Sandy Silva was among the first to combine body percussion techniques and contemporary movement with percussive dance – her work stands at the vanguard of contemporary artistry in traditional music and dance. Over the past three decades, Sandy has developed a personal vocabulary of movement and sound based on the percussive dance practices of Hungary, Appalachia, Cape Breton and Andalusia, and the idioms of circus, contemporary dance, and theatre. Silva’s choreography weaves a dialogue between these gestural and rhythmic vocabularies, blending the local and the post-modern in an organic, bodily response to her world. The result is an incredibly dynamic and emotive expression at the crossroads of movement and sound.
My professional life centres on the craft of bodily rhythm-making, from the whisper of a shoe against the floor to blazingly fast body rhythm patterns. In my choreography, I seek to transcend the world of sound and gesture to engage emotionally with cultural form. In 2015, I began working with film maker Marlene Millar which lead to the creation of the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT. I have discovered how film can compliment and work as a partner to percussive dance. Support from previous grants (CALQ and CAC), has enabled me to adapt my choreography for the camera and led to six award-winning short films which are part of a full-length film project.
As a pioneer in the field of body percussion and percussive dance, I am now determined to explore the full potential of the dance/media partnership and to disseminate percussive dance in a medium that does justice to my art form’s precision, subtlety and vigour. My work with film is guided by a desire for artistic innovation as well as for reasons of posterity, as percussive dance is poorly represented on film. Film, as directed by experienced dance for camera artists, offers the opportunity to capture new innovations in body percussion and percussive dance and to share those with a wider audience.