October 2014

Vibrant, colourful and humorous, English National Ballet’s Coppélia is a delightful entertainment. On Tuesday evening Tamara Rojo was a witty and astute Swanilda who was well aware that her fiancé Franz (Yonah Acosta) could not resist chatting up a new girl in town. Michael Coleman’s Dr Coppélius was a doddery and at times almost endearing, old man; a quack scientist whose experiments were fantastic rather than sinister. If he lived today, he would probably be manufacturing phoney diet pills for the naïve and gullible. (more…)

The Breath Festival presents a wealth of displays, performances, tours, talks, events and childern’s activities around breath and breathing which will take place across the University museums in Oxford.  Its facinating programme includes a welcome opportunity to see work by a much respected dance artist resident in Oxfordshire.  The Pneûma Project is a collaboration between visual artist David Ward, musician Sylvia Hallett and movement artist Miranda Tufnell that explores breath in all its aspects.  For the Breath Festival they will share a section from their full length work Pneûma (Greek for wind, breath, spirit, that which is blown or breathed).  Pneûma will create a dialogue between two dancers and two musicians and the stunning display of mammal skeletons that has such a dramatic presence in the museum.  The performance in movement and sound will evoke aspects and stories of breath, amongst the epic procession of mammals, themselves once living, breathing creatures.

Performance:  Saturday 1st November 2014, 4.15-4.45pm

The Great Hall, Museum of Natural History, Parks Rd, Oxford OX1 3PW

Further information about The Breath Festival here

An opportunity to see the legendary Bolshoi Ballet in live transmission of a ballet rarely seen outside Russia coming up on Sunday 26th October at the Phoenix Picturehouse.  The Legend of Love with music by Arif Melikov and designs by Simon Virsaladze is one of Russian master Yuri Grigorovich’s earliest choreographic works, and returns to the Bolshoi stage after a ten-year absence.

The royal apartments of Queen Mekhmene Banu are plunged into mourning – her young sister, Princess Shireen, is dying. The Princess will only be saved if the Queen gives Shireen her beauty. The Queen decides to sacrifice herself, but later regrets her action when she is disfigured and Shireen falls in love with the Queen’s own lover, the painter Ferkhad.  This splendid tale of forbidden love, self-sacrifice, jealousy and suffering explores the conflict between love and duty through its two heroines.  (more…)

Half term is upon us… For those of you with families and young friends, a busy programme of enjoyable dance activities for the holiday period has been organised by Dancin’ OxfordFamily Fun Week, running from Saturday 25th October to Sunday 2nd November, includes something for everyone; from the ever popular Baby Boogie sessions, workshops with dynamic street dance group Body Politic and with inspiring Oxford dancer and teacher Joëlle Pappas, C-12 Dance Theatre in the very entertaining Shhh! and exciting Parkour group Urban Playground both at the Pegasus; even classic dance films Singing in the Rain and Footloose at the Ultimate Picture Palace…
Have a great time!

Download the full programme here

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s triple bill with ballets by Kenneth MacMillan, Gillian Lynne after Robert Helpmann, and David Bintley, is a subtle commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. The approach to the subject is oblique compared with the English National Ballet’s innovative programme Lest We Forget, premiered at the Barbican earlier this year, but it works.

Kenneth MacMillan’s La Fin du Jour evokes the heady days of the years between the wars, the dancers wearing in pastel coloured costumes, their fashionable sportiness reminiscent of some of the later Diaghilev ballets. They are Bright Young Things but they move like puppets on strings in their cream coloured box, from which we glimpse a garden through a door at the back of the stage. The two principal women dancers (Arancha Baselga and Karla Doorbar) morph from swimmers into aviators as their male attendants sweep them through the air, or turn them on point, slowly spinning them like skaters, feet held high behind their heads, weather vanes revolving in the wind. At the end one of them symbolically closes the door to the garden. An idyll is over and war is coming. (more…)

A welcome opportunity to see The Royal Ballet in a ballet which has established itself as one of the great 20th century narrative works.  The Phoenix Picturehouse will be showing a live transmission of  Kenneth MacMillan‘s Manon from the Royal Opera House on Thursday 16th October.

Manon Lescaut is a beautiful young woman who falls prey to the moral corruption of 18th century Paris.  Set to music by Jules Massenet, MacMillan’s ballet brings Manon’s story vividly to life, evoking the brutality and decadence described in the Abbé Prévost’s infamous novel, as well as the feckless character of Manon herself – torn between love for the poet Des Grieux and her desire for money and attention. The cast of complex characters includes the callous Monsieur GM, the swaggering Jailer, Manon’s roguish brother Lescaut and his coquettish Mistress; but at the ballet’s heart are the duets MacMillan created for Manon and Des Grieux, which are among the most emotionally intense and erotically charged ever choreographed. (more…)

Another major guest speaker comes to Oxford for an event convened by DANSOX (Dance Scholarship Oxford) in partnership with The History Society of St Hilda’s College.  Distinguished dance scholar Jane Pritchard, the Curator of Dance at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has been invited to share her vast knowledge and experience in a talk about Archiving Dance.  Not to be missed!

Venue:  Lady Brodie Room, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

Date:  Tuesday 4th November 2014, 6.00-7.00pm

This is a free event to which all are welcome, and will be followed by drinks from 7.00-7.30pm

However seating is limited, so to secure a seat please contact susan.jones@ell.ox.ac.uk

English National Ballet return to the New Theatre Oxford this Autumn with Coppélia, one of the great nineteenth century ballets, here in Ronald Hynd’s production with choreography after Marius Petipa, with colourful designs by Desmond Heeley, and set to Delibes’s irresistibly melodic score performed by English National Ballet’s full orchestra.

Dr Coppélius, the toymaker, has created the lifelike Coppélia doll and wishes for nothing more than to bring her to life. He thinks his dream has finally come true, but he has merely been caught up in Franz and Swanhilda’s lovers’ tiff.  Love triumphs over all in this comedy of mistaken identity and the finale is a breathtaking celebration of the lovers’ marriage.  Coppélia is an enchanting, effervescent family ballet, perfect for young and old alike. (more…)

DANSOX (Dance Scholarship Oxford) and Oxford University’s Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD) have joined forces to present an event of special interest to dance lovers.  Marni Thomas Wood danced as a soloist with the legendary Martha Graham, going on to become a highly respected teacher.   She was Co-founder of UC Berkeley’s dance program in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, and is Director Emerita of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, as well as Reconstruction Coach for the Graham Company.  She will be in conversation about her experience and knowledge of Martha Graham’s work in the lecture theatre at the Ioannou Centre, 66 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LU on Monday 3rd November, 2.15-3.45pm.

A wonderful opportunity to hear this immensely distinguished dance practitioner.  There is no charge for this open event to which everyone is welcome, and no booking required.

You can find out more about APGRD events here or follow them on Twitter @apgrd; and about DANSOX events here