Choreographer Ieva Kuniskis’ work is exciting, moving and entertaining. First up last night, Encore was the debut performance by the Remarkable Dance Company. The dance opened with the entire cast in a closely gathered group, right arms raised, before they collectively followed a sequence of gestural movements. To music ranging from Eric Satie’s Je te veux and Csokolom’s Lulu Valse to Lou Reed’s Goodnight Ladies, they took us through a series of scenes that affirmed the dancers’ wit, experience and individuality. This was an outstandingly successful engagement between a choreographer and a group of older dancers, who are for the most part without vocational training. Some barefoot, others in shoes, they clearly wore what felt right (and what they could see in; at least two wore their spectacles).  (more…)

A fascinating programme of new dance works coming up shortly at the Mill Arts Centre in Banbury.  They Live Next Door is a touching, tender and gritty show that knits unique stories with intricate choreography and nostalgic live melodies.  Set in a home, on a street not too far from your own, it explores the light and the dark of familiar relationships. The duet is an emotional rollercoaster that sensitively uncovers the complexities of preconceptions around masculinity.  At times conforming and other times shaking off stereotypes, multiple relationships between the two men unravel, weaving memories,expectations and domestic rituals. They Live Next Door sets out to ask how social stereotypes affect our identity and our relationships with each other.

Ieva Kuniskis is a Lithuanian choreographer based in London. She combines dance and theatre creating unique movement language and distinct authentic characters to share stories about the everyday life. Ieva interweaves universally relevant themes with affecting, personal stories that audiences can relate to, inviting them to follow their own emotional journey in parallel to that of the characters.

ENCORE, the evening’s curtain raiser, celebrates the debut performance for the Remarkable Dance Company, created for over 50 year olds.  Supported by the Arts Council England, The Mill has brought choreographer Ieva Kuniskis together with 16 people, the eldest of whom is in her 8os, to create a new work which will inspire and entertain you.

Performance:  Saturday 29th July, 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £12

Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01295 279002

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…)

My interest was piqued by the chance to watch a dance piece exploring issues of oppression with our current cultural context as a narrative backdrop to hold in my mind – as well as wearing multiple hats: dancer, student of psychology and working in medical research. I wondered how dance as an art form rooted in movement can offer space to explore, express, embody and perhaps come to terms with oppressive situations. How can oppression be conveyed in essence?

We are living in social and political instability resulting from the particular moment, embedded in history. It seems reasonable to propose that people of less privileged demographics – in increasing numbers and inequality – are disenfranchised, feel excluded from opportunities or have experienced discrimination from ruling class decision-making. From narrowing school curriculums, our precarious gig economy, public service and infrastructure funding cuts, NHS privatisation or divisive Brexit strategies, to name but a few examples close to home.  The repercussions of such circumstances include levels of oppression that have psychological consequences such as depression.  (more…)

Join Dancin’ Oxford for a fabulous summer afternoon of performances on the Dance Stage in Gloucester Green.  The varied programme includes national professional companies James Wilton Dance (who performed Leviathan to a sell-out audience at Pegasus this March), Company Chameleon, Sole Rebel Tap and C-12 Dance Theatre, plus the ever popular Grannny Turismo (who are bringing their revved-up shopping trolleys back to the streets of Oxford!) plus talented local street dance crews Beat Street and Step2Dance.  It’s free, it’s exciting, it’s awesome, it’s the very best in dance to the heart of the City! All afternoon there will be much to see and enjoy (including a mass Zumba workout!).

Stay for 10 minutes, for an hour or all afternoon. See below for a schedule of performing groups.  Bring the family, a picnic or choose from the many street food stalls on site selling food from around the globe. Fun for everyone, and best of all its free!

Date:  Saturday 15th July, 12.00-4.00pm

Location:  Gloucester Green Market Square, Oxford OX1 2BU

Dancin’ On The Green features:

James Wilton DanceLeviathan
A 25 minute performance of the sell-out show seen at Pegasus in February, Leviathan will leave you gasping for air under the sheer ferocity of movement. A cast of 7 will wow you with a blend of athletic dance, martial arts, capoeira and partner-work, accompanied by a powerful electro-rock soundtrack by Lunatic Soul! Follow Captain Ahab and the crew as they search for the great white whale Moby Dick…you won’t regret it

Company ChameleonPush
Athletic yet sensitive, Push is a beautiful yet powerful and engaging male duet, which looks at the different stances we take as relate to one another. The piece looks at how we push to exert dominance and control, and at other times choose to submit and step back
Choreographed by Anthony Missen and Kevin Edward Turner, aka Company Chameleon.
Co-commissioned by Without Walls and Dance Initiative Greater Manchester

Sole Rebel TapSpatterdash
An energetic and colourful tap show to an electro-swing soundtrack created especially by The Chicken Brothers. Sole Rebel Tap’s glamorous dancers tear up the stage with spats, fishnets and tailed jackets dancing to well- known music, creating an uplifting and popular show which will appeal to all ages.

Plus, don’t miss some of the best Urban Dance crews Oxford has to offer, including Beat Street and Step2Dance

C-12 Dance Theatre return to Oxford with Secret Encounters – A series of short dance pieces, choreographed by exciting, diverse and award winning choreographers that will pop up unexpectedly. Inspired by “First encounters that last forever”, the pieces will transform outdoor spaces into a live performance for a brief moment. The times will be secret, the locations will be secret…… Catch them if you can! CLICK TO WATCH TRAILER

Dancin’ on the Green is supported by Oxford Playhouse

12.15 – 12.35pm – Music (DJ Set)

12.35 – 12.40pm – Beat Street (street dance)

12.40 – 12.50pm – Sole Rebel Tap – ‘Spatterdash’

12.50 – 1.10pm – Company Chameleon – ‘Push’

1.10 – 1.15pm – Step2 Dance (street dance)

1.15 – 1.40pm – James Wilton Dance – ‘Leviathan’

1.40 – 1.50pm – Sole Rebel Tap – ‘Spatterdash’

1.50 – 2.05pm – Granny Turismo (On the Green)

2.05 – 2.10pm – Compere

2.10 – 3.00pm – Zumba ‘Summer Jam’ (with George Martini & team)

3.00 – 3.05pm – Beat Street (street dance)

3.05 – 3.25pm – Company Chameleon – ‘Push’

3.25 – 3.30pm – Step2 Dance (street dance)

3.30 – 3.55pm – James Wilton Dance– ‘Leviathan’Dancin’ on the Green

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C-A-G-E-D performed by  Thomas Page Dances was a thought-provoking performance from a young choreographer who clearly has some strong ideas, and a company of very capable dancers.

In terms of the tone of the movement, there were some effective sections including the very start of the piece, and much of the second half – these showed a contrast between sharp, almost robotic accents and sinuous, natural movements.  These were, for me, the most interesting moments: the choreography developing organically and looking almost improvised, rather than the more gymnastic cartwheels and rolls at other points which felt a little engineered and out of place.  There was a very clear sense of strong emotions being portrayed, in particular panic, anxiety, a palpable tension, and loneliness and isolation. (more…)

Following an intriguing sample of work shown at the recent Dance Scratch Night at Arts at the Old Fire Station, Thomas Page Dances comes to The North Wall to present the restaging of their debut work C-A-G-E-D: a series of events questioning, challenging and deconstructing the preconceived idea of oppression.  Exploring the psychology of oppressive events in individual, social and anatomical constructs through the medium of contemporary dance, the work questions to what extent is the cause of oppression inflicted by the oppressor or the oppressed.  Including original scores, with emerging dance artists directed in an interdisciplinary style from an up and coming choreographer, this work is set to be a melting pot of creativity from fresh talent.

Performances:  Thursday 6th and Friday 7th July 7.30pm

Venue:  The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JN

Tickets:  £10, £8 concessions.  A transaction fee of £2 per booking will be applied to customers paying in person or over the phone with a credit or debit card (capped at £1 for a single ticket).

Book tickets online here or call the Box Office on 01865 319450

Read Emily May’s report of C-A-G-E-D in performance at the Laban Centre in 2016 here