Ovid’s Metamorphoses – an epic poem exploring myths of transformation, love and loss – is the inspiration for a new work created by young Swiss dance company Le Marchepied. Their latest work – forming part of their tour of the UK – is the result of their collaboration with Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers (ADMD).  ADMD is a TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) funded project that seeks to investigate the Roman dance form tragoedia saltata (Roman pantomime) and to “develop ways of articulating the knowledge derived from kinaesthetic engagement with ancient material.”

The performance itself was preceded by a free workshop in the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford.  The workshop was open to anyone who wanted to learn more about the form of trageodia saltata and how it may be used in a contemporary setting to generate movement material or interpret ancient texts.  Helen Slaney (Classics Fellow at St. Hilda’s College) of ADMD kicked off proceedings with an intriguing, informative introduction to the form of Roman pantomime.  Referencing texts by ancient satirist Lucian, Slaney detailed the necessity of narrative precision in the dance form and also stated particular movements – such as freezing, falling or reaching – that would have been used by performers to physically recount the mythological tales. (more…)

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Myths of transformation, love and loss are brought to life the way the ancient Romans would have seen them danced.  In collaboration with Oxford University researchers, Swiss company Le Marchepied have created their version of the popular Graeco-Roman dance form orchēsis, also called tragoedia saltata, or tragic pantomime. Their performance Metamorphoses is accompanied by an open interactive workshop on orchēsis taking place at St Hilda’s College in the morning of Saturday 20th. Audience members are warmly invited to participate or observe in advance of the evening’s performance (for more information on the workshop or to book a place, please contact helen.slaney@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk).
Since 2013, the Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers research project has been working with groups and individuals, including the Oxford-based Avid for Ovid, to develop a range of conjectures for how orchēsis might have appeared. In their experimental reconstruction, Le Marchepied will present a series of individual interpretations based on mythological scenarios from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses, known to have been used as a libretto for orchēsis. They bring to life Ovid’s vibrant tales of gods, mortals, passion, loss, and transformation in a way that has not been seen since antiquity. This performance will form part of Le Marchepied’s 2016 tour of the United Kingdom.

Performance:  Saturday, 21 May 2016, 6.00pm

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

Tickets:  Free, available from www.ticketsoxford.com or 01865 305305

You can find out more about Le Marchepied here and about Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers here

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).