A powerful new dance show based on issues of migration, culture and identity premieres in Oxford, ahead of its international tour. Sona Lisa Dance Company presents the first outing of its new triple bill solo dance show – UNTAGGED – at the Old Fire Station.  The show comprises three distinct dance pieces themed around issues of identity and discarding labels attached by society. These powerful narratives are told through the medium of Indian classical dance form Kathak and contemporary dance with flamenco influences by award-winning dancer and University of Oxford alumni Sonia Chandaria Tillu.

Commissioned by Midlands-based arts organisation Sampad (and with grant funding from Arts Council England and the British Council), Breaking Ground depicts the journey of Sonia’s family migratory story traversing India, Kenya and finally the UK. More broadly, the piece explores how we can resolve some of the emotional conflicts that arise from multicultural identity by viewing them as heritage rather than cultural baggage.  The performance has been choreographed by UK’s renowned Kathak exponent Urja Thakore, with music by the hugely popular Shammi Pithia and poetry by Ugandan poet Wobusobozi Amooti Kangere.

Āgraha is inspired by the extraordinary life of Indian freedom fighter Aruna Asaf Ali and the many contradictions that defined this compassionate radical. Through stunning contemporary dance, with influences from Kathak and flamenco, Āgraha explores deeply ingrained notions of binary identity, challenging us to break out of the boxes we are cooped into by society and ourselves.
Commissioned by Dance Hub Birmingham, Āgraha has been choreographed by renowned contemporary dancer Jose Agudo and the bespoke music score has been created by Bernhard Schimpelsberger.

A pure classical Kathak dance production, Devi (Goddess) uses the expressional and rhythmical qualities of the dance form to explore ideas of spiritual identity, and what it means to be spiritual. The piece has been choreographed by UK’s foremost Kathak dancer and choreographer Sujata Banerjee MBE.

Performance:  Thursday 27th February 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £10-£14, book online here or buy at the Box Office

Sonia Chandaria Tillu is an award-winning Kathak dancer and Artistic Director of the Sona Lisa Dance Company. Disciple of UK’s leading Kathak expert Sujata Banerjee MBE, Sonia’s dance imbibes the rhythmical and musical richness of Kathak, while also extending the fabric of classical movements. Sonia’s work is influenced by her exposure to dramatic arts, ballet, yoga, kalaripayattu and ballroom dancing. Sonia has performed extensively within the UK at prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and Sadler’s Wells as well as internationally, including in the USA, Kenya, Spain and India.

Sonia says “The purpose of Sona Lisa Dance Company is to develop new audiences that span generations, ethnicities and cultures and this is exactly what ‘Untagged’ does. It takes an age-old art form and applies it to reflect the contemporary world, in this instance by interrogating notions of binary identity. I am really excited to be premiering the show at the OFS, ahead of its tour in Kenya and across the UK. Being OU alumni, I just love Oxford! I received a very warm response from the audiences here when I premiered a previous production here last June as part of Oxford’s Offbeat festival.”

Find out more about Sona Lisa Dance Company here

 

 

 

Mixtape, by contemporary flamenco company Dotdotdot Dance, is a performance of four works: three dances, and a song by Lole y Manuel. Of the dances, the second, Alhelí la fea, was closest to traditional flamenco, being a ‘structured improvisation’ in which dancer Magdalena Mannion and singer Elena Morales responded to each other. Dressed in black, they stood close against the red brick of the back wall of the stage, interpreting the theme drawn from popular verse, ‘I’m like that old piece of furniture left against the wall’. (more…)

Camino del Flamenco have been producing Spanish Night shows since 2009 featuring professional Flamenco companies from Spain and the UK with top quality dance and music. Spanish Night shows are produced at three venues around Oxfordshire and those in Oxford are at the smallest and most intimate venue, the Jam Factory.

For the forthcoming Spanish Night – Oxford show on Sunday 1 July Camino del Flamenco are excited to welcome Cadiz’s top Flamenco singer La Leo (Leo Iglesias) to Oxford for the first time. La Leo has recently been awarded the freedom of the City of Cadiz, reflecting her great talent and huge personality.  For this show she is bringing with her Flamenco dancer Natalia Garcia and top guitarist Ramon Ruiz, who always accompanies her on her UK tours. If you love Flamenco this show comes highly recommended.

Date:  Sunday, 1st July, 7.00pm doors open, show begins at 7.30pm

Venue:  The Jam Factory, Hollybush Row, Oxford OX1 1HU
Cost: £18.98
Spanish Night – Oxford shows are very popular with a limited number of tickets available for this show. All audience are seated and all have a good sight line. Front row seats have extreme proximity to the performance!

For more details and ticket purchase: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/spanish-n…
For details on forthcoming Camino del Flamenco shows: https://www.caminodelflamenco.co.uk/

dotdotdot dance uses flamenco as a medium to create innovative dance, challenge conventional perceptions and explore how traditional flamenco can be expressed in a contemporary context.  In No Frills, they set out to strip flamenco down to its bare essence to access and express the raw and nuanced energy that is awoken in both performer and spectator.

The North Wall are delighted to welcome back Yinka Esi Graves, Noemí Luz and Magdalena Mannion of dotdotdot dance once again following the sell-out success of their show in 2015.  Don’t miss this opportunity to experience these superb dancers and musicians in authoritative and expressive performance.  Read Susie Crow’s previous review of No Frills here

Performance:  Friday 29th September, 8pm

Venue:  The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JN

Tickets:  £16/£13 concessions/£10 members
Book online: https://www.thenorthwall.com/whats-on/no-frills/

PLUS Flamenco Taster Workshop – 5.30pm-6.30pm
£10 per person
Email dotdotdotflamenco@gmail.com for more details

If you missed the Dots’ performance at The North Wall in February, here is another chance to catch award-winning production No Frills, flamenco stripped down to its bare essence.  An exploration of some of its traditional styles in their most evocative form, the show goes in search of pure expression and is a celebration of the raw and yet nuanced energy that flamenco awakens not only in the dancer but in the spectator too.

Dancers Magdalena Mannion, Noemí Luz and Yinka Esi Graves seamlessly interweave their individual styles creating a shared flamenco language. No Frills asks the spectator to put aside their pre-conceptions of flamenco and gives them a unique insight into its rhythms, melodies, energy and power. Live music, stunning dance.

Performance:  Friday 10th July, 7.45pm
Venue:  Chipping Norton Theatre, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton,Oxfordshire, OX75NL

Tickets online at www.chippingnortontheatre.com
Or call the Box office – 01608 642350

Read Susie Crow’s review of No Frills here

Find out more about the company here

I squeezed into the last available seat at the North Wall for this sell out show.  No frills indeed, just some branches lashed together suspended to act as a hanging space for long black coats and a salmon coloured skirt, and rough boxes for sitting on. Two musicians emerged discreetly from the gloom to set up a subtle pulse with guitar and percussion, later joined by singer Anna Colom Tadeo; three enigmatic young women in long jersey frocks donned the sombre coats and came forward with signature movement phrases before joining together as a stately chorus, moving as one with softly menacing clapping; setting the shape for an evening in which blazing individuality emerged from and returned to a tightly-knit ensemble. (more…)

Opportunities this week to enjoy the work of Oxford based Amarita Vargas, both as artist and flamenco dancer performing in the Ashmolean Museum’s Magic Night event on 16th May. As part of Oxfordshire ArtWeeks Amarita is opening her studio at Cuckoo Lane, North Leigh, showing abstract work capturing essence and energy flow in the immediacy of the moment.  “Different instruments dance differently; the brush has both a heel and a tip and can apply strong or light pressure. A piece of charcoal can roll, jump, skip or drag along slowly. Reed pen, fingers or crayon – there is always rhythm, pulse and movement which make up the final composition. The drawings must have aliveness and vibration – they must still ‘sing’ once they are completed…” (more…)