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…)

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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…)

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…)

We are up close and personal in the Burton Taylor Studio at the Oxford Playhouse.  Presenting dance in small space makes fresh demands on performers as well as those of us watching.  The proximity of the dancers intensifies the experience. The degree of intimacy is a little unsettling, but we are a friendly crowd and a warm camaraderie fuels goodwill.

Curated by Donald Hutera, GOlive is in its third year.  Introducing the programme Hutera is like a kid in a sweet shop and his enthusiasm is infectious.  All six works had something new to offer.  My Own Private Movie choreographed and performed by Susan Kempster involves some of the audience entering the performance space and engaging in very simple improvisations. Kempster gives us all MP3 players with unique soundtracks.  In something akin to my daily commute, my head and my body are in two different places.  And perhaps this is Kempster’s point, the delicious contradiction of social media: together and not together, caught between the virtual and the physical but unable to belong wholly to either. (more…)

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…)