“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…)

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Spring is coming, and with it Oxford’s very own festival of dance Dancin’ Oxford in its 2018 edition.  Lots of fascinating peformances to come with an emphasis on physical theatre and storytelling as well as some tantalising workshops and taster sessions.  See below for Oxford Dance Writers list of performance events and dates in Oxford with links to further information and booking details.  Check out the Dancin’ Oxford website for details of additional performances in Didcot and Banbury, as well as workshops and classes and the Dance and Academia conference. (more…)

A cross between The Office and a cage-fight, Australian style: straight from their critically acclaimed performances in Australia, The Farm presents the first UK tour of Cockfight, an exhilarating duet of extreme physical theatre that explores male behaviour and intergenerational conflicts. Coming to Pegasus Theatre on Friday 20 October as part of Oxford Playhouse’s Playhouse Plays Out scheme, it illustrates the interaction between two men from different generations, trapped in an all too familiar and universal environment – the office.

Born out of a very real relationship between performers Joshua (33 years old) and Gavin (50 years old), this is about two men who exist side by side, share space, resources, time and responsibility and justify their existence in relation to each other. Their physical action is underpinned by a fierce co-dependency in a duet of slow-motion fight sequences, interlocking rolls and tackles and Buster Keaton-esque battles of supremacy.

The Farm is an international network of highly respected artists, ranging from choreographers and independent dancers to musicians and designers. The artistic direction of the company is led by Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood who have been making work together for the past fifteen years across four continents. Performed by Gavin Webber and Joshua Thomson, and developed by The Farm in partnership with guest artist Julian Louis, Cockfight is a powerful physical performance about male dominance and the exhibition of masculinity.

Performance:  Friday 20th October 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £19 available from the Playhouse Ticket Office on 01865 305305 or book online at www.oxfordplayhouse.com

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

The affectionate nomenclature “Bollywood” denotes films traditionally produced in Bombay (aka: Mumbai) and which employ some of the distinctive forties and fifties Hollywood narratives. As the program notes for Bring on the Bollywood explain:

“A journalist in the 1970s first coined the nickname for the Hindi film industry by replacing the H from Hollywood with the B from Bombay… which is the capital of the industry.”

The plot in a Bollywood film is filled with romance of one kind or another. Boy meets girl; they immediately fall in love but are then faced with bumpy obstacles so that they seem to fall in and out of love a few times until, finally, working through all these obstacles, they reach a happy ending which is celebrated with a HUGE party. (more…)

Phizzical Productions present their brand new show Bring on the Bollywood, bursting in to Oxford Playhouse on Tuesday 15 to Saturday 19 August. With a dynamic cast of celebrated British Asian performers and young rising stars, the comedic musical of East meets West brings the explosive colour, vibrancy and beauty of classic Bollywood to the British stage. Bring on the Bollywood opens in Oxford on the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence.

New and old collide in this vivid comedy, full of intertwined love stories, dazzling dance and a sensational soundtrack. Bring on the Bollywood takes a love story inspired by real life, filters it through classical comedies from Goldsmith to Shakespeare and infuses it with all the energy of a great Bollywood musical. Come and join Katrina, our headstrong heroine, as she leaves London and returns to her ancestral home, the shabby and un-chic Lakshman Villa, for her brother’s wedding. Here she finds a meddling mother, a line of suitors and, just possibly, true love…

Created and directed by Samir Bhamra, Artistic Director of Phizzical Productions and Creative Director of the London Asian Film Festival, this dynamic nationwide touring production brings a kaleidoscope of colour and Bollywood magic for this delightfully romantic riot of Anglo-Indian exuberance.

Newcomer Nisha Aaliya plays the fiery heroine Dr. Katrina Pawar and is accompanied by a cast of 13 fellow Bollywood performers including Avita Jay (Spare, New Diorama Theatre) and Anthony Sahota a recent finalist on Gary Barlow’s Let It Shine (BBC One). Making his professional acting debut is Robby Khela, whose work in music has seen him support pop acts such as Craig David, Blue, Lemar, Girls Aloud and Misteeq on tour.

Bring on The Bollywood is a love letter to traditional Bollywood, innovated for musical theatre aficionados and contemporary Bollywood lovers alike.

Performances:  Tuesday 15 to Saturday 19 August

Times: Tues to Thurs & Sat eves: 7.30pm | Fri: 8pm | Thu & Sat mats: 2.30pm

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

Tickets: £11.50 to £28 | Discounts available

Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01865 305305

Age guideline: 8+ 

Phizzical Productions specialises in producing and commissioning classical, contemporary and popular arts influenced by Asian, Arabic and African cultures. It develops new talent, produce and tour new work across all art forms. Recent successes include Ram Lila, an outdoor commission by Leicester City Council for the largest Diwali celebrations outside India, a national tour of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, and singer Navin Kundra’s Tribute to Rajesh Khanna the first superstar of Bollywood.  Find out more about Phizzical Productions here

OffBeat is a hive of new performance in Oxford, a festival of brand-new theatre, comedy, dance, family shows, spoken word and music. It’s a place for you to see something which wouldn’t usually come here. It’s a blind date with a show you could fall in love with. And – lucky you – it’s right on your doorstep.  Take a chance on something exciting.

A collaboration between Oxford Playhouse and Arts at the Old Fire Station, with short performances across the Old Fire Station and BT Studio.  See below for a summary of shows for dance lovers: (more…)