The Times dance critic Donald Hutera’s 4-day festival of contemporary dance concludes with an eclectic array of diverse and dynamic performances. The final evening showcases some of the highlights from previous nights of the four-day festival, yet also introduces new works for the audience to experience for the first time in this central Oxford venue.

The show on the mainstage of the Old Fire Station is preluded by informal installation Remember to Remember choreographed by Mara Vivas. As the audience enter the intimate space, they are encouraged by a written sign to “touch, watch, listen, write.” These instructions are somewhat ambiguous, yet the dancers’ (Vivas herself accompanied by My Johansson) perform with an openness that invites spectators to participate. (more…)

Women GOLive has continued to surprise, excite and entertain Oxford audiences with eclectic but well chosen performances of highly original work. The second and third nights of this four-night run included traditional and experimental South Asian dance from Arunima Kumar and Anuradha Chaturvedi, new contemporary dance works from visiting artist Salah El Brogy and Welsh company Ffin Dance (who bravely gave new takes on iconic music), a fresh work from Hanna Wroblewski, Mara Vivas’ and My Johansson’s interactive performance installation, and humour from Sarah Kent and Aliki Mbakoyianni. A terrific line-up. (more…)

Another exploratory, innovative and exciting programme of original dance work has just been presented at Oxford’s Old Fire Station Theatre under the aegis of Donald Hutera. Hutera’s remarkable ability to gather together able but neglected choreographic skills and to present them in a continually-changing four-day programme has already been demonstrated at the nearby Burton Taylor Studio. On this latest occasion, however, despite there being no diminution in the range of remarkably distinctive approaches on offer, the overall impact was far more cohesive.

For this three elements seem primarily responsible. The first is the universality of the myth and legend on which much of the work draws; the second is the power – on a bare stage – of the overall visual impact of each of these pieces, and the third is the extraordinary range of emotional intensity evoked by the quality of these performances – drawing chuckles and tears and the long silence of chastened realisation that precedes the best appreciative applause. (more…)

How fitting that on the day that a woman took over at 10 Downing Street, Oxford was celebrating the work of women choreographers and dancers in first night of the Women GOlive programme.

Curator Donald Hutera has brought together an impressively novel and varied selection of works by local, national and international artists, which last night ranged from an intensely focussed Butoh-based solo by Ana Barbour, through Jane Connelly’s liquid contemporary dance style, to the disconcerting humour and provocative wit of Susan Kempster, performance poet Jemima Foxtrot and Aliki Mbakoyianni. (more…)

Women GOlive is a showcase of dance by female performers – and men are welcome too!  Kicking off next Wednesday, 13 July, the mini-festival hosted by Arts at the Old Fire Station features some of the best talent around.  Curator and Times dance critic Donald Hutera has assembled a four-day line-up of short works for intimate spaces, cherry-picking four enticingly varied evenings of multi-generational talent from the UK and abroad, mainly but not exclusively the work of a group of fascinating and independent female artists. Local performers Ana Barbour, Susie Crow, Cecilia Macfarlane, Anuradha Chaturvedi, Jane Connelly, Anja Meinhardt and Roosa Leimu-Brown are joined by national and international names such as Jemima Foxtrot and Mara Vivas.   Performances will be refreshingly unconventional and always eclectic: expect the unexpected!

Performances:  Wednesday 13th – Saturday 16th July 7.30pm

Venue:  The Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ

Tickets:  £10/£8 from www.ticketsoxford.com or 01865 305305.

Programme:

Wed 13th:  Ana Barbour, Jane Connelly (Smidgen Dance Company), Lorna V, Richard Chappell, Susan Kempster, and Jemima Foxtrot

Thurs 14th: Lorna V, Ana Barbour, Arunima Kumar, Susie Crow (Avid for Ovid), Salah El-Brogy, Sarah Kent (Dysfunctional Dance), and Hanna Wroblewski

Fri 15th:  Lorna V, Susie Crow, Sarah Kent, Mara Vivas with My Johansson,  Anuradha Chaturvedi Seth, and Sue Lewis (Ffin Dance)

Sat 16th: Lorna V, Mara Vivas with My Johansson, Sarah Kent, Sue Lewis (Ffin Dance), Anja Meinhardt (Justice in Motion) with Roosa Leimu-Brown

More programme information here: www.oldfirestation.org.uk | 01865 263980

 

 

Critic turned critic-entrepreneur Donald Hutera is creating and curating opportunities for dancers to perform who might otherwise have few occasions to show their work. Oxford is a first for GOlive and there is a further outing at the Chesil Theatre in Winchester on July 24. The venues are small — the original GOlive venue at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town holds 60 people and the Burton-Taylor studio seats 50 — but their intimacy works well for the small-scale works Hutera is presenting. One of the advantages of this proximity is the value given to the subtleties of communication; there are elements of this evening’s program that provide a master class in the art of integrating the head and eyes in the moving body, a vital aspect that is all too often overlooked in dance training. (more…)

Getting a ticket to a dance programme arouses comfortable expectations of pleasure – of colour, patterning and conformity. In Oxford’s Burton Taylor studio last week, Donald Hutera’s GOlive programme was satisfyingly full of all of these – but it was also never predictable, oddly fragmented and often deeply unsettling. And in my head the after-images are of faces as much as of body shapes – a heat of emotional impact – a sense of hope – a touch of catharsis.

The very ordering of the programme forced strange juxtapositions. It began with what Shane Shambhu described as his “lecture-demonstration” – a cogent dance drama through which his personal narrative wove a coherent thread. Twenty-seven years of bharatanatyam dance gave his work an assured technical underpinning. But it was its immediacy and variety that made it so accessible to academic, pensioner and child in the fifty-strong studio audience. For this was a narrative that flowed by Nritta – by taps and clicks and thumps – through sounds vocal and guttural – as well as by the mime and dance of Natya, the shifting registers of formal delivery, of conversational English, of interactive name games and the musicality of Shane’s native Kerala tongue. Never before have I been more aware of dance as one member of so intimately interconnected a family of languages. (more…)