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Maya Lila


The name “Maya Lila” is taken from the Sanskrit words for illusion and play.

In this context, it refers to a body of group work created and developed by Joan Davis centered around the enquiry of bringing the practice of Authentic Movement into Performance.

Questions which arose are:


  • Was this healing or art, or both?

  • What is the bridge between therapy and art?

  • How can we offer a performance that is a continual process in the present time rather than a product?

  • What is the mover’s responsibility to the witness audience?

  • What is the most appropriate container in which to offer this work?

  • How does authenticity and immediacy get honed and crafted in the moment to become art?

  • What is the interface between the personal and the collective?

  • How can the witness audience be invited to participate in a co-creative process, yet maintain the boundary needed for this to become a work of art?

These questions with no definitive answers gave rise to a process of work that was organic, seeming to have its own unique logic, surprising, unpredictable and not necessarily nameable.


From 1999 – 2013 Joan and her shifting core group systematically worked with all these questions as a research project in Gorse Hill. Performances were offered outdoors in the gardens, on the beach, and in local Arts Centres. This work was a natural outcome and progression of many years’ work exploring dance, movement, body, nature, art, therapy, community and spirituality. The research of Maya Lila has been incorporated into both the work of ORIGINS and ORIGINAL NATURE, A PRACTICE IN PRESENCE.




Funded by The Arts Council



Maya Lila The Offering is a book of Maya Lila Images and an unusual work of art in itself.









The intention is to invite you, the viewer, into an experience of Maya Lila like you were attending a live performance at Gorse Hill with it’s accompanying sound effects, music, and songs. As it does not set out to tell a specific story, you are invited to receive and interpret it according to your own personal stories, in your own unique and authentic way.

A DVD and a CD are included.


The Companion book Maya Lila - Bringing Authentic Movement Into Performance - The Process describes the stages of Development of Maya Lila and includes accounts of people’s experience of the work.


Both are available as a set for €65, post and package €20 and subject to change according to current postal rates.


If you have a PayPal account you can pay directly through this. Please Contact Joan regarding payment.

In 2013 Mary Wycherley, a dance filmmaker based in Limerick, Ireland, was funded to make a film of the work of Maya Lila. This film called In the Bell’s Shadow has been screened nationally and internationally since it premiered in 2015.

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