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The Choreographic Archive of Siobhan Davies Dance

Title: Dance Work

Work: In Plain Clothes

Summary

In Plain Clothes was the first piece to be performed at Siobhan Davies Studios. Both Davies and the dancers wanted to mark the studio, to begin to fill it, not only through the activities of rehearsals but also with the sediment or memory of conversations and ideas that help to make a new work. Several professionals from other fields outside of dance watched some of the rehearsals and talked about their own work with the company. Some of these conversations triggered the foundation phrases of the piece. Some of these professionals also gave a talk before selected performances. A hinged pair, the performance and the talk sat side by side, related but not explaining each other.

Analysis

As part of the process of compiling this archive Coventry University and Siobhan Davies Dance have researched and prototyped new presentations of the digital objects for two works, Bird Song and In Plain Clothes. These presentations, or Kitchens, bring together objects or 'ingredients' organised according to their role in the making or the 'cooking' of a work. As an object in itself, the Kitchen lays out the digital resources in an alternative way. Click here to access the Kitchen.



‘Watching the dancers was crucial to the collaborators’ sense of what we were doing: every dancer is physically different, differently made, differently expressive. Traditional disciplines of dance often make uniformity by restriction: a dancer may only make this gesture in one way, beautifully defined and exactly prescribed by history. But the Siobhan Davies dancers work individually on a common project, each discovering what they can do and making a whole in the process. Matteo [Fargion] started with very simple folk songs, which each dancer took and translated into gesture, note by note, soundlessly; and then they tried them together, the same song, the same rigorous grammar, different gestures. And for me this was just what the collaborators were trying to do: each of us talked about our own discipline, but finding that the more exactly we tried to do it, the more we drew together with the others’ (Susan Hitch, programme note, 2006).



‘Siobhan Davies has long been trying to re-create in performance the intimate conditions of a rehearsal. She wants to give her audience close up views of her performers’ most delicate and subtle movements, to share with them the myriad acts of coordination that go in to a simple phrase of choreography’ (Judith Mackrell, The Guardian, 4 May 2006).



‘...this hour-long rumination is taut with evocative incident, glinting with life. It is full of Davies’ hallmarks, playing with ideas about generic everyday movement...It explores the gamut of human emotions in duets about weightlessness and weightedness, pro–action and passivity. One duet partner is comatose, slumped against the man as he props up her limbs. Another, tender and athletic, floats almost ballet-like in arching lifts. That I could almost hear the dancers' bones clicking, catch every nuance, almost feel their breath made the whole thing more personal’ (Jenny Gilbert, Independent on Sunday, 7 May 2006).



‘No curtains separated us from the dancers or hid them from sight. No make up altered their natural expressions; no narrative imposed a predetermined meaning to their movement. Instead we saw eight men and women interact – walk – run – fall – lift and mirror one another – in an open space’ (Barbara Newman, Country Life, 11 May 2006).



‘Each of her contemporaries, seeing movement from a different perspective, influenced the genesis and growth of the piece by bringing observation, energy and humour to the rehearsal process’ (Deborah Saxon, 2009).

Dance Work

  • Series Title: In Plain Clothes
  • Title: Dance Work
  • Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
  • Dancers: Tammy Arjona
  • Music: Matteo Fargion
  • Designer: Sam Collins
  • Design - comments: Credit in original programme should read Video Installation and Design
  • Lighting Design: Adrian Plaut
  • Lighting design - comments: Credited in original programme as Lighting Designer (Tour)
  • Costume Designer - comments: Sandra Bamminger, House of Boing credited in original programme as Clothing Design
  • Production Manager: Sam Collins
  • Contributors: Susan Hitch, Dan Pearson, Francis Wells, Sarah Wigglesworth
  • Contributors - comments: Susan Hitch: linguist and broadcaster, Dan Pearson: landscape designer, Francis Wells: heart surgeon and Leonardo scholar, Sarah Wigglesworth: architect and environmental designer. See programme notes for observations of the creative process by Susan Hitch and Francis Wells.
  • SDDO Creator: Paul Allender and Ross Varney
  • Summary: In Plain Clothes was the first piece to be performed at Siobhan Davies Studios. Both Davies and the dancers wanted to mark the studio, to begin to fill it, not only through the activities of rehearsals but also with the sediment or memory of conversations and ideas that help to make a new work. Several professionals from other fields outside of dance watched some of the rehearsals and talked about their own work with the company. Some of these conversations triggered the foundation phrases of the piece. Some of these professionals also gave a talk before selected performances. A hinged pair, the performance and the talk sat side by side, related but not explaining each other.
  • Analysis: As part of the process of compiling this archive Coventry University and Siobhan Davies Dance have researched and prototyped new presentations of the digital objects for two works, Bird Song and In Plain Clothes. These presentations, or Kitchens, bring together objects or 'ingredients' organised according to their role in the making or the 'cooking' of a work. As an object in itself, the Kitchen lays out the digital resources in an alternative way. Click here to access the Kitchen. ‘Watching the dancers was crucial to the collaborators’ sense of what we were doing: every dancer is physically different, differently made, differently expressive. Traditional disciplines of dance often make uniformity by restriction: a dancer may only make this gesture in one way, beautifully defined and exactly prescribed by history. But the Siobhan Davies dancers work individually on a common project, each discovering what they can do and making a whole in the process. Matteo [Fargion] started with very simple folk songs, which each dancer took and translated into gesture, note by note, soundlessly; and then they tried them together, the same song, the same rigorous grammar, different gestures. And for me this was just what the collaborators were trying to do: each of us talked about our own discipline, but finding that the more exactly we tried to do it, the more we drew together with the others’ (Susan Hitch, programme note, 2006). ‘Siobhan Davies has long been trying to re-create in performance the intimate conditions of a rehearsal. She wants to give her audience close up views of her performers’ most delicate and subtle movements, to share with them the myriad acts of coordination that go in to a simple phrase of choreography’ (Judith Mackrell, The Guardian, 4 May 2006). ‘...this hour-long rumination is taut with evocative incident, glinting with life. It is full of Davies’ hallmarks, playing with ideas about generic everyday movement...It explores the gamut of human emotions in duets about weightlessness and weightedness, pro–action and passivity. One duet partner is comatose, slumped against the man as he props up her limbs. Another, tender and athletic, floats almost ballet-like in arching lifts. That I could almost hear the dancers' bones clicking, catch every nuance, almost feel their breath made the whole thing more personal’ (Jenny Gilbert, Independent on Sunday, 7 May 2006). ‘No curtains separated us from the dancers or hid them from sight. No make up altered their natural expressions; no narrative imposed a predetermined meaning to their movement. Instead we saw eight men and women interact – walk – run – fall – lift and mirror one another – in an open space’ (Barbara Newman, Country Life, 11 May 2006). ‘Each of her contemporaries, seeing movement from a different perspective, influenced the genesis and growth of the piece by bringing observation, energy and humour to the rehearsal process’ (Deborah Saxon, 2009).
  • Publisher: SDDO
  • Production Date - original: 2006
  • Production Date - SDDO: 2008-04-02
  • Media type: Profile
  • Source: SDDO
  • Relation: Profile
  • Word Count: 0
  • Tour: 02/05/06 - 18/05/06 - Siobhan Davies Studios, London 22/05/06 - 24/05/06 - Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton 08/06/06 - 10/06/06 - Dance City, Newcastle 14/06/06 - 17/06/06 - Dance House Wales, Millennium Centre, Cardif 2006 - Edinburgh 2006 - Chicago 2006 - Dartington 2006 - Derby 2006 - Bristol 2006 - Bath 15/09/06 - 16/09/06 - Cambridge Arts Theatre (double-bill with Angika Dance Company) 05/10/06 - 06/10/06 - Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, USA 07/10/06 - Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, USA 13/10/06 - City Moves, Aberdeen 21/10/06 - Merlin Theatre, Frome 01/11/06 - 03/11/06 - DanceXchange, Birmingham
  • Web Links: www.siobhandavies.com/thekitchen/inplainclothes/
  • Subscription - only: Public
  • Permanenent URL: http://siobhandaviesarchive.com/record/16