Ovid’s Metamorphoses – an epic poem exploring myths of transformation, love and loss – is the inspiration for a new work created by young Swiss dance company Le Marchepied. Their latest work – forming part of their tour of the UK – is the result of their collaboration with Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers (ADMD).  ADMD is a TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) funded project that seeks to investigate the Roman dance form tragoedia saltata (Roman pantomime) and to “develop ways of articulating the knowledge derived from kinaesthetic engagement with ancient material.”

The performance itself was preceded by a free workshop in the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford.  The workshop was open to anyone who wanted to learn more about the form of trageodia saltata and how it may be used in a contemporary setting to generate movement material or interpret ancient texts.  Helen Slaney (Classics Fellow at St. Hilda’s College) of ADMD kicked off proceedings with an intriguing, informative introduction to the form of Roman pantomime.  Referencing texts by ancient satirist Lucian, Slaney detailed the necessity of narrative precision in the dance form and also stated particular movements – such as freezing, falling or reaching – that would have been used by performers to physically recount the mythological tales. (more…)

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Metamorphoses – dance interpretations of the poetry of Ovid is an evening of dance and music based on interpretations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses performed by members of the Avid for Ovid group who have been working  in collaboration with the Oxford University research project Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers.  The event is a showing of work in progress, and will involve audience participation in that artists and academics will be asking for feedback.  Dancers Susie Crow and Ségolène Tarte with composer Malcolm Atkins introduced by classicist Helen Slaney will demonstrate some of their practical processes and emerging studies.  The researchers are eager to find out what audience members see in the pieces and how the communicability of an ancient solo narrative dance form might be developed in a contemporary context. (more…)