Last week, Richard Alston Dance Company brought Oxford Playhouse a programme that was all about surprising encounters: tango and contemporary dance; Britten and Purcell; Scarlatti and Andalusia; Indian and Western classicism.

The evening opened with Martin Lawrance’s Tangent, a clever take on tango for four couples, set to Piazzolla’s Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, which was played at the grand piano on stage by Jason Ridgway. Lawrance uses steps such as picked up foot-crossing walks, sharp changes of direction and occasional close holds to hint at tango, but this contemporary dance piece is not at all like ‘Strictly’, although there is plenty of spectacle. (more…)

Following their successful visit to the Old Fire Station last year, mapdance, University of Chichester’s MA touring company,  returns to Oxford to perform diverse repertoire by renowned and upcoming contemporary choreographers.  This year the company has commissioned new works by Shobana Jeyasingh, Lea Anderson, Cai Tomos and Hagit Yakira. The mixed repertory offers a refreshing mixture of dance theatre, intricate lyrical choreography, fast-paced athleticism and wry humour.

‘…leaping and turning in zesty spurts with an insouciance that leaves nothing to chance’  Donald Hutera, The Times

Performance:  Thursday 18th May 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £12 Full price, £10 concessions

Book online here or call the Box Office on 01865 263990

We offer 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? We share the building with Crisis and offer 4 free tickets per show to homeless clients. Sign up in advance at Reception.

Find out more about mapdance here

A rare visit south of the border from the prestigious and dynamic Scottish Dance Theatre, coming for the first time to Didcot’s Cornerstone Arts Centre, provides an opportunity for Oxford dance enthusiasts not to be missedVelvet Petal is inspired by the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and the transformative power of creating beauty out of whatever’s on the bedroom floor.

Set to a fresh dance-punk score, including music by LCD Soundsystem, James Holden and Fourtet, Scottish Dance Theatre’s exceptional dancers will entice and entertain you as they philosophise, seduce, and experiment with their bodies, their clothing and their ideas.

Velvet Petal is created by celebrated choreographer and Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre Fleur Darkin (Bristol Old Vic, Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Opera House) with text by award-winning writer Pamela Carter (Untitled Projects, National Theatre of Scotland, Malmo Opera House) and photos by innovative artist/designer Jack Wrigley (85a, Untitled Projects, Glasgow School of Art).

For ages 16+. Contains adult language and sexual themes.

Performance:  Friday 12th May 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £14, £10.50 & Members £11.20

Book online here or call the Box office on 01235 515144

Find out more about Scottish Dance Theatre here

Much loved Oxford dance community Tac-au-Tac and highly respected dance artist/teacher Joëlle Pappas return to Pegasus Theatre with a family dance showcase performed by children and young people, featuring a guest appearance from Oxford Youth Dance Company.  What the Wind Told the Tree Tops is a collection of short dances which celebrate young people’s imagination, creativity and love of dance.

Suitable for all ages.

Performances:  Saturday 13th May 3.30pm & 7.00pm

Venue:  Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets:  £12, £8 concessions

Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01865 812150

Find out about Tac-au-Tac Dance Theatre and activities here

World renowned Richard Alston Dance Company return to Oxford Playhouse with a brand new programme of critically acclaimed work. This triple bill features work inspired by some of the world’s greatest composers, as well as an appearance by BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 grand finalist Vidya Patel.

With nearly 50 years choreographing dance, Richard Alston is one of the most influential artists in modern dance. Known for his instinctive musicality, he is renowned for working closely with the music he uses, seeking to use it as both a partner to the dancers, as well as stimulus for the creation of the choreographic work. This triple bill is a thrilling example, with dances inspired by composers from Italy, Argentina and Britain.

In Tangent, Associate Choreographer Martin Lawrance explores the vivid accents and attack of tango. Four couples glide through the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by tango master Piazzolla. Chacony, Alston’s newest dance, is inspired by Britten’s tribute to Purcell’s Chaconne. The dance celebrates the richness and nobility of Purcell, reaching into darker places before reaffirming hope for humanity. Alston’s An Italian in Madrid is influenced by the sonatas of Scarlatti, a baroque composer hugely influenced by Spanish guitar music.

Performances:  Friday 12th & Saturday 13th May, 7.30pm

Venue:  Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets:  £11.50 – £22 (discounts available)

Call the Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or book online here

If his more recent works are Hollywood blockbusters, Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures is more like quaint, arthouse cinema (a metaphor that seems very apt regarding Bourne’s filmic inspirations). The whole evening has a gentle feel, more subdued and less emotionally diverse than Bourne’s full length productions. This is presumably attributed to the fact that all three works deal more with concepts and ideas opposed to narrative storylines (which more naturally lend themselves to an emotional journey), however this style of choreography brings its own charm, creating a light-hearted and relaxed atmosphere. (more…)

A welcome return to Oxford’s New Theatre by the magnificent Rambert Dance Company bringing a powerful triple bill which combines one of the company’s most iconic works with two recent successes.

Christopher Bruce’s 1981 work Ghost Dances is one of the most celebrated contemporary dance pieces of its generation.  This masterpiece is an evocative tribute to the victims of political oppression in South America. It tells stories of love and compassion, as death – in the form of the iconic “ghost dancers” – interrupts the daily lives of a series of ordinary people. Visually referencing celebrations of the Day of the Dead, and driven by the bewitching rhythms of traditional Latin American songs, it’s a moving, intensely human work.  Ghost Dances returned to UK stages for the first time in 13 years in November 2016, and tours throughout 2017.

Love, desire and betrayal are the ingredients of the shocking true story which inspired Picasso’s masterpiece, The Three Dancers. Rambert springs Picasso’s painting from the canvas to the stage, bringing to life his Cubist vivid imagery and the themes of ecstasy and doom which haunt the work. Didy Veldman’s The Three Dancers, with orchestral music by leading Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin, reveals the passion within one of the 20th century’s greatest artworks.

Didy Veldman is a former Rambert dancer who has an international choreographic career. She co-founded Compagnie Alias with Guilherme Botelho in Switzerland, and has worked extensively with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and with Cedar Lake in New York.  Elena Kats-Chernin’s original score is jointly commissioned by Wimbledon International Music Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music and Dancenorth in Australia, and Sitka Summer Music Festival, El Paso Pro Musica and West Bach Festival in the USA.

In Transfigured Night two lovers meet by moonlight, and a dark secret threatens to tear them apart. Created by two-time Olivier-award winning choreographer Kim Brandstrup, it is a dramatic love story, with intimate duets and spectacular ensemble dancing amplifying the beauty and romance of its Schoenberg score.  In February 2017, Kim Brandstrup won the award for Best Modern Choreography for Transfigured Night, at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2016.

Performances:  Wednesday to Friday 15th-17th March 7.30pm

Venue:  New Theatre, George Street, Oxford OX1 2AG

Tickets:  £13.90 – £33.40 plus £4.00 transaction fee*

Book online here

On Thursday 16th there will be a free pre-performance talk at 6.30pm

Find out more about the works and Rambert Dance Company here