Attending the Dancing Human Rights event at The Old Fire Station on 1st February, curated by Dr Dana Mills as part of Oxford Brookes University’s Think Human Festival, was a deeply moving and thought-provoking experience.  Three very different pieces were shown and brought out different responses in me as I watched.

Eliot Smith’s solo excerpt from Pitman depicted the world of the coal miner with his lamp and shovel.  We felt his sweat and labour in the oppressive and cramped working conditions.  We saw the relentless drudgery but also the sense of pride and relief when at last he found the freedom to stand tall and stretch to full height again after a hard day’s work hunched underground. (more…)

Why host an event which presents dance work focusing on various human rights issues in 2020?  This is a volatile time for many of us in the world, although the concept and ethos of human rights enables us to reflect upon the fact that at any given time human beings are fleeing persecution and seeking to affirm their human rights.  And so, in our turbulent times it is urgent to ask—what is our commitment as artists and human beings to the idea and practice of human rights?

My own introduction to human rights came a long time before I knew what that concept entails.  My political education was on the pro-Palestinian Israeli left, and so I’ve come to learn of human rights from the wrong side of history.  Even when my every day was shielded by walls and checkpoints from events of huge historical consequence occurring sometimes less than a few miles away, I knew well these events are part of my own life. And I realized early on that no one is free until everyone is free, and our human fate is entangled in others and so we have responsibilities towards them. (more…)

In an exciting day at the Old Fire Station sharing the recent work of Oxford dance makers, Oxford Dance Forum (ODF) celebrates its Evolution Programme, acknowledging the end of this productive three year Arts Council England/Oxford City Council funded initiative, and marking the beginning of a new entirely independent phase for Oxford Dance Forum.

In December 2019 Claire Thompson, who has overseen ODF since 2006 as part of her role as Dance Officer for Oxford City Council, will be taking a step back to enable the Forum to become fully artist-led. Claire has been pivotal in fundraising for initiatives that support local dance artists as well as building partnerships both within Oxfordshire and other regions, and ODF members are extremely grateful for her work over the past 13 years, as well as for the contributions of many local dance artists who since 2006 have voluntarily given their time as members of the ODF Steering Group.

ODF’s aim is to support Oxfordshire dance artists in their ongoing research and development as makers, teachers, and performers, so please encourage those you know to come along to this event to celebrate its work to date, or consider donating to the ODF collective to help it to continue supporting Oxford’s vibrant and dynamic dance community.

Screenings of dance films, documentaries and performances will run through the afternoon in the dance studio and foyer alongside performances and sharings of Oxford dance artists’ work, see full programme below.

Date:  Sunday 13th October 1.30-9.00pm

Venue:  The Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ

Tickets:  All tickets are free, but booking is essential.  You can book online for individual events here, or call the Box Office on 01865 263990

as follows:

Mae
1.30pm & 4pm (15 mins) Dance Studio
An informal and intimate opportunity to listen to a specially created podcast by Mae based upon her explorations into creating sound, particularly the use of contact mics, as part of her Evolution funding. Mae will be present to share her feelings on dance experimentation whilst also showing film clips and objects used within the research.

Jenny Parrott, Joëlle Pappas and Christopher Redgate, and Naomi Morris
1.50pm & 4.20pm (1 hour approx) Cafe and Loft
An intriguing and entertaining promenade event of dance, live music, projections, and dialogue that takes place in the Cafe and Loft. Ages 18+ (contains nudity).

Miranda Laurence
3.05pm (45 minutes) Dance Studio
Join Miranda Laurence for a discussion exploring how to watch dance and get more out of it. This talk is open to all – dance makers, regular dance watchers, and those who may have little or no experience of watching dance.

Body Politic, Justice in Motion, Segolene Tarte, Sole Rebel Tap, and Unlock the Chains Collective & Kuumba Nia Arts
6pm (1.5 hours approx) Theatre
A rare opportunity to experience an eclectic mix of works created by 5 Oxford based dance artists and companies, presenting short excerpts in styles ranging from hip hop to butoh, tap to physical theatre, and ballet to performance poetry.

The 2019 Dancin’ Oxford Festival brings a powerful and varied programme of dance to the city. It features shows and workshops for children, teenagers, dance enthusiasts and for the dance curious.  This year we are introducing our Festival Hub, in the Oxford Playhouse’s Lucy Room, where dance lovers can pop in for free tea, coffee and a chat.

The Festival, now in its 13th year, is funded by Oxford City Council and Arts Council England. Claire Thompson, Oxford City Council Arts Officer said ‘Although the Festival has no central theme several of this year’s companies have mental health issues at the heart of their work, which reflects current contemporary concerns. The shows are far from being all doom and gloom and offer thought provoking dance of the highest quality. We have a new venue for the Festival Launch on 2 March which will be held on a dance stage inside Westgate Oxford. We are delighted with this new location which will offer great views for everyone.’

The Festival Launch is an exciting and awe-inspiring afternoon of dance featuring breathtaking shows from professional and local youth dance companies. There will also be opportunities to join in a Zumba Party and learn African and Street Dance moves.  The annual Moving with the Times platform comprises 3 specially commissioned pieces by Dancin’ Oxford and Pegasus Theatre and features emerging companies, with work this year by Jann Esterhuizen Company, Joe Lott Company and returning Richard Chappell Dance.

Stuart Walters’ Rock Bottom is a moving dance solo based on the dancer’s own struggles with depression and addition. Two Oxford based companies are also looking into mental health. Body Politic, now on its first national tour, examines the fragility and vulnerabilities in men and young boys and Dance Creative offers the raw story of a daughter and her mother with early onset dementia.

Uchenna Dance will bring a flamboyance and colour with its blend of African and contemporary dance with The Head Wrap Diaries.  The Chit Chat Chalk Show will help children discover what makes them unique.

You can find full details of all the events and participatory workshops here, but below is a listing of performance events and discussion at a glance:

Moving with the Times platform- Richard Chappell Dance, Jann Esterhuizen Company, Joe Lott Company, contemporary dance

Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd March 7.30pm,  Sat. mat 2.30pm, Pegasus Theatre

Festival Launch – including performances by Company Chameleon, Messy Jam Dance Co, Step2Dance, Hakeem Omnibudo and his Impact Academy Dancers.

2nd March 12pm – 5pm, Leiden Square, Westgate Oxford

Festival Hub – speakers Emma-Jane Morbey AD Body Politic, Claire Thompson Director Dancin’ Oxford Festival, Paula Redway Cultural Development Manager at Oxford City Council, Susie Crow Ballet in Small Spaces and Oxford Dance Writers, Segolene Tarte Oxford Dance Forum, Angela Conlan Director Dance Creative.

Monday 3rd – Saturday 9th March 12 – 2pm, Oxford Playhouse

The Head Wrap Diaries – Uchenna Dance, fusion African and contemporary dance forms

2nd March 7pm, Kingsmere Community Centre, Bicester

Boys and Girls – The Pappy Show

2nd March 7.30pm, The North Wall

Mixtape – Dotdotdot Dance, contemporary flamenco

5th March 8pm, The North Wall

Rock Bottom – Stuart Waters, solo dance

6th March 7.30pm, Old Fire Station

A Million Memories – Dance Creative, interactive event with dance, music and poetry

7th March at 6pm, History of Science Museum

Works by Rafael Bonachela, Sharon Eyal and Benoit Swan Pouffer – Rambert2, contemporary dance

Friday 8th & Saturday 9th March, Friday 8 pm, Sat 2.30 & 7.30pm, Oxford Playhouse

Father Figurine – Body Politic, hip-hop dance and spoken word

8th March 7.30pm, The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury

The Chit Chat Chalk Show – Hawk Dance Theatre and The Knotted Project, children’s show

9th March 11am & 2pm, The North Wall

Ticketed events: from £3 for taster workshops;

Oxford Playhouse www.ticketsoxford.com 01865 305305,

www.pegasustheatre.org.uk 01865 812 150, www.thenorthwall.com 01865 319450,

www.themillartscentre.co.uk 01295 290 002, www.hsm.ox.ac.uk

 

Dancin’ Oxford’s annual Spring Festival offers something for everyone. From international choreographers, to free outdoor experiences, a Dance-A-Thon, professional and amateur companies, plus shows for children and workshops, Dancin’ Oxford 2017 has programmed a festival of treats.

Now in its 11th year and funded by Oxford City Council and Arts Council England, Dancin’ Oxford goes from strength to strength. Claire Thompson, Oxford City Council Dance Officer said “We find that each new festival is rewarding in so many ways. Oxford’s vibrant dance scene love it as do many people who have never experienced dance before. The free dance event in the city brings a variety of dance styles to the shoppers some of whom have been known to join in.’

Dancin’ Spaces (4 March), in and around the City Centre, is a variety of programmed dance performances and promenade pieces. Shoppers might find they are chosen to be ‘protected and defended’ by dancing Bodyguards, discover a dance about football fusing hip hop with contemporary dance, watch a performance for children in the Museum of History of Science or a duet in the Weston Library foyer. All this runs alongside a plethora of local dance companies which will entertain and delight shoppers. (more…)

This year Oxford celebrates the 10th anniversary of its very own springtime dance festival in Dancin’ Oxford 2016.  Watch out for an action packed 11 days including performances by locally based companies and visiting national and international artists, as well as a host of enticing workshops in a range of genres.  Here is a calendar of performance dates for your diary with links to further information and booking:

Friday 26th-Saturday 27th February, Pegasus Theatre:
Moving With the Times.  The annual platform of new work by Oxford dance artists includes Dancin’ Oxford & Pegasus commissioned pieces from in.motion dance (contemporary), Body Politic (hip hop) and Drishti Dance (contemporary/kathak) and We Were Youth, choreographed and performed by 3 male dancers who started dancing in Oxford and are now at the top of their game, dancing with such international companies as DV8, Hofesh Shechter and Peeping Tom.

Further info here

Saturday 27th February, Bonn Square:
Dancin’ Spaces.  Celebratory open air free performances in the city centre; companies performing Hawk Dance Theatre, infuse DANCE, Granny Turismo, Company Chameleon, Ajos Dance and Sole Rebel Tap.
Monday 29th February, Old Fire Station:
Leap Day Dancing.  A special programme of works featuring dance, live music and film to join Dancin’ Oxford’s tenth anniversary celebrations. Including Oxford artists Crossover Intergenerational Dance, Joëlle Pappas Projects, Susie Crow, Paulette Mae, Alan Hutson and the UK premier of Jos Baker’s new solo work Of No Fixed Abode.
Further info here
Wednesday 2nd March, The North Wall:
In The Happiness  Karla Shacklock Company combine choreography, spoken word and live sound in fast and furious devised physical theatre.
Further info here
Friday 4th- Saturday 5th March, Old Fire Station:
Duet Squared and More.  Joëlle Pappas choreographs and directs a poetic programme of contemporary dance to piano duets by Maurice Ravel and Erik Satie, played live by Diana Hinds and Elizabeth Kreager. The evening also presents dance to compositions by Douglas Young and Benjamin Britten.
Further info here
Friday 4th-Saturday 5th March, Oxford Playhouse:
Thomas Noone and Mercat de los Flors Barcelona present the UK premiere of Medea, Noone’s powerful version of Euripides’ ancient tragedy, an exquisite evening of dance packed with emotional charge.
Further info here
Saturday 5th March, Pegasus Theatre:
The Black Album. A triple bill in which three distinctly different hip hop choreographies are woven together like a concept album, taking you on a soulful journey through many shades of black.
Further info here
You can find the full Dancin’ Oxford 2016 festival programme including all the workshops here
Book soon, most venues will quickly fill…
Enjoy!

Dancin’ Oxford writes: “Don’t miss this week’s Pegasus and Dancin’ Oxford Dance Scratch Night.   This evening of new work is the first opportunity for artists appearing in Moving With The Times (our February dance showcase for Oxford dance artists) to air their choreography and get feedback on the pieces they are creating.  Companies performing include Body Politic, Drishti Dance and in.motion dance. We are hoping for a really friendly, supportive and knowledgeable audience for the artists, and it would be wonderful if you would be able to join us.”

Date:   Friday 22nd January, 7:30pm

Venue:  Clore Dance Studio, Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets:   £3
Book online here:  or call 01865 812150