and phrases such as ‘kettle-boiling’, ‘duet’, ‘Ravel’, ‘Brahms’ and ‘nuclear physicist’ gathered significance with the momentum of the dance. From choreographer to spectator they could have reflected the triggering thought patterns of anyone with involvement, active or passive, in the unfolding motion. The underlying challenge was to let go of the human urge to find logical sense and instead accept the quartet for what it was – a simply fantastic occurrence of shape in time and the space.

In conventional terms the second quartet’s electronically produced keyboard and string accompaniment seemed more musical in rhythm and feel. Echoing those in the first, verbal elements were now distorted and difficult to decipher. In contrast to a former expanse and flow, space and movement were fragmented by Sam Collins’ four oblong screens. Their clever transformation from opaque to transparent alternately hid then revealed the dancers. This design device had the effect of a zoom which framed the dancers one-by-one and sent the focus to the minutiae of their individual motion. Simple sequences of found movement such as the catch and throw of a ball were at the interface of more complex configurations. It was within these re-ordered patterns that the dancer’s four characters grew. They filled the space with their neurotic humanity and a second twenty minutes of captivating dance.

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