February 2014


Dance and Academia: Moving the Boundaries is an Oxford-based project which aims to facilitate dialogue between practitioners and academics in any field who have an interest in any aspect of dance or movement. It aims to be a genuinely interdisciplinary platform where intersections between research and practice in dance can be explored.  To chime with this year’s Dancin’ Oxford Festival, Dance and Academia presents Dance Discourse in Merton College in the heart of Oxford University.

How do we approach meaning in text and movement?  Miranda Laurence has convened an interactive afternoon of exploration in movement and thought, where all attendees will be invited to join the discussion, and where the content of the day may take its own course. To guide participants through this process, three guest facilitators will open up conversations, using starting points from text, poetry, and movement tasks to generate debate, pose questions, and provide some tools for our explorations (more…)

Last year Dream Again Dance Company scored a success with  Dull Roots Spring Rain performed to enthusiastic houses.  On Thursday 27th February this Oxford University based group presents their latest work at the O’Reilly Theatre as part of Keble Arts Festival 2014.  Ourselves, by choreographer Emily Romain, explores the push and pull of individuals and groups and is set to beautiful music by Einaudi and Richter. (more…)

Gender:  my initial thoughts were:  are we still talking about this? Isn’t it a bit overdone? I think it’s fair to say that it is a bit passé in academic circles. I for one, definitely overdosed on feminist texts at University, indulging in the likes of Simone De Beauvoir and Judith Butler, who talk about gender as fluid – a social construction which shifts with cultural change. It’s hard to know where to go from there… That said, it is true that there has not been anywhere near as much written about men and masculinity as there has about women and feminism.

Dance is a good place to start when addressing gender. It is a body-based art form which can flirt with boundaries and has an ability to transform bodies in space and time. In dance academia, it was Ramsay Burt’s seminal text The Male Dancer (1995) which really brought questions of masculinity to light, challenging representations of men in twentieth century dance.  With Burt’s text in mind, When Men Dance takes the conversation further, around the world in fact, looking not only at the West but the Middle East and Asia in particular. (more…)

Pina Bausch led dance towards its conceptual frontier.  While some twentieth century choreographers pushed the human body to physical extremes, she extended its psychological, intellectual and emotional range.  Her dancers speak, run, conjure, play party games, and sometimes dance very beautifully, but it is the underlying meaning of her work that drives 1980.

The entire stage, grassed over and decorated with a single toy deer, a piano, spotlights and two rubbish bins is the setting for a series of manic birthday party events, in which adults chant songs and repeat games over and over, slowly mesmerising the audience.  In the second act, it is the scene of a bizarre garden fete, complete with beauty contest.  Nothing is quite as it seems (more…)

A one night visit to the New Theatre by the BalletBoyz provided an opportunity to see the youthful male dance talent that they are nurturing in theTALENT, a double bill of works specially created for them.  Marcella Vigneri took her 10 year old son Ravi; here are their impressions.

Marcella writes:

It has been a wonderful evening of male-only dance performance, an event divided into two new works, Serpent choreographed by Royal Ballet Liam Scarlett and Fallen by Sadlers Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant.  Overall, what really impressed me was the perfect balance between musicality and strength in movement: both works offered an amazing presence of stage with 10 Ballet Boyz dancers (not all with a classical dance training) offering stylised lines, boldly constructed shapes, dynamic lifts and athletic jumps effortlessly performed off each others’ bodies. (more…)

This Friday 14th February is not just Valentine’s Day it is also One Billion Rising day!  The global call for women – and men – to dance to demand an end to violence against women and girls.  Following the success of last year’s event in Oxford, Dana Mills is organising this year’s Flashmob in Gloucester Green, see below for her call out with information about how you can join in this wonderfully positive event and lend your support to this major campaign.  (more…)

When Kevin O’Hare stepped in front of the curtain, I expected bad news, and it was:  Natalia Osipova had mild concussion following “a collision of heads” during the afternoon performance;  Thiago Soares was off too, and  so was Tetractys – the art of fugue.  Cue for groans from the audience, followed by a round of applause from some of the more expensive seats when we were promised a refund of a third of the ticket price, and told that the bars would stay open for longer than usual.  And so the triple bill became a double bill, of Rhapsody and Gloria.  Nevertheless, this was an opportunity for the Royal Ballet to showcase the work of two of the company’s most important directors and to demonstrate an understanding of two very different, yet very English, choreographic styles. (more…)

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