Why host an event which presents dance work focusing on various human rights issues in 2020?  This is a volatile time for many of us in the world, although the concept and ethos of human rights enables us to reflect upon the fact that at any given time human beings are fleeing persecution and seeking to affirm their human rights.  And so, in our turbulent times it is urgent to ask—what is our commitment as artists and human beings to the idea and practice of human rights?

My own introduction to human rights came a long time before I knew what that concept entails.  My political education was on the pro-Palestinian Israeli left, and so I’ve come to learn of human rights from the wrong side of history.  Even when my every day was shielded by walls and checkpoints from events of huge historical consequence occurring sometimes less than a few miles away, I knew well these events are part of my own life. And I realized early on that no one is free until everyone is free, and our human fate is entangled in others and so we have responsibilities towards them. (more…)

What can contemporary dance tell us about human rights? What can hip hop say about equality and human dignity? Join an evening of dance and discussion to find out.  Curated by scholar of dance and political philosophy Dr Dana Mills, this programme at the Old Fire Station is part of Oxford Brookes University’s forthcoming festival Think Human – what does it mean to be human in 2020?.

Dancing Human Rights offers an exciting opportunity to watch live dance that explores the theme of human rights, with powerful performances from respected dance artists Blakely White-McGuire, Eliot Smith and Oxford based emerging group Body Politic Dance; and to celebrate art’s power to challenge the social and political turmoil we face around the world today.

Performance:  Saturday 1st February, 6.00pm

Venue:  Arts at The Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ

Tickets:  The event now is sold out but if you would like to attend, or for more details, please contact Dana on d.mills@brookes.ac.uk

For more information about this programme read the curator’s blog here

John Cranko’s Onegin draws on a Russian verse-novel, but in 1965 Cranko’s first cast was led by the Brazilian Marcia Haydée and the Spanish-American dancer Ray Barra. Yesterday, the Royal Ballet also cast two dancers of South American and Hispanic origin as Onegin and Tatiana: Thiago Soares and Itziar Mendizabal.

From the start, Mendizabal’s sincere and vulnerable Tatiana offers a touching foil to Soares’ dark, proud, and brooding Onegin; it is a clash between her naïveté, and his world-weary sophistication and sense of honour. Preferring to read her novel rather than look at new dresses, Mendizabal’s Tatiana is simply not very interested in the bourgeois society that Onegin scorns. Her mood as she writes to him is romantic and wistful, and when Soares appears in her dream, she seems a little cautious in the high lifts, as if not quite ready fully to abandon herself to passion. On the other hand, when Soares ripped up her letter, her stillness, embodying the mute pain of rejection, made me cry. (more…)

Facing a storm, be it meteorological or manmade, there are various responses, innate, considered or irrational, that people make – do nothing, batten down, evacuate, even chase, watching cloud formations or personal interactions, trying to comprehend the imminent impact. The publicity for The Storm from James Wilton Dance company asked, “In this storm can you find peace?”

Heading to Oxford Playhouse, then, a front of questions loomed. With the unavoidable political and environmental contexts, foremost was what type of storm was this? We were told only to expect seven contemporary dancers “combining acrobatics, break dancing and martial arts to specially composed thundering electro-rock”; what transpired to this viewer was a storm of human dimensions. (more…)

First Look is a preview of new dance works commissioned by Dancin’ Oxford and Pegasus for Moving With The Times, the dance showcase an established part of the annual Dancin’ Oxford Festival.  An exciting chance to see this year’s companies present three incredible works in progress, followed by Q&A with the artists.

Burning House is a high physical contemporary dance piece that explores human mortality from Amy Foskett Dance. “Our bodies and our planet. Ignorance is bliss and we are blissfully ignoring it. Disregarding death and highlighting dangerous immortality…”

In a time of tick boxes, labels and separation Thomas Page Dances Commonality looks at the parts of life that everyone has in common. Through the exploration of shared experiences and feelings this performances paints the possibilities of coming together as one community. Featuring contemporary dance, a unique score, live photography and lots of tape!

Drishti Dance, is a well established performing arts organization producing high quality classical Indian dance works. Choreographed by Anuradha Chaturvedi, the Artistic Director, the work will be a contemporary expression of Kathak dance tradition, in all its exquisite grace and composure, creating a dynamic fusion of movement and rhythm set to the music of Shammi Pithia.

Performance:  Friday 17th January, 7.30pm

Venue:  Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Rd, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets:  Moving With The Times – First Look is a Pay What You Can night.  Book your place(s) online or through the box office in advance and pay on the night – if you enjoy the evening and can pay more than a standard ticket price – please do, if you can’t – pay what you can.  Pegasus can’t take payments online in advance so if you wish to pay any amount by card in advance please call the box office 01865 812 150 and they will process your payment. Otherwise cash or card payments can be made on the night.

The final triple bill Moving With The Times will be at Pegasus 28th & 29th February 2020

There are no age restrictions for this piece and younger audiences are very welcome, but it is likely to be enjoyed most by those aged 11+

With the clock ticking for the world to take action on climate change, Café Reason’s timely and provocative new work offers a creative response to the threats facing our fragile planet. Eloquent dance and eclectic live music express the vulnerability of the earth and our own responsibility for it, past and future.  Tipping Point: Our World in Crisis weaves together surreal physical theatre, vocal improvisation, original video, bizarre costume, and found objects, to shine a slantwise, shifting light on our complex and evolving relationship with the Earth. At once beautiful and disturbing, it presents an absorbing, challenging, and moving audience experience.

Café Reason is an Oxford based experimental performance company specialising in butoh – a radical dance form that originated in post-war Japan. Its work has aways enjoyed a synergy with other disciplines, combining dance with original music, poetry and other texts, installation art, and video. Constantly innovating, the group seeks to extend the boundaries of perception and the interpretation of what it means to be human.

Performances:  Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th January, 7.30pm

Venue:  Al Jaber Auditorium, Corpus Christi College, Merton Street, Oxford, OX1 4JF 

Tickets: £12 book through Eventbrite

Find out more about Café Reason performances and classes here

Richard Alston Dance Company’s Final Edition tour is part of their last season, the 25th no less, before the company sadly ceases to operate in April 2020.  Determined to go out with colours flying the Company has put together an exciting celebration of its unflagging creativity, with new works by Sir Richard Alston and Martin Lawrance, and also key works revived from the Company’s history, a richly diverse mix of dance and music.  Don’t miss their last visit to Oxford’s New Theatre because afterwards they really will be gone!

Final Edition includes: Red Run, set to Heiner Goebbel’s powerful music, evokes a terrain of shadows across which the dancers travel in nomadic clusters. Alston’s new Voices and Light Footsteps, is set to the sensuously expressive music of Monteverdi, genius of the Baroque.  Mazur, a duet to Chopin played live, offers an intense outpouring of longing for the composer’s beloved homeland.  Martin Lawrance’s new dance A Far Cry is set to Elgar’s impassioned Introduction & Allegro, and Isthmus (2006) to the intricate and delicate sounds of Japanese Jo Kondo.

‘The moment it ended I longed to see it again – immediately.’ ★★★★★ Culture Whisper

Performance:  Wednesday 22nd January, 7:30pm

Venue:  The New Theatre, 24-26 George St, Oxford OX1 2AG

Tickets:  From £19.90, book online here or in person at the Box Office

Find further information about Richard Alston Dance Company here