Recovering and Reanimating ‘Lost’ Traces: The Digital Archiving of the Rehearsal Process in Siobhan Davies RePlay

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    Siobhan Davies RePlay provides open access to a significant collection of performances, photographs, and text-based materials, and includes a large number of rehearsal tapes that offer a unique insight to the dance making process. Following the development of simple capture technologies, Davies’ dancers have recorded and reviewed their own movement experiments or ‘scratches’. These previously private memory objects enter the public domain via the archive. Though raw and unedited captures they become traces of an intelligent process that is rarely available for public scrutiny. When made available alongside films and other documents relating to performances, these scratches offer a unique insight to the choices made by the artists; what is left out and what is featured. It might be argued that these scratches accrue cultural capital through their inclusion in the archive, and when distributed online. This article examines the extent to which the tapes generate new readings of dance, transmit new knowledge, create new kinds of tools for reconstruction and/or prompt a reconsideration of the relationship between dancer, choreographer and audience to re-conceptualise the dance-making process. It will be argued that the tapes broaden expectations of what is traditionally held within an archive, revealing the rich potential for dance archives to enhance and enrich our understanding of dance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)144-156
    JournalDance Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

    Bibliographical note

    The article has been accepted for publication by Edinburgh University Press in
    Dance Research at


    Arts and Humanities Research Council


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