January 2016


Rick Guest’s What Lies Beneath strips away the glamour from the dancer’s life and yet this exhibition in the gleaming white gallery at the Hospital Club is magnificently glamorous. Guest captures his subjects against luminous blue backgrounds in larger than life portraits that show the physical and psychological strain that lies behind every performance. He has allowed the dancers to reveal themselves as they wish, whether that is confident and in control, hesitant and uncertain or contemplative. They wear battered old practice clothes, their skin is scratched and bruised, and they have bunions, moles and body hair. There is a tension between the perfection and yet imperfection of their extraordinarily beautiful bodies. (more…)

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Dancin’ Oxford writes: “Don’t miss this week’s Pegasus and Dancin’ Oxford Dance Scratch Night.   This evening of new work is the first opportunity for artists appearing in Moving With The Times (our February dance showcase for Oxford dance artists) to air their choreography and get feedback on the pieces they are creating.  Companies performing include Body Politic, Drishti Dance and in.motion dance. We are hoping for a really friendly, supportive and knowledgeable audience for the artists, and it would be wonderful if you would be able to join us.”

Date:   Friday 22nd January, 7:30pm

Venue:  Clore Dance Studio, Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets:   £3
Book online here:  or call 01865 812150

I had seen Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker once in the 1980s, but its performance by the Royal Ballet on Saturday was a revelation to me.   I had completely forgotten how, by beginning and ending the story with Herr Drosselmeyer, Wright gives the action a unity, logic and coherence that is often lacking in this ballet, which can so easily fall into two virtually separate parts.

The conjuring and special effects, above all the magical growing Christmas tree, entranced an audience that was liberally sprinkled with small children, but it was the quality of the dancing and the drama that made this performance a special one. It felt like a new ballet. (more…)

Café Reason Butoh Theatre is an experimental performance group specialising in butoh, the iconoclastic dance form that originated in postwar Japan.  Established in Oxford in 1997, Café Reason is the only permanent butoh company in the UK outside London and has achieved a fine reputation for its innovative theatre, site-specific and improvised performances.  An abandoned dolls’ house and an unclaimed bag of costumes were the unexpected starting points for the group’s enigmatic new show Dolls’ House which premieres at the Pegasus Theatre on Friday 16th January.  Through the compelling medium of butoh, with live music and film, it explores the dream symbol of “the House” and reveals the inhabitants’ secret lives and eternal dilemmas.  Dark, moving and humorous, the physical performance is underpinned by live music from a trio of multi-instrumentalists, complementing their compositions with digital effects and found sound to create a haunting soundscape.

Dolls’ House is a collaboration between Café Reason, film maker Dariusz Dziala, and musicians Malcolm Atkins, Bruno Guastalla and Pete McPhaill.  This truly original theatre experience has lighting design by Josh Tomalin.  Dancers are Jeannie Donald McKim, Ayala Kingsley, Fabrizia Verrechia, Ana Barbour and Cath Blackfeather: also appearing are Alex Donaghy, Andreia Paixao, Alan Frank and Paula Esposito.

Performances:  Friday 15th, Saturday 16th January 7.30pm

Venue:  Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets:  £13, £9 concessions, £6 under 18s

Book online here or call 01865 812150

Find out more about Café Reason here and follow them on Facebook here

Twitter:  @CafeReason #dollbutoh

The Bolshoi.  Symbol of Russia, a national treasure – mystical and intriguing. Recently, however, the theatre has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons: intrigue, personal attacks and management changes have created lurid headlines.  Now, for the first time, the theatre directors have allowed a film crew access backstage. They saw it as a chance to open a new chapter, and were ready to allow the 2013 -14 season to be recorded as a unique cinematic experience. This groundbreaking documentary will be screened at the Phoenix Picturehouse on Sunday 10th January.

From the two-time Academy Award-winning Producer of Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man, BOLSHOI BABYLON gives a voice to artists and company members who are not usually in the limelight in irreverent and candid terms. Combining epic themes with intimate portraits, historic dramas are counterpointed with the untold personal stories of agony and ecstasy that lie behind every acclaimed performance. With unparalleled behind the scenes access, the film pays tribute to the dancers’ extraordinary artistic and athletic talents, their abiding fear of injury and the ruthless ambition needed to survive in the world’s most famous ballet company.  Directed by Nick Read and Mark Franchetti, the film features Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash, Sergei Filin, Anatoliy Iksanov, Anastasia Meskova and Vladimir Urin.

You can read an account of the compelling story told by the documentary here

Date:  Sunday 10th January, 3.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Adults £10.50, children £6, students and retired £9.50, family ticket £28

On Sunday 10 January Bolshoi principal dancer Anastasia Meskova will be joining the filmmakers and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore for a Q&A live via satellite after the film.

You can book tickets online here or call the Phoenix on 0871 902 5736