Don’t miss this chance to see Lukas Dhont‘s thought provoking and award winning film Girl this week at The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury.
Determined 15-year-old Lara wants to become a ballerina. With the support of family, she throws herself into this quest for everything at a new school. Lara’s frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realizes her body doesn’t bend so easily to the strict discipline because she was born a boy.
Showing:  Wednesday 11th September 7.30pm
Venue:  Main Auditorium, The Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park Road, Banbury OX16 5QE
Tickets:  From £8 from the Box Office on 01295 279002 or book online here
 
Rating: 15  Please note that this film is subtitled.
Find out more about the film here
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Images Ballet Company presented a programme of joyful, colourful and musical work at Didcot Cornerstone Theatre on Thursday. Interlacing originality with tradition, the opening work, Interplay by Mikaela Polley, set the tone for the evening as light gradually bathed the backdrop in blue, revealing percussionist and composer Martin Pyne upstage right, and seven dancers stage left, silhouetted in beautifully placed classical ballet poses.

Images is the company of London Studio Centre’s graduating ballet students (six women, two men this year) and it gave the dancers the chance to work with four different choreographers on new works, exploring ballet as a means of expression and communication. The light hearted Interplay, with its changes of direction and use of pointe and swift, darting petit allegro was full of friendly interactions between the dancers. (more…)

This week Didcot’s Cornerstone Arts welcomes Images Ballet Company for the second time, in an evening that highlights the dynamic range and beauty of ballet today.  This company of aspiring ballet professionals with “coltish freshness” (Dancing Times) take centre stage in four exciting works by internationally established and rising choreographers working across the globe today.

Former Scottish Ballet Director Ashley Page creates playful neo-classical dances to music by Britten, while Andrew McNicol draws on Ravel’s lush Miroirs for an intimate portrait of women. Ballet and contemporary dance maker Cameron McMillan pushes balletic lines into fresh classic form and Mikaela Polley and percussionist Martin Pyne collaborate to bring brand new ballet and music together. Vibrant dancing set off with stylish costume and a rich musical palette, including live percussion, promises a performance that will entertain and surprise ballet lovers and newcomers to dance alike.

“Their show was one of the most exciting I’ve seen in years with a wonderful and eclectic choice of repertoire, danced with passion and verve”
-Bruce Marriot, Dance Tabs

Directed by former Royal Ballet soloist, Jennifer Jackson and presented by London Studio Centre, one of the country’s most prestigious performing arts colleges, Images Ballet Company is one of four touring companies made up of final year students – INTOTO DANCE (contemporary dance) THE JAZZ DANCE COMPANY (jazz theatre dance) IMAGES BALLET COMPANY (classical ballet) and SEEDTIME (music theatre).

Founded in 1978 by Bridget Espinosa, London Studio Centre enjoys an international reputation for its outstanding professional theatre training in the performing arts. Students experience exceptional teaching in a vibrant atmosphere at London Studio Centre’s home in the award winning arts centre, artsdepot.

Performance:  Thursday 13th June 7.30pm

Venue:  Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Road, Didcot, Oxon OX11 7NE

Tickets:  £12.50 (concessions £10, Members’ discount 20%)  Book online here or call the Box Office on 01235 515144

Find out more about Images Ballet Company here

 

The final week of April brought thought-provokingly contrasted dance performances to Oxford. On Tuesday 23rd at the New Theatre the BalletBoyz performed their latest programme Them/Us, shortly to be opening for their first West End season at the Vaudeville Theatre. This two-part programme involves all six male dancers in both pieces. Opening the evening Them was a collaborative choreographic venture by the dancers drawing on elements of their own individual movement, sharing them in a succession of often playful episodes and exchanges. Set in a twilight zone, a gleaming stainless steel tubular cube framework and sleek satin shell suits brought enlivening geometric dashes of light and colour, red, blue, green and purple. The cube defined shifting spaces which the dancers could manipulate, inhabit, swing from and climb up. Movement combined sharp crisp gesture with a lyrical contemporary idiom, integrating tumbling and floorwork in response to Charlotte Harding’s lively but dark toned score; suggestions of character and relationship were glimpsed and a feeling of camaraderie and group identity emerged, even if overall the episodic structure of the piece did not build a sense of narrative or situational development. The performers conveyed lithe fluidity and a smooth assurance, distinct from the rawness of previous BalletBoyz ensembles; no longer projecting a company narrative of emerging talent and inexperienced diamonds in the rough, but a polished professional group. (more…)

This was a stunning evening of new dance works, alongside extracts from Kenneth MacMillan’s newly revived ballet Playground.  The curtain raiser Who’s It?!, choreographed collaboratively by Edd Mitton and Jordi Calpe Serrats with students from the Centre for Advanced Training at Swindon Dance Centre, was an ingenious preparation for MacMillan’s deeply disturbing work with its references to children’s games. In the duets from Playground that followed, Oxana Panchenko as the Girl with make-up and Jonathan Goddard as The Youth portrayed an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship, enmeshed within violent and coercive social forces, in a ballet that pushes game-playing to a horrible conclusion. (more…)

‘I’m always accused of dealing only with sex and violence but what I really deal with is life and death.’  Thus quoted Monica Mason, opening the St Hilda’s College/DANSOX Conference Kenneth MacMillan: Making Dance Beyond the Boundaries held on Saturday 16th March 2019.

Dame Monica, former Principal Dancer and Director of the Royal Ballet Company, was just one of many sharing their memories of MacMillan and his creative approach at this smörgåsbord of delights blending academic research, choreography and performance. On a wet and windy day, in political and climatic times that can sometimes feel reminiscent of the dark events triggered at Mayerling, we were treated to talks by MacMillan’s widow Deborah on how MacMillan worked with designers, Guest Lecturer Natalie Wheen on his innovative use of music, choreologists on how Benesh notation helps to preserve his choreography, and academic specialists on his historical imagination. The conference concluded with excerpts from a reconstruction of Playground by Yorke Dance. (more…)

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