Siobhan Davies

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Siobhan Davies CBE DLitt (born 18 September 1950 in London,[1] and often known as Sue Davies) was a dancer with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre during the 1970s, then becoming one of its leading choreographers before founding her own company — the Siobhan Davies Dance Company — in 1988.

First training in art, Davies was one of the first year's intake of full-time students at the London School of Contemporary Dance.

Her works White Man Sleeps and Wyoming have been included on the dance GCE A-Level syllabus. Her work Bird Song is being used in GCSE Dance syllabus as Set Work (2008–2010).

Career Stages[edit]

  • 1950 – Born (Susan Davies)
  • As a child visited the Royal Opera House.
  • 1967 – Began to take lessons in Martha Graham Technique organised by Robin Howard.
  • 1967 – First performance with a company that came to be Dance Theatre Robert Cohan – from the USA Martha Graham Dance Company was the founding artistic director of LCDS, and he set up this performance.
  • 1969 – Cohan’s group moved into The Place which allowed dancers and choreographers to be experimental with their work.
  • 1970 – She was chosen to tour with Ballet for All which demonstrated contemporary style dance.
  • 1972 – Davies’ first two professionally performed works were shown.
  • 1975 – Davies was made Associate Choreographer
  • Some of her work revolved slightly around the work of Merce Cunningham an American choreographer who broke the rules of modern dance by using a chance process to make material and focusing on the medium of movement.
  • 1976 – She went to America with fellow student Richard Alston, where they attended classes in Cunningham technique as well as in ballet.
  • 1980 – While dancing and choreographing for LCDT, Davies set up Siobhan Davies Dance Company dancers.
  • 1981 – she merged this with Richard Alston and dancers and the Ian Spink group to produce Second stride.
  • This allowed her to make smaller and more intimate pieces as well as her ones for LDCT.
  • 1984 – Siobhan made Resident Choreographer with LCDT
  • 1985 – She left LDCT.
  • 1986–1987 – Davies won the Fulbright Arts Fellowship – the first ever to be awarded to a choreographer. She used this to spend nine months traveling the USA with her family.
  • 1988 – When she returned she set up the Siobhan Davies Dance company
  • She was also made Associate choreographer for the Rambert Dance Company.
  • Since 1992 Davies has focused on pieces for her own company.

Choreographic style[edit]

Davies’ work is very abstract. She tries to use the quality of the sound rather than the sound itself. She thinks a lot more about the texture and emotion behind a piece, rather than what you would see just by looking at or hearing it. In an article in Dance Chronicle, Davies states that she feels "more comfortable about working with the rhythm of the world" (Preston, 353), and that it's something she can adapt to and learn from. Her dances are more than superficial, as her work is deeply concerned about what is happening with all constituent features. She has a fascination with using abstract sounds, and letting the body become part of the sound rather than just something moving to it. Her work contains many elements of what it means to be human and the human existence. Also, her dances are abstract and rarely narrative. She always preferred to keep the plot very simple, focusing on sound. She enjoys using certain sounds instead of pieces of music and then she adds them together. Costumes were usually muted, so they don't distract from the movement or sound. Each dancer gets a headset with a sound playing and Siobhan asks them to move and make motifs based on that certain sound. She also helped her dancers by instilling images in their minds. This aided in the execution of movement exactly how she wanted it. Davies saw choreography as being self-exploration, believed in her dancers' individual inner impules. This made her teaching approach more collaborative, in that the movement that surfaces is personal to her dancers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Film Reference

External links[edit]