Dance and Academia


Lynn Garafola’s biography of Bronislava Nijinska sets her life and work in the context of the cultural and political changes that shaped the twentieth century.  Chiefly remembered in the United Kingdom as Vaslav Nijinsky’s sister, and the choreographer of just two works, Les Biches and Les Noces, this book resituates Nijinska as a huge creative force, whose influence has had a seminal impact on ballet throughout the Western world.

Garafola’s sixteen chapters brilliantly knit together Nijinska’s personal and professional life, revealing a complex and troubled woman who was truly driven to create dances.  There was continually tension both between Nijinska’s compulsion to work and her desire to look after her dearly loved family, and between her professional achievements and her tragic personal life, which included her brother’s decline into mental illness, the death of her son in a car crash and her unconsummated love for the singer Fedor Chaliapin.

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Physic is a unique and special evening curated by Alice Oswald, the University of Oxford’s Professor of Poetry, as part of Oxford Botanic Garden‘s 400th anniversary celebrations. In this roving performance of music, poetry and dance, each artist responds to the Garden as a place of healing. The event will commence at 7.00pm, welcominng visitors to enjoy the Garden after hours, and will include a diverse range of performances from renowned artists that will include poetry, music and dance. The settings will be closely matched to the style of the piece, including music in the Conservatory, dance among the Herbaceous Borders, and performances in the Rainforest and Waterlily houses. This rotational experience will culminate in a finale in the Upper Garden. The event is supported by TORCH, the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.

Confirmed performers include:

  • Alice Oswald will be performing Against Leaves – a protest against deciduousness.
  • Stevie Wishart will be performing her extraordinary blackbird transcriptions on violin, accompanied with poems performed by Alice Oswald.
  • Saju Hari will offer danced interventions to the performances.
  • Peter Oswald will be performing his poem-version of a story, Filo D’Oro and Filomena, collected by Italo Calvino, and several other flower poems written in Bristol.
  • Erica McAlpine will be reading from a sequence of short rhyming poems based on the flowers she sees and grows in Oxfordshire.
  • A performance of Kiki Katese’s work – more information coming soon.

Date: Sunday 17th July, 7.00-9.00pm

Venue: Oxford Botanic Gardens, Rose Lane, OX1 4 AZ

Booking: Tickets £20, book online here

Find out more about the event and the artists here

Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) hosts no less than three exciting summer intensives this July. International artists, writers, choreographers and guests explore themes of creativity and dance-making in relation to other arts. Alice Oswald and Saju Hari explore epic through different media; Thomas Page Dances develops current research on Commonalities; emerging dancers at Rambert School and the Royal Scottish Conservatoire make new dance narratives by and about women.  Guest lecturers include international dance critic Alastair Macaulay and eminent biographer Lyndall Gordon. Visitors are welcome to drop in at any time to watch the processes unfolding, but do book places for the public sharing events listed below.

Venue: Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

Alice Oswald with Saju Hari and Dancers 11th-14th July

Oxford’s Professor of Poetry Alice Oswald collaborates with internationally renowned contemporary Indian dance and martial arts expert Saju Hari, developing work for the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama All-Night Epic project to come in 2023.

Public Sharing including Q&A: 14th July 5.30pm

Thomas Page Dances: Commonalities 15th-20th July

Thomas Page Dances develops new dance work and discusses the themes of commonality in relation to dance theories, histories and practice.

Public Keynote Guest Lecture given by Alastair Macaulay: ‘Commonalities, Communities, Utopia’ 15th July 11.30am

Public Sharing of the work with Thomas Page Dances including Q&A: 20th July 5.30pm

Deborah Norris, Rambert School and Guests: Women and Choreography 21st-25th July

This exciting choreographic intensive brings together a group of students of the Rambert School and the Royal Scottish Conservatoire in classes and workshops with guest teachers Kate Flatt, Jennifer Jackson and Susie Crow, and to make new work.

Public Keynote Guest Lecture given by Lyndall Gordon: Charlotte Brontë (Villette) 21st July 5.30pm

Public Sharing of Woman-Made! An evening of new short ballets created by women including Q&A

25th July 5.30pm

To book for Keynote Lectures and Public Sharing events please email Professor Sue Jones here

The Ballet des Porcelaines, or The Teapot Prince, was an eighteenth century ballet in the chinoiserie style, for which costumes, sets and choreography are lost; only the score, by Nicolas Racot de Grandval, and the libretto, by the Comte de Caylus, survive.  In 2021 Meredith Martin, Professor of Art History at New York University, and Phil Chan, choreographer and co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface, collaborated on a re-imagining of this work, which is now touring European venues that included  Waddesdon Manor on 16 and 17 June.  The animation of porcelain was a popular eighteenth century motif, and the original ballet’s story, in which a Chinese sorcerer turned a prince into a teapot, epitomised the simultaneous ‘othering’ and plundering of Oriental culture by Europeans.  The project’s goal was to recreate the work remaining true to its original artistic intentions while revealing the narrative from a broader post-colonial perspective.

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DANSOX conferences at St Hilda’s College, Oxford are now a regular landmark in the UK dance research year.  DANSOX works in association with TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) and constitutes Oxford’s interface between dance practice and dance research; a space to investigate the ways in which practice constitutes research and, conversely, where research becomes practice.  Although Oxford University has neither a dance department nor dance studio, DANSOX plays a vital role at a time when other UK institutions and centres of academic excellence in dance and their collections are under threat.

The DANSOX 2022 Day of Dance: Transnational Conversations symposium was a collaboration with TORCH Humanities and Cultural Programme and the Network Britain and the Soviet Union: Cultural Encounters; the day interrogated the ways in which dance communicates across borders, cultures and generations through written records, images, recordings and bodily memory.  Open to all, and attended by an array of distinguished scholars, writers, and practitioners from major dance institutions, the day included performances, workshops, lectures, and experimental applications of virtual reality (VR) to performance.

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The Teapot Prince will be performed in the fairy-tale grounds of Waddesdon Manor before exploring the Manor after-hours. Be enchanted by this contemporary reimagining of the lost eighteenth-century French Ballet des Porcelaines – The Teapot Prince, bringing to life a story of magic, desire and exotic entanglement. Originally staged in a château near Paris, this is the first production of the ballet in nearly 300 years; it has been created by Meredith Martin, professor of art history at New York University, and Phil Chan, choreographer and co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface, in collaboration with The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities (TORCH) and the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. The production features an all-star cast with New York City Ballet soloists Georgina Pazcoguin and Daniel Applebaum, alongside Broadway phenomenon Tyler Hanes, and the original score will be played live by the Oxford orchestra Instruments of Time and Truth.

The Teapot Prince is based on an Orientalist fairy tale about a sorcerer who lives on a ‘Blue Island’ and transforms anyone who dares to trespass into porcelain cups, vases, and other wares. When the sorcerer turns the eponymous prince into a teapot, his lover, the princess comes to his rescue…

Performances: Thursday 16 and Friday 17 June 2022, 6.00pm 

Venue: Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 0JH

Tickets: Adult £32, Child £16 Ticket includes access to the Manor’s west galleries & a talk by the ballet company

Book your ticket here: https://waddesdontest.seetickets.com/timeslot/the-teapot-prince

Porcelain, Chinoiserie and Dance: The Teapot Prince comes to Oxford

Friday 17 June 2022 , 10.15am-1.30pm

Linbury Room, Worcester College, Oxford

Three panels of creative artists and academics discuss the porcelain ballet, The Teapot Prince, as part of its world tour as it stops at Waddesdon Manor (16 and 17 June) en route from New York to Naples, Brighton and Paris.

Panel members: choreographer, Phil Chan, founder of Final Bow for Yellow Face; Meredith Martin, art historian and co-creator with Phil Chan, of The Teapot Prince; artist, Hannah Lim; poet and academic, Sarah Howe; ceramicist, Matt Smith; writer and ceramicist, Edmund de Waal; and art historian, Katie Scott.

Please register your place here

Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) and TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities) collaborate to present Day of Dance: Transnational Conversations, a rich mix of dance practice, research and discussion involving leading dance artists and distinguished scholars, and centring on Bronislava Nijinska‘s seminal work Les Noces.

Programme:

10.00am-12.00pm Welcome and Liam Francis choreography session – making new work.

1.15-2.00pm Keynote: Jane Pritchard on Nijinska’s Les Noces

Throughout the day from 1.00pm- 6.00pm, those attending can drop in on a showing of Future Rites by Alexander Whitley Dance Company in the Rooftop Suite

2.05-2.50pm Deirdre Chapman leads dancers in a demonstration and workshop of choreography from Les Noces

3.00-3.30pm Marcus Bell presentation Rites of Spring

3.30-4.00pm Meindert Peters presentation Kafka and Arthur Pita

4.00-4.30pm Hélène Neveu Kringelbach presentation Avant-garde dance in Senegal

5.00-6.00pm Book launch of Lynn Garafola‘s biography La Nijinska: Choreographer of the Modern with Judith Mackrell

6.10-7.15pm Keynote: Alexander Whitley on Future Rites? with dancers, followed by discussion

7.15pm Reception

Date: Friday 10th June 10.00am-7.45pm

Venue: Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, OX4 1DY

Tickets: Free of charge; to register for the event please use this link.

If you would like to watch the livestream of the day please use this link.

For further info please contact susan.jones@ell.ox.ac.uk & marcus.bell@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk

Finally, if you would like to attend the inaugural meeting of TORCH Network
Britain and the Soviet Union: Cultural Encounters you can sign up for a group discussion led by Gabriela Minden – on the London performances of Les Noces by Ballets Russes in June 1926, a month after the General Strike – by following this link.

The final event in Dance Scholarship Oxford’s current series Interrogating the Dance ‘Classics’ is a discussion with Dr Arabella Stanger of her new book Dancing on Violent Ground: Utopia as Dispossession in Euro-American Theater Dance. This fascinating and thought-provoking event is free and open to all, but seats are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, so advance booking is essential. It will also be live streamed, and available to watch after the event.

Date: Tuesday 19th April 5.30pm BST

Venue: Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

Booking: To register for this event please email Professor Sue Jones or Marcus Bell

Find out more about DANSOX here

Alastair Macaulay delivered the first face-to-face DANSOX lecture of 2022 against a background of loss and tragedy.  The loss was the death of the critic Clement Crisp at the age of 95; the tragedy, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.  Macaulay dedicated his lecture to the memory of the former, and  acknowledged his initial difficulty in speaking to a topic that might have seemed trivial against the background of the latter. 

He then delivered a talk that proved quite the opposite.  Taking inspiration from Arlene Croce’s assertion in 1973 that ‘Swan Lake is not a drama about birds – it’s a drama about freedom’, Macaulay cogently argued that it is a ballet about power and subjugation; bondage and liberation; trust and betrayal, which extends beyond the personal tragedies of Odette and Siegfried into the wider social and political domain.

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DANSOX (Dance Scholarship Oxford) enters 2022 with a fascinating thematic programme of events over the Hilary (Spring) term. Interrogating the Dance ‘Classics’ began with a sparkling occasion on 25th January bringing together Dame Monica Mason (former principal dancer and Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet) with Jane Pritchard, Dance Archivist at the Victoria and Albert Museum. They talked about The Sleeping Princess and The Sleeping Beauty in the centenary year of the first performances of Diaghilev’s legendary production of The Sleeping Princess in London, bringing the history of this seminal Petipa work and its influence on ballet in Britain up to the present day. Forthcoming events include:

Monday 7th February 1.00-2.30 GMT online

Marcus Bell (St Hilda’s, Oxford) and Marie-Louise Crawley (Coventry) – Listening to Grace: Embodying Hidden Pasts, Imagining Just Futures. This joint presentation and discussion forms part of the ongoing DANSOX/TORCH series Dance as Grace: Paradoxes and Possibilities

Wednesday 2nd March 5.30-7.00pm GMT in person at the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

Alastair Macaulay, international writer and critic – Swan Lake

Attend in person or watch the live stream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uoVO76hjZc

Tuesday 19th April 5.30-7.00pm BST in person at the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building

Arabella Stanger (Sussex) – Dancing on Violent Ground: Utopia as Dispossession in Euro-American Theater Dance

For online joining links and enquiries please contact susan.jones@ell.ox.ac.uk and marcus.bell@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk.

Unless otherwise stated all DANSOX events are free and open to all; if held in person the event will be followed by refreshments.

All future in-person events may be moved online subject to COVID19 precautions.

Find out about DANSOX here and watch videos of past events here

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