Moon Dances – Jann Esterhuizen Company

This was an elegant start to the evening, with poise and delicacy at its core. The piece started slowly, with the contemporary soundtrack drawing the audience into the performance even as the lights were still up, and gradually bringing us into the world on stage as the room darkened.
The choreography was based on very classical shapes and forms, with a lot of use of the diagonal lines of the stage, and many moments being recognisably ‘balletic’, but it pushed gently at the boundaries of traditional ballet, moving out of the confines of these lines and using the body in more organic ways.
The dancers each seemed to be mostly self-contained – there wasn’t a great deal of interaction between them; rather they all seemed to be in their own separate worlds of movement.
The piece as a whole didn’t take huge risks; there was still a lot of familiar ground in the soundtrack of piano and strings (particularly with sections of Bach’s solo cello suites), and the roots of ballet in the choreography. But the fact that it was clean and not particularly gritty didn’t detract – it was a balanced and beautiful performance in all areas: choreography, performance and soundtrack.

EVA – Joe Lott Dance

In contrast to the previous piece, this had a strong sense of narrative, with spoken word as a prominent part of the performance. At the start this took the form of a performer on stage who spoke to the audience, and later on there were extracts of speech from NASA space missions as part of the soundtrack.
This provided a great sense of direction and clarity to the piece, and there were moments of perfect balance where the choreography directly matched the narration’s content. Initially this took the form of small movements which ‘acted out’ the things being narrated (for example particular actions like sowing seeds). Later on it was even more striking, as two dancers moved in unison on the floor, slowly oscillating and remoulding the shapes of their bodies as the soundtrack described movement in space. There was a real quality of weightlessness and floating – it was easy to imagine that the dancers were outside the Earth’s gravity.
I did find it easier to take in the narration from a soundtrack than the spoken delivery on stage – perhaps because this broke away from the traditional silence of dance performers. But it was certainly an absorbing performance with some real innovation of choreography.

Still Touch – Richard Chappell Dance

This was an exceptionally strong finish to the evening, with innovation and talent on show right from the first moment. The subject matter encompassed the nature of human touch and connection, and this was explored through four ‘characters’ – three dancers and a sculpted figure. This inert figure could so easily have been used in a gimmicky way, but on the contrary it was done in a way both empathetic and unabashed. The work didn’t shy away from the raw loneliness of the lack of connection to others, or the tenderness and joy of human interaction, but also showed many tones between these two extremes, connecting all three dancers and the sculpture rather than keeping them apart in separate pairs.

The soundtrack, too, was inventive and layered, and matched the emotive drive of the piece – at some points dramatic and dark, and at others almost completely still.
The choreography felt inherently organic, each movement flowing from the last, feeling almost improvised, and yet inventive and very much outside the boundaries of ‘classical’ dance. There was also no sense of gender difference between the male and female dancers. Rather than feeling one was watching a performance, it was more like looking in on an intimate world, at times troubled but ultimately beautiful.

Jess Ryan-Phillips

17th March 2019

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Glide through the airlock and float free with Joe Lott Dance…

Promising company, Joe Lott Dance, take to the road this autumn for their first tour.  Catch their original brand of energising and innovative dance at Pegasus.  Joe Lott Dance take on micro-gravity and mythology in a dynamic billing at Pegasus Theatre on Friday 30 October: including new work EVA and a preview of Detox by renowned guest choreographer Urja Desai Thakore of Pagrav Dance (BBC, National Theatre, South Bank).  The performances will be followed by a Q&A opportunity. This promises to be a delightful, thought-provoking evening of dance from two innovative choreographers. (more…)

Oxford dance artists making and presenting work for Dancin’ Oxford 2014 invite you to join them at Pegasus Theatre this Friday 24th January, when they will be showing new pieces in preparation at the First Stage Dance Scratch Evening presented by Pegasus & Oxford Dance Forum.  This free event is a fabulous opportunity to get a really close look at new pieces as they are being made.  Audiences have the chance to talk to the artists about the work, share thoughts and influence progress towards the final productions.  As in previous years, most of the pieces will be presented in completed form at the Moving With The Times showcase later in the season.  Artists include: AnaMorphic Dance Theatre, Sole Rebel Tap, Mamé Yansane, Unlock The Chains Collective, Marina Collard & Joe Lott Dance, and the works are suitable for all ages.

Friday 24th January 7.30pm

Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE
Full details and tickets from http://www.pegasustheatre.org.uk/shows/dance-scratch/

Box Office:  01865 812160

Joe Lott Dance, an Oxford-based company of professional dancers, presents a triple bill of exciting and innovative dance as part of the Dancin’ Oxford Festival at the Pegasus Theatre on Wednesday 5th March, including  work from London-based guest choreographer Ieva Kuniskis.  At the heart of the programme is Lott’s new work Alpha, a muscular, athletic and warm-hearted dance and theatre work about being masculine, or not.  Taking inspiration from ‘Machine Man’ films like Robocop and from pagan stories about the nature-loving ‘Green Man’, four dancers kick, waltz, jog and lunge their way through a maze of dating tips, profit margins and protein-shakes.  The company also reprises the much-loved trio Tender which launched Lott’s career in 2012, and guest choreographer Ieva Kuniskis shares her latest work Women’s Tales.  Don’t miss this pleasing, thought-provoking and energising evening of dance and theatre from two up-and-coming UK choreographers. (more…)

An eclectic mix of dance styles, musical genres, and choreographic themes #heretodaygonetomorrow is a cross-section of work from the past year from The Oxfordshire Creative Academy, showing at Pegasus Theatre on Friday 26th April alongside Oxford choreographer Joe Lott’s recent work Chemistry, well received in London at this year’s Resolution! Festival at The Place. (more…)

Something fresh and thought provoking to put in those new 2013 diaries – Oxford based choreographer Joe Lott sends word of her new work Chemistry, which will be performed at The Place in London as part of the annual Resolution! season, but which is also the subject of a photographic exhibition here in Oxford… (more…)

Joe Lott writes:

At the Flourish Dance Scratch Night, at the Pegasus Theatre on Saturday 3rd November, you can see the latest work from: Marina Collard, Joe Lott Dance, Ana Barbour, Jenny Parrott and Emma Webb. (more…)