The opening night of the Russian Ice Stars’ performance of Snow White on Ice at The New Theatre Oxford was magical. The audience was an eclectic mix of intrigued adults and excitable children. Likewise, the performance combined incredible skating with a children’s tale and pantomime-style narrator, making this a show that is suitable for the entire family.

The skating was wonderful. The Russian Ice Stars delivered a professional performance and something so unique and rare to see live. The skaters were in complete control and each movement was precise yet natural. Even the somewhat hair-raising, aerial gymnastics were performed with ease. The skaters attach themselves to a wire that pulls them into the air by their arms or legs, all whilst spinning over an ice rink; not something you get to see every day! Juggling on ice was another party trick that the Russian Ice Stars brought to the rink; impressive on the ground, incredible on ice. (more…)

Whether you’re a dance enthusiast, fanatic about the film, or looking for a girls’ night out, Dirty Dancing, currently showing at Oxford’s New Theatre,  is a must-see.  It echoes the film’s fantastic dancing and wonderful plot, but adds excitement through live music, special effects and staging. It is worth seeing this company tour; they impress with a sleek performance and flawless production.

Based on an iconic film, most of the audience (me included) arrive with expectations: “the summer of 1963 when everybody called me Baby, and it didn’t occur to me to mind.” (more…)

For two nights at the Théâtre de Verdure, Ballet Nice Méditerranée offered an exceptional triple bill: the opening performances of Dwight Rhoden’s new ballet Verse us, Nacho Duato’s Por vos muero (1996) and Alvin Ailey’s Night Creature (1975).

Rhoden has said that he takes inspiration from the dancers before him, and Verse us fitted the company like a glove. Their speed, accuracy and attack brilliantly matched Rhoden’s sharp but fluid, edgy yet elegant, choreography, both shaping and shaped by Nils Frahm’s musical score and sound track. Rhoden made these exquisite dancers look wonderful, using their strong classical technique (the women on pointe) to create a fast-moving modern work for seven couples in which the women, to my pleasure, were not treated as objects, but danced as equals with the men. (more…)

A Suitcase for All Occasions – 17th March 2012 at the Old Fire Station

I was not sure what to expect from Paulette Mae’s A Suitcase for All Occasions. It was very well attended, and the atmosphere built up outside as we all waited in the foyer to be let in. The programme seemed to suggest- from Mae’s background and the information we were given- that the three dances would focus on the meaning and unnecessary nature of the material possessions we want and accumulate. The first dance, P.S., seemed more about mother and daughter losing connections than the significance of a dress that the daughter wanted. (more…)

Following the completion of this year’s Dancin’ Oxford Festival, Oxford Dance Writers has great pleasure in announcing the winners of this year’s Dance Writers of the Future competition.  The competition judges were David Bellan, dance critic of the Oxford Times, Susie Crow of Ballet in Small Spaces and Oxford Dance Writers, Penny Cullerne-Bown, Principal of East Oxford School of Ballet, and Miranda Laurence of Dance and Academia. All entrants were in the higher age category and the final winners in a very close contest were as follows:

First Prize: Thomas Stell

Runner-up:  Miranda Frudd

The judges would like to congratulate Thomas for his vibrant account of performance installation Between by Angela Woodhouse and Caroline Broadhead at the Burton Taylor Studio, and Miranda for her thoughtful reflection on Paulette Mae’s A Suitcase for All Occasions at the Old Fire Station.  Both of these winning entries are being posted for you to enjoy.

As part of his prize Thomas received a pair of tickets for Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker at the New Theatre – his review of this successful and popular production will also be posted very shortly… We hope that both winners will be encouraged to contribute further writings on dance to Oxford Dance Writers and look forward to hearing from them again in future.

Well done to all the contestants, and our grateful thanks to the Dancing Times, New Theatre Oxford and Oxford Playhouse for their support of the competition through generous prizes.