Following the success of the inaugural Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) Summer School in 2019 at St Hilda’s College Oxford, a second, this time virtual Summer School is being programmed by Professor Susan Jones.  Events will be available to view on the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building’s YouTube channel from 16th July 2020.

DANSOX Virtual Summer School 2020 includes two strands:

Celebrating the work of the distinguished American dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor (1930-2018):

Alastair Macaulay (international dance critic and writer): lecture on the life and work
Parisa Kobdeh (ex-Paul Taylor dancer): on practice and technique.

New Scholarship on Dance: text and practice

Joseph Kay (composer) on musical notation and dance notation
Susie Crow (choreographer and writer): aspects of the ballet class
Marcus Bell (DPhil student, St Hilda’s) on Pina Bausch and the classics
Megan Smith (2020 English Finalist, Oxford): literary criticism meets fiction and performance in John Haskell’s The Complete Ballet: A Fictional Essay in Five Acts (2017)
Anna Chamberlain (2020 Art History Finalist, Oxford): Hilde Holge, German Expressionist dance and photography.

Find out more about DANSOX here and get ready for the Summer School by watching some past events here.

Alastair Macaulay’s lecture on George Balanchine developed ideas about the role of women in Balanchine’s work, which were raised last year at the 2019 DANSOX Summer School at St Hilda’s.  Macaulay provocatively proposed that ballet is unlike the other arts in that it is by its very nature sexist, being predicated on the bodies of men and women.  He further suggested, that sexism and the idealisation of women are intrinsic to Balanchine’s supported adagios, in which women, supported by men, become works of perfect geometry.  In short, Balanchine recognised and exploited the allegorical qualities that Western society has imposed upon the female body for centuries, and elevated women through objectification.

Trained in St Petersburg, Balanchine’s work both embodied and extended the Russian danse d’école of the early twentieth century.  Drawing on musical scores intended for the concert hall as well as those composed for ballet, he pushed ballet technique to new levels, embracing speed, extreme extensions, and daring off-centre balances.  He created a dance style perceived as typically American, yet he retained the chivalry, hierarchy, ceremony, symmetry and harmony derived from his St Petersburg schooling. (more…)

The DANSOX event Making “The Cellist” was an exciting opportunity to watch choreographer Cathy Marston’s creative process as she rehearsed her ballet based on the life of Jacqueline du Pré.  Du Pré, who died of multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of forty-two in 1987, was an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s, and the evening began, fittingly, with a performance of Fauré’s Elegy in C Minor by St Hilda’s musicians Holly Jackson and David Palmer.  An open rehearsal, with Royal Ballet dancers Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Calvin Richardson, and discussion of Marston’s work followed.

Interviewed by her scenarist Edward Kemp, Marston eloquently described how her sister, a drama teacher, had used an old cello to stimulate improvisation, and realised that the idea held great potential for a ballet.  Marston is acutely aware of the sensitivity of her subject matter (her mother has MS), and rather than trying to reproduce the symptoms, she seeks to express what it feels like to have the disease.  She approached du Pré’s widower Daniel Barenboim at an early stage to gain his blessing, but the ballet is not an exploration of family relationships; it is about the gift and burden of talent. (more…)

Another important evening programmed by DANSOX, and not to be missed.  As the Richard Alston Dance Company prepares and undertakes its final performances before the company’s closure in the spring after 25 years, major contemporary choreographer Sir Richard Alston brings dancers from his company to the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building prior to their performance at Oxford’s New Theatre on Wednesday 22nd January, to demonstrate his work as he and distinguished dance and music scholar Professor Stephanie Jordan reflect on his life and career.

Date:  Monday, 20th January, 5.30pm

Venue:  Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

Tickets: The event is free and open to all, but booking is essential. Book online here

Refreshments will be available.

 

DANSOX presents another fascinating lecture.  The festivals of 1912 and 1913 at the garden city of Hellerau near Dresden, Germany are often cited as marking the birth of the modern theatre. Here, music, dance, lighting, theatre architecture and stage settings were integrated to present ‘total’ works of theatrical art to an astonished international audience. The theory and practice of theatrical production was never the same again. In his presentation ‘Hellerau: The History of a Dream’, Professor Richard Beacham offers a description and assessment of the festivals, together with an account of the extraordinary subsequent history of the site and its ‘re-birth’ in recent years as a venue for artistic innovation, building upon its luminous legacy.

Date:  Thursday 31 October 5.30pm

Venue:  Jacqueline du Pre Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

For more information and to book go to Eventbrite.

The event is free and open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception.

For further information about DANSOX please contact Professor Sue Jones susan.jones@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk

The DANSOX Inaugural Summer School will be taking taking place 6-8th July at St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, attracting a unique mix of dance academics and artist practitioners in a rich programme of seminars, practical lecture demonstrations and special dance film and book presentations.

Alastair Macaulay, former Chief Dance Critic at the New York Times, leads the three-day event with lectures on three master choreographers: Petipa, Balanchine and Cunningham.  Seminars will include presentations by dance scholars including Julia Bührle, Renate Bräuninger, Gabriela Minden, Margaret Watson, Fiona Macintosh and Tom Sapsford.  Lecture demonstrations will include Moira Goff on 17th century and baroque dance, Susie Crow and pianist Jonathan Still on the ballet class (with dancers Ben Warbis and Ellie Ferguson of Yorke Dance Project), and Jennifer Jackson with composer Tom Armstrong on music and choreographic practice.  Sir Richard Alston will talk about the influence of Merce Cunningham on his work, including a solo performance by Elly BraundLynne Wake will present her recent film Bejart and Queen, and the event culminates in the eagerly anticipated launch of Nadine Meisner‘s biograpy of Marius Petipa.

Dates:  Saturday 6th -Monday 8th July 2019

Venue:  St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

To celebrate the inauguration of this special event, DANSOX is offering one-off specially discounted tickets: £15.00 daily ticket, £30.00 for a three-day ticket.
All are welcome. Come for a day or two, or for the whole three days. Refreshments and lunch provided for ticket holders.
Booking essential at Eventbrite https://dansoxsummerschool.eventbrite.co.uk

Download the full programme here

Accommodation available in St Hilda’s College – contact Sarah Brett
Further information from the Programme Director: Professor Susan Jones.

We hope to see you there!

 

‘I’m always accused of dealing only with sex and violence but what I really deal with is life and death.’  Thus quoted Monica Mason, opening the St Hilda’s College/DANSOX Conference Kenneth MacMillan: Making Dance Beyond the Boundaries held on Saturday 16th March 2019.

Dame Monica, former Principal Dancer and Director of the Royal Ballet Company, was just one of many sharing their memories of MacMillan and his creative approach at this smörgåsbord of delights blending academic research, choreography and performance. On a wet and windy day, in political and climatic times that can sometimes feel reminiscent of the dark events triggered at Mayerling, we were treated to talks by MacMillan’s widow Deborah on how MacMillan worked with designers, Guest Lecturer Natalie Wheen on his innovative use of music, choreologists on how Benesh notation helps to preserve his choreography, and academic specialists on his historical imagination. The conference concluded with excerpts from a reconstruction of Playground by Yorke Dance. (more…)

The DANSOX Conference Kenneth MacMillan: Making Dance Beyond the Boundaries was an opportunity to reflect on and discover more about one of the twentieth century’s greatest choreographers. It was attended by distinguished practitioners and scholars in dance, and generously open to the wider University and general public.

Dame Monica Mason and Deborah, Lady MacMillan gave insights into what it was like to work with Kenneth MacMillan, his interest in contemporaneous events in society and the arts, his willingness to engage with designers new to the theatre, and his relationship with and support from Ninette de Valois. (more…)

Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) presents a one-day conference on the life and work of the great twentieth-century choreographer Sir Kenneth MacMillan (1929-1992). MacMillan stands among the great innovators of his time in theatre, film, art, music, and dance. This not-to-be-missed conference will discuss his work, the challenges of preserving the record, and explore little known early work, his literary and musical choices, design, and choreographic method. Guest speakers include: the artist and widow of Sir Kenneth, Lady MacMillan; the former Principal and Director of the Royal Ballet, Dame Monica Mason; the music expert, Natalie Wheen; and choreologist, Anna Trevien. Dancers, artists, and filmmakers who worked with Kenneth will join the conversation. A performance/lecture of the reconstruction of Playground with Yorke Dance will conclude the conference.

Date:  Saturday 16th March 10.00am-6.00pm

Venue:  Jacqueline du Pré Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4 1DY

Tickets: Free and open to all, please book tickets here at Eventbrite

 

Motion & Meaning presented by DANSOX and the Liveness, Hybridity & Noise Series has been an exciting multi-disciplinary collaboration between dancers, choreographers, composers, instrumentalists and audio-visual artists facilitated by a week-long residency at St Hilda’s College. The project culminated last Friday in a ‘showing’ of the work in progress, alongside an exhibition by artist Simon Klein and sculptor Guillaume Klein. Open rehearsals on Wednesday and Thursday last week revealed some of the opportunities and challenges intrinsic to truly collaborative work: the importance of grace and generosity in allowing other artists in different media sufficient time and space; the need for mutual respect, and the courteous adjustments to be made to accommodate different etiquettes and conventions. (more…)