Becoming an established fixture in Oxford’s arts calendar this year’s Offbeat Festival is the third, now bigger and better with over 60 shows across five spaces in the centre of Oxford from the 22nd to the 30th June.  The Festival aims to offer some of the best up-and-coming contemporary performing arts including  theatre, comedy, dance, music, spoken word and family entertainment.  Why not take a risk, dive in and encounter the fantastic creativity of artists from across the country in a stunningly varied programe of work, all new to Oxford.

Dance is represented by three short performances at the Old Fire Station as follows:

Wednesday 27th June 6.15pm:  Thomas Page Dances in Normative

“Categorised. Converted. Conformed.”  This intense work delves into the recent traumatic events of Chechnya, Russia and challenges the way societies create conformity.  Using contemporary dance infused with the virtuosic stylings of Vogue and Contortion this mesmerising performance creates a powerful reflection on the reality of today’s society. It will make you question “Is being normal really worth it?”

Tickets: £10 available on the door, or online here

Running time:  50 minutes

Thursday 28th June 6.15pm:  Forged Line Dance in Lina

A powerful and playful contemporary dance duet, inspired by the lives of brother and sister astronomers William and Caroline Herschel.  Both talented musicians and celebrated scientists, they studied the universe and mapped the stars from their back garden in 18th Century Bath. Lina delves into their complex relationship, where family ties are tested by individual ambition. Dancers swoop and soar like comets, taking us on an extraordinary journey of stars, music and family.

“This was the performance of two exceptionally talented dancers, delivering a choreographic narrative of tangible beauty and humanity…truly enchanting”– Bathcast

Tickets:  £10 available on the door or online here

Running time:  50 minutes

Friday 29th June 7.00pm:  Drishti Dance in Facet

Facet is a Kathak double bill featuring two interlinked works, exploring the evolving facets of the classical Indian form; a reflection on its ever changing aesthetics as it collides with modern values.  Aur-Ek Antaraal contemplates the poetical abstraction of contemporary Hindi poem ‘Aur Ek Antaraal’ penned by India based Dr Rashmi Chaturvedi.  Re-Textured is a study of rhythm, textures and structures. It creates space for reformulating movement vocabulary through absorbing  contemporary human experiences.

Tickets:  £10 available on the door or online here

Running time:  1 hour

Find out more about the Offbeat Festival and check out the complete programme here

Advertisements

Based on T.S.Eliot’s Four Quartets, this piece was an impressive performance from a young dancer-choreographer and his fellow artists. The structure was of four separate chapters (one for each section of a poem) which worked well, although there was room for even more space for the audience to assimilate each individual section. The programme described the overall narrative as ‘from a place of being lost to a state of empowerment and acceptance’ and this certainly came across: the figures seemed to be searching and grasping at the start, and by the end they had become more animated, grounded and secure. (more…)

Richard Alston Dance Company returned to Oxford this week for one evening at the New Theatre. The programme opened with Martin Lawrance’s Cut and Run, to music by Michael Gordon and Damian LeGassick for ten dancers dressed in ‘urban wear’ with metallic decoration that glinted in the dim light. Starting and stopping, dodging and colliding, they broke out of the purple patch of illumination that seemed at first to confine them, and spread across the darkened stage. An interval of silence, then the lights changed to orange, adding a fresh sense of urgency to their frantic race, until the work concluded, with the dancers once more bathed in a purple glow. (more…)

Spring is coming, and with it Oxford’s very own festival of dance Dancin’ Oxford in its 2018 edition.  Lots of fascinating peformances to come with an emphasis on physical theatre and storytelling as well as some tantalising workshops and taster sessions.  See below for Oxford Dance Writers list of performance events and dates in Oxford with links to further information and booking details.  Check out the Dancin’ Oxford website for details of additional performances in Didcot and Banbury, as well as workshops and classes and the Dance and Academia conference. (more…)

The ever musical Richard Alston Dance Company returns to Oxford with a full programme of new and established works packed full of energy and contrasts, featuring a brand new piece by Associate Choreographer Martin Lawrance alongside two by Richard Alston.

In Cut and Run Lawrance takes his inspiration from contrasting music by two contemporary classical composers, Damian Legassick and Michael Gordon, from the Icebreaker album Terminal Velocity. The fast frenetic rhythms of the music with cool sombre undertones, take the dancers into a world of shadows and swift dodges.  The costumes for Cut and Run have been designed by Filipino fashion designer Jeffery Rogador with whom Lawrance collaborated whilst working with Ballet Manila last year. They have an urban edge and a colour palette of black, silver and gold which the lighting designer Zeynep Kepekli will make shimmer on stage with her beautiful use of light.

The programme also includes Carnaval by Alston, performed to Robert Schumann’s music of the same name, played live by outstanding pianist Faith Leadbetter.  Costumes are by BAFTA Award winning designer Fotini Dimou.

Finally a great Alston favourite, Gypsy Mixture, newly revived for the first time in a decade, set to tracks from Electric Gypsyland – a 21st century take on traditional Balkan folk music. Exhilarating dancing to the infectious music of Romanian and Macedonian gypsy bands will lift your spirits and quicken your pulse.

“Sometimes dance fills the eyes with tears, changes our breathing or makes us laugh — but why? The dancers aren’t depicting emotion, yet we find ourselves powerfully moved… the dancers of the Richard Alston Dance Company… caused a gamut of emotion, just by taking us to the heart of dance itself.”
Alistair Macaulay, The New York Times, February 2017.

Performance:  Tuesday 20th February, 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £11.90 – £25.90 plus £2.85 transaction fee

Available online here or call 0844 871 3020

Ana Barbour’s  Rope, Rock, R… investigates and plays with various materials like a rope, wool, a stone, and experiments with the qualities of these often oppositional and complementary props. She does this with a virtuosity and variety of ideas, aesthetic and controlled use of movement which is a pleasure to watch. (more…)

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…)