World renowned Richard Alston Dance Company return to Oxford Playhouse with a brand new programme of critically acclaimed work. This triple bill features work inspired by some of the world’s greatest composers, as well as an appearance by BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 grand finalist Vidya Patel.

With nearly 50 years choreographing dance, Richard Alston is one of the most influential artists in modern dance. Known for his instinctive musicality, he is renowned for working closely with the music he uses, seeking to use it as both a partner to the dancers, as well as stimulus for the creation of the choreographic work. This triple bill is a thrilling example, with dances inspired by composers from Italy, Argentina and Britain.

In Tangent, Associate Choreographer Martin Lawrance explores the vivid accents and attack of tango. Four couples glide through the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by tango master Piazzolla. Chacony, Alston’s newest dance, is inspired by Britten’s tribute to Purcell’s Chaconne. The dance celebrates the richness and nobility of Purcell, reaching into darker places before reaffirming hope for humanity. Alston’s An Italian in Madrid is influenced by the sonatas of Scarlatti, a baroque composer hugely influenced by Spanish guitar music.

Performances:  Friday 12th & Saturday 13th May, 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £11.50 – £22 (discounts available)

Call the Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or book online here

Curated by Oxford Dance Forum this occasional platform provides a welcome opportunity for Oxford dance artists to try out works in progress in a safe space, and for audiences to get an insight into the development of new works, and give feedback.  In this richly varied edition the artists are Naomi Morris with Hugh Pryor, Emma Webb and Richard Jones, Jenny Parrott, Ellie Aldegheri and Lunas Dance Project and Thomas Page Dancers.  See below for further details about the works they will be showing.

Performance:  Tuesday 25th April 7.30pm

Venue:  Arts at the Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ

Tickets:  £5

Book online here (more…)

The Royal Ballet present George Balanchine’s brilliant evocation of the sparkle of emeralds, rubies and diamonds in his full length ballet Jewels at the Royal Opera House, showing in live transmission at Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse.

Balanchine’s glittering ballet was inspired by the beauty of the gem stones he saw in the New York store of jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels. He went on to make history with this, the first abstract three-act ballet, first performed in 1967 by New York City Ballet.  Jewels was performed in full by The Royal Ballet for the first time in 2007, using costume designs from the original NYCB production and new set designs by Jean-Marc Puissant.

Each of the three movements draws on a different stone for its inspiration and a different composer for its sound. The French Romantic music of Fauré provides the impetus for the lyricism of Emeralds.  The fire of Rubies comes from Stravinsky and the jazz-age energy of New York. Grandeur and elegance complete the ballet in Diamonds, with the splendour of Imperial Russia and Tchaikovsky’s opulent Third Symphony.  Each section salutes a different era in classical ballet’s history as well as a distinct period in Balanchine’s own life. Through it all, Balanchine displays his genius for combining music with visionary choreography.  Jewels is a masterclass in the many luminous facets of classical ballet and indeed of The Royal Ballet itself, the intensity of the soloists and the precision of the entire Company.

Performances:  Tuesday 11th April 7.15pm, and Encore repeat showing Tuesday 18th April 12.00

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Tuesday 11th screening Adult £22, Child £10, Student or Retired £17.50, Family x4 £64

Tuesday 18th screening Adult £17.50, Child £10, Student or Retired £15, Family x4 £55

Book online for Tuesday 11th screening here and Tuesday 18th screening here

An exciting opportunity to see the Bolshoi Ballet in a new full-length work in live transmission at Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse. Pechorin, a young officer, embarks on a journey across the majestic mountains of the Caucasus, on a path set by his passions. Disillusioned and careless, he inflicts pain upon himself and the women around him…

“Give me everything, it is still not enough.” This story based on the larger-than-life hero Pechorin is adapted from Mikhail Lermontov’s literary masterpiece, A Hero Of Our Time, three separate tales recounting Pechorin’s heartbreaking betrayals. Is he a real hero? Or is he just a man like any other? This brand new production by choreographer Yuri Possokhov is a tragic poetic journey that can only be seen at the Bolshoi.

Music: Ilya Demutsky
Choreography: Yuri Possokhov
Libretto: Kirill Serebrennikov
Cast: The Bolshoi Principals, Soloists and Corps De Ballet

Cinema rating 12A

Performance:  Sunday 9th April 4.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Adults £22, Child £10, Student & Retired £17.50, Family x4 £64

Available online here

Rambert’s adventurous programme shows a commitment to new work and artistic collaboration that gloriously affirms the company’s long heritage and roots in the post-Diaghilev dance diaspora.  The evening opened with Kim Brandstrup’s Transfigured Night, followed by Didy Veldman’s The 3 Dancers, and concluded with a revival of Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances. Live musical accompaniment was intrinsic to the immediacy and vigour throughout.

Brandstrup’s study of painful choices as a couple’s relationship teeters on the brink of failure courageously uses the music (Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht) that Antony Tudor chose for his ballet Pillar of Fire, but his conception is original and completely different from Tudor’s. (more…)

For one evening, the Bolshoi takes on a bold new challenge performing  Hans Van Manen’s Frank Bridge’s Variations, Sol León and Paul Lightfoot’s Short Time Together and Alexei Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons. This encounter between some of the best dancers in the world and the masters of contemporary choreography results in an outstanding synthesis, raising Van Manen’s formal beauty, León and Lightfoot’s intensity, and Ratmansky’s witty brilliance to a new level.

Music: Benjamin Britten, Max Richter, Ludwig van Beethoven, Leonid Desyatnikov
Choreography: Hans Van Manen, Sol León, Paul Lightfoot, Alexei Ratmansky
Cast: The Bolshoi Principals, Soloists and Corps De Ballet

Performance:  Sunday 19th March, 3.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX OX2 6AE

Tickets:  Book online here or call 0871 902 5736

If his more recent works are Hollywood blockbusters, Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures is more like quaint, arthouse cinema (a metaphor that seems very apt regarding Bourne’s filmic inspirations). The whole evening has a gentle feel, more subdued and less emotionally diverse than Bourne’s full length productions. This is presumably attributed to the fact that all three works deal more with concepts and ideas opposed to narrative storylines (which more naturally lend themselves to an emotional journey), however this style of choreography brings its own charm, creating a light-hearted and relaxed atmosphere. (more…)