June 2016


“The psychology of oppression is thus self-inflicted in a constant struggle where man hypocritically creates standards of life that they themselves perpetually contradict” – Duane Campbell

C-A-G-E-D is the recent, ambitious choreographic debut from aspiring choreographer Thomas Page. Originally from Oxford – having taken class with Lunas Dance Project – Page is now a contemporary dance student at the renowned Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.  However, despite relocating, Page stays committed to the Oxford dance scene by commuting back to his hometown at the weekend to teach dance at Authentic Performance Academy.

Thomas is an individual with guts and motivation, having approached the conservatoire’s Student Union at the beginning of his first year, asking for support in producing a full length dance work to explore his interest in the psychology of oppression. It was on 16th and 17th June that this ambition manifested itself in reality, and Page presented his work in the Laban Studio Theatre, costumed and lit. It was performed by a quintet of diverse and mesmerising dancers – all students of Trinity Laban aside from Iona McGuire, a prospective student of London Contemporary Dance School. (more…)

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Fresh from performances at the Cheltenham Festival Joëlle Pappas‘ latest exciting choreographic project in collaboration with evolutionary scientist Yan Wong comes to Oxford for open air performances.  Dancing the Tree of Life, a piece for 7 dancers and 1 musician, is loosely based on Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong’s 2016 book The Ancestor’s Tale, a comprehensive journey through the evolution of all life on earth.  The cast includes the Oxford-based dancers Melissa Bori, JJ Formento and Ségolène Tarte.
All the events are free!

Performances: Saturday 2nd July
1.30pm in Broad Street
3.00pm on the lawn at the Museum of Natural History, in Parks Road….weather permitting
4.00pm inside the Museum of Natural History

Joëlle and Yan will also be talking about their dance/science collaboration at 5.15 pm in the Museum of Natural History

All performances are free of charge.

The Ancestor’s Tale (2nd edn) is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, find out about it here and ways to purchase it here

Find out about Joëlle Pappas’ work here

Although a range of contemporary dance companies come intermittently to the Playhouse it seems a very long time indeed since a ballet company has performed there. Possibly the closest in recent years have been BalletBoyz and Michael Clark, but these groups however rooted in ballet technique have moved far away from classical tradition and the pointe shoe; arguably Richard Alston’s elegant lyricism has had a more balletic feel. So Ballet Black’s unabashed embrace of classical technique in chamber format came as a welcome and refreshing change to the Playhouse’s usual dance diet. Eight performers of diverse backgrounds and physical individuality come together as an ensemble in their generous and idealistic dancing, relishing ballet’s lyrical line and romantic feeling in movement, engaging the audience with their enthusiasm in a programme of three new works tailor made for the company. (more…)

A welcome performance at the Pegasus by Drishti Dance led by exquisite Kathak dancer Anuradha Chaturvedi, showing recently developed works.  Chaturang, or the four colours, is an exploration of the vast breadth and versatility of the traditional Indian form Kathak through a dynamic quartet of dance works, each varied in characteristics, yet uniquely beautiful.  This production is an experiment in adapting the dance form not only to explore varied narrative styles, but also to emphasize its vast breadth and versatility.
Dramatic in essence,  Mohini dips into the ancient Puranic story to present a ballad.  Laya Anulaya (la-ei Anu-la-ei), an in-depth technical study, is an inward facing narrative, a dialogue between the percussionist and dancer.  Panchatva, explores the connections between the elements and human senses, re-imagining the Nritta (pure dance) aspect of Kathak in tandem with Digital Media.  Antaraal is a contemporary Kathak work bringing together movement, music and poetic text by Mohan Rana, exploring the journey through time and the spaces between. (First seen at Pegasus in Moving With the Times in February 2016).

Concept and Choreography – Anuradha Chaturvedi
Dancers – Aiyana Tandon, Anuradha Chaturvedi, Anju Rajukumar, Meena Anand, Sonali Sibal Alim, Sarika Shah and Shyam Patel
Poem (Antaraal) – Mohan Rana
Tabla – Amritpal Singh
Santoor – Kaviraj Singh
Music – Malcolm Atkins, Gulshan Bharati
Rhythm Compositions (Laya Anulaya) – Late Arjun Mishra, Vikas Mishra and Anuradha Chaturvedi
Costumes – Shruti Mohan
Images – Anand Muthuswamy

Date:  Saturday 11th June 2016, 7.30pm

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

Tickets: £13, £9 concessions, £6 under 18s, (£1 off for Dancin’ Oxford Pass holders)

Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01865 812150

Find out more about Drishti Dance here

The exuberant and gifted Ballet Black, now celebrating their 15th year, make their first appearance at Oxford Playhouse with their inspiring triple bill on Friday 10 June.  Dancer Cassa Pancho founded Ballet Black in response to the need to provide exciting opportunities for black and ethnic minority dancers in classical ballet.

The night presents three works each from different choreographers, spanning differing styles and showcasing the breadth of Ballet Black’s dance portfolio and the extensive skill of their dancers. Christopher Hampson’s Storyville is the bittersweet fable of Nola, a farm girl who falls prey to unscrupulous characters and world desires in 1920s New Orleans. The programme also includes two newly devised pieces: To Begin, Begin by Christopher Marney, and Cristaux by Arthur Pita.  This triple bill combines the bold inventiveness of the choreographers with the ambition and flair of the dancers to present a collection of narrative and abstract dance.

About the company: Ballet Black is a professional ballet company for international dancers of black and Asian descent. It aims to bring ballet to a more culturally diverse audience by celebrating black and Asian dancers in ballet. The company perform and offer community driven classes for dancers and students, young and old.  Their ultimate goal is to see a fundamental change in the number of black and Asian dancers in mainstream ballet companies, making that vision wonderfully unnecessary.

Performance:  Friday 10th June, 8.00pm

Venue:  Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets:  £11.50-£22 available online here or call the box office on 01865 305305

Running time: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes including an interval.

Find out more about this award winning company here

Ben Spatz’ examination of concepts of technique and practice in embodied knowledge is a richly rewarding read, both for its rigorous discussion and clarification of ideas which can often be confused and confusing, and for its thought-provoking analysis of a range of examples. He argues for embodied knowledge, such as found in the three areas of physical culture, performing arts and everyday life, as a major field of knowledge on a par with the humanities and sciences; and ultimately makes challenging practical suggestions as to how embodied knowledge might find a stronger place in academe through the development of appropriate modes of documentation and resulting possibilities for scholarly investigation and research. Reading from my perspective as a dance practitioner I have found much here that can help to articulate the underpinnings of dance practice and their consequences for pedagogy. Spatz’ examples drawn from a range of other fields resonate strongly with current debates and concerns in dance. (more…)

Dance enthusiast Katrina Strathearn was looking for a way to continue dancing following illness and despite a complicated work schedule.  Here she writes about her experience of a ballet based online training programme, Sleek Technique:

I have found the best way to exercise – it’s easy to commit to, gets results, and I can wear my robe before and after class.

In December 2013, I was suffering from Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome (a cousin of Chronic Fatigue) and was looking for a way to maintain some of the dance fitness I once had in a measured, bite-sized way.  Having danced from the age of 13 and covered styles from jazz ballet and tap, to hip hop, salsa, jive and Zumba, I knew that dance was the type of exercise that I enjoyed most, and that gave me the best results for my body type.  But there were a few obstacles in the way.  (more…)

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