Fresh from performances at the Cheltenham Festival Joëlle Pappas‘ latest exciting choreographic project in collaboration with evolutionary scientist Yan Wong comes to Oxford for open air performances.  Dancing the Tree of Life, a piece for 7 dancers and 1 musician, is loosely based on Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong’s 2016 book The Ancestor’s Tale, a comprehensive journey through the evolution of all life on earth.  The cast includes the Oxford-based dancers Melissa Bori, JJ Formento and Ségolène Tarte.
All the events are free!

Performances: Saturday 2nd July
1.30pm in Broad Street
3.00pm on the lawn at the Museum of Natural History, in Parks Road….weather permitting
4.00pm inside the Museum of Natural History

Joëlle and Yan will also be talking about their dance/science collaboration at 5.15 pm in the Museum of Natural History

All performances are free of charge.

The Ancestor’s Tale (2nd edn) is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, find out about it here and ways to purchase it here

Find out about Joëlle Pappas’ work here

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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

Getting a ticket to a dance programme arouses comfortable expectations of pleasure – of colour, patterning and conformity. In Oxford’s Burton Taylor studio last week, Donald Hutera’s GOlive programme was satisfyingly full of all of these – but it was also never predictable, oddly fragmented and often deeply unsettling. And in my head the after-images are of faces as much as of body shapes – a heat of emotional impact – a sense of hope – a touch of catharsis.

The very ordering of the programme forced strange juxtapositions. It began with what Shane Shambhu described as his “lecture-demonstration” – a cogent dance drama through which his personal narrative wove a coherent thread. Twenty-seven years of bharatanatyam dance gave his work an assured technical underpinning. But it was its immediacy and variety that made it so accessible to academic, pensioner and child in the fifty-strong studio audience. For this was a narrative that flowed by Nritta – by taps and clicks and thumps – through sounds vocal and guttural – as well as by the mime and dance of Natya, the shifting registers of formal delivery, of conversational English, of interactive name games and the musicality of Shane’s native Kerala tongue. Never before have I been more aware of dance as one member of so intimately interconnected a family of languages. (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…)

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).

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…)

News of exciting new research with both academic and artistic strands happening here in Oxford.  Here the Avid for Ovid team introduce themselves, what has happened so far and plans for forthcoming work.

Who we are and why we are

Avid for Ovid is a group of performing artists interested in exploring the potential of using principles and ideas from ancient dance and music in contemporary performance. As performers we are keen to research ancient performance principles and to broaden our vocabularies by incorporating elements from the unique cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome in order to use them to develop narrative pieces that are meaningful within a contemporary context.

Core members of the group are Malcolm Atkins, musician; Susie Crow, dancer: and Ségolène Tarte, dancer.  Our interest in this work was crystallised through our participation in the Oxford University research project Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers in the summer of 2013.  Conducted by classicist Dr. Helen Slaney, social anthropologist Dr. Caroline Potter, and doctoral researcher Sophie Bocksberger, with the support of TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, University of Oxford), the aim of this practice-based project is to explore the nature and physicality of Ancient Roman Pantomime.  (more…)