Siobhan Davies Dance Co are at Sadlerís this week with Wild Air, Daviesí first full length piece, playing to a gratifyingly full house. Itís a real pleasure to see work as finely crafted and ordered as this, performed with great assurance by the eight dancers of the company. Iíve not seen a great deal of Davies work - just the appearances with Winsboro Cotton Mill Blues last summer at the Barbican, and the Art of Touch on television. Watching the Art of Touch a few times has been very instructive - it was a well constructed video, and Davies work is so detailed and so carefully constructed that it takes a few viewings to absorb the intricacies.
Wild Air is about an hour and a half including interval: there were some comments that it was slightly too long. I didnít think so: I need the length, and the repetitions to get to grips with the way the dance was constructed. Each of the dancers has their own characteristic phrase or pose, almost their own language, which can look quite different from different angles, or when done solo, or in combination with other dancers. The detail is very fine. I keep wanting to use terms like knitted or woven, because the relations between the dancers seem very tightly constructed. But I donít want to give the idea that itís fussy, because itís never over-detailed. Although it is highly worked, the overall design is grand and architectural. The overall effect is very calm, lucid, and deliberate, aided by the elegant all white costumes and evocative lighting (Sasha Keir and Peter Mumford, respectively).
This particular piece is as much about the pauses between movement as the movement itself, and the score from Kevin Volans includes many pauses where the sound dies away and we are left with the sounds of the dancersí feet or their breathing. At times too the dancers pause as the music continues: what impressed about them was their positive ability to stand still rather than stop dancing. In classical ballet, there are a few dancers who do this really well - Edur, for instance, knows how to stand still, do nothing, and still be a prince. In their way, the SDDC performers are just as impressive: their authority remains even when still.
The dancers are Henry Montes, Matthew Morris, Paul Old, Lauren Potter, Catherine Quinn, Sasha Rubicek, Deborah Saxon and Sarah Warsop. Itís impossible to single out any particular individual for praise, since the work is so collective in nature. Thereís a pleasing harmony about the whole, which must result from the many years of experience in working together and the maturity and confidence of dancers and choreographer.