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 Post subject: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2002 9:21 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.sddc.org.uk/img/pg_dancers.jpg" alt="" />

Siobahn Davies Dance Company

<img src="http://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/siobahn/details.gif" alt="" />

Plants and Ghosts

Press release

After a two-year absence from touring, Siobhan Davies is back with a new work created specially for an exciting assembly of spaces across the country. For Dance Umbrella Plants and Ghosts will be performed at the Victoria Miro Gallery, internationally renowned for its championing of contemporary art.

Plants and Ghosts includes a commissioned sound installation from composer Max Eastley and a short text developed during rehearsal by playwright Caryl Churchill. Lit by long-term collaborator Peter Mumford and with a company of some of the UK's finest contemporary dancers, Plants and Ghosts follows the development of simple ideas and structures into strange and complex forms.

www.sddc.org.uk/

Limited Capacity - early booking advised.

Supported by the Victoria Miro Gallery

"the subtlest, most original, most rewarding creative dance talent we have" Independent on Sunday
"Siobhan Davies's gift is to reveal through movement exquisite secrets about human bodies and the spirit that occupies them" Evening Standard

<small>[ 09-05-2002, 23:30: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2002 10:35 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Plants and Ghosts
By Sarah Whatley for The Dancing Times

A disused aircraft hangar at a former US airbase near Oxford is to be the backdrop to the opening of Siobhan Davies new work, Plants and Ghosts. Is the choice of setting a political statement? How does that link to Davies’ “humane and joyous” style? Will this be a new phase in her career? These questions and more are explored here

There is much to admire in Siobhan Davies’ choreography. It is surely impressive that each new choreographic project marks a conceptual departure from the preceding one. Plants and Ghosts, touring from this month, promises a feast of new ingredients and something of an adventure for Davies and her dancers, moving out of traditional theatre venues into unconventional performance spaces.

Plants and Ghosts will open in a disused aircraft hangar at a former US airbase at Upper Heyford, near Oxford, retaining the Company’s long-standing association with the Oxford Playhouse who have ‘brokered’ the event. I look forward to finding out how Davies’ dance will read in this site. There could hardly be more contrast between a former US airbase, with all the connotations that will throw up, and Davies’ deeply humane, individualistic and joyous dance.

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 Post subject: Re: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2002 11:38 pm 
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PROPERLY TENDER
by Donald Hutera


Catherine James jerks spasmodically on the balls of her feet. The twitching, indecisive bundle that is Henry Montes suddenly goes languorous, as if suspended in sleep. Eventually up on his feet, he stumbles about as if taking his first-ever steps. A floor-bound couple is restless. A handful of people slip in and out of line, eddying round each other in packs of three and four. Paul Old is hunched-up, arms folded protectively in front of his body. Deborah Saxon draws near as if seeking the warmth he so badly needs. People attempt to fit beside each other, a telling physical suggestion of how hard it can be to coincide temperamentally with other human beings.

These are some isolated moments caught during rehearsal of Siobhan Davies’ newest work, Plants and Ghosts. (The piece premieres in a hangar at an old US airbase north of Oxford at the end of September before coming to Umbrella.) The dancing in it is alert and nuanced, multi-level and multi-directional, justifying this revered British choreographer’s observation that “a good dancer is a brilliant essence of humanness.” In this instance, Davies’ humans have geometric extensions. At one point a couple of the performers carry on thin, bendy white rods, which wrap tautly round their user’s arms or are even placed between their teeth. Later two thicker, rubber-tipped metal poles are brought out and utilised within the choreography. A further and final section of the work feature a few dancers on low stilts.

“I tried to be rigorously abandoned,” Davies says of her approach. She began by eliciting short, simple but closely examined movement from each dancer based on functions of the body (like blood or breath). “The idea was to really look at it and try and build from that, not from your training history or habit.” These early bits were about singling out movement that could progress in almost cellular fashion, and grow. The dancers were then directed, Davies says, to bring a sense quality to the human entity or organism each had made. The structural jigsaw assembled from this creative research includes improvisation and authentic sign language.

Among the ideas Davies was drawing on was a Nietzschean notion that “people have to be rooted. However, their imaginations are able to move anywhere.” In dance terms, she admits, “this can be a pleasure and a problem.” While aiming for a work possessing order, composition and flow, she never underestimates the value of instinct and accident. “You might say to yourself, ‘I’m going to do a piece about evolution.’ ####!” A dance’s true meaning, she says while wiggling her fingers, is in the details.

Aurally Davies’ dance relies on a score from composer/sound sculptor Max Eastley, and a brief piece of accumulative text (about a woman who accidentally bites her own tongue while at a restaurant) by playwright Caryl Churchill. Eastley’s contribution is rich and resonant, an odd blend of familiar sounds: swiping static, submerged reverberations, whistles and whines, a rattling motor, thunder, spacey insects, tinkling alarms, ticking clocks, escaping gas. Davies calls her relations with Eastley “a great partnership, but quite raw at the same time. Where I fall down on the word collaboration is, I always think someone’s going to suffer. It can be a sink-word for artists. You have to be properly tender with each other.”

She understands from the inside dance’s dichotomous nature. “It’s a balance between seeing the obvious - what we understand - and what dance does, which is completely other.” For the dancer, Davies says, this means “finding out what your body and intellect can bring to bear and build that up, but not to produce what you already know. That’s why people work in this company. There’s a beauty in letting go of all the training and habit. At the same time, they have to get up in front of people in a few months and look fantastic.” With the modest, marvellous Davies in charge, that goal is well within reach.

WHO: SIOBHAN DAVIES DANCE COMPANY
WHAT: PLANTS AND GHOSTS
WHEN: WED 9 - SUN 13 & TUE 15 - FRI 18 OCT
WHERE: VICTORIA MIRO GALLERY
ON SALE: FROM 17 JUN £12 (CONC £9)
TICKETS: 020 7863 8000 (SADLER’S WELLS BOX OFFICE)

<small>[ 09-09-2002, 01:39: Message edited by: Donald Hutera ]</small>

_________________
This interview was posted by Stuart Sweeney on behalf of Donald Hutera and first appeared in Dance Umbrella News.

Donald Hutera writes regularly on dance and arts for The Times, Evening Standard, Time Out, Dance Europe, Dance Magazine (US) and Dance Now. He is co-author, with Allen Robertson, of The Dance Handbook.

Join Dance Umbrella's mailing list to receive future editions of Dance Umbrella News.
Call: 020 8741 5881
Email: mail@danceumbrella.co.uk
Web: www.danceumbrella.co.uk


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 Post subject: Re: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2002 4:52 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Interview in The Telegraph.

Quote:
A disused aircraft hangar is the setting for Siobhan Davies's spectacular dance comeback, two years after a funding disaster coincided with her CBE. She talks to Ismene Brown



'You drive into a mammoth airfield with criss-crosses of runway. And at odds, facing in all different directions, are these old hangars, which are curved, long buildings, utterly empty. So here is a place that has a history, and then, in this unusual journey they're taking, the audience enter into a space in which, unusually, a piece of dance happens. So already the imagination has been thrown up into the air to be caught, fresh, at the point when the performance begins."

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And a feature in The Independent.

Quote:
Siobhan Davies is so universally liked and admired that she's in danger of being idolised. At 52, she has the seniority and talent to be spoken of in reverentially hushed tones, yet she is young and down-to-earth enough not to be congealed in her own public image. She is very much one of the tangential contemporary dance pack, yet, like Mark Morris, she can engage spectators of all persuasions. Crusty codgers smile and nod, cool twentysomethings congratulate themselves on being so arty. She has for nearly three decades been producing a steady stream of the most exquisitely assured and powerful work.

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<small>[ 09-16-2002, 16:10: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2002 3:50 am 
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Review in Tne Observer.

Quote:
While it is tempting to think of the ghosts in Siobhan Davies's new work as phantom pilots or Cold War spooks, Plants and Ghosts is not directly inspired by the disused US airforce base on the outskirts of Oxford. Instead, the title refers to organic matter - the body - and the spirit that enables it to dance.

Davies's preoccupations with movement drive the piece, which will remain substantially the same wherever it is performed on tour: a church, art gallery, warehouse, woollen mill. She trusts that audiences' imaginations will people each venue with appropriate ghosts. Hangar 3022 is a surreal space, its corrugated iron ribs arching over the (imported) dance floor, with bleacher seating along two sides. Max Eastley's amplified 'sonic landscape' reverberates within the shell, throbbing like fighter planes taking off along the weed-strewn runway outside.

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 Post subject: Re: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2002 10:31 pm 
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Siobhan Davies
By Judith Mackrell in The Guardian


Plants and Ghosts, Siobhan Davies's latest work, is touring an itinerary of non-theatrical venues, including an art gallery, a church and a wool mill. Its first stop is Heyford Park, and inevitably the spirits that haunt the show are those of long-departed B42 bombers. The deserted US air base is now a vast, windy plain, with hulks of disused hangars looming behind redundant security fences. Even inside Hangar 3022, selected for a four day makeover into a dance space, traces of a military past are strong enough to seep into the opening minutes of the show. The lighting tracks that mark out the long narrow stage could be on a runway, while the electronic crackles in Max Eastley's sound score evoke the static of radars.

But the whole point of Davies's move away from traditional theatres is to create a closer contact between audience and dancers. And the fact that we are seated so close to the performing area means that echoes of war rapidly give way to the passionate detail and intimacy of the choreography's own drama.

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 Post subject: Re: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2002 3:03 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in the Telegraph.

Quote:
Dancing on a military airfield is Siobhan Davies's latest outing for her choreographic muse. Soft, warm human bodies in a cold, hard, iron place: the female principle contradicting the male, jetes instead of jets, make art not war. Any number of vaguely political themes is suggested by this new venture, and Davies is probably Britain's most politically expressive choreographer.

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And in the Times.

Quote:
ALL the signs were good. The choreographer, Siobhan Davies, had had a break from the constant touring and general hassle of running an independent dance company without a home to call its own. The eight dancers, an experienced collective, were — and are — some of the best in the business. The venue was unusual, a disused hangar at the former US air base at Upper Heyford, north of Oxford, an historic place resonant with memories of the Cold War. Even the title, Plants and Ghosts, whetted the appetite, bringing us the thrill of opposition, of real and unreal, of physical and spiritual, organic and inorganic.
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<small>[ 09-24-2002, 05:07: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2002 3:17 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in the Sunday Times 9scroll down article)

Quote:
It has been a week of contrasts. The Siobhan Davies Dance Company, after a two-year lay-off from normal performance to consider fresh modes of work, returned with a new piece, intriguingly titled Plants and Ghosts, conceived for “non-theatre” venues. These will include the famous Salts Mill at Saltaire and a former tea warehouse in Bristol; but the premiere took us to Hangar 3022 on the vast empty plain of what was the US airfield at Upper Heyford, Oxon.

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 Post subject: Re: Siobahn Davies Dance Company
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2002 3:05 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in The Independent.

Quote:
Two thirds into Siobhan Davies' new piece, Plants and Ghosts, the audience broke into spontaneous applause, so forceful was the impact of Deborah Saxon's solo, set to an eight-minute text by Caryl Churchill. "She bit her lip..." the voice starts, and from there it builds a verbal choreography of reiterated, enlarged and accreted phrases that gradually reveal Churchill's complete scenario – from the detail of a bitten lip to the bigger picture of a disintegrating romance. In the same way, Saxon constructs her sequence out of multiplied gestures (Davies returning, after several years, to Sign Language). She repeats this first in one direction, then another, so that each half of the audience, seated opposite across a central stage, can see.

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