The Dancing Lives conference at Wolfson College offered an exceptional opportunity for archivists, academics and dance practitioners to discuss and discover new ways to research and write about dance and dancers’ lives.

The speakers for first panel, on Historical Dancing, demonstrated the vast range of material that dance historians draw upon to investigate the past. Mike Webb and Jennifer Thorp used Jeffrey Boys’s manuscript annotations in his almanac of 1667 to paint a picture of the social dancing scene in seventeenth century London; Michael Burden used caricatures vividly to recreate and interpret the scandalous adventures of Mademoiselle Mercandotti, and Julia Bührle showed how the technological invention of the lithograph helped to make Marie Taglioni a ‘superstar’. While the first four speakers showed how creatively scholars use documents, images and ephemera to advance our knowledge, the plenary session, in which Sue Jones expertly interviewed Jennifer Homans, began to explore what the dance itself can reveal. (more…)

How do people write about the lives of dancers and choreographers?  How does dance as a silent form represent life stories?  The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing and Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) are hosting a one-day colloquium Dancing Lives on Saturday 8th July exploring this.  The day will feature: Jennifer Homans, Founder and Director of The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, in conversation with Professor Sue Jones; Dame Monica Mason, former ballet dancer, teacher, and artistic director of the Royal Ballet, on travelling and dancing; contributions from Michael Burden, Mike Webb, Jennifer Thorp, Jane Pritchard, Judith Mackrell, Michael Huxley, Funmi Adewole, and Ramsay Burt; and a closing performance by Simone Damberg Würtz & Liam Francis from the Rambert Contemporary Dance Company.

Date:  Saturday 8th July, 9.00am-6.30pm

Venue:  Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford OX2 6UD

Tickets:  £20, or £10 for unwaged delegates. Booking here: http://bit.ly/OCLW-Dance

There are a small number of B&B rooms available at Wolfson College for 7th and 8th July. These can be booked here using the Promotional Code: DANCE2017

For more details please contact The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing here

Download the full colloquium programme here

In its next event DANSOX (Dance Scholarship Oxford) supported by Oxford University TORCH funding presents Dame Monica Mason, former principal dancer and Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet,in discussion on “Is Ballet Relevant in the 21st Century?

Date: Wednesday 18th June 2014. Time: 5.30 pm

Venue: Lady Brodie Room, Hall Building, St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford.

The discussion will be followed by refreshments.

There is no charge to guests to attend. All are welcome. Bookings are essential, as places are limited.

Book here via Eventbrite, where you can also send in any questions about the discussion.

 

Following the very successful event last year commemorating the centenary of The Rite of Spring, news of further exciting initiatives in dance scholarship centred at St Hilda’s College, Oxford.  The newly formed Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) is launched to provide a major forum for dance scholarship in Europe, promoting dialogue between prominent academic disciplines and the worlds of dance theory and practice. This programme of events funded by TORCH, The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, gives access to these enquiries and disseminates ideas through workshops, functions, and the website presence.  DANSOX inaugurates an international exchange of interdisciplinary dance-related research with a major programme investigating a wide range of enquiries into all forms of dance. These events explore the ways in which the role of choreographic practice reveals its essential contribution to innovations across academic fields, theatre and performance.  The programme starts with an event exploring Twentieth Century Collaborations: Cunningham, Cage and Joyce on Thursday 20th February 2014 at the Jacqueline du Pré Building (see separate post).

 

The DANSOX team:

Dr Sue Jones, Fellow of St Hilda’s College and CUF Lecturer in English, formerly soloist with The Scottish Ballet

Dr Fiona Macintosh, University Lecturer in the Reception of Greek and Roman Literature, Supernumerary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, and Director of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama

Dr Helen Slaney, Randall MacIver Junior Research Fellowship in Classics at St Hilda’s College

Dana Mills, Lecturer in political theory at Hertford College and DPhil candidate in political theory at Mansfield College.

The Patron of DANSOX is Dame Monica Mason. Dame Monica joined the Royal Ballet Company at the age of sixteen, became principal dancer, and later Director of the company until 2012. She oversaw the groundbreaking ‘Metamorphosis: Titian 2012’ at the Royal Opera House, a collaboration with the National Gallery that produced new work by choreographers, poets, designers, artists, and composers. Dame Monica continues to work closely as expert consultant with the Royal Ballet.

 

For full  information:  http://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/dansox

Affiliations:

 

The Royal Ballet www.roh.org.uk/about/the-royal-ballet

 

Siobhan Davies Dance www.siobhandavies.com

 

Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD) www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk

Other Links:

 

www.new.ox.ac.uk/annual-oxford-dance-symposium

 

https://oxforddancewriters.wordpress.com

 

http://www.dancinoxford.co.uk/

 

Forthcoming in 2014 and 2015:

 

Dame Monica Mason (Royal Ballet) discusses with open audience: Is Ballet Relevant in the Twenty-first Century?
June 2014 (date and time TBA) St Hilda’s College
 


Choreographers Talk series: Wayne McGregor, resident choreographer, Royal Ballet discusses and explores new work; also workshops featuring Shobana Jayasingh; Professor Nicky Clayton (Cambridge) on dance and cognitive behaviour; Kim Brandstrup; Will Tuckett (Royal Ballet).

 

I was thrilled by Dame Monica Mason’s talk at St Hilda’s College on Wednesday and the brief extracts of archive footage of her in performance. I saw her as the Chosen Maiden in the 1982 revival at the Royal Opera House, and I remember the excitement of the occasion, and Kenneth MacMillan coming on stage at the end. Unthinking and ignorant, I had no idea at the time that she had created the role for MacMillan, or of the vital connections between her generation of dancers and the Ballets Russes. Her anecdotes about Lydia Sokolova (who shut her eyes at the first night and “danced her own version”) and Marie Rambert’s sometimes embarrassing enthusiasm were both touching and hilarious, and there was a wonderful moment when she stepped forward to demonstrate what it was like to respond to MacMillan’s suggestions as he choreographed in the studio. (more…)

In a year of significant musical anniversaries, here is one of particular dance interest – the centenary of the shocking premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris.  Dr Susan Jones sends information of a special event celebrating this groundbreaking work at St Hilda’s College with guest speakers Dame Monica Mason and Jane Pritchard and a concert performance of the score in Stravinsky’s version for two pianos… (more…)