Another atmospheric summer evening happening from the Oxford based group MUE:

dance light music at dusk with

Macarena Ortuzar (dance)

Dariusz Dziala (light)

Bruno Guastalla (music)

An improvised performance will happen at the St Barnabas Playground, at the corner of Hart Street and Great Clarendon Street, in Jericho, Oxford

SATURDAY 25th JULY  9:00PM (FREE)

Luminous Shadows, saw a collection of nine dances teamed with a combination of live music and art. Three visual artists, Clare Bassett, Kassandra Isaacson and Susan Moxley sat at a table in the audience with their paper and inks on display. The marks that they made were simultaneously projected onto the backdrop of the stage by a camera suspended above their table. On stage between the projected image and the artists making it were two dancers, Ana Barbour and Susie Crow and to one side, the musicians Malcolm Atkins and Bruno Guastalla.  Luminous Shadows was created from a concoction of improvisations made in response to each artist’s work; some pieces more structured, others more spontaneous, drawing the audience into a conversation with the artists at play. (more…)

The intimacy of the auditorium combined with the technical range of the Old Fire Station theatre make it an excellent venue for the DEC Project. DEC’s unique combination of dance, music and real-time visual art, with significant elements of improvisation, make heavy demands on set-up and technology. In their performance at the Old Fire Station on Friday all three elements of the performance worked together from the audience perspective. The musicians, Malcolm Atkins and Bruno Guastalla, were visible but not imposing on any sight lines, the three artists, Clare Bassett, Kassandra Isaacson and Susan Moxley, were sitting centrally, visible but not within the performance area thus leaving the stage free for the two dancers, Ana Barbour and Susie Crow. (more…)

Diamond Nights at Brookes Studio Theatre 28th January 2012 – Susie Crow writes:

The seventh edition of Café Reason’s regular “Diamond Nights” was an intimate evening of poetic experiments in theatricality.  Introduced by Ana Barbour and lit by Pete Green, the performance began with Ayala Kingsley’s Trunk.  In near darkness assistants drew aside a black velvet curtain to reveal a trunk which began to creak and twitch, its lid tentatively ajar to reveal slivers of torchlight; then streams of bubbles, followed by two grey clad hands as exploring creatures.  Gradually the trunk opened to reveal Ayala as an enigmatic siren bathing and ultimately paddling off on a sea of fabric with her bath-brush… a succession of winning images worth developing.

Flavia Coube’s solo Child juxtaposed her insightful portrayal of childishness with a haunting song by Joanna Nielson which gave an edge of darkness.   In a baggy dress with oversized checks, and hair held by an unruly pink bow Flavia’s comical persona was communicated through wide eyes and ungainly limbs.  Admirable articulation in the fluid and expressive detail of every part of body and face gave this solo clarity and touching authenticity.

A powerful opening to Ségolène Tarte’s Splice as her shadowy figure found its agitated way to a central hanging rope and pool of light.  This work in progress has expanded since previous performances, building its emotional resonance as Ségolène has developed a vulnerable and shifting relationship with the rope, almost lending it life and a character of its own.  She is finding a personal dance language which integrates her balletic grace and vocabulary with strongly defined expressive movement.

Cellist Bruno Guastalla and Macarena Ortuzar continued their fruitful collaboration with Slate.  Sophisticated software allowed the live and recorded cello to be fragmented and randomly fed back and layered, creating an atmospheric sound world into which Macarena crept down the stairs.  Bent back with a layer of skirt over her head, she felt her way into the space with tremulous fingers.  At times she seemed headless, I lost the sense of which was her body’s back and front.  Once fully revealed the image conveyed by her demure cream frock was subverted with movement of delicacy and anguished grotesquerie, suggesting deep and painful stories.

Dariusz Dziala’s video short Cabbage was a lighthearted and surreal collage of images set to a Polish folk song, dazzling in its witty unpredictable invention and inclusion of dance footage both historic and of Café Reason dancers.  Here was editor as choreographer, making surprising combinations of literal and abstracted images dance.

Finally A Walk, a structured group improvisation by Jeannie Donald McKim, Fabrizia Verrechia, Flavia, Ségolène and Ayala with Bruno on cello and singer Janna Ferrett, triggered by Ivor Cutler’s Life in a Scotch Sitting Room, with playful interaction and exchange of a variety of hats.  Hats off to the Café Reason team this evening for conjuring up such arresting dream worlds…