Claire Henderson Davis is a contemporary dancer/choreographer and theologian and author of After the Church: Divine Encounter in a Sexual Age (Canterbury Press). The aim of her residency here at Chester Cathedral is to create new work, engaging with the life of the cathedral and wider community and to facilitate new forms of participation, opening the cathedral up to a wider cross section of people.
You can contact Claire by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She would love to hear from you!
Anima is a contemporary dance interpretation of Marcel Dupré’s Symphonie-Passion, a striking and original piece of organ music. The work is choreographed by Claire with Bettina Carpi, Chester-based dance artist and choreographer. Anima was performed in the cathedral on 10 April 2017 by Claire and Bettina with a company drawn from the cathedral and local community, and students from Chester University Dance Department. Symphonie-Passion is played on the cathedral organ by Philip Rushforth, Director of Music for Chester Cathedral.
Watch Anima here
Claire created Lament, a short piece, which engaged with the David Mach sculptures Golgotha. It was performed on 1 May 2016 by Claire and 16 community performers of all ages.
“To me, the figures on the crosses look like they are hanging from the beams of bombed-out buildings in some war zone scene of devastation” says Henderson Davis. “They speak powerfully of the pain and suffering of so many people throughout the world today.”
Working with this theme of devastation, Claire uses the plainsong version of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, sung by members of Chester Cathedral Choir, which recount the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, to create a stark and simple piece focusing on ordinary moments of relationship in the face of grief and loss.
Take Refuge Under My Shade
For #RefugeeWeek2018, Claire, with Bettina Carpi, presented ‘Take Refuge Under My Shade.’
Take Refuge Under My Shade was a duet which followed the interweaving stories of three pregnant women: a Syrian woman journeying to the UK, a British woman describing her struggle with poverty, and the story of Mary visiting Elizabeth to share her good news. The piece explored themes of loss, endurance and new beginnings through a female lens, not in a linear or literal way but through evoking the inner, emotional journey of the women – piecing together the fragments of lives radically changed. The dance interacted with an original soundtrack by composer Gary Lloyd, recorded at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall by the Scottish Session Orchestra conducted by Adam Robinson.
Take Refuge Under My Shade was presented at Storyhouse, and was accompanied by a series of complementary events at both Chester Cathedral and Storyhouse throughout #RefugeeWeek2018.