Miranda Laurence is a dramaturg, working mostly with dance makers. In this role she accompanies a director or choreographer during the process of creating a new work, attending to the rhythm of all elements in the piece, and actively noticing responses from the viewer’s perspective.  Miranda is currently undertaking a self-led professional development project in dance dramaturgy funded by Arts Council England.

Here for Oxford Dance Writers Miranda gives a revealing insight into her role in assisting the development of new work within the privacy of the dance studio.

I’m sitting in the faded splendour of Swindon Dance’s main studio, which is adorned with huge vintage mirrors, curlicued window frames and chunky old-fashioned radiators. As usual, I’m tucked away in a corner, sitting on the floor, taking in the size, shape, feel and details of the space around. Out on the floor, two dancers (Thomasin Gülgeç and Estela Merlos) undergo their warm-up, twisting and weaving fluidly through the space, mirroring each other or going off on tangents. I think: “am I earning my money as a dramaturg by watching these dancers warm up? How should I warm myself up?” (more…)

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The concentrated format of recent editions of Dancin’ Oxford has made it seem more like a festival, generating excitement through a swift succession of varied events and usually one night stands; however with that comes the difficulty of invidious choices, what to see and attend, and regrets at performances missed.  Particularly an issue for dance where much regular activity is squeezed into the evenings and weekends rather than the normal working day, and dance lovers and practitioners must therefore choose between doing and viewing.  Cheering to report that despite this a couple of shows by popular local performers managed to sell out, making me for one less guilty about not having been able to support them from the audience.  I chose to focus on the interaction of science and dance, a dominant theme of this year’s festival, with plenty of opportunities for questions and discussion. (more…)

How can dancers and scientists collaborate, and why would they? Can dance inspire new scientific research, and can science give meaning to new choreography?  This year’s conference programmed by DANCE & ACADEMIA: Moving the Boundaries in partnership with Dancin’ Oxford 2015 and Oxfordshire Science Festival presents Science and Dance – Finding Commonalities, to be held at The Jam Factory on Sunday 8th March.  This lively and interactive day brings together as facilitators and presenters a distinguished groiup of artists and academics, and will give movement practitioners, academics, scientists and anyone interested in any aspect of movement or dance an opportunity to stretch their mental and physical muscles, exploring shared and diverging understandings of science and dance and how these might fit together.

Facilitators on the day include:

Subathra Subramaniam is a choreographer, dancer and educator. She is the artistic director of Sadhana Dance. Suba’s choreography navigates the confluence of arts and science drawing from her belief that dance can play a part in the public understanding and engagement with scientific concepts. Her work combines contemporary choreography and Bharata Natyam, an ancient South Indian dance form.

Bronwyn Tarr recently completed her doctoral thesis at University of Oxford, Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group, in which she managed to formally integrate her interests in social behaviour and dance. She advocates the use of dance as an ecologically and culturally valid platform for scientific research into topics of motor-coordination, music psychology, social agency and even autism therapies.

The Captured Thought is a collaboration between Nicky Clayton, Professor of Comparative Cognition and also Scientist in Residence at Rambert, and Clive Wilkins, Artist in Residence, both based in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. The opportunity for an artist to collaborate uniquely with a scientist arose out of a chance encounter on one of life’s dancefloors. A tango dance floor in fact…

Also joining the panel will be Morten Kringelbach, Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, and Kirsten Shepherd-Barr, Associate Professor of Modern Drama, both of the University of Oxford.

Conference date:  Sunday 8th March, 10.30am-4.30pm with Panel Discussion 5.00-6.00pm

Venue:  The Jam Factory, 27 Park End Street, Oxford OX1 1HU

Tickets: £18, £15 concessions (includes lunch); Panel Discussion only: £5

Book online via Tickets Oxford here or call the Playhouse Box Office on 01865 305305

All welcome.

Find out more about Dancin’ Oxford 2015 here

Once again Oxford puts on its dancing shoes for its annual festival Dancin’ Oxford.  This year’s edition starts on Wednesday 25th February and ends on Monday 9th March; its lively and wide ranging programme includes not only performances but workshops and activities to join in.  The Festival’s public launch will take place on Saturday 28th February between 10.00am and 4.00pm with free outdoor performances in the city centre, including Broad Street and Bonn Square, and featuring previous festival favourites Granny Turismo, Body Politic and Being Frank.

Companies performing in the Festival include:

The Pneûma Project at St John the Evangelist Church, Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th February

Moving With the Times, the annual showcase of work by Oxford based dance makers and performers, this year featuring Cecilia Macfarlane, Melissa Holding, Hilary Kneale, Justice in Motion, Marina Collard, and Alan Hutson and Nicola Moses-Thrower of Unlock the Chains Collective; Pegasus Theatre Friday 27th and Saturday 28th February (more…)

Dance and Academia: Moving the Boundaries is an Oxford-based project which aims to facilitate dialogue between practitioners and academics in any field who have an interest in any aspect of dance or movement. It aims to be a genuinely interdisciplinary platform where intersections between research and practice in dance can be explored.  To chime with this year’s Dancin’ Oxford Festival, Dance and Academia presents Dance Discourse in Merton College in the heart of Oxford University.

How do we approach meaning in text and movement?  Miranda Laurence has convened an interactive afternoon of exploration in movement and thought, where all attendees will be invited to join the discussion, and where the content of the day may take its own course. To guide participants through this process, three guest facilitators will open up conversations, using starting points from text, poetry, and movement tasks to generate debate, pose questions, and provide some tools for our explorations (more…)

Dance and Academia: Moving the Boundaries presents:

‘Dance, Body, and Identity’

Convenor: Miranda Laurence
In partnership with Oxford Dance Forum and Dancin’ Oxford 2013

This one-day symposium brings together dance practitioners, academics and professionals from different fields, to explore concepts of Dance, Body and Identity. The day will be structured to allow much time for reflection and discussion, in an inclusive and friendly environment.   All welcome.

Saturday 9th March 2013, 10am-5.30pm

Old Fire Station, George Street, Oxford (more…)

Dance and Academia: Moving the Boundaries

presents

‘Space to Dance – Exploring Movement, Site and Surroundings’

at Dancin’ Oxford 2012

Convenor: Miranda Laurence

This one-day symposium brings together dance practitioners, academics and professionals from different fields to gain an insight into movement in, through and around space. The day will contain a practical workshop as well as papers, time for discussion and a unique opportunity to explore the spaces around us both physically and mentally.

Speakers will be addressing diverse themes including choreographing audiences through mobile technology, exploring urban design through the perspective of movement, the design of bespoke dance buildings, the use of aerial space for dance, and understandings of movement and dance in human geography fields.

All welcome.

SATURDAY 24th MARCH 2012, 10am-6pm (workshop 10-12, presentations and city tour 12-6)

Old Fire Station, George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ

Speakers:
Clive Albert (Malcolm Fraser Architects)
Lesley Cotton (Architect and Landscape Architect)
Fabrice Guillot (Choreographer, Compagnie Retouramont)
Struan Leslie (Head of Movement, Royal Shakespeare Company)
Rita Marcalo (Choreographer, Instant Dissidence)
Derek McCormack (School of Geography and The Environment, Oxford University)

Tickets: £18, conc £16

£20, conc £18 including 2 hour movement workshop with Struan Leslie, 10am-12pm

All tickets include light lunch

Advance booking required through Tickets Oxford

http://www.ticketsoxford.com or 01865 305 305.

On 24th March at 7.30pm, Compagnie Retouramont will perform outdoor aerial work ‘Danse des Cariatides’ at Oxford Castle. Entry is free and all conference delegates are welcome to attend.

For more information please visit http://www.dancinoxford.co.uk or email miranda.c.laurence@gmail.com