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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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

Ballet Black’s confident and authoritative performance on Wednesday night brought the Oxford audience to its feet.  The programme of two new works, Say It Loud and Black Sun was original, thought-provoking, and beautifully danced.  Ballet Black’s twentieth anniversary tour is a celebration, and both dances, in their very different ways, were about identity and belonging.

Say It Loud, by Cassa Pancho, looks at the company’s history using seven dance ‘chapters’.  To set the scene, the seven dancers listen to a list of quotations from reviews and social media, responding physically to criticism and praise, before the series of vignettes explores the company’s place in both British society and the world of ballet itself.  Pancho is serious, but handles difficult political issues with a gentle touch and even humour: there is plenty to be angry about, but her dancers firmly assert their right just to dance, expressing their hope and love of classical ballet.

Black Sun, a co-commission with The Barbican, choreographed by Gregory Maqoma, dives deep into the origins of the earth to discover a shared sense of humanity.  It feels like the beginning of the world when a dancer, slender and ethereal, a mysterious bird-creature on pointe, weaves her way between beams of light, parting invisible curtains.  Maqoma has created a collective creation myth, drawing on the each dancer’s ancestral lineage.  He suggests universal themes, which the audience might see through the eyes of their own culture: for me, the fall from grace, the outcast, the chosen maiden and sibling rivalry were all there.  The dancers (José Alves, Isabela Coracy, Alexander Fadayiro, Sayaka Ichikawa, Mthuthuzeli November, Cira Robinson and Ebony Thomas), speak, sing and play drums, as well as dancing, in this totally absorbing and powerful work.  The audience loved it.

Maggie Watson

2nd June 2022

Wednesday 9th February saw the first Dance Scratch Night at the Old Fire Station since the start of the pandemic.   Three local makers, Pragna Das, Susie Crow and Helen Edwards shared new work with an audience, and invited feedback and suggestions during discussions moderated by Jenny Parrott on behalf of Oxford Dance Forum (ODF).  Although they work in different dance and movement genres, all three artists draw on a vast corpus of knowledge and understanding: for Pragna Das and Susie Crow, the heritage of Kathak and ballet; for Helen Edwards, Asian movement traditions including Butoh, and the ancient materiality of the natural world.

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Oxford Dance Forum are delighted finally to be back at Arts at the Old Fire Station to share an evening of new dance works in progress by ODF members, and invite feedback, comments and discussion with the audience.

Pragna Das – Bhoboghure

Moving ahead- sometimes it happens that we get stuck in a situation or a thing. This piece describes that feeling and the urge to move ahead, and how that process happens. The dilemma of being comfortable with people around, and when you are forced to move ahead without them as they were gone in the delinquent.

Susie Crow – Technical studies project

Over the course of the pandemic and under the limitations of lockdown I have been creating miniature dances arising from balletic technical challenges, that could be practised and performed at home. Western classical musicians have long written and published technical studies, making them available to all who wish to try playing them. I hope to make my dance studies similarly publicly available online, and am investigating appropriate formats and platforms for doing this.

Dancers: Ségolène Tarte, Evie Tucker and Thomas Page

Helen Edwards – Finding Stone

We are of the earth
Exploring a dialogue with stones found by the sea
Carrying these stones with me
My body feeling their weight, density, atmosphere and stories,
I am slowed by them,
Anchored in presence
The dance emerges from the body in the liminal spaces between the memories of stone and water
A residue of this ancient knowledge
The strata of life and layers of time

Date: Wednesday 9th February 7.30pm

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

Tickets: £5 on the door or book online here

Oxford Dance Forum would like to thank Arts at the Old Fire Station and all their team for supporting this event.

Find out more about Oxford Dance Forum via the website here and on Facebook here

Sleeping Beauty by Let’s All Dance was a joy to watch. The cast of seven dancers delighted their audience of small children from the start with a brief introduction to ballet gestures for them to try for themselves and look out for during the performance. The story was slightly modified: Carabosse becomes wicked because King Florestan breaks her heart by marrying Queen Celeste but they all forgive each other at the end.

This was a delightful introduction to the ballet, which retained plenty of choreographic references to Petipa’s text. Rosy Nevard delivered Aurora’s Act One solo with speed and attack, and Synanne Day’s Lilac Fairy included the huge developpés with ronds en dedans. There was even a Rose Adagio, albeit with only one prince (whom Aurora definitely did not want to marry), played by James Aiden Kay. (more…)

Dance Scholarship Oxford, DANSOX begins its 2020 programme with an exciting evening of music and dance: Making The Cellist.

In the lead up to the highly anticipated premiere of The Cellist in February, the Royal Ballet and choreographer Cathy Marston come to Oxford to discuss Cathy’s choreographic process for her new work for the Royal Ballet inspired by the momentous life and career of the renowned cellist, Jacqueline du Pré, in the building named after her; including live demonstration by dancers from the company.

Date:  Monday, 20th January, 8:00pm

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

Tickets: The event is free and open to all, but booking is essential. Book online here

Refreshments will be available.

 

For a proper Christmas treat, why not join Vienna Festival Ballet at The Mill in Banbury on a magical journey with their unmissable production of Snow White.  Sparkling choreography propels this timeless fairytale and answers the question; who is the fairest one of all?

Based on the traditional Grimm brothers’ story, this ballet incorporates all the important elements – a beautiful girl, an enchanted mirror, a poisoned apple. Hip-hopping dwarves help Snow White find her Prince Charming.  This spellbinding ballet with choreography by Barry McGrath promises to entertain and dazzle the whole family.

“The entire show was captivating from start to finish”  – WELWYN HATFIELD TIMES

“An excellent company of talented young dancers. Their energy and enthusiasm is breathtaking.” – ENTS24.COM

“This production looks and feels absolutely right”  WORTHING HERALD

Performances:  Friday 6th December 5.00pm and 8.00pm

Venue:  The Mill Arts Centre Trust, Spiceball Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 5QE

Tickets:  Call the Box Office on 01295 279002 or book online at boxoffice@themillartscentre.co.uk

Find out more about the company at www.viennafestivalballet.com

Or on Facebook here  and Twitter here

Award-winning dance company, Ballet Black, returns to Oxford Playhouse on Friday 1 November 2019 with a triple bill of bold and inventive choreography.

The exciting programme contrasts inventive story telling in a lively showcase of three modern ballets, commissioned especially for Ballet Black. Ingoma (song) by company dancer and choreographer Mthuthuzeli November, is a fusion of ballet, African dance and singing. This world premiere and Barbican co-commission portrays a milestone in South African history and imagines the struggles of black South African miners and their families in 1946 – when 60,000 of them took courageous strike action.

The second ballet is a revival of Martin Lawrance’s Pendulum, an intimate duo premiered in 2009, and the choreographer’s first work for the company. CLICK!, an original, up-beat piece by Scottish Ballet’s chorographer-in-residence Sophie Laplane, also a world premiere, completes the triple bill.

Performance:  Friday 1st November 8.00pm

Venue:  Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets: £10 to £25 | Discounts available  Book online here or call the Box Office on 01865 305305

Age guideline: 7+ (more…)

There is never a dull moment in this collection of interviews with dancers associated in one way or another with the various companies collectively described as the ‘Ballets Russes’. The book tells their story from the Diaghilev period, through the de Basil, Blum and Denham years, right up to the final days of the Marquis de Cuevas’ company, and concludes with an ‘Afterword’ with John Neumeier. Tamara Karsavina, who died in 1978, is included, by means of an interview with her friend the dancer Rachel Cameron, but it is the later generations, from Alexandra Danilova (born 1903) to Maina Gielgud (born 1945) that are best represented. (more…)