February 2019


Carlos Acosta’s recent production of Don Quixote for the Royal Ballet is full of energy, sparkle and exhilarating dancing. Even though it is from the classic Marius Petipa tradition, I didn’t know this ballet and wasn’t sure what to expect. How do you ‘balletise’ Cervantes’ 17th Century blockbuster? In some ways it is a bit like Le Corsaire with flamenco and gypsies instead of pirates: the thinnest of plots, but huge fun and an excuse for some great dancing. (more…)

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The 2019 Dancin’ Oxford Festival brings a powerful and varied programme of dance to the city. It features shows and workshops for children, teenagers, dance enthusiasts and for the dance curious.  This year we are introducing our Festival Hub, in the Oxford Playhouse’s Lucy Room, where dance lovers can pop in for free tea, coffee and a chat.

The Festival, now in its 13th year, is funded by Oxford City Council and Arts Council England. Claire Thompson, Oxford City Council Arts Officer said ‘Although the Festival has no central theme several of this year’s companies have mental health issues at the heart of their work, which reflects current contemporary concerns. The shows are far from being all doom and gloom and offer thought provoking dance of the highest quality. We have a new venue for the Festival Launch on 2 March which will be held on a dance stage inside Westgate Oxford. We are delighted with this new location which will offer great views for everyone.’

The Festival Launch is an exciting and awe-inspiring afternoon of dance featuring breathtaking shows from professional and local youth dance companies. There will also be opportunities to join in a Zumba Party and learn African and Street Dance moves.  The annual Moving with the Times platform comprises 3 specially commissioned pieces by Dancin’ Oxford and Pegasus Theatre and features emerging companies, with work this year by Jann Esterhuizen Company, Joe Lott Company and returning Richard Chappell Dance.

Stuart Walters’ Rock Bottom is a moving dance solo based on the dancer’s own struggles with depression and addition. Two Oxford based companies are also looking into mental health. Body Politic, now on its first national tour, examines the fragility and vulnerabilities in men and young boys and Dance Creative offers the raw story of a daughter and her mother with early onset dementia.

Uchenna Dance will bring a flamboyance and colour with its blend of African and contemporary dance with The Head Wrap Diaries.  The Chit Chat Chalk Show will help children discover what makes them unique.

You can find full details of all the events and participatory workshops here, but below is a listing of performance events and discussion at a glance:

Moving with the Times platform- Richard Chappell Dance, Jann Esterhuizen Company, Joe Lott Company, contemporary dance

Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd March 7.30pm,  Sat. mat 2.30pm, Pegasus Theatre

Festival Launch – including performances by Company Chameleon, Messy Jam Dance Co, Step2Dance, Hakeem Omnibudo and his Impact Academy Dancers.

2nd March 12pm – 5pm, Leiden Square, Westgate Oxford

Festival Hub – speakers Emma-Jane Morbey AD Body Politic, Claire Thompson Director Dancin’ Oxford Festival, Paula Redway Cultural Development Manager at Oxford City Council, Susie Crow Ballet in Small Spaces and Oxford Dance Writers, Segolene Tarte Oxford Dance Forum, Angela Conlan Director Dance Creative.

Monday 3rd – Saturday 9th March 12 – 2pm, Oxford Playhouse

The Head Wrap Diaries – Uchenna Dance, fusion African and contemporary dance forms

2nd March 7pm, Kingsmere Community Centre, Bicester

Boys and Girls – The Pappy Show

2nd March 7.30pm, The North Wall

Mixtape – Dotdotdot Dance, contemporary flamenco

5th March 8pm, The North Wall

Rock Bottom – Stuart Waters, solo dance

6th March 7.30pm, Old Fire Station

A Million Memories – Dance Creative, interactive event with dance, music and poetry

7th March at 6pm, History of Science Museum

Works by Rafael Bonachela, Sharon Eyal and Benoit Swan Pouffer – Rambert2, contemporary dance

Friday 8th & Saturday 9th March, Friday 8 pm, Sat 2.30 & 7.30pm, Oxford Playhouse

Father Figurine – Body Politic, hip-hop dance and spoken word

8th March 7.30pm, The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury

The Chit Chat Chalk Show – Hawk Dance Theatre and The Knotted Project, children’s show

9th March 11am & 2pm, The North Wall

Ticketed events: from £3 for taster workshops;

Oxford Playhouse www.ticketsoxford.com 01865 305305,

www.pegasustheatre.org.uk 01865 812 150, www.thenorthwall.com 01865 319450,

www.themillartscentre.co.uk 01295 290 002, www.hsm.ox.ac.uk

 

ABOUT US is a remarkable embodiment of ordinary human experience that reveals the universal through the personal, and places dance firmly in the political sphere. Jacky Lansley is a dancer and choreographer, who uses sound, music, lighting, film and narrative to convey layers of meaning collaboratively, and she began working of this piece in the aftermath of the Referendum on membership of the European Union.

As we entered the gallery, and sat on the chairs arranged around three walls (the fourth was used for projection), we realised that the performers were already among us, intent and focussed, drawing us into their world, which is also ours. (more…)

The St Edmund Hall Centre for the Creative Brain invites you to join them at Saint Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, for an afternoon symposium combining science, virtual reality and performance to explore the neuroscience of dance.  The symposium will explore the link between science and dance in many forms. Featuring talks from Dr Guido Orgs, on how the brain mechanisms of movement perception underlie the aesthetics of dance; Dr Karen Wood and Rosemary Cisneros, on the Wholodance project exploring movement perception and digital technology; and Dr Peter Lovatt (also known as Dr Dance), on his work as a cognitive and dance psychologist. The symposium will close with a dance performance by Aneyn O’Grady (amo dance) in collaboration with Lewis Hunt Onatra.

Drinks will be served throughout the symposium.

The symposium is free and open to all.  We welcome undergraduates, post-graduates, parents, academics, scientist, artists and anyone with an interest in the link between science and dance.

The Centre for the Creative Brain is generously supported by St Edmund Hall and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford

Date:  Saturday 23rd February 2.00-6.00pm

Venue:  Saint Edmund Hall, Queen’s Lane, Oxford OX1 4AR

Tickets:  Register to attend via Eventbrite here

A welcome opportunity to see dance in thought-provoking collaboration with other art forms in the beautiful space of Modern Art Oxford (MAO)ABOUT US is a multimedia performance created by Jacky Lansley with artists from dance, visual art, experimental music and theatre backgrounds. In it interdisciplinary collaboration enables powerful explorations of personal and political struggles around loss, joy, caring and oppression that affect us all.  Inspired by the everyday experiences of the human condition, this performance plays with multiple perspectives – near and far, live and film, inside and outside – to draw the audience into an intimate world of which they are a part, it is a performance about us all.

Jacky Lansley is a choreographer, performance artist and writer who has been practicing for four decades. The artist’s work combines visual and theatrical disciplines and is concerned with space and the site specific; she has made works in many different kinds of indoor and outdoor environments, including the Cornish coastal landscape with which she has had a long-term special relationship. The artist was a founder of two of the UK’s seminal independent dance studios – X6 Dance Space and Chisenhale Dance Space – and in 2002 she moved into her own studio, Dance Research Studio, in London, which has supported the making of more recent works including: Holding Space, View from the Shore, Standing Stones, The Life Class, Guest Suites and ABOUT US. Her book Choreographies: Tracing the Materials of an Ephemeral Art Form was published by Intellect Books in 2017.  Jacky Lansley received the Jane Attenborough Award (2018) for outstanding contribution to dance.

Performance:  Tuesday 19th February 6.30-8.00pm

Venue:  Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford OX1 1BP

Tickets:  Available online for MAO here

Read Jacky Lansley’s blog about the work here

Richard Alston Dance Company opened their show at the New Theatre, Oxford with Martin Lawrance’s energetic and fast paced creation Detour, which was followed by six pieces by Alston himself. Lawrance leaves interpretation to the audience: according to the programme, he named his piece because he started with one idea, which changed as he worked, but he leaves it to the dance to reveal what those ideas were. Performed to a recorded marimba and percussion soundtrack, its zippy pirouettes and sharp split jetés interspersed with leaps into dramatic embraces displayed the company’s virtuosity, while suggesting an underlying theme of conflict.

Richard Alston’s own programme notes offer more clues to the thoughts, images, and circumstances that lie behind his dances. (more…)