March 2013


Last November, Josephine Jewkes’ description of the Boys in Action project in the Dancing Times made interesting reading beside Luke Jennings’ comments in the Observer on the “all-male creative stranglehold” on the Royal Ballet, and his statement:  “It’s a dismaying fact, but no female choreographer has been commissioned to create a ballet on the Covent Garden main stage for more than a decade now.”

When boys are so reluctant to take up dance, particularly ballet, and girls outnumber boys in most ballet classes, why are men so much more successful in gaining recognition as ballet choreographers? (more…)

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From the company behind the magical Underneath the Floorboards, comes this stunning new adaptation of the classic Grimm fairy-tale, Rapunzel by company balletLORENT.  Written by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and choreographed by award-winner Liv Lorent, this enchanting new production combines beautiful movement, stunning costumes and original music.  A family show for all children aged 7 and over, Rapunzel tells the story of the wicked witch who tricks a mother to give up her child and the handsome prince who rescues the girl.  Ten young people from the local community have been chosen to dance on stage alongside the professional cast in the opportunity of a lifetime. (more…)

For an Easter holiday treat why not take the family to see the live screeening of the Royal Ballet in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Phoenix Picturehouse?  Those familiar with Lewis Carroll’s literary menagerie of colourful characters will enjoy the clarity with which Christopher Wheeldon portrays them in dance in this imaginative recent ballet, a feast of colour, music and choreography. (more…)

A UNIQUE ENCOUNTER:
The duet of Macarena Ortuzar and New York based Shahzad Ismaily has played in the USA and Japan since 2000.  They have collaborated with Laurie Anderson, John Zorn and Butoh dance maker Min Tanaka among others. This will be their first European collaboration, an encounter not to be missed and a rare opportunity to see these two exceptional performers together. (more…)

Malcolm Atkins has a long experience of collaborative projects with dancers; his dynamic work with Cafe Reason, Ana Barbour and Susie Crow  to name a few, has helped to shape in Oxford a culture of collaboration where the joint creation of dance and music with all its birthing pains is cherished, and thankfully even preferred by some dancers to the outsourcing of music-as-a-commodity.  This CD is a testimony to a lively contemporary dance scene, confident and brave enough to trust and commission new music.

The fifteen pieces on the album were written and realised in the past couple of years for performances by dancers/choreographers Ségolène Tarte (Triple-Entendre), Anuradha Chaturvedi, and Ana Barbour (My Time, Inertia) as part of the Dancin’ Oxford local dance artists’ platform, Moving with the Times, at the Pegasus Theatre. (more…)

In my opinion the most remarkable of this year’s Dancin’ Oxford festival events, out of those I saw, was Decreasing Infinity, an evening of classical Indian dance and contemporary work at the Pegasus Theatre. First came two pieces for a solo male dancer in the Bharatanatyam dance form of the Tamil Nadu region in South India. It is very energetic and virile, with a lot of stamping, turning, and flexing of the hands. The stamps especially show great power, as if the force of the movement goes right into the ground below the dancer. Legs are held bent at the knee for long periods. The strength held in the thighs seems quite superhuman. In the jumps the dancer’s torso remains at the same height, moving only horizontally. He seems held up by the energy he has taken from the ground, while the legs move from stamp to stamp independently. (more…)

Part biography, part memoire, this very enjoyable book gives an account of the life of a dancer about whom we know relatively little in the UK, and offers a new perspective on the history of classical ballet since the 1920s.

Tatiana Leskova was born in Paris in 1922 of “White Russian” parents.  Chance, talent, war and romance led her to settle in Brazil, where she was instrumental in developing ballet at the Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro.  A pupil of Lubov Egorova in Paris, she missed her opportunity to join the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo because her father thought her too young, but a year later joined the rival company that became de Basil’s Original Ballet Russe. (more…)

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