This luxurious large scale coffee table book celebrates an icon of British ballet, but within a wider context than life as member of a major company. The young Darcey Bussell shot to stardom at the Royal Ballet when, still a teenager, she was selected by Kenneth MacMillan to create the central role of Princess Rose in his ballet of 1989 The Prince of the Pagodas; after its premiere becoming the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her elegantly long physique and sunny charm coupled with technical clarity, strength and assurance enabled her to shine not only in ballet’s classic 19th century repertoire but also in major works by MacMillan and Ashton, Balanchine and Christopher Wheeldon. She retired from the Royal Ballet at the age of 38 but has managed to make a seamless transition to a wider career as a much loved celebrity, exploring other dance genres in performance and on television, but also as a presenter of dance transmissions and documentaries, and perhaps most famously of late as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing. (more…)

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Nick Higham’s interview with Darcey Bussell in the Sheldonian Theatre was the only dance-related event in this year’s Oxford Literary Festival, and it was sold out. I was sitting right at the top, next to a family with two small girls, who were very anxious about whether they would be able to see. Happily, we turned out to be on the best side of the Gallery, and had a good view of Bussell, who seemed to be channelling her inner Audrey Hepburn, in slacks, pumps and a polka-dot blouse.

Higham opened the discussion by talking about her book Darcey Bussell: Evolved, which is a collection of images of Bussell in locations ranging from the top of the Albert Memorial to the London Eye. Higham asked what it is like to be a photographer’s muse, to which Bussell replied that it is part of the job of promoting her art form. (more…)

A treat in store for inveterate  fans of Strictly Come Dancing…  Blackwell’s Bookshop is delighted to welcome to Oxford Craig Revel Horwood, who will be discussing the third instalment of his frank and funny autobiography, In Strictest Confidence at the Sheldonian Theatre.

In Strictest Confidence takes the reader through the highs and lows of the Strictly Come Dancing star’s ‘fab-u-lous’ life. The aussie-born judge shares his famously forthright views on the changes in Strictly Come Dancing‘s line up – from Bruce Forsyth and Len Goodman’s departures to the arrival of Claudia Winkleman and Shirley Ballas – as well as the dancers and the stars. (more…)

A welcome alternative to football presented itself on Friday night with the appearance of FLASHMOB – Where Dance Worlds Collide at Oxford’s New Theatre. Fresh from an opening season at London’s Peacock Theatre, and at the start of an intensive nationwide tour of mainly one night stands, this dance show brings together a range of popular dancers known from TV shows: headlined by Kevin “from Grimsby” Clifton and Karen Hauer from BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing, with Irish dancing duo Brosena and lyrical duo Alleviate from Sky’s Got to Dance, versatile street dancer Tommy Franzen (Runner-up in BBC1’s So You Think You Can Dance 2010), and last but not least, street dance ensemble Flawless who came to fame in Britain’s Got Talent 2009.

Choreographer Nick Winston directs, providing ensembles and a narrative thread to frame numbers in a range of dance genres arranged by the featured artists themselves which allow their particular and often spectacular skills to shine. (more…)

TV STARS JOIN TOGETHER FOR THE MOST EXCITING DANCE SHOW OF THE YEAR ……

If you love dance, then Flash Mob is a show you cannot miss. See the stars of TV dance shows headlined by the spectacular Kevin Clifton (Kevin from Grimsby) and Karen Hauer, from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, World Street Dance champions Flawless from Britain’s Got Talent, as well as Olivier nominated Tommy Franzen (BBC1 So You Think You Can Dance) contemporary duo Alleviate and Irish fusion duo Brosena from Sky 1’s Got To Dance.  This show for every member of the family offers you the chance to immerse yourself in the joy of dance.  Flash Mob provides a spectacular gourmet menu of many different dance genres, stripping away the need to focus on any one dance style and allowing you to just enjoy the wonder of movement to music.  From Latin to Locking, from Celtic to contemporary and from jazz to jump jive, you will laugh, cry and be on your feet for this dynamic production that celebrates the powerful emotions that dance can bring to an audience. (more…)

Following on from his debut theatre tour Live and Unjudged, Brendan Cole is once again set to  dazzle audiences across the UK with his current show, Licence to Thrill. Join him and his cast of 20 musicians and dancers as they take you on a journey of music and dance in this spectacular night of theatre entertainment. Brendan, one of Strictly Come Dancing’s most charismatic choreographers and performers, will host you throughout and along with his company will treat you to an evening of Ballroom magic and Latin excitement in this, his live dance extravaganza not to be missed. With music from across the ages, there will be something for everyone in this sophisticated production set to wow audiences in 2014. (more…)

For those of you that have been missing that weekly dance fix… the live show, coming next week to Oxford’s own New Theatre.  Told through the eyes of the hugely popular Lisa Riley, under the direction of TV’s most notorious judge, Craig Revel Horwood, Strictly Confidential is a dance and music extravaganza, complete with sequins, spray tans and behind-the-scenes action from the BBC One Saturday night entertainment series.

Much-loved professionals Artem Chigvintsev, Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite will take your breath away with their exquisite performances of all your favourite ballroom and Latin routines, as well as their insider knowledge of the world of Strictly….  (more…)