May 2013

On Sunday 5th May I joined a long queue outside Oxford’s New Theatre; lots of little girls, many in pastel princess dresses and net petticoats, with their mothers.  Inside the auditorium much excitement finding seats, fidgeting to get comfy, sweets and fruit drinks, plastic tiara and fluffy glow wand merchandise.  For this was one of a weekend clutch of performances of My First Cinderella, English National Ballet’s latest initiative to catch a new young and family audience.


The Richard Alston Dance Company brings a triple bill to the Oxford Playhouse that shows the typical musicality of its founder’s work. The diversity of the evening’s composers prompts a corresponding diversity in the dance, seen in the opening two pieces, Alston’s own, and the third, that of his associate Martin Lawrance.

Buzzing Round the Hunnisuccle is set to three works by contemporary composer Jo Kondo. There is an austerity, an unemotional quality in them that the dance matches very well. The dancers’ bodies form one shape after another, sculptural, athletic seeming poses with arms widely extended. (more…)

A long standing fixture of the Oxford dance scene, the Yuka Kodama Ballet Group celebrates 10 years of putting on ballet performances this weekend in the theatre of Wychwood School.  This year’s featured works are La Fille Mal Gardée and Shared Dreams with new music by Hiroaki Tokunaga.  The group brings together people of all ages who enjoy dancing classical ballet, studying technique and performing.  Follwing dance study and performing in Japan and now based in Oxford, Yuka Kodama offers a range of classes mainly for adults including pointe work, pas de deux and classes for men, with a strong bias towards the Russian classical tradition. (more…)

Following last year’s Perpetua,  Cantata Dramatica are once again presenting work at Christ Church Cathedral.  Christ Church Cathedral Choir led by Stephen Darlington join forces with Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance to present Missa Aedes Christi, a new work by composer Francis Grier with choreography by Ross McKimThe work will be performed as part of Cathedral services on 16th and 19th June as well as in performance on Friday 21st June. (more…)

The intimacy of the auditorium combined with the technical range of the Old Fire Station theatre make it an excellent venue for the DEC Project. DEC’s unique combination of dance, music and real-time visual art, with significant elements of improvisation, make heavy demands on set-up and technology. In their performance at the Old Fire Station on Friday all three elements of the performance worked together from the audience perspective. The musicians, Malcolm Atkins and Bruno Guastalla, were visible but not imposing on any sight lines, the three artists, Clare Bassett, Kassandra Isaacson and Susan Moxley, were sitting centrally, visible but not within the performance area thus leaving the stage free for the two dancers, Ana Barbour and Susie Crow. (more…)

All Zain wants to do is dance – but his family, two left feet and the local fascists are all getting in the way. As the harsh reality of his jobless home town hits, Zain attempts to escape and turn his life into a showbiz world of fantasy…

From the team behind the 2010 smash hit musical Britain’s Got Bhangra, comes brand new Break the Floorboards;  Bollywood and street dance collide in an electric, feel-good show for all ages, a perfect half term treat at the Oxford Playhouse.


The eleventh in Cafe Reason‘s series of Diamond Night arts evenings, this time curated by Ana Barbour and Paul MacKilligin and featuring live music, voice, dance and film, bringing ‘uncut performance gems’ into the spotlight.

“…with an eye made quiet… we see into the life of things.”
(William Wordsworth)

Cafe Reason is engaged in a continuous process of exploration and experimentation through its classes and through works-in-progress, and has long-term ideas both for live performance and dance for film, as well as responding to opportunities that present themselves along the way. The group is always interested in collaborations with musicians, visual and film artists, or creating site-specific performances in unusual locations. (more…)

Following on from the fantastic success of last year’s event, Dancin’ Oxford will once again take over the grounds of one of Oxford’s oldest sites this summer and bring it alive with dance and music. A large cast of professional and community performers from Oxford and Japan will take you on a journey around, and through, the spaces of Oxford Castle.

Devised and directed by local choreographer Cecilia Macfarlane, site specific work TRA^VERSE: Under Riding, Over Arching, with 150 dancers of all ages performing each night with live musicians, explores the bridges that we make between cultures and between art forms. (more…)

One of the oldest museums in the world, the Ashmolean in Oxford invites Siobhan Davies Dance to present a performance at their May LiveFriday event.  Songbook is a fast and illogical score performed by four dancers stationed in a row behind their music stands. Featuring too many words, sounds and movements, the feat often seems absurd and impossible. It was originally composed by Matteo Fargion for Siobhan Davies Dance’s ROTOR in 2010 and will be performed amongst the museum’s collections as part of an evening curated by Wilderness Festival. (more…)

Two love triangles, one man obsessed with another’s wife, death, murder and endless parties:  what could possibly go wrong?  Northern Ballet’s production of The Great Gatsby shows how difficult it is to construct a narrative ballet.

There was plenty to enjoy: not least the dancers’ vibrant energy, secure balances, zippy turns, sharp footwork and yearning adagio.  There were glorious moments, when Martha Leebolt (Daisy) rippled across the stage in whirling chainés turns, or Tobias Batley (Gatsby) and Giuliano Contadini (Carraway) tossed her into the air so that she flew between them like a bird, her feet beating the air. (more…)

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