Another transmission of The Nutcracker offered by Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse for the festive season, this time a live recorded performance by the Bolshoi Ballet from 2014.  Christmas would not be complete without the enchanting tale of young Marie and her nutcracker prince! Danced by the Bolshoi’s principals, Russian ballet master Yuri Grigorovich’s staging of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s fairy tale will transport children and adults alike to a world of magic and wonder for the holiday season.
On Christmas Eve, Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll is transformed into a beautiful prince who takes her on a magical journey. Before they leave, they must confront the Mouse King, whose army is threatening Marie…

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Yuri Grigorovich
Libretto: Yuri Grigorovich (after E. T. A. Hoffmann and Marius Petipa)

Cast: Denis Rodkin (the Nutcracker Prince), Anna Nikulina (Marie), Andrei Merkuriev (Drosselmeyer), Vitaly Biktimirov (the Mouse King) and the Bolshoi Corps De Ballet

Date:  Sunday 18th December, 3.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Book online here or call 0871 902 5736

A traditional Christmas treat in live transmission at Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse.  The Royal Ballet‘s glorious production of The Nutcracker, created by Peter Wright in 1984, is the production par excellence of an all-time ballet favourite. It is Christmas Eve and Drosselmeyer the magician sweeps young Clara away on a fantasy adventure in which time is suspended, the family livingroom becomes a great battlefield, and a magical journey takes them through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker score was commissioned by the director of the Russian Imperial Theatres, following the resounding success of The Sleeping Beauty in 1890. Marius Petipa created the scenario, which is based on a fairytale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Lev Ivanov provided the choreography. The Nutcracker was first performed in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. It initially had a poor reception, but its combination of enchanting choreography and unforgettable music has since made it one of the most loved of all ballets.

In Peter Wright’s classic production for The Royal Ballet, the stage sparkles with theatrical magic – a Christmas tree grows before our eyes, toy soldiers come to life to fight the villainous Mouse King and Clara and the Nutcracker are whisked off to the Kingdom of Sweets on a golden sleigh. Tchaikovsky’s score contains some of ballet’s best-known melodies, from the flurrying Waltz of the Snowflakes to the dream-like Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – all brilliantly set in Wright’s choreography. Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs draw upon 19th-century images of Christmas, making this magical production perfect for the festive season.

Date:  Thursday 8th December 7.15pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Book online here or call 0871 902 5736

This transmission will be repeated on Monday 12th December at 12.00, book online here

This is ‘not a conventional autobiography’ but it is a fascinating and inspiring account of 75 years of work in dance and theatre. Immensely humorous, Wright seems to have known almost everybody in the ballet world, and he conjures up vivid images of dips in the freezing January sea with Henry Danton at Eastbourne in the 1940s, Princess Margaret backstage at the Birmingham Hippodrome holding her breath to avoid the whiff from the gents’ loo, or of Michael Somes who could be ‘very difficult’, ‘particularly at full moon’.

For those of us outside the professional ballet world, the book sometimes ‘joins the dots’, and fills the gaps that other, more discreet, accounts have left in obscurity. I imagine that Wright’s colleagues and acquaintances will have looked for their names in the index with some trepidation, for he is almost as frank about the living as he is about the dead. (more…)

Kally Lloyd-Jones’ Lady Macbeth: unsex me here is a riveting exploration of the psychology of Lady Macbeth, which both moves and shocks, exposing the vulnerabilities that lie beneath the face of evil. The work opens with three men, seated at their dressing tables, one behind the other across the back of the stage, preparing their makeup. A long white nightgown hangs beside each mirror, and we know that they are transforming themselves from man to woman. As in Nijinsky’s Last Jump (shown at The North Wall in May this year) Lloyd-Jones blurs the line between preparation and performance and uses simultaneous portrayal of the same character by different performers to illuminate hidden layers of her subject’s personality. (more…)

The Royal Ballet presents a major revival of a work by Kenneth MacMillan in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of his death next year.  An identity in crisis, a country in revolution;  Anastasia is a ballet about one of the great historical mysteries of the 20th century, only recently solved. At the height of the Russian Revolution the royal family were executed, but afterwards a young woman appeared – apparently a surviving royal princess, the Grand Duchess Anastasia. Known as ‘Anna Anderson’, she couldn’t remember her past and she was presumed to be an imposter. Many wanted to forget the massacre and the Revolution; many believed, or hoped, that a princess could have survived, a remnant of the old world.  Originally a one-act ballet made for the Deutsche Oper Ballet in Berlin, one of Kenneth MacMillan’s first creations on becoming Director of The Royal Ballet in 1970 was to expand his expressionist Anastasia into a full evening work.  Anastasia is a dramatic and haunting exploration of Anna’s nightmare of memory and identity.  To music by Tchaikovsky and Martinů, we follow the events leading to the murder of a family, and Anna’s confused dreams – or memories. A powerful, psychological challenge for the principal ballerina, this is a rare opportunity to see a landmark ballet by a major choreographer, here at the Phoenix Picturehouse in live transmission from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Date:  Wednesday 2nd November 7.15pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picture House, 57 Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  £22 adults, £17.50 retired or student, £10 child (reduced rates for members and family ticket also available)

Book online here or by phone: 0871 902 5736

Following the success last year of Nijinsky’s Last Jump Company Chordelia return to The North Wall for the only performance of their new dance theatre show south of the border.  Lady Macbeth: unsex me here is an exciting and unique piece of dance theatre is created and directed by award winning company Artistic Director Kally Lloyd-Jones and presented in co-production with Solar Bear.

Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and programmed here as part of Shakespeare Oxford 2016 celebrations, Lady Macbeth: unsex me here explores one of Shakespeare’s most complex women. Ambition, power, guilt, remorse, loss, death. Paralleling Shakespeare’s time, a cast of three male dancers all play Lady Macbeth, exploring the relationship between masculinity and femininity.  Using Shakespeare’s language as the source, British Sign Language is used to create choreography, producing a piece of visceral dance & movement theatre which will reach D/deaf and hearing audiences alike, in different ways.

Kally Lloyd-Jones said, ‘Lady Macbeth is a fascinating character but her story recedes into the background in Shakespeare’s play and I wanted to shine a light on it, colour it in, bring it to the fore. I am sure many people, like me, find themselves fascinated by the BSL interpreters at performances. It is a visual, movement language and I have wanted to explore how that might become a foundation for choreography. I was thrilled when Gerry Ramage, Artistic Director of Solar Bear, loved the idea so much that the company became our invaluable co-producers.  Using Shakespeare’s text as a starting point enabled a process that is part BSL-based choreography, part dance and part physical theatre, as universal visual languages.’

Gerry Ramage, Artistic Director Solar Bear said, ‘Solar Bear is delighted to be working Company Chordelia on Lady Macbeth: unsex me here. This ground-breaking new work, which explores how British Sign Language may be interwoven into the physical language of the piece, continues our journey towards enriching the theatre going experience for D/deaf and hearing audiences alike. It is a stunning, powerful and very moving piece of dance and theatre and we are proud to be associated with it.’

Date:  Wednesday 26th October, 8.00pm

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

Tickets:  £16, £13 concessions

Book online here or by telephone: 01865 319450

You can find more information about Company Chordelia here

Read Maggie Watson’s review of Company Chordelia’s previous performance at The North Wall of  Nijinsky’s Last Jump here

Due to unforseen events this event has had to be cancelled.  It is hoped that it can be rescheduled for 2017.  Oxford Dance Writers will keep you posted…

Pichet Klunchun is an award winning contemporary choreographer who tells stories through the evolving body movement of Thai dance.  PinDrop director Sebastian Reynolds met Pichet Klunchun in Bangkok in May 2016 during an Arts Council England/British Council funded research trip. The duo have been collaborating together with Neon Dance Company for the past week at DanceXchange, Birmingham developing ideas for a contemporary Dance Drama inspired by the classical Indian epic Mahajanaka; part of the Jatakas mythology.

This is a unique opportunity to learn more about Pichet’s background and current practice. The 30-minute talk will be followed by a Q&A.

Date:  Monday 17th October, 6.30-7.30pm

Venue: the Judges Room, Oxford Town Hall, St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1BX.

Free admission

Project supported by Arts Council England, British Council, University of SOAS, Oxford Dance Forum and DanceXchange Birmingham.

For more information contact Adrienne Hart at NEON DANCE:
neondance.org | +44 (0) 7947 221 531