Scholarly, artistic and professional, Avid for Ovid’s highly original creative work was on show in a series of performances as part of the Ashmolean’s wildly popular sell-out DeadFriday Halloween happening.

Accompanied by Malcolm Atkins, dancers Susie Crow, Marie-Louise Crawley and Ségolène Tarte used Roman pantomime to explore the grief and horror of death. As we sat on the floor of the Cast Gallery, a line of candles marking the edge of the performance area like footlights, we saw expressions of human and beyond-human emotion, the quality of each experience being powerfully affected by whether or not the dancers wore masks. Crow, who was unmasked, gave a profoundly moving portrayal of Aurora grieving for her son Memnon that fell firmly within the range of human empathy. On the other hand, when the dancers wore masks, Crawley’s dread-inspiring transformation into a tree and Tarte’s terrifying embodiment of a werewolf seemed almost to pierce the veil that hangs between the natural and the supernatural.

Among the academic papers, craft workshops, musical performances and a theatrical re-enactment of a Roman funeral, Avid for Ovid evoked both pity and terror in its audience: the ultimate Halloween experience.

Maggie Watson

1 November 2015

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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…)

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…)

Where does emotion reside? How do we share it? To whom does it belong?  Programmed by the recently formed Body and Being Network, the event Embodying Emotion offers a chance to explore these fascinating questions this coming 3rd June.  Performing an original piece based on Ovid’s tale of Myrrha (developed as part of Avid for Ovid), choreographer and dance artist Marie-Louise Crawley and composer Malcolm Atkins will explore the embodied expression of emotion.  The performance will be followed by facilitated audience discussion.

Date:  Wednesday 3rd June 5.30-6.30pm

Venue:  Jacqueline du Pré Building, St Hilda’s College, Oxford
Attendance is free, but please register for this event on the Body and Being Network website by 1 June: http://bodyandbeingnetwork.org/2015/05/20/event-announcement-embodying-emotion/
This event is generously supported by a research award from St Hilda’s College.

The Body and Being Network is a new research initiative that aims to develop innovative interdisciplinary dialogues about the body. Co-founded by Karin Eli (University of Oxford) and Anna Lavis (University of Birmingham), the network instigates and supports collaborative encounters between scholars and performing artists, and challenges participants to develop analyses that involve their own embodied experiences. Find out about The Body and Being Network here

Find out more about Avid for Ovid’s work, and read Marie Louise Crawley’s reflections on portraying Myrrha here.

In continuation of the fascinating research work begun in 2013 on ancient Roman pantomime, Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers (ADMD) in association with Avid for Ovid (A4O) are pleased to invite you to an afternoon of talks and performance on Friday 28th November.

ADMD Colloquium 2

Lady Brodie Room, St Hilda’s College  1.30pm – 5.00pm

The theme of this year’s colloquium is Communicating Nonverbal Emotion. Confirmed speakers include Susan Jones (Oxford), Anne Woodford (École Normale Supérieure), and Audrey Gouy (Ca’ Foscari). A detailed programme will be available shortly at http://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/ancientdance. We also invite your participation in a round-table discussion on the future of the network.

A4O present Morphing in Progress

Al Jaber Auditorium, Corpus Christi College, Oxford   5.30pm – 7.00pm (Doors open 5.15)

A showing of new work under development by Avid for Ovid (Susie Crow, Ségolène Tarte, Marie-Louise Crawley & Malcolm Atkins).  The showing will be followed by a Q&A with A4O about their creative process. http://avidforovid.blogspot.co.uk

For more details or to register, please contact helen.slaney@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk or sign up via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/744532448933358/  The event is free of charge but we would like to keep track of numbers for catering purposes. If you’re unable to join us for the whole event, you are welcome to attend either the talks or performance separately.

ADMD acknowledges the support of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

Over the past few months, a team of researchers from the Faculty of Classics and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford have been conducting a practice-based study into the ancient dance form tragoedia saltata, or Roman tragic pantomime. The pilot phase of this study is now complete, and the team hope now to present initial findings in conjunction with open discussion of the place of dance in academia, approaches to dance history, and intersections between dance scholarship and practice. (more…)