This autumn the dynamic, dazzling and delightful Ballet Black returns to Oxford Playhouse with a fresh triple bill of dances.  Artistic Director Cassa Pancho once again commissions bold choreography, blending the classical and contemporary, narrative and abstract, for a company comprising British and international dancers of black and Asian descent.

A four-hander characterised by intricate detail and propulsive energy, Captured ebbs and flows to the fiery emotion of Martin Lawrance’s edgy choreography, set to a Shostakovich string quartet. First premiered in 2012, Captured was an instant audience and critical success.  French choreographer, Ludovic Ondiviela, presents Dopamine (you make my levels go silly), a beautiful pas de deux about love, lust and passion, with an original score created by acclaimed British composer, Fabio D’Andrea.  South Bank Sky Arts Award-winner Annabelle Lopez Ochoa turns a popular fairy tale on its head, as Red Riding Hood is given a surprising twist.

“Dash, daring and joie-de-vivre”  The Guardian

“A funny, gutsy spin on the traditional fairytale that’s clearly a riot to dance”  The Guardian on Red Riding Hood

Performance:  Wednesday 4th October,  7.30pm

Venue:  Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets:  £10 – £25 available from the Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or book online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com

Age guideline: 7 years plus

Find out more about Ballet Black here

Read Susie Crow’s review of their previous performance at the Oxford Playhouse in 2016  here

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As someone with no knowledge of juggling beyond the much applauded performances of enthusiastic jugglers at Swedish Swing Dance Camps, I merged into the audience at The Oxford Playhouse in September 2015 to see Gandini Juggling’s 4×4 (Empheral Architectures). Four ballet dancers, four jugglers, aesthetically enchanting and quite unlike anything I’d seen before. Co-choreographed by ex-Royal Ballet dancer turned choreographer Ludovic Ondiviela and Gandini Juggling’s Sean Gandini, simply said, I loved it. Awareness of the expertise of the performers in both disciplines skimmed barely discernible beneath the beauty of the piece – a combination of two languages brought together into something new and something I now recognise as a trademark ambition of the company.

Thomas J. M. Wilson’s book, designed to be dipped into with colour-coded sections, helps the reader to develop their knowledge of juggling and in particular the approach of Gandini Juggling and the environment from which it emerged. Echoing its subject matter, the book encourages you to create your own trajectories through the text. (more…)

4×4 starts on a bare and darkened stage; no backdrop, green Exit lights visible upstage left and right. Then a slow suffusion of light reveals eight performers silhouetted against an illuminated triangle that seems filled with clouds of billowing smoke. One by one the jugglers begin to throw and catch. A dancer matches the rhythmic rise and fall of the balls with pulsing ports de bras as she circles her arms up above her head and round, rhythmically slapping her thigh each time her hand passes her leg. (more…)

4 jugglers and 4 ballet dancers share a stage for the first time…

Direct from Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 4×4 is a breathtaking collaboration between the two seemingly different worlds of ballet and juggling. Both artforms make fleeting journeys through time and space, tracing invisible lines, like an imaginary architect.

The sensational Gandini Juggling have wowed audiences across the world with their clever, thrilling productions. Returning to their love affair with patterns and mathematics 4×4 is a unique dialogue between jugglers and dancers. Directed by world renowned juggler Sean Gandini and choreographed by Royal Ballet dancer Ludovic Ondiviela, this groundbreaking cross-art form experience is not to be missed.

“A splendid blend of talents”  The Times ****

“A clever, cool and wondrous show”  The Stage ****

Performance:  Wednesday 2nd September, 7.30pm

Venue:  Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW

Tickets: £11.50-£20

Book online here or call the Box Office on 01865 305305

Ballet Black’s innovative programme of new work opened with Robert Binet’s Egal, to music by Bertelmann and Hahn, danced by the beautiful and athletic Cira Robinson with Jacob Wye, a First Year Apprentice with the company. An abstract work, with a sense of a story, it explored the relationship between an equally matched couple with strength, balance and energy. Robinson’s every movement has its own equilibrium, shown particularly in the perfectly counterpoised spins as she swings around her partner. She shows a strong internal logic and an awareness of both the source and destination of each movement, which makes her an extremely satisfying dancer to watch. (more…)