- Title: Wild Air
- Summary: Wild Air is Davies' first full-length work and another collaboration between Davies and Kevin Volans; a commissioned score for two cellos and two guitars. The set design by David Buckland consisted of large mesh walls. In 2000 Wild Air was awarded the South Bank Show award for dance and the Time Out Dancers of the Year.
- Work: 1999
- Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
- Choreographer Comments: choreographed for Siobhan Davies Dance
Movement material: The company dancers
- Dancer: Henry Montes, Matthew Morris, Paul Old, Lauren Potter, Catherine Quinn, Sasha Roubicek, Deborah Saxon, Sarah Warsop
- Music: Kevin Volans
- Music Comments: Commissioned by Siobhan Davies Dance Company with funds provided by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaion and the Arts Council of England.
By arrangement with Chester Music.
- Musicians: Tony Hinnigan (cello), Sophie Harris (cello), Huw Davies (guitar), David Arrowsmith (guitar)
- Musicians Comments: Tony Hinnigan (cello) & Huw Davies (guitar) perform at Snape Maltings.
- Designer: David Buckland
- Lighting Design: Peter Mumford
- Sound Engineer: Peter Harris, Ron Thompson
- Costume Designer: Sasha Keir
- Production Manager: Ollie Brown
- Analysis: 'Silence, stillness and space have their own qualities, shaped by the sounds and movements that frame them. Just as music reverberates in the silence that follows it, so motion leaves its imprint on stillness, and bodies trail after images in the space they pass through. Absence tugs at the imagination, and memories accumulate in its hollows.
Wild Air is formed around that complementary exchange between presence and absence, the seen and the unseen. Each of the dancers retains a singular human presence, whether moving purposefully across the stage or disclosing a more private inner world. Together they encompass a wide and varied dynamic range, marking out precise paths in solitude or in counterpoint, massed into groups or spread sparsely, overlapping in layers or meshing into intimate ensembles.
As integral as the dancers' presence, and adding their own distinctive undertone are the gaps, pauses and absences between them. Here Davies explores how these emptinesses can echo, amplify, and in their own way become as articulate as the surrounding activity, so that the air around, between and above the dancers eddies with memories, images and currents of human feeling' (Sanjoy Roy, programme note, 1999).
‘If Wild Air is about anything, it seems to be about contrasts of dynamic and texture, about reality and seeming reality, the way solid flesh can charge up the air around it to create an after-image, like a photograph slowly exposed. But to look for concrete meaning is defeating. Better simply to open your eyes and ears to the layers of rich sensation. Kevin Volans’s [sic] score for two guitars and two cellos provides some major clues. At first harsh and ugly, imprisoning the instrument in clumped and dogged chords, it gradually loosens up to free their lyrical nature, with unearthly long cello notes singing their own “wild air” above the rest’ (Jenny Gilbert, The Independent on Sunday, 16 May 1999).
‘Using the natural rhythm of each dancer she [Davies] keeps each personality entirely separate. These shine through the synchronised sections as each of the performers interpret movement slightly differently’ (Moira Leonard, Edinburgh Evening News, 26 May 1999).
‘They [the dancers] weigh up the risks of intimacy (in pas de deux) against the security of the crowd (in ensembles). Some slight hostility is hinted at between the unison women and the individual tentative men. At a late stage this suddenly explodes: the women go on the warpath, thumping their feet dangerously at a man who gets too close to one of them. But the emotions and associations it stirs are one’s own, Davies spells nothing out. The streaming, curling, luscious choreography has a devoted responsiveness to her brilliant dancers’ qualities’ (Ismene Brown, The Daily Telegraph, 5 October 1999).
- Production Date Original: 1999
- Tour: 07/05/99 - 08/05/99 - The Oxford Playhouse, Oxford
11/05/99 - Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe
18/05/99 - 20/05/99 - Brighton Festival, Brighton
25/05/99 - 26/05/99 - Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
28/05/99 - 29/05/99 - Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield
04/06/99 - 05/06/99 - Salisbury Festival, Salisbury
29/09/99 - 02/10/99 - Sadler's Wells, London
07/10/99 - 08/10/99 - Haymarket Theatre, Leicester
12/10/99 - 13/10/99 - Repertory Theatre, Birmingham
22/10/99 - 23/10/99 - Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
29/10/99 - 30/10/99 - Snape Maltings, Snape
04/11/99 - 05/11/99 - Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham