Dances for Peace and Planet is a collaboration between Oxford dancers, singers and musicians with St Mary & St Nicholas Church Littlemore, programmed by the church’s Musician in Residence Malcolm Atkins. This diverse programme, reflecting concerns of the current times and responding to the church’s beautiful space, will include performances by Nuzhat Abbas, Susie Crow, Helen Edwards, Jenny Parrott, Andy Solway, Lizzy Spight, Ségolène Tarte and Tingting Burnham Yang, as well as MUE, (dancer Macarena Ortuzar and musician Bruno Guastalla).

Performance: Sunday 22nd May 6.00pm

Venue: St Mary & St Nicholas Church, Cowley Road, ​Littlemore, Oxford OX4 4PP

Tickets: Donations on the door

Find out more about the arts at St Mary & St Nicholas Church here

The development of some work in this programme has been supported through the Oxford Dance Forum programme Creative Labs. Find out about Oxford Dance Forum here

‘Kaash’ means ‘if only’ in Hindi, and Kaash (Revival) begins ambiguously, blurring the boundary between performers and audience.  A dancer stands upstage right, broad shouldered and narrow waisted like an archaic statue, his back to the hubbub of the fully-lit auditorium as people settle into their seats.  His intense stillness, followed by a sudden blackout before a thunderous outburst of sound, light and movement is a magnificent piece of theatre, but Kaash (Revival), which forms part of the Southbank’s delayed celebration of Ravi Shankar’s 100th birthday, is far more than a dramatic entertainment.

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“Let me begin again.” Ocean Vuong

Dam Van Huynh draws upon the words of writers, poets, activists as an awakening to his displaced experience as a child refugee from the Vietnam war. Moving from a state of disorientation into a state of consciousness, Re:birth retraces a personal experience of rediscovery. The performance unravels a recollection of visual impressions and sensations, a memory book whose pictures and stories long forgotten begin to resurface, a distortion between memories and dreams. Movement responds to a field of light, sound and voice to illude the senses.

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Dam Van Huynh was Winner of the Asian Arts Award for Best Directing 2018 for DEP:

“Throughout ĐẸP, I am on the edge of my seat.” – The Guardian

★★★★ – The Observer on DEP

“Van Huynh is in his own very stylised world, and has perfected the art of drawing an audience into it.” – CriticalDance Forum

“A powerful work with a terrible beauty all of its own.” ★★★★ Seeing Dance on DEP

Date: Wednesday 20th April, 7.30pm

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

Tickets: Standard: £13 | Pay more: £15 | Pay less: £11 Book online here

Ages: 12 years +

Content warning: Please note, this work contains nudity.

Find out more about Van Huynh Company here

The final event in Dance Scholarship Oxford’s current series Interrogating the Dance ‘Classics’ is a discussion with Dr Arabella Stanger of her new book Dancing on Violent Ground: Utopia as Dispossession in Euro-American Theater Dance. This fascinating and thought-provoking event is free and open to all, but seats are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, so advance booking is essential. It will also be live streamed, and available to watch after the event.

Date: Tuesday 19th April 5.30pm BST

Venue: Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

Booking: To register for this event please email Professor Sue Jones or Marcus Bell

Find out more about DANSOX here

Long established and highly respected Oxford dance makers Cecilia Macfarlane and Joëlle Pappas join together this spring to curate a three day festival of professional, adult community, and youth dance at the Old Fire Station under the title Life Line. The three shows, suitable for audiences of all ages, comprise:

Life Line

This evening of dance with live music is curated by Cecilia Macfarlane and Joëlle Pappas who relish the opportunity to share the passion and deep artistic values that they hold in common. Their careers as dancers, directors, teachers and mentors are rooted in the knowledge that Dance is the key to healthy living and our surviving on this planet.

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”  ― Martha Graham

Thursday 31st March 7.30pm

Venue: Arts at the Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2QA

Book online here

Curious Dancing: DugOut Adult Community Dance

DugOut Community Dance Group present Curious Dancing, an evening of dance created and performed by its members and guests with direction from Cecilia Macfarlane. All the dancers celebrate how powerfully dance can release expression, feed the soul and entertain others. We celebrate difference; the excitement is not in uniformity but unique individuality that can powerfully change lives. Find out more about Dugout here.

Friday 1st April 7.30pm

Venue: Arts at the Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2QA

Book online here

Ripples, Echoes…: Tac-au-Tac Youth Dance and guests

“Look out, now! We’re ready to jump!
Because the rhythm is jumpin’, jump session
Doo wadda doodoo wadda doodoo wat doo wah” ― Slim & Slam

Tac-au-Tac Youth Dance and Joëlle Pappas present two entertaining programmes of contemporary dance.

Ripples of the past, echoes of the present, dance carries us forward…

Saturday 2nd April 4.00pm

Venue: Arts at the Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2QA

Book online here

Richard Chappell’s work Infinite Ways Home opens with five dancers grouped upstage right in a partial darkness that is pieced by beams of light.  On a day when the news was filled with terrible accounts of the citizens of Mariupol sheltering in basements, this felt like a cave, in which people awaited salvation from the world above.

The creative team, led by choreographer Richard Chappell, have drawn on ideas of community and ritual, finding links between the Druids’ ancient connections with the natural landscape and the collective experience of rave culture.  The work follows the arc of a trip, as dancers and audience share an intense multi-sensory experience.  Towards the end, violinist Enyuan Khong comes on stage, raising the intensity of the sound to a level that feels almost unbearable.  At the after-show discussion, led by Miranda Laurence, Chappell described how he had worked remotely with composers Matthew Allmark and Kai Hellstrom (collectively known as Larch) during the first lockdown, as they developed the pulsating electronic score.  Remarkably, the superb lighting design by Joshua Harriette, which felt intrinsic to the production, was created afterwards.

Chappell’s collaborative process fully involves the dancers (he generously acknowledged previous dancers on the programme sheet) and he ran an exciting workshop the following day at the United Reformed Church Hall in Oxford for advanced and professional performers.  His choreography involves strong, supple and sensual movements with full use of the entire body to shift smoothly between upright positions and the floor with energy and dynamism.  Although he has to work with free-lance dancers, they all take company class together and their performance showed a powerful sense of shared purpose and commitment.  Looking around the auditorium, it was clear that Chappell’s work reaches audiences that might not ordinarily attend dance works, and at the end dancers Fay Stoeser, Iris Borras, Edd Arnold, Imogen Alvares, and Theo Arran received wild and enthusiastic applause.

Like Chhaya Collective, which appeared at The Mill Arts Centre Banbury the previous week, Richard Chappell Dance is based in the West Country:  we owe a big ‘thank you’ to the Dancin’ Oxford Festival for helping to bring these companies to Oxfordshire.

Maggie Watson

20th March 2022

On Thursday evening, The Mill Arts Centre presented three dance works for the Dancin’ Oxford 2022 Festival.  First, local dance group The Remarkables raised the curtain with a work created during one of the Chhaya Collective’s ‘Wild Workshops for Women’.  Five mature dancers used rhythmic, grounded movement to tell stories that connected their day-to-day lives with their inner feelings and the joyful experience of discovering and releasing them.  There followed two works on related themes danced by the Chhaya Collective:  Hymnos, for two dancers, and Khaos for six dancers and three musicians.

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Alastair Macaulay delivered the first face-to-face DANSOX lecture of 2022 against a background of loss and tragedy.  The loss was the death of the critic Clement Crisp at the age of 95; the tragedy, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.  Macaulay dedicated his lecture to the memory of the former, and  acknowledged his initial difficulty in speaking to a topic that might have seemed trivial against the background of the latter. 

He then delivered a talk that proved quite the opposite.  Taking inspiration from Arlene Croce’s assertion in 1973 that ‘Swan Lake is not a drama about birds – it’s a drama about freedom’, Macaulay cogently argued that it is a ballet about power and subjugation; bondage and liberation; trust and betrayal, which extends beyond the personal tragedies of Odette and Siegfried into the wider social and political domain.

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Dancin’ Oxford‘s Spring Festival features exciting guest companies, local companies and newly commissioned work as well as a host of participatory activities such as workshops and discussions. Here follows a list of performances, with links to more information and booking details:

Moving With the Times, now in its 11th year, features three new works from exciting emerging companies, co-commissioned by Dancin’ Oxford and Pegasus Theatre. In Excessive Human Collective‘s piece Post Truth Whatever, three female performers create and broadcast propaganda in a fictional world which is eerily similar to our own. Night People Events present The Rave Girl; housed within a colourful visual landscape, the rave girl explores how hype, rave, and expression can collide, creating a complex, yet otherworldly persona that demands to be seen. In light of the horrific murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, Phoebe Tompsett Dance work The Daily Male casts a stark light on the measures that women are forced to take every day simply to remain safe.

Date: Friday 4th & Saturday 5th March 7.30pm

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

Tickets: £13, concessions £10 Book online here

Recommended age: 12 years+

For the Festival Opening Oxford’s Westgate shopping centre will come to life with a series of short shows from national and local companies to make you think, smile and want to dance. Richard Chappell presents Infinite Ways Home – a multisensory production that explores ritual, rave and human connection. Unlock the Chains Collective depicts a community united in grief and anger as it remembers and mourns the lives of those lost at the hands of the state. This outdoor piece is commissioned by Dancin’ Oxford and supported by TORCH. Joli Vyann presents an innovative duet fusing circus, dance and theatre – blurring the boundaries of dance and circus skills. Also performing will be vibrant and talented youth dance troupes from across Oxford including Step2 Dance, Body Politic, TPD Young Artists and Mini Professionals. Join the Zumba party for fun and to learn some moves.

Date: Saturday 5th March 12.00-5.00pm

Location: Leiden Square, Westgate, Queen St, Oxford OX1 1TR

Free, and suitable for all ages

KHAOS & HYMNOS – Chhaya Collective

A double bill of two extraordinary dance pieces about women resisting oppression. In HYMNOS, inspired by the story of Iranian artist Saba Zavarei and her online platform Radio Khiaban,”even the most captured woman guards the place of the wildish self, for she knows intuitively that someday there will be a loophole, an aperture, a chance, and she will hightail it to escape.” In KHAOS live musicians join six contemporary dance artists to revel in the joy, tenderness and the power of wild women.

Date: Thursday 10th March 7.30pm

Venue: The Mill, Spiceball Park, Banbury OX16 5QE

Tickets: £16 Book online here

Recommended age: 13 years+

Body Politic – Them

Directed by Emma-Jane Greig and with choreography by L’atisse Rhoden, THEM flicks through the journal pages of three survivors of sexual violence, exploring the women’s struggles to navigate the trauma and its impact on their mental wellbeing, their loss of self, and finding healing. Inspired by American poet and novelist Kim Addonizio’s poem To The Woman Crying Uncontrollably In The Next Stall, this powerful and gripping display of hip-hop dance draws movement from the stark and vivid imagery of her words.

Date: Friday 11th March 7.30pm

Venue: The North Wall, South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JN

Tickets: £14 (concessions £12, under-25 £10) Book online here

Recommended age: 14 years+

Stay after the show for Talk About Dance, an opportunity to join Body Politic Artistic Director Emma-Jane Greig in conversation with independent dramaturg Miranda Laurence, share your thoughts, ask questions and join the discussion. 8.45-9.30pm, free.

Wriggle Dance Theatre – Squidge

Do you squish or squash, handshake or hug, stretch out or snuggle in like a bug? A truly magical and funny interactive dance show with live music and digital projection, taking a light-hearted look at our sense of touch and how it influences our everyday lives; at its heart a tale of  friendship and compromise. An immersive shared experience to delight children and their grown-ups alike.

Date: Saturday 12th March 11.00am and 2.00pm

Venue: The North Wall, South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JN

Tickets: £8 (concessions £6) Book online here

Running time: 50 minutes Suitable for ages 3-8 years

Watch the Squidge film and participate in a workshop at the Mill Banbury – find out more here

Richard Chappell DanceInfinite Way Home

Critically acclaimed choreographer Richard Chappell presents his most ambitious work to date, a multisensory production that explores ritual, rave and human connection. Using a diverse choreographic language of ballet, contemporary dance and improvisation, Infinite Ways Home looks to redefine our sense of community and home, in a mesmerising feast of colour and pulsating sound. Performed by an ensemble of extraordinary dancers, it features electronic music by award-winning experimental duo Larch, alongside live violin by acclaimed soloist Enyuan Khong.

Date: Monday 14th March 7.30pm

Venue: Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets: £10 – £16.50 Book online here

Duration: 60 minutes Suitable for ages 7 years+

Stay after the show for Talk About Dance, with choreographer Richard Chappell and Miranda Laurence, to share your thoughts, ask questions and join the discussion. 8.45-9.30pm, free.

Botis Seva – BLKDOG

A beautifully brutal commentary on how the youth of today are coping in a world not built for them. Through emotionally charged Hip Hop dance, BLKDOG reveals how self-discovery leads to self-destruction. Through haunting childhood memories and adult life traumas, how do we fight through our vices to find a sense of peace? The music has grown from a long-standing collaboration with Torben Lars Sylvest and words performed by  Far From The Norm and guests. Tom Visser’s lighting brings a dark smog of disillusion, while hooded caps and padded costumes by Ryan Laight echo the protection and comfort of childhood. BLKDOG won an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2019 and in 2021, and has been was nominated for a Black British Theatre Award 2022 for Best Dance Production.

Date: Wednesday 16th & Thursday 17th March 7.30pm

Venue: Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets: £10 – £26 Book online here

Suitable for ages 11 years+

Find a full programme of Festival activities including participatory workshops here

“Last Christmas, a new telescope was sent into space and is now wandering in the dark and mysterious galaxy – is this how we, as artists, feel when we go deep into our consciousness in search of what makes us feel alive?

What happens when five artistic units come together during a global pandemic and are given the time to think and reflect? Witnessing a rise in sickening racial attacks against the global majority, the endless closure of theatres and arts venues, and the widening gap between the “successful” artist and the “starving” artist, what would five live artists of different races and backgrounds do when they gather?

Bitter Moves, Sweet Truths: an evening of continuing is part of an ongoing collaboration between percussionist/multidisciplinary artist Angela Wai-Nok Hui, contemporary art duo Ghost and John, dance/maker/writer Shivaangee Agrawal, and independent dance artist Thomas Page. Together they look at what creative exchange and artist alliance means in a world where the arts are under threat, and how to project a healthier future in the post-pandemic world. This dynamic promenade piece will merge dance with soundscapes & projections, transporting you to a place of calm that strives to build connections through art.

The evening will be a chance to observe, question, challenge, share, reflect, dream, and exchange. So artists, art makers, art lovers, join us at the Old Fire Station Theatre in Oxford as we unpack this mess in the tidiest ways we can!

Date: Thursday 24th February 7.00pm

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

Tickets: Standard: £13 | Pay more: £15 | Pay less: £11 Book online here

Duration: 2.5 hours

Ages: 14+