This was a stunning evening of new dance works, alongside extracts from Kenneth MacMillan’s newly revived ballet Playground.  The curtain raiser Who’s It?!, choreographed collaboratively by Edd Mitton and Jordi Calpe Serrats with students from the Centre for Advanced Training at Swindon Dance Centre, was an ingenious preparation for MacMillan’s deeply disturbing work with its references to children’s games. In the duets from Playground that followed, Oxana Panchenko as the Girl with make-up and Jonathan Goddard as The Youth portrayed an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship, enmeshed within violent and coercive social forces, in a ballet that pushes game-playing to a horrible conclusion. (more…)

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Miranda Laurence is a dramaturg, working mostly with dance makers. In this role she accompanies a director or choreographer during the process of creating a new work, attending to the rhythm of all elements in the piece, and actively noticing responses from the viewer’s perspective.  Miranda is currently undertaking a self-led professional development project in dance dramaturgy funded by Arts Council England.

Here for Oxford Dance Writers Miranda gives a revealing insight into her role in assisting the development of new work within the privacy of the dance studio.

I’m sitting in the faded splendour of Swindon Dance’s main studio, which is adorned with huge vintage mirrors, curlicued window frames and chunky old-fashioned radiators. As usual, I’m tucked away in a corner, sitting on the floor, taking in the size, shape, feel and details of the space around. Out on the floor, two dancers (Thomasin Gülgeç and Estela Merlos) undergo their warm-up, twisting and weaving fluidly through the space, mirroring each other or going off on tangents. I think: “am I earning my money as a dramaturg by watching these dancers warm up? How should I warm myself up?” (more…)

Yorke Dance Project’s Figure Ground is a glorious evening of pure dance. To see three really good new dance works and a revival of another in one programme was a rare treat.

The evening at Swindon Dance opened with a short original piece by students, that drew on ideas and movement motifs that would be seen later on. The programme proper then began with Charlotte Edmonds’ No Strings Attached to a score by Michael Gordon. It opens to the sound of rainfall with three men (Jonathan Goddard, Benjamin Warbis and Edd Mitton) powerfully dominating the space in full pliés in second with their arms extended, seeming to fill the stage. They are joined by Laurel Dalley Smith, Amy Thake and Hannah Windows, but the dancers work more as a group than as three pairs. Edmonds’ response to the music is subtle, using the underlying pulses and not just the more obvious surface rhythms for her movement patterns. Nothing is predictable, there are hints of narrative or relationships – here, the notion of the group and those outside the group; there, the suggestion of a couple – and she creates balance on stage without resorting to the purely symmetrical in this very satisfying work. (more…)

Drishti Dance led by Anuradha Chaturvedi invites you to Aangika, its annual show case of Kathak choreographic works. The evening features Panchtatva – The five elements, an exquisite interpretation of the five elements and their association to our senses through a dynamic interaction of Kathak and digital media. The evening also features other contemporary and rare traditional Kathak compositions drawn from ancient Indian philosophy, mythology, folklore and mediaeval Indo-Persian literature.  Sweeping abstract body movement, complex rhythm patterns executed through fast paced foot stamps timed to precise mathematical cycles, and exquisite subtle emotive expressions, integrate seamlessly in a stunning display of the technical nuances of this classic dance form. (more…)