Film Evening: In the Bell's Shadow

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Film Evening: In the Bell's Shadow

In the Bell's ShadowIn the Bell's Shadow 2















Photo credits: Ramona Farrelly

In the Bell’s Shadow                                          

by Joan Davis & Mary Wycherley

In the Bell’s Shadow is the new filmic collaboration between screendance director Mary Wycherley and contemporary dance pioneer Joan Davis. Vivid imagery, heightened by Jürgen Simpson’s striking original score, featuring the Irish Chamber Orchestra, provides audiences with a unique and thought provoking cinematic experience. 

Inspired by ‘Maya Lila’ the multidisciplinary movement practice of Irish choreographer Joan Davis, interactions between body, sound, landscapes and materials speak in place of dialogue. Skin meets stone and soil and the sound of movement itself emerges as a powerful voice.

‘Maya Lila’ is rooted in the practices of Authentic Movement. It also incorporates Body Mind Centering as an inspiration for the movement of conscious and unconscious processes. Seeking to create art out of that which is inherently authentic and immediate, ‘Maya Lila’ encompasses movement, sound, objects and audience participation to create live spontaneous performance events. ‘In the Bell’s Shadow’, through the collaborative filmic direction of Mary Wycherley, reinterprets these elements through a unique filmmaking process for cinema audiences.

Throughout the film, movement remains undefined, each performer finding their path and place in the present moment. In turn the cinematography is acutely responsive to the emerging gestures and rhythms of body in space. This interaction between movement, camera and landscape, shapes a narrative and atmosphere that is patient, yet charged by the unexpected.  Body and symbol are woven through vast and intimate landscapes in a sensuous interplay of humanity and nature.  Poetic turns and abstract narratives intensify as this surreal episodic journey vividly explores cycles of life and decay in a world defined by the senses.



Joan Davis founded Ireland’s first contemporary dance company, Dublin Contemporary Dance Theatre (DCDT) which ran from the late 1970s to 1989. During the 1990s, she studied Body Mind Centering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and Authentic Movement with Janet Adler. In 1996, Joan moved to live at Gorse Hill in Co. Wicklow and opened a small select holistic centre, where Joan also has offered somatic movement training workshops for many years. In 2012, Joan started her ISMETA accredited somatic training programme called ORIGINS, which covers somatic experiences, developmental and psychological movements from pre conception to approximately eighteen months of age.

Since 1999, Davis has also been investigating Authentic Movement practice in performance in a project called Maya Lila. Joan has received Arts Council and Wicklow County Council funding for her research, development and documentation of Maya Lila. In 2007, with Arts Council funding, Joan published the fruits of her documentation in two books, Maya Lila, Bringing Authentic Movement into Performance: The Offering and Maya Lila, Bringing Authentic Movement into Performance: The Process. Since then, the project has developed further, with a Living Willow and Mirror art installation at Gorse Hill and performances at indoor theatre spaces including Dance House, Greystones Gallery, the Mermaid Arts Centre and the Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely, Co. Wicklow. In 2013, Joan and dance filmmaker Mary Wycherley, created a film of the work of Maya Lila called ‘In the Bell’s Shadow’. 

Mary Wycherley is a dance artist whose practice spans choreography, live performance, and Screendance. She has just been announced as Limerick's new dance artist-in-residence. Her engagement with the medium of Screendance has received particular recognition and her films are regularly featured at international dance and film festivals. She has been the recipient of a range of awards including most recently, the 2011/12 European Modul-Dance carte-blanche programme and Arts Council Project funding for The Dance of Making. Her performance and film collaborators include choreographers Mary Nunan, Yoshiko Chuma, composers Jürgen Simpson and Steve McCourt, artists Maria Kerin, David Stalling and Anthony Kelly and photographer Maurice Gunning.

She has an M.A in Contemporary Dance Performance from the University of Limerick and has lectured there at both masters and undergraduate level since 2007. In addition to teaching multi-disciplinary practice she has developed Ireland's first programme of study in the aesthetics and practice of Screendance whilst developing related content in film editing for a wide range of other courses including the Arts practice PhD programme, the MA in Ethnochoreology and the MA Ethnomusicology.

Venue and Booking

7th October 2016 17:00-18:30

The Ellen Terry Building

Jordan Wells

Coventry University



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The event is free to attend but please reserve a seat by emailing

Oct 07

Event Time:
Start time: 17:00
End time: 18:30

Event Location:
Ellen Terry Building Room 101

Event Contact: