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The Choreographic Archive of Siobhan Davies Dance

Title: Dance Work

Work: The Art of Touch

Summary

There were two scores for The Art of Touch; Domenico Scarlatti and a commissioned piece by Matteo Fargion, both written for harpsichord. However, the impetus behind the work came from Francois Couperin who composed a series of pieces to form the hand in preparation for touching the keyboard in order to enable musicians to explore the range and colour of the instrument. Davies proposed this idea to the dancers; the quality and weight of the foot against the surface of the floor, the imprint of the body on the surrounding air and the different dynamics of the sense of touch. The dance is made for seven dancers and is composed of seven clear parts, mirroring the musical structure.
One of Davies' most celebrated and popular works, it won Davies an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance and an Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Production.

Analysis

'Davies’ decision to combine Scarlatti’s pre-existing music with Fargion’s music is somewhat unusual. Although she has always been interested in a range of musical styles, since 1988 and until that point she had only worked with music by contemporary composers. Scarlatti’s music sets a frenetic, frenzied pace at the start and then Fargion’s music, in the latter half, is at a more moderate, gentler pace, peppered with pulsing, shuddering, spasmodic moments, underlining the contrast in sound and texture between the two composers’ music. Besides the music, inspiration for Davies also came from the anatomical ‘stop start’ frames of man moving from the work of the nineteenth century scientist and photographer, Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) who used multiple pictures to record and reveal the movement of people and animals. One structural device that Davies used in shaping the dance is accumulation; the ‘same’ movement is returned to, extended and remade to explore contrasts in dynamic variation and spatial orientation. The exploration of fragmentation and accumulation, as linked ideas in The Art of Touch, reveal how Davies has brought together her primary interest in choreographic structure, which shaped her work prior to 1988, with her fascination with bodily structure, which has continued to inform her work since 1988' (Sarah Whatley, 2002).

Dance Work

  • Series Title: The Art of Touch
  • Title: Dance Work
  • Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
  • Dancers: Amanda Britton, Gill Clarke, Sean Feldman, David Hughes, Jeremy James, John Kilroy, Paul Old, Catherine Quinn, Deborah Saxon
  • Music: Matteo Fargion, Domenico Scarlatti
  • Music - comments: Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) five keyboard sonatas: K141 in D minor, K87 in B minor, K122 in D major, K18 in D minor, K204a in F minor/major. Performed by Pierre Hantai on Astree Records; Matteo Fargion: Sette Canzoni, commissioned by Siobhan Davies Dance Company
  • Composer: Domenico Scarlatti, Matteo Fargion
  • Musicians: Carole Cerasi (harpsichord)
  • Designer: David Buckland
  • Design - comments: Credited in original programme as Set Design
  • Lighting Design: Ian Beswick
  • Sound Engineer: Ron Thomson
  • Costume Maker: Sasha Keir
  • Film Director: Ross MacGibbon
  • Editor: Ross MacGibbon
  • Contributors: Gavin O'Curry
  • Contributors - comments: Steel Construction NB for 1997 tour: Metalwork by Dovetail Specialist Scenery Set painted by Liz Reed
  • Other TV/Film/Radio Credits: Cameras: David Gopsill, Steve Hall, Paul Jenkins; Executive Producer: Bob Lockyer Producer: Stephany Marks
  • Other TV/Film/Radio Credits - comments: BBC Production for Dance Night, broadcast on BBC2, 28/12/98
  • SDDO Creator: Paul Allender and Ross Varney
  • Summary: There were two scores for The Art of Touch; Domenico Scarlatti and a commissioned piece by Matteo Fargion, both written for harpsichord. However, the impetus behind the work came from Francois Couperin who composed a series of pieces to form the hand in preparation for touching the keyboard in order to enable musicians to explore the range and colour of the instrument. Davies proposed this idea to the dancers; the quality and weight of the foot against the surface of the floor, the imprint of the body on the surrounding air and the different dynamics of the sense of touch. The dance is made for seven dancers and is composed of seven clear parts, mirroring the musical structure.
    One of Davies' most celebrated and popular works, it won Davies an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance and an Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Production.
  • Analysis: 'Davies’ decision to combine Scarlatti’s pre-existing music with Fargion’s music is somewhat unusual. Although she has always been interested in a range of musical styles, since 1988 and until that point she had only worked with music by contemporary composers. Scarlatti’s music sets a frenetic, frenzied pace at the start and then Fargion’s music, in the latter half, is at a more moderate, gentler pace, peppered with pulsing, shuddering, spasmodic moments, underlining the contrast in sound and texture between the two composers’ music. Besides the music, inspiration for Davies also came from the anatomical ‘stop start’ frames of man moving from the work of the nineteenth century scientist and photographer, Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) who used multiple pictures to record and reveal the movement of people and animals. One structural device that Davies used in shaping the dance is accumulation; the ‘same’ movement is returned to, extended and remade to explore contrasts in dynamic variation and spatial orientation. The exploration of fragmentation and accumulation, as linked ideas in The Art of Touch, reveal how Davies has brought together her primary interest in choreographic structure, which shaped her work prior to 1988, with her fascination with bodily structure, which has continued to inform her work since 1988' (Sarah Whatley, 2002).
  • Publisher: SDDO
  • Production Date - original: 1995
  • Production Date - SDDO: 2008-04-03
  • Media type: Profile
  • Source: SDDO
  • Relation: Profile
  • Word Count: 0
  • Tour: with Wild Translations: 06/10/95 - 07/10/95 - The Dancehouse, Manchester 09/10/95 - Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch 12/10/95 - Wyvern Theatre, Swindon 17/10/95 - Edinburgh Festival Theatre 20/10/95 - 21/10/95 - Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury 25/10/95 - 26/10/95 - Sadler's Wells, London with Trespass: 10/05/96 - 11/05/96 - Grand Theatre, Blackpool 20/05/96 - 21/05/96 - Mercury Theatre, Colchester 31/05/96 - 01/06/96 - Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne 04/06/96 - 05/06/96 - Crucible Theatre, Sheffield with Bank & White Man Sleeps: 09/10/97 - 10/10/97 - Repertory Theatre, Birmingham 17/10/97 - 18/10/97 - RNCM, Manchester 24/10/97 - Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon 28/10/97 - 30/10/97 - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 04/11/97 - 09/11/97 - Joyce Theater, New York City, USA revival with Rambert spring tour 2010: 03/02/10 - 06/02/10 - Theatre Royal, Brighton 11/02/10 - 13/02/10 - Theatre Royal, Glasgow 17/02/10 - 19/02/10 - Edinburgh Festival Theatre 25/02/10 - 27/02/10 - His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen 10/03/10 - 13/03/10 - Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold 21/04/10 - 23/04/10 - Theatre Royal, Newcastle 28/04/10 - 30/04/10 - Lyceum, Sheffield 25/05/10 - 29/05/10 - Sadler's Wells, London
  • Subscription - only: Public
  • Permanenent URL: http://siobhandaviesreplay.com/record/28