February 2013


The Sleeping Beauty is one of my favourite fairy-tales, Disney films, music scores… well, one of my favourite just about anything. For me, the ballet The Sleeping Beauty sums up everything that first delights any newcomer to ballet – young or old, the magic of the story and music has a mesmerising effect, and it rightfully maintains its position as one of the world’s most-loved ballets. I have seen it performed before by a small touring company, and was rather disappointed after a lacklustre production, but the English National Ballet quickly reaffirmed my faith in their performance at Oxford’s  New Theatre. (more…)

Oxford University’s most versatile dance group, The Broad Street Dancers, are preparing to take to the stage on 1st and 2nd of March at the Christian Life Centre (The Regal) for their third annual showcase – InFamous.   The show explores the highs and lows of fame.

The Broad Street Dancers have been active since 2010. They aim to bring together those with dance experience to compete, choreograph and perform. Their specialities include Arabic, ballet, belly, contemporary, highland, hip hop, Jazz, lyrical, salsa and tap dance. Many of the dancers have toured around the world, won state competitions and performed in professional productions. As a group they have performed all over Oxford, at UK university competitions and on Broad Street! (more…)

On Thursday 14 February 2013 Oxford dancer Jane Connelly attended the V-Day Oxford Rising Flashmob at Bonn Square, part of the One Billion Rising movement that happened globally that day.  She writes:

So how did I get there? An article in The Guardian mentioned One Billion Rising; I looked up the website and the Flashmob instructions by Debbie Allen (choreographer from the Fame movie and TV series; “cos fame costs and this is where you start paying!”). I agreed with the concept of using dance as a weapon against rape and violence; I was hooked and knew that I wanted to be part of this! I responded to the email call to find local organisers, and that led to Oxford Rising in Bonn Square at 1.30pm on Valentine’s Day. (more…)

I was thrilled by Dame Monica Mason’s talk at St Hilda’s College on Wednesday and the brief extracts of archive footage of her in performance. I saw her as the Chosen Maiden in the 1982 revival at the Royal Opera House, and I remember the excitement of the occasion, and Kenneth MacMillan coming on stage at the end. Unthinking and ignorant, I had no idea at the time that she had created the role for MacMillan, or of the vital connections between her generation of dancers and the Ballets Russes. Her anecdotes about Lydia Sokolova (who shut her eyes at the first night and “danced her own version”) and Marie Rambert’s sometimes embarrassing enthusiasm were both touching and hilarious, and there was a wonderful moment when she stepped forward to demonstrate what it was like to respond to MacMillan’s suggestions as he choreographed in the studio. (more…)

The English National Ballet Company under the artistic direction of Tamara Rojo arrived in Oxford for five days of performances at The New Theatre. Its offering was Kenneth MacMillan’s re-imagining of the great master Marius Petipa’s choreography for The Sleeping Beauty. In so many important ways the 22nd February performance I saw did not disappoint: the technical prowess of not only the principle dancers, but the well-trained corps de ballet was impressive; the Nicholas Georgiadis costumes were crisp and sumptuous; and the Tchaikovsky score paced at a galloping speed while not missing the moments of winsome beauty in waltz sequences and delicacy in moments of syncopated choreography.  But there are some caveats as well as some moments of special enjoyment. (more…)

The ultimate ballet film returns to the big screen digitally restored, having been championed by Martin Scorsese, for whom it was a great inspiration after he saw it as a child.  Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s sinister fairy tale, THE RED SHOES fuses glamour, back stage detail and stunning dance sequences into an audacious, intoxicating melodrama about the competing claims of life and art.

Introducing the young Scottish ballerina Moira Shearer whose flaming red hair becomes a dominant visual motif, and featuring legendary dancers and choreographers in performance, THE RED SHOES survived damning reviews and producer betrayal to take its place as a milestone in film history, profoundly shaping public perceptions of ballet.  Possibly Technicolor’s finest hour…

Showing in conjunction with the University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education course, ‘Adaptation: From Page to Screen’, and introduced by course tutor Kiri Walden. (more…)

Dancin’ Oxford, 1 – 11 March 2013, has 6 fabulous free street dance events in addition to an exciting array of performances in the city’s venues. Participants are professional and amateur, choreographers and dancers mostly from Oxfordshire though with some notable exceptions. (more…)

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