- Title: Sphinx
- Date: 10th April 2008
- Summary: Video of performance of the 1995 revival danced by 4D, the postgraduate performance group from the London Contemporary Dance School.
- Work: Performance 2 - 4D
- Choreographer: Siobhan Davies
- Choreographer Comments: Graduate Company of London Contemporary Dance School
- Music: Barrington Pheloung
- Analysis: The Sphinx revival was one of Davies' first ventures into taking a fresh look at earlier choreography, to deliberately recreate, rather than simply reconstruct the choreography. The dancers in 4D, the graduate company of London Contemporary Dance School, were relatively inexperienced compared to those in her own company. They also had a very different technical training and performance/choreographic experience compared to the more mature London Contemporary Dance Theatre (LCDT) dancers of 1977. (Sarah Whatley)
Whilst recognisable as Sphinx, there are many changes in the choreography. Some sections were lost (due to memory loss or to poor video footage), resulting in some new material. A new duet replaces the original lost to the dark lighting state but it shares many of the characteristics of Davies' weight-led partnering work of the mid-1990s. It is danced by a man and a woman but there is little distinction in what they do. There is a low centre of gravity and a yielding of the whole body weight to much of the movement. Leans, supports and different body parts are employed to take weight. This is unlike duet material in the 'original' in which the man frequently used only his arms and upper body strength to support and carry the woman dancer.
The increased use of the floor, the lower elevation, and the more weight-led style, particularly in the use of the upper body, are features of the whole revival. In general terms, the choreography in the revival places greater emphasis on the passage of the movement through the body but the sense of legibility is retained in its economy of movement material, in the use of repetition and straightforward transformation, and in the generous use of pause and stillness, which is even more marked in the revival. The revival is not truly typical of Davies' choreography in the mid-1990s, neither is it a faithful reconstruction of the original.
Davies believes that the film recording of this version is not a good record of the dance. The sound is barely audible and she thinks that the camera, filming from the downstage left corner, makes the dance seem too 'contained', lacking the physical drive that she believes is such an important aspect of the dance. She feels the animal quality and raw energy at the core of the dance is missing.
- Production Date Original: 02/06/1995
- Production Date - SDD: 10th April 2008
- Format - Original: VHS
- Format SDD: .mpeg2
- Duration: 23mins
- Venue: The Place, London
- Tour: 01/06/95 - 02/06/95 - The Place, London