June 2018


Swan Lake remains at the heart of the classical ballet repertoire. Its choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Tchaikovsky have ensured its place in any dance company worth its claim to pre-eminence. And the music’s 19th century blend of the classical with the romantic has ensured audiences with a love of great music if only a passing interest in dance. Nevertheless, it has to be said that the growth of contemporary choreography and the increased number of smaller dance companies have rather reduced the appetites of both dancers and audiences for this extremely demanding, long, old, and often tired ballet. I include myself among those who have felt they had seen enough Swan Lakes to happily miss the next one. It is with this in mind that I say how suddenly I have been swept off my feet and made to believe again in the evergreen nature of the work, its music, its potential for surprise. (more…)

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Becoming an established fixture in Oxford’s arts calendar this year’s Offbeat Festival is the third, now bigger and better with over 60 shows across five spaces in the centre of Oxford from the 22nd to the 30th June.  The Festival aims to offer some of the best up-and-coming contemporary performing arts including  theatre, comedy, dance, music, spoken word and family entertainment.  Why not take a risk, dive in and encounter the fantastic creativity of artists from across the country in a stunningly varied programe of work, all new to Oxford.

Dance is represented by three short performances at the Old Fire Station as follows:

Wednesday 27th June 6.15pm:  Thomas Page Dances in Normative

“Categorised. Converted. Conformed.”  This intense work delves into the recent traumatic events of Chechnya, Russia and challenges the way societies create conformity.  Using contemporary dance infused with the virtuosic stylings of Vogue and Contortion this mesmerising performance creates a powerful reflection on the reality of today’s society. It will make you question “Is being normal really worth it?”

Tickets: £10 available on the door, or online here

Running time:  50 minutes

Thursday 28th June 6.15pm:  Forged Line Dance in Lina

A powerful and playful contemporary dance duet, inspired by the lives of brother and sister astronomers William and Caroline Herschel.  Both talented musicians and celebrated scientists, they studied the universe and mapped the stars from their back garden in 18th Century Bath. Lina delves into their complex relationship, where family ties are tested by individual ambition. Dancers swoop and soar like comets, taking us on an extraordinary journey of stars, music and family.

“This was the performance of two exceptionally talented dancers, delivering a choreographic narrative of tangible beauty and humanity…truly enchanting”– Bathcast

Tickets:  £10 available on the door or online here

Running time:  50 minutes

Friday 29th June 7.00pm:  Drishti Dance in Facet

Facet is a Kathak double bill featuring two interlinked works, exploring the evolving facets of the classical Indian form; a reflection on its ever changing aesthetics as it collides with modern values.  Aur-Ek Antaraal contemplates the poetical abstraction of contemporary Hindi poem ‘Aur Ek Antaraal’ penned by India based Dr Rashmi Chaturvedi.  Re-Textured is a study of rhythm, textures and structures. It creates space for reformulating movement vocabulary through absorbing  contemporary human experiences.

Tickets:  £10 available on the door or online here

Running time:  1 hour

Find out more about the Offbeat Festival and check out the complete programme here

Images Ballet Company is the performing group of the graduating ballet students at London Studio Centre, and their appearance at Cornerstone last night was an exciting opportunity to see new dancers and new (or nearly new) works. Artistic Director Jennifer Jackson presented a programme of dances by four choreographers (Hubert Essakow, Erico Montes, Bim Malcomson, and Morgann Runacre-Temple), which demanded lyricism, attack, humour and acting ability, and the dancers rose to the occasion magnificently. (more…)

This riotous and colourful production had a lot to recommend it. The Rumplestiltskin fairytale was given a new twist, with the title role a more rounded character and sympathetic backstory than in traditional renditions. This was a clever device (with credit to Carol Ann Duffy as Scenario Writer), as the storyline became less about old-fashioned heroes and villains, and more about values such as family, community and embracing difference and diversity. (more…)

The Theatre at Chipping Norton in the heart of the leafy Cotswold countryside is a picturesque small venue, which provided the dancers of Ballet Central, the graduate performing company of Central School of Ballet, with a warmly welcoming family audience and an almost full house for their annual visit. The lopsided stage is narrow but deep, giving viewers in the side galleries problematic sightlines, but this is made up for by intimacy and potential connection between viewers and doers. The company earned my profound respect for their ability to fit energetic ensemble dancing into this space without any problems or collisions.

This year’s programme promised storytelling with iconic ballet titles such as Black Swan, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. These were not simply cut down versions of full-scale classics, but re-workings made for touring and playing to the strengths of this company of talented youngsters in an unashamedly narrative conception of ballet. All set against the neutrality of black drapes, enlivened and given a sense of place by the use of props, and designer Dante Baylor’s colourful often asymmetric costumes which brought both variety and a sense of overall stylistic unity to the evening. (more…)

Coming to the area for the first time, Images Ballet Company is proud to present a programme of entertaining dance, reflecting the diversity and beauty of Ballet today, that will appeal both to ballet lovers and those new to dance.  Directed by Jennifer Jackson, Images Ballet Company is one of four touring 3rd year companies from major vocational school London Studio Centre. The aspiring professionals of the company take centre stage to showcase theatrical and vibrant ballet with stylish costumes and a rich musical palette.

Working with Images for her third successive year, acclaimed choreographer Morgann Runacre-Temple has re-created Mozart’s Women: The Kingdom of Back, her exquisitely detailed portrait of three women in Mozart’s life, with a new cast. Bim Malcomson explores of the humour of being human.  Former Royal Ballet and Rambert soloist, Hubert Essakow presents encounters between live music and dance, while Royal Ballet artist Erico Montes’ choreography and process has richly enhanced the dancers’ feeling for flow and epaulement.

Music is central to this year’s show.  Viola and guitar duo Elliott Perks and Tom Ellis have arranged Schumann’s Marchenbilder to be played live for Cut Out, Hubert Essakow’s dances with space and gravity.  Bim Malcomson has used music from Joby Talbot’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Red Queen Brouhaha, her witty exploration of ideas from Lewis Carroll’s imaginative world. In the centenary year of votes for women in this country, Erico Montes has been drawn to the music of a little known African American composer, Florence Price, for his Sonata in Colour.

Louie Whitemore and Andrew Ellis have brought their expertise in costume and lighting to finesse the visual landscape.

A note from Artistic Director, Jennifer Jackson;

“The dancers you see tonight specialise in classical ballet in their professional training at London Studio Centre. Three second year students are joining the graduating class on tour and all have been involved in working with choreographers, designers, musicians, production staff, repetiteurs and teachers over the past three months to create the programme. Each ballet grows from a unique creative process through which the dancers develop as versatile collaborative artists, honing professional skills that are required to meet the diverse expressive and performative demands of the ballet today. It is a great privilege to work with these artists and alongside the excellent educators at London Studio Centre. I am hugely thankful for their contributions and support of Images’ work and our exploration of ballet as creative artistic practice.”

Performance:  Wednesday 13th June, 7.30pm

Venue:  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot OX11 7NE

Tickets:  Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01235 515144

Find out more about Images Ballet Company here

About London Studio Centre:

Founded in 1978 by Bridget Espinosa, London Studio Centre offers a comprehensive Theatre Dance Course for students who are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the theatre. LSC is thrilled to announce the validation of its enhanced Theatre Dance course, which continues to offer students a broad and versatile training but further allows students to specialise in Classical Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Jazz Dance or Music Theatre.

Graduate students have embarked on successful careers, joining companies such as Rambert Dance Company, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Michael Clark Company, Richard Alston Dance Company, Henri Oguike Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Spirit of the Dance, JazzXchange, Stomp, ZooNation, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre, as well as performing on Broadway and the West End in musicals including Wicked, Chicago, Matilda, Hamilton and Cats.

Many students have also worked on numerous television programmes and films and in the commercial sector. Many graduates also are working as independent, creative artists in dance and theatre.

Find out more about the school here

 

Presented at OVADA by the Contemporary Arts Research Unit (CARU) based at Oxford Brookes University, Body and Music is an evening of dance and music where pianist Késia Decoté will be joined by dancer and choreographer Joëlle Pappas, musician and composer Bruno Guastalla and composer Sarah Westwood to bring you pieces inspired by puppetry, myths, visions, and cable cars.

The evening opens with a new trio piece especially devised for this show, with Késia, Joëlle and Bruno. Késia will also be performing  myths & visions (this will be the last chance to see this much loved solo piano + dance show in central Oxford).  The programme also includes Joëlle and Bruno’s Traits, commissioned for this year’s Dancin’ Oxford Festival, and a new work for piano and electronics by Sarah.  See full details of the programme below.  (more…)