July 2015


Critic turned critic-entrepreneur Donald Hutera is creating and curating opportunities for dancers to perform who might otherwise have few occasions to show their work. Oxford is a first for GOlive and there is a further outing at the Chesil Theatre in Winchester on July 24. The venues are small — the original GOlive venue at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town holds 60 people and the Burton-Taylor studio seats 50 — but their intimacy works well for the small-scale works Hutera is presenting. One of the advantages of this proximity is the value given to the subtleties of communication; there are elements of this evening’s program that provide a master class in the art of integrating the head and eyes in the moving body, a vital aspect that is all too often overlooked in dance training. (more…)

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Another atmospheric summer evening happening from the Oxford based group MUE:

dance light music at dusk with

Macarena Ortuzar (dance)

Dariusz Dziala (light)

Bruno Guastalla (music)

An improvised performance will happen at the St Barnabas Playground, at the corner of Hart Street and Great Clarendon Street, in Jericho, Oxford

SATURDAY 25th JULY  9:00PM (FREE)

Getting a ticket to a dance programme arouses comfortable expectations of pleasure – of colour, patterning and conformity. In Oxford’s Burton Taylor studio last week, Donald Hutera’s GOlive programme was satisfyingly full of all of these – but it was also never predictable, oddly fragmented and often deeply unsettling. And in my head the after-images are of faces as much as of body shapes – a heat of emotional impact – a sense of hope – a touch of catharsis.

The very ordering of the programme forced strange juxtapositions. It began with what Shane Shambhu described as his “lecture-demonstration” – a cogent dance drama through which his personal narrative wove a coherent thread. Twenty-seven years of bharatanatyam dance gave his work an assured technical underpinning. But it was its immediacy and variety that made it so accessible to academic, pensioner and child in the fifty-strong studio audience. For this was a narrative that flowed by Nritta – by taps and clicks and thumps – through sounds vocal and guttural – as well as by the mime and dance of Natya, the shifting registers of formal delivery, of conversational English, of interactive name games and the musicality of Shane’s native Kerala tongue. Never before have I been more aware of dance as one member of so intimately interconnected a family of languages. (more…)

We are up close and personal in the Burton Taylor Studio at the Oxford Playhouse.  Presenting dance in small space makes fresh demands on performers as well as those of us watching.  The proximity of the dancers intensifies the experience. The degree of intimacy is a little unsettling, but we are a friendly crowd and a warm camaraderie fuels goodwill.

Curated by Donald Hutera, GOlive is in its third year.  Introducing the programme Hutera is like a kid in a sweet shop and his enthusiasm is infectious.  All six works had something new to offer.  My Own Private Movie choreographed and performed by Susan Kempster involves some of the audience entering the performance space and engaging in very simple improvisations. Kempster gives us all MP3 players with unique soundtracks.  In something akin to my daily commute, my head and my body are in two different places.  And perhaps this is Kempster’s point, the delicious contradiction of social media: together and not together, caught between the virtual and the physical but unable to belong wholly to either. (more…)

Proposals are invited for a one-day conference for post-graduate students.  Music and movement as process and experience is organised by PhD students through the Music Education Special Interest Group at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London, and hosted by the Royal Academy of Dance, London SW11 3RA Friday, 23rd October 2015.  There will be no charge for attending.

Scholarly attention to music and dance is often focused on works and performances, while very little research in dance education includes a focus on music. At the same time, recent scholarship on music and movement in music psychology, clinical music therapy, sports science, geography, anthropology, and cultural studies suggests ways that this imbalance could be addressed, to mutual benefit. The aim of this conference is therefore to bring together researchers in any field or discipline who are interested in music and movement as process and experience, with a particular focus on non-performance contexts such as training, rehearsal, recreation, and rehabilitation. (more…)

Donald Hutera has brought Oxford a remarkable programme of innovative dance, which is also an exciting opportunity to see local artists’ work in a broader context.

The evening opened with Marina Collard’s And So It Goes On, a beautifully thought out dance that combined live performance and film. Collard danced in relation to her filmed image, projected onto the brick wall at the back of the stage, in a work full of subtle reflections and repetitions. Elegant, intense, yet restrained, the vertical focus of the live dance on the flat floor in front gained an added dimension from the video beside it, not only because there seemed to be a second dancer moving in a different plane, but also because the feeling of a raked stage at a different angle behind. Next, Oxford hip hop dancers Beat Street followed with Heart Cry, a graceful and surprisingly gentle work performed by three young men, who used the genre in an original and unusual way. (more…)

Grandstand seats surrounded by the Coliseum’s ornate ivory, gold and purple, a rare London visit by one of Europe’s major ballet companies showing a new production set to one of the 20th century’s most ravishing ballet scores played live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia – what’s not to like? High expectations for a summer treat.

This being well known fairy tale Cinderella, although I bought a programme I did not read the proffered synopsis before viewing. I also did not have access to a cast sheet until afterwards. A salutary test for any narrative work; what was the story made visible through the dancing and stage action? (more…)

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