February 2015

This beautiful book of images, philosophical musings, conversations and ‘performance texts’ celebrates the work of the company Mal Pelo, a dance collaboration between María Muñoz and Pep Ramis. It represents a ‘pause’ in a creative process that sees performance as a ‘stage on the way rather than a final destination’, and readers will either buy into this concept or not.

The approach is serious, reflective and introspective, and behind the flowery prose there is a genuine desire to capture and record a creative process. It is also undeniably puzzling. The binding has a beautiful image of a horse wrapped around the spine from front to back cover: ‘Horses swim only rarely, perhaps when faced with some danger. In extreme situations we demand the impossible of ourselves …’ we are told, perhaps rather sententiously. (more…)

The Annual Festival platform of dance specially commissioned by Pegasus and Dancin’ Oxford.  Now in its fifth year, Moving with the Times showcases brand new dance work by some of Oxfordshire’s most exciting performers and choreographers. Artists and companies have spent several months working at Pegasus and elsewhere preparing and perfecting their work for one of Dancin’ Oxford’s key festival events.  This year’s artists include Justice in Motion; Cecilia Macfarlane, Melissa Holding, Hilary Kneale; Unlock The Chains Collective; and Marina Collard. (more…)

For the first time the beautiful church of St John the Evangelist, now a stunning concert venue, joins the Dancin’ Oxford venue line-up. The Pneûma Project is a collaboration by dance artist Miranda Tufnell, visual artist David Ward and musician Sylvia Hallett.  This engaging exploration of breath offers its audience a beautiful and immersive performance, in which movement, sound, light and visual imagery combine to evoke the poetics of breath. Moment by moment we draw on the invisible air, catch scents, sounds, messages and signals. Our lives are suffused with myths and folklore images of the life-giving potency of breath – of breath lost and regained.

Pneûma:  nju ma, noun, Philosophy, Greek = wind, breath,spirit, that which is blown or breathed

The performance features dance artists Cai Tomos, Eeva Maria Mutka, Tim Rubidge and musician Jonah Brody.

“The combination of excellent dancing and extraordinary music was intensely moving.  I can’t wait to see the full realisation of this idea.” Orlando Gough, composer

Performances:  Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th February, 7.30pm

Venue:  St John the Evangelist, Iffley Road, Oxford OX4 1EH

Running time:  50 minute, no interval.  Suitable for all ages.

Tickets:  £12, £10 concessions.

Box Office Telephone:  01865 305305

or book online via Tickets Oxford here


How can dancers and scientists collaborate, and why would they? Can dance inspire new scientific research, and can science give meaning to new choreography?  This year’s conference programmed by DANCE & ACADEMIA: Moving the Boundaries in partnership with Dancin’ Oxford 2015 and Oxfordshire Science Festival presents Science and Dance – Finding Commonalities, to be held at The Jam Factory on Sunday 8th March.  This lively and interactive day brings together as facilitators and presenters a distinguished groiup of artists and academics, and will give movement practitioners, academics, scientists and anyone interested in any aspect of movement or dance an opportunity to stretch their mental and physical muscles, exploring shared and diverging understandings of science and dance and how these might fit together.

Facilitators on the day include:

Subathra Subramaniam is a choreographer, dancer and educator. She is the artistic director of Sadhana Dance. Suba’s choreography navigates the confluence of arts and science drawing from her belief that dance can play a part in the public understanding and engagement with scientific concepts. Her work combines contemporary choreography and Bharata Natyam, an ancient South Indian dance form.

Bronwyn Tarr recently completed her doctoral thesis at University of Oxford, Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group, in which she managed to formally integrate her interests in social behaviour and dance. She advocates the use of dance as an ecologically and culturally valid platform for scientific research into topics of motor-coordination, music psychology, social agency and even autism therapies.

The Captured Thought is a collaboration between Nicky Clayton, Professor of Comparative Cognition and also Scientist in Residence at Rambert, and Clive Wilkins, Artist in Residence, both based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. The opportunity for an artist to collaborate uniquely with a scientist arose out of a chance encounter on one of life’s dancefloors. A tango dance floor in fact…

Also joining the panel will be Morten Kringelbach, Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, and Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, Associate Professor of Modern Drama, both of the University of Oxford.

Conference date:  Sunday 8th March, 10.30am-4.30pm with Panel Discussion 5.00-6.00pm

Venue:  The Jam Factory, 27 Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HU

Tickets: £18, £15 concessions (includes lunch); Panel Discussion only: £5

Book online via Tickets Oxford here or call the Playhouse Box Office on 01865 305305

All welcome.

Find out more about Dancin’ Oxford 2015 here

One of the highlights of the forthcoming Dancin’ Oxford 2015 Festival; Random Dance, the company of  multi award-winning British choreographer Wayne McGregor renowned for his highly innovative collaborations across dance, film, music, technology and science, will be coming to Oxford Playhouse for two performances on 3rd and 4th March.  Atomising bodies, movement and film, McGregor’s Atomos features his ten incredible dancers performing their unique style – sculptural, rigorous, jarring and hauntingly beautiful.  Collaborating artists include lighting designer Lucy Carter and filmmaker Ravi Deepres, along with costumes by the ground-breaking designers of wearable technologies, Studio XO. Neo-classical ambient composers A Winged Victory For The Sullen provide the soaring score. (more…)

Fanny Elssler was one of the most brilliant stars of the nineteenth century stage, but her significance lies not in her ephemeral fame, but in the mark that she left on the development of ballet as an art form that is not merely beautiful, but also has the capacity to convey the deepest dilemmas of the human condition. Théophile Gautier famously characterised Elssler as a ‘pagan’ dancer, in contrast to the ‘Christian’ Marie Taglioni, and Elssler’s style, which is beautifully evoked in the many descriptive passages quoted in Ivor Guest‘s biography, was rooted in human emotion and experience.

Elssler had great technical gifts: she was graceful, light and precise, gliding across the stage with fast footwork, attack and buoyancy, dancing on ‘steely points’ with ‘marvellous equilibrium’. However, it was her sense for dramatic coherence and her intelligent understanding of narrative that are her greatest legacy. (more…)

The West End arrived at Oxford’s New Theatre last week for a short run of the award winning musical Top Hat. Based on the classic RKO black and white movie of 1935 starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, this recent adaptation of the film to stage show is now touring the UK for 47 weeks after a successful London run garnering Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer (Bill Deamer), and Best Costume Design (Jon Morrell). A treat to see such a full and colourful musical production with large ensemble and live band, and to enjoy wonderful and witty Irving Berlin songs. To fill out the show original favourites from the film such as “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails”, and “Cheek to Cheek”, have been supplemented by hits from other Berlin musicals, such as “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”, as well as some intriguing lesser known numbers, thus providing more opportunities for ensemble dancing, as well as songs for leading characters originally with just acting roles. (more…)