Siobhan Davies said:
“I am tremendously touched and grateful to have been championed by my peers and chosen for a Damehood as part of the 2020 Birthday Honours. I sincerely hope that this moment of recognition also shines a light on the incredible contribution that many independent artists have made, and continue to make, at Siobhan Davies Studios and in so many other contexts and situations across the UK.
I have so enjoyed being part of this art form, that I love and have learnt from. I feel deeply energised to have worked with so many wonderful human beings. Beyond myself as an individual, I hope that this award can play a small part in bringing recognition, stimulus and awareness to an area of dance, which so often doesn’t get acknowledged beyond our community of practitioners and audiences.
So much has changed since I set out nearly 50 years ago, and even since I formed my company in 1988. My conviction in this art form is continually jolted and renewed by the work I see and the artists who choose to make it their own. I also know its values and possibilities – for creating new ways of being together, finding situations to reach different partnerships and audiences, communicating in less predictable but very potent ways and for being conscious of and sharing the intelligence of our physical selves. All this can be hard to share beyond our discipline. It is vital to continue pushing at the edges of how dance and choreography are defined across multiple and diverse practices, and how they are valued beyond their own artistic parameters.
The independent dance community is currently engaged in extremely timely and important dialogue, change, debate and reflection; as it moves towards a more inclusive, honest and engaged understanding of our art form, those that are part of it and the contexts in which it operates. I am not naive about the breadth of work needed but I believe SDS is listening to others, is mindful of and engaged in the development of this new future and I am excited to see the direction the organisation will take with the new Artistic Directors in 2021.
The history and context of these awards are challenging: I believe in non-hierarchical situations and structures – and realising them in all their complexities and fragilities has been central to my work and practice. Yet, I recognise and acknowledge the community of individuals who choose to accept these awards and how important it is for dance to be given recognition. When I received my CBE, the people I stood next to were amazing individuals – unsung heroes with astounding tenacity and skills. Exchanging our stories was a humbling learning process, I will be pleased to be recognised alongside those like them again.
My time at SDS is coming to an end and the threads of friendship and common practice are strong and exciting for me, as I seek to understand where my journey as an artist might go and what having this award might mean. This is a desperate time for so many in this industry but one thing I am clear about, is that I belong to a strong independent dance community that is ambitious, engaged and which I am honoured to have been part of.”
About Siobhan Davies
Siobhan Davies is Artistic Director of Siobhan Davies Dance and a renowned British choreographer who rose to prominence in the 1970s. Davies was a founding member of London Contemporary Dance Theatre and in 1982 joined forces with Richard Alston and Ian Spink to create independent dance company Second Stride, one of the most influential independent companies of the 1980s.
Founding Siobhan Davies Dance in 1988, Davies worked closely with collaborating artists to ensure that their own artistic enquiry is part of the creative process. By 2002 she moved away from the traditional theatre circuit and started making work for gallery spaces. Davies applies choreography across a wide range of creative disciplines including visual arts and film. Her choreographic works have been presented at some of the most prestigious art institutions in the UK and Europe.
In 2006, the RIBA award-winning Siobhan Davies Studios opened in London, designed by architect Sarah Wigglesworth. This marked a permanent change in Davies’ work, transforming a touring dance company into a contemporary arts organisation. Davies has always advocated for choreography and dance to work in and amongst other artistic disciplines and the London based studios are a space of dialogue, investigation and exploration – filled with dance, film and visual art through a regular programme of exhibitions, performances, classes and new commissions from contemporary artists.
In February 2020 Siobahan Davies announced she would be stepping down as Artistic Director of Siobhan Davies Studios. Read more here.
In August, Annie Pui Ling Lok and Kat Bridge were appointed as the new Artistic Directors, they will share the role from April 2021. Read more here.