October 2018


Audiences can’t resist the “joyously unpredictable” (Guardian) programmes danced by Ballet Black, returning for their third visit to Oxford Playhouse.

Led by Artistic Director Cassa Pancho, this company celebrates dancers of black and Asian descent, showcasing technique, precision and grace in specially commissioned pieces. As part of their latest double bill, Cathy Marston, renowned for her expressive and beautifully crafted work, has choreographed a new narrative ballet for the Company. Inspired by Can Themba’s South African fable The Suit, this is the first dance adaptation of the affecting short story.  Completing the evening is Arthur Pita’s Olivier nominated A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a heady piece of dance-theatre for which Pita also earned a Critics’ Circle and South Bank Award nomination following its premiere in 2014.

Performance:  Wednesday 7th November 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £25/£20/£15/£10  Book online here or call the Box Office on 01865 305305

Age Guideline 12+

Duration: 1 hour 35mins with interval

Find out more about Ballet Black here

Read previous ODW reviews of Ballet Black performances here and here

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The Olivier-nominated dance/theatre company LOST DOG tour their smash-hit production Juliet and Romeo to Oxford this autumn. Juliet & Romeo opened to packed houses and critical acclaim at a two week run at Battersea Arts Centre in London earlier this year. Broadly based on Shakespeare’s deeply pessimistic teenage love story, this “highly entertaining, extremely amusing and occasionally quite tender evening of theatre and dance” (Times) is performed by Lost Dog’s Artistic Director Ben Duke and Solène Weinachter. This clever, funny production explores contemporary culture’s celebration of youth and how it creates unrealistic expectations around love, sex and relationships. (more…)

Upcoming; a fascinating seminar being hosted by Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) and the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD) at Oxford University’s Ioannou Centre.  Dr. Nicole Haitzinger of Salzburg University will be talking about the construction and reception of the tragic in Jean-Georges Noverre‘s dance drama Agamemnon Vengé; a chance to gain insight into the ideas and practice of ballet’s great and influential 18th century thinker.

Date:  Thursday 8th November, 5.00pm

Venue:  Outreach Room, The Ioannou Centre, 66 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LU

Free, all welcome, no booking required.

Dance and Academia presents another thought-provoking seminar in its current series, which continues the theme What is Dance without an Audience?, following three seminars in 2017/18 exploring diverse perspectives from the dance world and beyond.  Convened by dance dramaturg Miranda Laurence, this evening includes presentations by Cathy Seago (University of Winchester) and Lizzie Sykes (University of Bournemouth), and by Lise Smith:

A Somatic Lens

Lizzie Sykes (screen-based artist) and Cathy Seago (dance artist) have been working collaboratively to generate work by asking somatic and filmic questions about content and presentation. We are exploring the nature, impact and materiality of the ‘screen’ and the ‘lens’ in mediating emergent work that has potentially live and digitised elements. Responding organically to site and place via a somatic and kinetic focus we have questioned the spectator’s role and impact on the work at different stages – be they live, mobile, choice-making, unsuspecting, distanced, imagined, and/or literate in particular codes. This presentation will share some of the questions, processes and findings about presence, perspective and environment for dance/ film audiences.

The Critic as Audience Member: reflecting on the role of the reviewer

We often think about the relationship between a Theatre reviewer and the artist reviewed or the work presented. But what about the critic as audience member? How does a critic’s place in the audience reflect and impact in their experience of a performance? How do they speak for, to and on behalf of the watching audience? And why does it sometimes feel like the reviewer and the rest of the audience have just watched two completely different works? Dr Lise Smith (often a reviewer, frequently an audience member, mostly a producer and sometimes a performer) opens these and other questions to discussion.

Date:  Thursday 1st November 2018, 6-8pm
Venue:  St Aldate’s Room, Town Hall, St Aldate’s, Oxford OX1 1BX
Tickets: £6 (pay cash on the door – please bring exact money if possible)
Reserve a place by emailing miranda@mirandalaurence.co.uk. Places are limited.

Dance & Academia: Moving the Boundaries is an Oxford-based project set up in 2007 and run by dance dramaturg Miranda Laurence. The project aims to facilitate dialogue between practitioners, academics in any field, and lay people, who have an interest in any aspect of dance or movement.
Oxford is a city with a rich academic heritage and is also host to a strong community of professional dance practitioners. Dance & Academia aims to be a genuinely interdisciplinary platform where intersections between research and practice in dance can be explored. The group welcomes everyone regardless of background, and intends to be an egalitarian space respecting and exchanging all kinds of different ways of knowing.
More information available here.

Dance & Academia is supported by Dancin’ Oxford festival.

Richard Chappell Dance presents the company’s compelling first full length work, At the end we begin. Using T.S. Eliot’s classic series Four Quartets as a point of departure, each poem is represented through four arresting and emotionally-fuelled quartets of dance.

At the end we begin inhabits the derelict, sensitive and powerful landscape of Eliot’s poetry and questions how time’s circular nature affects our understanding of ourselves. The work takes four young individuals from a place of being lost to a state of empowerment and acceptance where they have found their own voice by journeying through Eliot’s text. Whilst combining Chappell’s own distinguishable blend of classical ballet, martial arts, improvisation and contact work with three other highly-skilled performers, At the end we begin dives into each performer’s unique and diverse skills with a rich palette of qualities.

Venue:  Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE
Date:  Friday, 26th October 7:30 pm
Tickets:  £13, £9 concessions.  Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01865 812150
Suitable for audiences 11+

A fascinating and thought-provoking performance coming to The North Wall this week.  Stroke Odysseys is an ambitious piece of dance theatre performed by an ensemble of stroke survivors, supported by professional dancers, singers and musicians.  The show explores intertwined journeys of recovery from stroke and asks what impact the act of storytelling through dance and song may have on the brain’s ability to heal itself.

This new production by award-winning choreographer Ben Duke and composer Orlando Gough is commissioned by Rosetta Life – a charity that changes the way we perceive the frail and disabled.  The performance is supported by an education programme of talks and workshops led by experts including dancers, musicians, neurologists and stroke survivors.

Venue:  The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, OX2 7JN
Performance:  Thursday, 25th October 7.30pm
Tickets:  £16 (concessions £14)  Book online here, or call the box office on: 01865 319450

Ana’s Time, a celebration in film, poetry and music of Ana Barbour’s contribution to the arts, took place at Film Oxford the day before what would have been her fifty-second birthday. The audience, which included many of her collaborators, shared laughter and tears as a showing of some her short films brought back memories of Barbour as a performer and creative artist.

Barbour’s film output demonstrates even more than her live performances her capacity to imagine and then present to others her extraordinary vision of the world. Borderlands, opens to the sound of marching feet, before fingers, and then hands, seem to tiptoe over a mossy wall. There is a troubling humour about her presentation of the human body in the landscape as apparently disembodied body parts squirm through vegetation. Footage, a film around a line-up of bare feet, and Eye-I, in which an eye watches from the side of the screen, are witty but unsettling; in Crow’s Playmates, Barbour seems to levitate above the billowing grass, while in My Time (2011) she confronts the problem of her ageing body. The irony is that Barbour did not live to grow old. (more…)

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