Dancin’ Oxford‘s annual festival of dance this year provides a packed and varied programme of performances, workshops and discussions, something for everyone to enjoy, in a range of venues.  Here for convenience is a list of all the performances: for details of practical workshops and taster sessions check out the Dancin’ Oxford website here or the links embedded to particular events.  Look out too for Dance Audience Club sessions on 29th February, 3rd March and 6th March; find out more about these friendly opportunites to think and talk about the dance you see with others here.  And if planning to take in several events, why not avail yourself of a Festival Pass which will get you reductions on ticket prices… find out about this here.  A reminder too that the exhibition of photographs by Colin Jones, Backstage at the Ballet, continues to the end of the Festival; further details here.

Moving with the Times:  Pegasus Theatre, Friday 28th & Saturday 29th February, 7.30pm

This annual platform features different companies in new work that is often explosive, moving and thought provoking.  This year’s companies are Amy Foskett Dance in Burning House, Thomas Page Dances in Commonality, and Drishti Dance in Sanket.  Find further information about the programme and how to book here

Festival Launch:  Westgate Centre, Saturday 29th February 12pm-5.00pm

A vibrant afternoon of free dance performances from professionals and local youth dance groups, including Infuse Dance’s BodyGuards, Step2Dance, Messy Jam, TPD Young Artists, Kapow Dance Circus Theatre, Pro-Motion and a special preview of Neon Dance‘s show Puzzle Creature.  Find out more here

Neon Dance Puzzle Creature: Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Sunday 1st March at 11.00am, 12.00pm, 1.00pm, 2.00pm, 3.00pm, complete performance 7.00pm

Experience 10 minute excerpts or a complete performance of this remarkable immersive contemporary dance piece from creative director Adrienne Hart, composer Sebastian Reynolds, designers Numen/For Use, and three exceptional dance artists. Find out more about the evening performance here, and afternoon Encounters here, and read Jenny Parrot’s report of the complete show in a recent performance here

Let’s All Dance Sleeping Beauty: Cornerstone Arts Centre Didcot, Sunday 1st March 1.00pm & 3.00pm

A family friendly version of this much loved ballet with Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous music, talented young dancers and gorgeous costumes.  Find out more here

Joelle Pappas Nocturne:  St Nicholas Church, Abingdon, Sunday 1st March 3.00pm

Lyrical contemporary dance from Oxford dance artist Joelle Pappas inspired by sculptures of Camille Claudel in a programme of French music and song with Diana Hinds (pianist) and Rory Carver (tenor).  Find out more here, and read Maggie Watson’s review of this atmospheric show here

Gecko and Mind the Gap in A Little Space:  Oxford Playhouse, Tuesday 3rd & Wednesday 4th March 7.30pm

Physical theatre company Gecko and performers from Mind the Gap, one of Europe’s leading learning disability theatre companies, come together in an exciting new show with stunning visual imagery.  Find out more here

Richard Chappell Dance Still Touch:  Pegasus Theatre, Friday 6th March 7.30pm

Choreographer Richard Chappell has collaborated with sculptor Anna Gillespie in an evocative work which explores touch through the relationship between three dancers and three life-size sculptures, find out more about this fascinating project here

Sonia Sabri Dance Same Same… but Different: The North Wall, Saturday 7th March 2.00pm

Another family show combining Kathak, hip hop, contemporary and street dance with live music and physical storytelling; playful and feel-good.  Find details here

Enjoy!

First Look is a preview of new dance works commissioned by Dancin’ Oxford and Pegasus for Moving With The Times, the dance showcase an established part of the annual Dancin’ Oxford Festival.  An exciting chance to see this year’s companies present three incredible works in progress, followed by Q&A with the artists.

Burning House is a high physical contemporary dance piece that explores human mortality from Amy Foskett Dance. “Our bodies and our planet. Ignorance is bliss and we are blissfully ignoring it. Disregarding death and highlighting dangerous immortality…”

In a time of tick boxes, labels and separation Thomas Page Dances Commonality looks at the parts of life that everyone has in common. Through the exploration of shared experiences and feelings this performances paints the possibilities of coming together as one community. Featuring contemporary dance, a unique score, live photography and lots of tape!

Drishti Dance, is a well established performing arts organization producing high quality classical Indian dance works. Choreographed by Anuradha Chaturvedi, the Artistic Director, the work will be a contemporary expression of Kathak dance tradition, in all its exquisite grace and composure, creating a dynamic fusion of movement and rhythm set to the music of Shammi Pithia.

Performance:  Friday 17th January, 7.30pm

Venue:  Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Rd, Oxford OX4 1RE

Tickets:  Moving With The Times – First Look is a Pay What You Can night.  Book your place(s) online or through the box office in advance and pay on the night – if you enjoy the evening and can pay more than a standard ticket price – please do, if you can’t – pay what you can.  Pegasus can’t take payments online in advance so if you wish to pay any amount by card in advance please call the box office 01865 812 150 and they will process your payment. Otherwise cash or card payments can be made on the night.

The final triple bill Moving With The Times will be at Pegasus 28th & 29th February 2020

There are no age restrictions for this piece and younger audiences are very welcome, but it is likely to be enjoyed most by those aged 11+

First Look offers a first glimpse of the three works-in-progress by exciting dance companies that will be performed in full to launch the Spring Dancin’ Oxford Festival 2019 in the Moving With the Times showcase in March. Each work-in-progress run at this January preview will be followed by a Q&A with the artists.

Richard Chappell Dance with his new work Still Touch examines the relationship between dance and life-sized sculpture using his unique approach to ballet, improvisation, floor work and partner work.

Moon Dances is Jann Esterhuizen’s choreographic exploration of classical ideas and forms in collaboration with composer, Edward Farmer.

Joe Lott’s original brand of energising, innovative dance and storytelling, reveals two dancers take on micro-gravity and mythology in EVA, NASA-speak for spacewalking.

Moving With The Times – First Look is a Pay What You Can night. Book your place(s) online or through the box office in advance and pay on the night – if you enjoy the evening and can pay our standard ticket price – please do, if you can’t – pay what you can. The box office can’t take payments online so if you wish to pay any amount by card in advance, please call the box office and they will process your payment. Otherwise cash or card payments can be made on the night.

Date:  Friday 18th January, 7.30pm

Venue:  Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road Oxford OX4 1RE.

To Book: http://pegasustheatre.org.uk /   Box Office: 01865 812150

Recommended for ages 11+)

NB: The final triple bill Moving With The Times will be at Pegasus on 1 & 2 March 2019.

“Spring is coming…” I wrote in posting an advance round-up of performance and other events for this year’s edition of Dancin’ Oxford Festival 1st – 11th March 2018. It would perhaps have been more appropriate to post “Winter is coming…” as the arrival of the “Beast from the East” took some casualties in the first weekend of programming. Heavy snowfall and consequent travel disruption led to the postponement to a later date (to be announced) of the one day Dance and Academia conference, with several guest speakers unable to get there. That same day (Saturday 3rd March) Company Chameleon’s performance at Pegasus Theatre was also cancelled.

Other companies who had arrived in Oxford a day or two earlier before the snow were able to continue with scheduled performances in true “the show must go on” style, and with encouragingly healthy audiences. At the end of Theatre Ad Infinitum’s Friday evening performance of Odyssey at The North Wall, performer George Mann gave a heartfelt thanks to those that had made it. I found this lively retelling of Homer’s great story of journey and homecoming well worth crunching through silent snowy streets for. (more…)

Late on Monday 6th November 2017 Ana Barbour, much loved, inspirational and guiding presence in the Oxford dance scene, passed away having battled with cancer.  Her touching funeral at the home she loved on Sunday 12th November was attended by numerous family, friends, and colleagues, and was a celebration of her life and achievements in speeches, songs and dance.  I felt honoured to speak on that occasion about Ana’s work as a dance artist in Oxford, and I am posting here my speech to pay tribute to her.  You can also find links below to her own blog Anadances, Cafe Reason of whom she was an integral part, and the DEC Project; and her own occasional writings for this blog.  Oxford Dance Writers would really welcome other voices in this endeavour of remembrance, so please use the comments facility below to add to this partial picture your particular memories of Ana.  Thank you!

Ana Barbour

When I mounted the Solos Project for Oxford dance artists in 2008 Ana was one of six dancers who showed solos in the Burton Taylor’s intimate studio space. Her Butoh inspired piece Baggage accompanied by the atmospheric music of her long term friend and collaborator Malcolm Atkins was a remarkable episode in which having entered bowed down by a bundle on her back she burrowed into the baggage itself, morphing into surreal shapes and images of confined struggle that were humorous, poignant and dreamlike. It was my first experience of Ana as creative imagination and compelling performer. (more…)

Dancin’ Oxford’s annual Spring Festival offers something for everyone. From international choreographers, to free outdoor experiences, a Dance-A-Thon, professional and amateur companies, plus shows for children and workshops, Dancin’ Oxford 2017 has programmed a festival of treats.

Now in its 11th year and funded by Oxford City Council and Arts Council England, Dancin’ Oxford goes from strength to strength. Claire Thompson, Oxford City Council Dance Officer said “We find that each new festival is rewarding in so many ways. Oxford’s vibrant dance scene love it as do many people who have never experienced dance before. The free dance event in the city brings a variety of dance styles to the shoppers some of whom have been known to join in.’

Dancin’ Spaces (4 March), in and around the City Centre, is a variety of programmed dance performances and promenade pieces. Shoppers might find they are chosen to be ‘protected and defended’ by dancing Bodyguards, discover a dance about football fusing hip hop with contemporary dance, watch a performance for children in the Museum of History of Science or a duet in the Weston Library foyer. All this runs alongside a plethora of local dance companies which will entertain and delight shoppers. (more…)

This year Oxford celebrates the 10th anniversary of its very own springtime dance festival in Dancin’ Oxford 2016.  Watch out for an action packed 11 days including performances by locally based companies and visiting national and international artists, as well as a host of enticing workshops in a range of genres.  Here is a calendar of performance dates for your diary with links to further information and booking:

Friday 26th-Saturday 27th February, Pegasus Theatre:
Moving With the Times.  The annual platform of new work by Oxford dance artists includes Dancin’ Oxford & Pegasus commissioned pieces from in.motion dance (contemporary), Body Politic (hip hop) and Drishti Dance (contemporary/kathak) and We Were Youth, choreographed and performed by 3 male dancers who started dancing in Oxford and are now at the top of their game, dancing with such international companies as DV8, Hofesh Shechter and Peeping Tom.

Further info here

Saturday 27th February, Bonn Square:
Dancin’ Spaces.  Celebratory open air free performances in the city centre; companies performing Hawk Dance Theatre, infuse DANCE, Granny Turismo, Company Chameleon, Ajos Dance and Sole Rebel Tap.
Monday 29th February, Old Fire Station:
Leap Day Dancing.  A special programme of works featuring dance, live music and film to join Dancin’ Oxford’s tenth anniversary celebrations. Including Oxford artists Crossover Intergenerational Dance, Joëlle Pappas Projects, Susie Crow, Paulette Mae, Alan Hutson and the UK premier of Jos Baker’s new solo work Of No Fixed Abode.
Further info here
Wednesday 2nd March, The North Wall:
In The Happiness  Karla Shacklock Company combine choreography, spoken word and live sound in fast and furious devised physical theatre.
Further info here
Friday 4th- Saturday 5th March, Old Fire Station:
Duet Squared and More.  Joëlle Pappas choreographs and directs a poetic programme of contemporary dance to piano duets by Maurice Ravel and Erik Satie, played live by Diana Hinds and Elizabeth Kreager. The evening also presents dance to compositions by Douglas Young and Benjamin Britten.
Further info here
Friday 4th-Saturday 5th March, Oxford Playhouse:
Thomas Noone and Mercat de los Flors Barcelona present the UK premiere of Medea, Noone’s powerful version of Euripides’ ancient tragedy, an exquisite evening of dance packed with emotional charge.
Further info here
Saturday 5th March, Pegasus Theatre:
The Black Album. A triple bill in which three distinctly different hip hop choreographies are woven together like a concept album, taking you on a soulful journey through many shades of black.
Further info here
You can find the full Dancin’ Oxford 2016 festival programme including all the workshops here
Book soon, most venues will quickly fill…
Enjoy!