Birdsong: Choreographed by Siobhan Davies

Topics: Dance, Choreography, Music Pages: 6 (1149 words) Published: February 6, 2012
Birdsong (2004)
Choreographed by Siobhan Davies

Contextual Information/ Key Details:
 Choreographer Siobhan Davies
 Movement MaterialSiobhan Davies and Company Dancers

 Sound Score and DesignAndy Pink
 Visual ArtistDavid Ward
 Production DesignSam Collins
 Lighting DesignAdrian Plaut
 Costume DesignGenevieve Bennett

 Dancers8  5 Female and 3 Male
 Type of StageIn the round

World PremierNorthern Ireland April 2004
 London PremierOctober 2004

A pebble effect, starting from the middle and moving out. The central Bird Song Solo was the first section choreographed and then it mirrors as it grows (except no second diagonal)

The Order of Bird Song

Infinite Monkeys

Four Corners 1


Snake 1

Muybridge 1

Gill Clarke Solo 1

Four Musical Lines 1

Improvisation 1

Bird Song Central Solo

Improvisation 2

Four Musical Lines 2

Gill Clarke Solo 2

Muybridge 2

Snake 2

Four Corners 2

Ending – Final Solo

You will be studying the sections ‘Bird Song Central Solo’ through to ‘Ending’.


Pedestrian movements/ gestures; isolations of joints; idiosyncratic action linked to particular dancers

Action has a focus on the body; initiated form the joints or around the joints; drawing attention to the anatomy, body surfaces and body parts

Proximity and distance (near and far) to the audience and to other dancers

Small detailed action and larger more extended movement

A multi-centred, Cunninghamesque approach to facings and directions

Unprojected intimacy, task-like presentation and more expansive focus

Confined and expansive; complex pathways – linear and curved

Slow motion/stillness contrasts with speed

Complex energy flow: fluidly successive or jerkily through and across joints or body surfaces; melting, ricocheting, arresting, recoiling, dispersing, flowing and regenerating

Transitions between movements can be sudden; body parts flicking to a new facing or focus

Contrasting dynamics: relaxed, soft, heavy, gentle, gliding, sharp, driving, playful, buoyant, wriggling, twitching, fluid, rippling

Repetition, recycling, variation, recombination, accumulation

Short phrases grouped together rather than traditional motif development

Line ups; leading/following; grid-like square patterns, circles

Canon, unison, contrast, complementing

Action broken in successive stages across several dancers – from freeze-frame, stop motion photography

The second half repeats the structural relationships of the first in reverse – sections balance each other out in the different halves; Henry Montes’s solo is at the core

Reviews of Bird Song:
1) Bird Song is more frenetic, fascinating and long than most of Davies previous pieces. Enhanced by a twitchy, avian style of movement, the dancers’ impressive discipline, meticulous choreography, this piece conveys the ethos of abstract beauty rather than sensuality. The music: a jazzy electronic collage based on the Pied Butcher bird, is very reminiscent of a flock’s skittish behaviour. Video, lighting, music and dance are inextricably interlinked throughout the performance to indicate weather, mood, environment and location.

Dots; like computer ticker tape or old fashioned computer punch cards, dance in the wind of change and their partners resist until they can do so no longer and are forced into a line. Under a bridge, dancers twitch or wobble like birds waking at dawn, others join in until the flock is awake, restless and ready for flight. Poses are held sporadically throughout the piece, each body appearing as a freeze-frame aspect of avian movement. There’s a quiet, meditative solo, recurring duets, the mood and movement mellow a little and at one time a game of ‘Simon Says’. The final duet is a silent and moving...
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