Dance and warfare are two human activities in which human beings engage their bodies; train them, refine them, discipline them. What is the place of the human body in war in our day and age, asks choreographer Rosie Kay? And how are our attitudes towards war shaped by our own experience of being are lived bodies, always in danger of harm, but also able to work within our embodied experience, train the body, work within it, push it further? Rosie Kay’s work The body is the frontline: 5 Soldiers engages those questions- and other layers related to warfare in a subtle, nuanced and sensitive way.

Recent debates on modern warfare, from the invasions to Iraq and Afghanistan, to possible intervention in Syria, often neglect the effect foreign policy, weaved together in Cabinet Offices has on living, breathing bodies that execute them. The term “boots on the ground” is a strong example of that; we too often do not think of those who fill those boots as well as those who will be harmed by them. Rosie Kay’s work does just that. (more…)

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Dance is hardly a new subject to be discussed in philosophy. From Plato’s Laws, through John Locke’s Some Thoughts concerning Education, through Hegel’s Aesthetics and Nietzsche’s manifold dance writings, to more contemporary philosophers such as Alain Badiou and Jacques Derrida, dance has been long discussed by the most known names in our Western philosophical canon. At the same time, within philosophy departments and courses, dance is far from being treated as a main stream research topic. However, publication of monographs and collections, such as the one discussed below, hopefully will aid in resolving this unexplainable tension.

The collection of essays is divided into four parts. Dancers and people dancing, dance works and their performances, dance expression and representation, dance and philosophy/ dance as philosophy. The contributors, too, are varied, from Jonathan Owen Clark and Henrietta Bannerman, to Efrosini Protopapa (London based choreographer). Indeed, the different specialties of the authors increase the strength of the book, illuminating the diversity dance has as a subject. (more…)

This Friday 14th February is not just Valentine’s Day it is also One Billion Rising day!  The global call for women – and men – to dance to demand an end to violence against women and girls.  Following the success of last year’s event in Oxford, Dana Mills is organising this year’s Flashmob in Gloucester Green, see below for her call out with information about how you can join in this wonderfully positive event and lend your support to this major campaign.  (more…)

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).

 

The tale of the quintessential vampire, Dracula, has been told many a time and in many a medium.  Indeed, it is one of those narratives which, for the spectator, merge into a long genealogy of receptions and reproductions. This genealogy disables us from distinguishing the history of reception from the story itself. This position of a story entrapped between narrative and its reception presents anyone contributing to this genealogy a double challenge: not only conversing with the characters and bringing them to life, but conversing with all the other storytellers who have done so before. Mark Bruce does so beautifully in this new production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (more…)

Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains?

What does it mean to be free? Since the days of Plato until post-modernism thinkers and activists have offered competing interpretations of the concept of freedom. In a wonderfully turbulent sequence of lyrical scenes of movement Jasmin Vardimon shows how dance theatre can illuminate further the complexity of one of the most fundamental concepts in politics.

The power of this piece lies in the combination of movement that draws the spectator into the performers’ physicality; mesmerising sets that change with the mood and the energy of the piece, and allow the performers to enact their fantasies in a giant playground; a varied musical score that enables the shift from one definition of the concept of freedom to another; and a delicate presence of a non-narrative that combines all of the above into a coherent whole which does not require us, as spectators, to sign up to one definition of freedom but rather enables us to enjoy the complete spectrum of interpretations. (more…)