Late on Monday 6th November 2017 Ana Barbour, much loved, inspirational and guiding presence in the Oxford dance scene, passed away having battled with cancer.  Her touching funeral at the home she loved on Sunday 12th November was attended by numerous family, friends, and colleagues, and was a celebration of her life and achievements in speeches, songs and dance.  I felt honoured to speak on that occasion about Ana’s work as a dance artist in Oxford, and I am posting here my speech to pay tribute to her.  You can also find links below to her own blog Anadances, Cafe Reason of whom she was an integral part, and the DEC Project; and her own occasional writings for this blog.  Oxford Dance Writers would really welcome other voices in this endeavour of remembrance, so please use the comments facility below to add to this partial picture your particular memories of Ana.  Thank you!

Ana Barbour

When I mounted the Solos Project for Oxford dance artists in 2008 Ana was one of six dancers who showed solos in the Burton Taylor’s intimate studio space. Her Butoh inspired piece Baggage accompanied by the atmospheric music of her long term friend and collaborator Malcolm Atkins was a remarkable episode in which having entered bowed down by a bundle on her back she burrowed into the baggage itself, morphing into surreal shapes and images of confined struggle that were humorous, poignant and dreamlike. It was my first experience of Ana as creative imagination and compelling performer. (more…)

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Ana Barbour’s  Rope, Rock, R… investigates and plays with various materials like a rope, wool, a stone, and experiments with the qualities of these often oppositional and complementary props. She does this with a virtuosity and variety of ideas, aesthetic and controlled use of movement which is a pleasure to watch. (more…)

The first edition of Oxford Dance Forum’s ODF Presents… at The Old Fire Station showcased work-in-progress by five Oxford based dance artists and companies, as part of a three year Arts Council England funded professional development programme.

Ana Barbour:  Rope, Rock, R…

The opening piece of the evening unwound from a quiet, subtle beginning to great sweeps of movement and sound. The idea of examining the way that a lifeless object such as a length of rope can move and change shape, was an intriguing one, and an original way to develop a performance piece. There was some interesting use of multimedia, with projected images which Ana interacted with quite directly at times, at other times providing a less prominent backdrop.  It felt as though a large span of emotions and characteristics was explored in a short time, from intricate delicate movements and a soft, almost caressing interaction with the hanging rope on stage, to a cheeky, flirtatious moment of tango, and the violent rage of the rock star. Throughout all of these elements, Ana maintained a relationship with the audience; from defiant stares to small smiles and moments where she was facing away from us, one felt included in the journey that played out. The quick switch between different temperaments and movement styles in an instant was impressive, as was her innovative use of the props and media.  (more…)

Completing a summer day of dance in Oxford following on from Dancin’ On The Green, some of Oxfordshire’s finest companies and choreographers invite you into their world of movement, music and storytelling , in an eclectic, exciting and mesmerising preview of new works in progress.

Work developed with the support of Oxford Dance Forum will be presented by the following selected artists/companies: Ana Barbour, Paulette Mae, Lunas Dance Project, Smidgen Dance Company and My Johansson.

“ODF Presents…” is part of a three-year Arts Council England funded professional development programme Evolution – which aims to support artists in the development of their own artistic practice and the creation of new work.

Date:  Saturday 15th July, 7.30pm

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

Recommended for ages 10+.

Duration: 90 mins approx.

Tickets:  £7, £6 concessions 

Book online here

Arts at the Old Fire Station offers a free companion ticket to disabled patrons. Please book via phone (01865 263990) or e-mail (tickets@oldfirestation.org.uk) to claim this.
Are you a member of Crisis Skylight Oxford?  Arts at the Old Fire Station shares the building with Crisis and offers 4 free tickets per show to homeless clients. Sign up in advance at Reception.

Find out more about Oxford Dance Forum here

 

 

Women GOLive has continued to surprise, excite and entertain Oxford audiences with eclectic but well chosen performances of highly original work. The second and third nights of this four-night run included traditional and experimental South Asian dance from Arunima Kumar and Anuradha Chaturvedi, new contemporary dance works from visiting artist Salah El Brogy and Welsh company Ffin Dance (who bravely gave new takes on iconic music), a fresh work from Hanna Wroblewski, Mara Vivas’ and My Johansson’s interactive performance installation, and humour from Sarah Kent and Aliki Mbakoyianni. A terrific line-up. (more…)

Another exploratory, innovative and exciting programme of original dance work has just been presented at Oxford’s Old Fire Station Theatre under the aegis of Donald Hutera. Hutera’s remarkable ability to gather together able but neglected choreographic skills and to present them in a continually-changing four-day programme has already been demonstrated at the nearby Burton Taylor Studio. On this latest occasion, however, despite there being no diminution in the range of remarkably distinctive approaches on offer, the overall impact was far more cohesive.

For this three elements seem primarily responsible. The first is the universality of the myth and legend on which much of the work draws; the second is the power – on a bare stage – of the overall visual impact of each of these pieces, and the third is the extraordinary range of emotional intensity evoked by the quality of these performances – drawing chuckles and tears and the long silence of chastened realisation that precedes the best appreciative applause. (more…)

How fitting that on the day that a woman took over at 10 Downing Street, Oxford was celebrating the work of women choreographers and dancers in first night of the Women GOlive programme.

Curator Donald Hutera has brought together an impressively novel and varied selection of works by local, national and international artists, which last night ranged from an intensely focussed Butoh-based solo by Ana Barbour, through Jane Connelly’s liquid contemporary dance style, to the disconcerting humour and provocative wit of Susan Kempster, performance poet Jemima Foxtrot and Aliki Mbakoyianni. (more…)