Late on Monday 6th November 2017 Ana Barbour, much loved, inspirational and guiding presence in the Oxford dance scene, passed away having battled with cancer.  Her touching funeral at the home she loved on Sunday 12th November was attended by numerous family, friends, and colleagues, and was a celebration of her life and achievements in speeches, songs and dance.  I felt honoured to speak on that occasion about Ana’s work as a dance artist in Oxford, and I am posting here my speech to pay tribute to her.  You can also find links below to her own blog Anadances, Cafe Reason of whom she was an integral part, and the DEC Project; and her own occasional writings for this blog.  Oxford Dance Writers would really welcome other voices in this endeavour of remembrance, so please use the comments facility below to add to this partial picture your particular memories of Ana.  Thank you!

Ana Barbour

When I mounted the Solos Project for Oxford dance artists in 2008 Ana was one of six dancers who showed solos in the Burton Taylor’s intimate studio space. Her Butoh inspired piece Baggage accompanied by the atmospheric music of her long term friend and collaborator Malcolm Atkins was a remarkable episode in which having entered bowed down by a bundle on her back she burrowed into the baggage itself, morphing into surreal shapes and images of confined struggle that were humorous, poignant and dreamlike. It was my first experience of Ana as creative imagination and compelling performer. (more…)

Advertisements

Luminous Shadows, saw a collection of nine dances teamed with a combination of live music and art. Three visual artists, Clare Bassett, Kassandra Isaacson and Susan Moxley sat at a table in the audience with their paper and inks on display. The marks that they made were simultaneously projected onto the backdrop of the stage by a camera suspended above their table. On stage between the projected image and the artists making it were two dancers, Ana Barbour and Susie Crow and to one side, the musicians Malcolm Atkins and Bruno Guastalla.  Luminous Shadows was created from a concoction of improvisations made in response to each artist’s work; some pieces more structured, others more spontaneous, drawing the audience into a conversation with the artists at play. (more…)

The intimacy of the auditorium combined with the technical range of the Old Fire Station theatre make it an excellent venue for the DEC Project. DEC’s unique combination of dance, music and real-time visual art, with significant elements of improvisation, make heavy demands on set-up and technology. In their performance at the Old Fire Station on Friday all three elements of the performance worked together from the audience perspective. The musicians, Malcolm Atkins and Bruno Guastalla, were visible but not imposing on any sight lines, the three artists, Clare Bassett, Kassandra Isaacson and Susan Moxley, were sitting centrally, visible but not within the performance area thus leaving the stage free for the two dancers, Ana Barbour and Susie Crow. (more…)

DEC is an Oxford based group of established musicians, dancers and visual artists, who explore the interactions between their media through improvised performance and video projection.  Luminous Shadows shows them in action in a selection of poetic and playful collaborations both structured and spontaneous.  This innovative live creative experience has proved fascinating and engaging for audiences, with its unpredictability and intimacy in the moment.

Since 2010 DEC has performed in Oxford at the Pegasus Theatre, OVADA Gallery, The Story Museum and The Old Fire Station, at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, and has collaborated with the Oxford Improvisers and poets such as Vahni Capildeo and Robin Kirkpatrick.  DEC artists regularly exhibit their work. (more…)

As last year, with Oxford City Artweeks nearly upon us – from Saturday 4th to Sunday 12th May 2013 – drawing your attention to works on display by artists involved in the DEC group and others who have attended the Drawing Dance workshops that happen at URC, in case you want to plan your viewing by a trail themed round images of dance: Clare Bassett, Kassandra Isaacson, Susan Moxley, Caroline Meynell, Manja Scott.  Enjoy! (more…)

Experienced improviser and composer Malcolm Atkins shares his recent practice working with dancers, and raises intriguing questions about the relationship between dance and music…

Improvised music for improvised dance

As part of my practice of accompanying dance I regularly improvise for Café Reason Butoh Dance Theatre Classes. These improvisations which are solo responses to exercises and pieces developed in class, have evolved over the years I have been doing this. I was asked to record some by the class organisers and have started doing this and making them available as free downloads on a bandcamp site I set up in my name.

I have made them freely available so that anyone attending the class can develop their ideas between classes by being reminded of what they were working on but also to demonstrate that spontaneous musical improvisation in support of dance can create a very particular musical atmosphere which is often determined by the style of dance and the way the dancer stimulates and responds to a dynamically created musical accompaniment. (more…)

Escape the Jubilee with Oxford Improvisers at the Old Fire Station on June 5th!

An evening of performances by the DEC group in collaboration with members of Oxford Improvisers and leading poets.

‘a unique and ground breaking collaboration between four art forms’

The DEC group is:
Malcolm Atkins and Bruno Guastalla: music
Susie Crow and Ana Barbour: dance
Clare Bassett, Kassandra Isaacson, Suzie Moxley: visual art

Featured poets:  Vahni Capildeo, Gavin Selerie

Tuesday  5 June   Doors open from 7:00 pm     Entry: £8/£6
The Loft Room, The Old Fire Station, 40 George St., Oxford OX1 2AQ

evening convened by Malcolm Atkins and Janna Ferrett

Part of the Oxfringe Festival