May 2014


Oxford’s popular and long established intergenerational and inclusive adult community dance group DugOut takes the world apart and puts it back together in new and unexpected ways.  Under the artistic direction of Cecilia Macfarlane the group’s latest show D-Constructed presents a series of playful and puzzling pieces exploring how we create meaning for and craft our own identities.  Inspired by Masterchef as much as by post-modernism, the pared back movements are choreographed and re-assembled in new combinations showing the construction of dance as well as the way the dancers and we observers interpret and make sense of others’ stories.  The group’s performance at Pegasus Theatre on 5th June will be followed by a chance for everyone to dance, with a set from DJ El Dorado (aka Euton Daley).

Performance: Thursday 5th June 7.30pm

Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Street, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets:  £7.50, £5 concessions, £4 under 18s

Box Office:  01865 812150 or book online here

Find out more about DugOut’s activities here

The annual opportunity for local Oxford adult ballet dancers working with long established teacher Yuka Kodama to show off what they can do.  This year’s chosen reinterpretation of a classic work is the perennial lighthearted favourite Coppelia.

Performances: Friday 30th May 7.30pm, Saturday 31st May 2.00pm & 6.30pm

Wychwood School, 74 Banbury Road, OX2 6JR

Tickets: £11-00 /£8-00  available from Yuka in classes, on the door, or online here

Find out more about Yuka Kodama Ballet Group here

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/216113785265301/

This show followed the theme of time. Lunas Dance Project’s new work Measuring Time started and ended the show, framing works by guest companies in the middle.

Measuring Time: Part 1 and Part 2. The piece began as Ellie Aldegheri moved a stone from a heap at the side of the stage to a new pile beside it; she danced a powerful solo, then joined all the dancers grouped at the back. There were fast sequences of intense movement on, off, around and across the stage, and with big umbrellas and newspapers, including a solo of quiet intensity from Elly Tiburcio. (more…)

It is a very good sign when, at the end of a dance piece, as the audience applauds, you assume only twenty minutes has passed and are surprised to discover it is more like forty. This was my pleasant experience at the end of Two old instruments, a simple, elegant and charming piece, presented by Ballet In Small Spaces, which brings to the fore the fundamental interplay between dancer and musician; an interplay so essentially at the heart of dance as a performance art. (more…)

Lidia Ivanova’s death in a boating ‘accident’ in 1924 remains one of ballet history’s unexplained mysteries, but she did not disappear without trace. Elizabeth Kendall’s meticulously researched book does not solve the puzzle of how or why she died, but she does lift this remarkable dancer out of her shadowy existence as a tragic footnote in her contemporaries’ memoirs and place her centre stage.

A friend and rival of Alexandra Danilova at the Imperial Ballet School, Ivanova had early success of one kind or another both on stage and off. Danilova’s memoir notes that Ivanova was expected to inherit the roles of ballerina Elena Smirnova; Tamara Geva’s that Ivanova was rumoured to be on ‘intimate terms with some shady government official’ and that she was said to be ‘close to all the Communist biggies’. (more…)

Opportunities this week to enjoy the work of Oxford based Amarita Vargas, both as artist and flamenco dancer performing in the Ashmolean Museum’s Magic Night event on 16th May. As part of Oxfordshire ArtWeeks Amarita is opening her studio at Cuckoo Lane, North Leigh, showing abstract work capturing essence and energy flow in the immediacy of the moment.  “Different instruments dance differently; the brush has both a heel and a tip and can apply strong or light pressure. A piece of charcoal can roll, jump, skip or drag along slowly. Reed pen, fingers or crayon – there is always rhythm, pulse and movement which make up the final composition. The drawings must have aliveness and vibration – they must still ‘sing’ once they are completed…” (more…)

The marvellous thing about work evolved between artist performers is that nuances and subtleties can be retained throughout the creative process from conception to execution. The intuitions of a collaborative response are unmediated by the blunt words of explanation: rather they flow in endless synergy between the participants, refined by repetition and honed by the urge to communicate in that special medium which is best known to each.

And this, I suspect, is what lay behind Two old instruments, a collaboration between Jonathan Rees on his old-fashioned gamba and Susie Crow with her experienced body. And the result was frankly extraordinary: in its range, its variety and its sustained exploration – through thirteen movements – of manuscript ideas by Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787). The manuscript fragments are themselves described in the programme as ‘essentially a set of written out improvisations, formally very free in most cases, with no clues in the manuscript as to a “correct” order for the pieces to be played in, or indeed as to the mood of many of them’.

So what did Rees and Crow improvise around another’s improvisations that made them so peculiarly their own? (more…)

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