A performance that is entirely, purely, dance is a rare treat in Oxford, but it is what Anuradha Chaturvedi’s company Drishti Dance gave us at the Old Fire Station on Friday in Facet, as part of the Offbeat Festival.  Chaturvedi brought together professional and student dancers in a vivid and innovative double bill of two interlinked works that were quite simply about dance.

Kathak is an ancient, sophisticated and complex Indian classical dance form, redolent of a history that goes back beyond the Moghul kings of North India, with a vocabulary of detailed gestures, stamping and rhythmic spins that thrilled and enthralled the audience on Friday night; and what an audience it was!  The excitement in the auditorium beforehand was palpable, as we heard the sound of the dancers’ ankle bells as they gathered in the wings.  A little boy behind me exclaimed ‘they are like gods!’ – and so they were, in their gorgeous green, blue, orange, black and gold silks, bathed in a mist of coloured light. (more…)

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Becoming an established fixture in Oxford’s arts calendar this year’s Offbeat Festival is the third, now bigger and better with over 60 shows across five spaces in the centre of Oxford from the 22nd to the 30th June.  The Festival aims to offer some of the best up-and-coming contemporary performing arts including  theatre, comedy, dance, music, spoken word and family entertainment.  Why not take a risk, dive in and encounter the fantastic creativity of artists from across the country in a stunningly varied programe of work, all new to Oxford.

Dance is represented by three short performances at the Old Fire Station as follows:

Wednesday 27th June 6.15pm:  Thomas Page Dances in Normative

“Categorised. Converted. Conformed.”  This intense work delves into the recent traumatic events of Chechnya, Russia and challenges the way societies create conformity.  Using contemporary dance infused with the virtuosic stylings of Vogue and Contortion this mesmerising performance creates a powerful reflection on the reality of today’s society. It will make you question “Is being normal really worth it?”

Tickets: £10 available on the door, or online here

Running time:  50 minutes

Thursday 28th June 6.15pm:  Forged Line Dance in Lina

A powerful and playful contemporary dance duet, inspired by the lives of brother and sister astronomers William and Caroline Herschel.  Both talented musicians and celebrated scientists, they studied the universe and mapped the stars from their back garden in 18th Century Bath. Lina delves into their complex relationship, where family ties are tested by individual ambition. Dancers swoop and soar like comets, taking us on an extraordinary journey of stars, music and family.

“This was the performance of two exceptionally talented dancers, delivering a choreographic narrative of tangible beauty and humanity…truly enchanting”– Bathcast

Tickets:  £10 available on the door or online here

Running time:  50 minutes

Friday 29th June 7.00pm:  Drishti Dance in Facet

Facet is a Kathak double bill featuring two interlinked works, exploring the evolving facets of the classical Indian form; a reflection on its ever changing aesthetics as it collides with modern values.  Aur-Ek Antaraal contemplates the poetical abstraction of contemporary Hindi poem ‘Aur Ek Antaraal’ penned by India based Dr Rashmi Chaturvedi.  Re-Textured is a study of rhythm, textures and structures. It creates space for reformulating movement vocabulary through absorbing  contemporary human experiences.

Tickets:  £10 available on the door or online here

Running time:  1 hour

Find out more about the Offbeat Festival and check out the complete programme here

A welcome performance at the Pegasus by Drishti Dance led by exquisite Kathak dancer Anuradha Chaturvedi, showing recently developed works.  Chaturang, or the four colours, is an exploration of the vast breadth and versatility of the traditional Indian form Kathak through a dynamic quartet of dance works, each varied in characteristics, yet uniquely beautiful.  This production is an experiment in adapting the dance form not only to explore varied narrative styles, but also to emphasize its vast breadth and versatility.
Dramatic in essence,  Mohini dips into the ancient Puranic story to present a ballad.  Laya Anulaya (la-ei Anu-la-ei), an in-depth technical study, is an inward facing narrative, a dialogue between the percussionist and dancer.  Panchatva, explores the connections between the elements and human senses, re-imagining the Nritta (pure dance) aspect of Kathak in tandem with Digital Media.  Antaraal is a contemporary Kathak work bringing together movement, music and poetic text by Mohan Rana, exploring the journey through time and the spaces between. (First seen at Pegasus in Moving With the Times in February 2016).

Concept and Choreography – Anuradha Chaturvedi
Dancers – Aiyana Tandon, Anuradha Chaturvedi, Anju Rajukumar, Meena Anand, Sonali Sibal Alim, Sarika Shah and Shyam Patel
Poem (Antaraal) – Mohan Rana
Tabla – Amritpal Singh
Santoor – Kaviraj Singh
Music – Malcolm Atkins, Gulshan Bharati
Rhythm Compositions (Laya Anulaya) – Late Arjun Mishra, Vikas Mishra and Anuradha Chaturvedi
Costumes – Shruti Mohan
Images – Anand Muthuswamy

Date:  Saturday 11th June 2016, 7.30pm

Venue:  Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets: £13, £9 concessions, £6 under 18s, (£1 off for Dancin’ Oxford Pass holders)

Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01865 812150

Find out more about Drishti Dance here

This year Oxford celebrates the 10th anniversary of its very own springtime dance festival in Dancin’ Oxford 2016.  Watch out for an action packed 11 days including performances by locally based companies and visiting national and international artists, as well as a host of enticing workshops in a range of genres.  Here is a calendar of performance dates for your diary with links to further information and booking:

Friday 26th-Saturday 27th February, Pegasus Theatre:
Moving With the Times.  The annual platform of new work by Oxford dance artists includes Dancin’ Oxford & Pegasus commissioned pieces from in.motion dance (contemporary), Body Politic (hip hop) and Drishti Dance (contemporary/kathak) and We Were Youth, choreographed and performed by 3 male dancers who started dancing in Oxford and are now at the top of their game, dancing with such international companies as DV8, Hofesh Shechter and Peeping Tom.

Further info here

Saturday 27th February, Bonn Square:
Dancin’ Spaces.  Celebratory open air free performances in the city centre; companies performing Hawk Dance Theatre, infuse DANCE, Granny Turismo, Company Chameleon, Ajos Dance and Sole Rebel Tap.
Monday 29th February, Old Fire Station:
Leap Day Dancing.  A special programme of works featuring dance, live music and film to join Dancin’ Oxford’s tenth anniversary celebrations. Including Oxford artists Crossover Intergenerational Dance, Joëlle Pappas Projects, Susie Crow, Paulette Mae, Alan Hutson and the UK premier of Jos Baker’s new solo work Of No Fixed Abode.
Further info here
Wednesday 2nd March, The North Wall:
In The Happiness  Karla Shacklock Company combine choreography, spoken word and live sound in fast and furious devised physical theatre.
Further info here
Friday 4th- Saturday 5th March, Old Fire Station:
Duet Squared and More.  Joëlle Pappas choreographs and directs a poetic programme of contemporary dance to piano duets by Maurice Ravel and Erik Satie, played live by Diana Hinds and Elizabeth Kreager. The evening also presents dance to compositions by Douglas Young and Benjamin Britten.
Further info here
Friday 4th-Saturday 5th March, Oxford Playhouse:
Thomas Noone and Mercat de los Flors Barcelona present the UK premiere of Medea, Noone’s powerful version of Euripides’ ancient tragedy, an exquisite evening of dance packed with emotional charge.
Further info here
Saturday 5th March, Pegasus Theatre:
The Black Album. A triple bill in which three distinctly different hip hop choreographies are woven together like a concept album, taking you on a soulful journey through many shades of black.
Further info here
You can find the full Dancin’ Oxford 2016 festival programme including all the workshops here
Book soon, most venues will quickly fill…
Enjoy!

Dancin’ Oxford writes: “Don’t miss this week’s Pegasus and Dancin’ Oxford Dance Scratch Night.   This evening of new work is the first opportunity for artists appearing in Moving With The Times (our February dance showcase for Oxford dance artists) to air their choreography and get feedback on the pieces they are creating.  Companies performing include Body Politic, Drishti Dance and in.motion dance. We are hoping for a really friendly, supportive and knowledgeable audience for the artists, and it would be wonderful if you would be able to join us.”

Date:   Friday 22nd January, 7:30pm

Venue:  Clore Dance Studio, Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets:   £3
Book online here:  or call 01865 812150

The GOlive Dance and Performance Festival has built an enviable reputation for breaking the rules in the mere two years since veteran dance/theatre critic Donald Hutera (the Times) first applied his encyclopaedic knowledge of international arts to curating a playful eclectic programme of performances for small spaces.  This year following a season at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town in June GOlive goes on tour, with performances in Oxford and Winchester.  Featuring performers from Oxford and across the UK in the Burton Taylor Studio’s intimate setting, GOlive Oxford offers something for all lovers of dance in two programmes over four days.  If ya gotta go, GOlive!

“If it’s worth seeing, Hutera has seen it”  METRO

“…it might be the piece that hooks you forever…” Luke Jennings, The Observer (more…)

Drishti Dance led by Anuradha Chaturvedi invites you to Aangika, its annual show case of Kathak choreographic works. The evening features Panchtatva – The five elements, an exquisite interpretation of the five elements and their association to our senses through a dynamic interaction of Kathak and digital media. The evening also features other contemporary and rare traditional Kathak compositions drawn from ancient Indian philosophy, mythology, folklore and mediaeval Indo-Persian literature.  Sweeping abstract body movement, complex rhythm patterns executed through fast paced foot stamps timed to precise mathematical cycles, and exquisite subtle emotive expressions, integrate seamlessly in a stunning display of the technical nuances of this classic dance form. (more…)