Yorke Dance Project’s Connecting to Cohan evening at The Mill Banbury fell into three parts: five solo dances drawn from Robert Cohan’s last work Afternoon Conversations with Dancers; an on-stage discussion between Richard Alston, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Laurel Dalley Smith, and finally Lockdown Portraits, a film showing seven of the solos, filmed on locations chosen by Cohan.

Cohan’s last dances are intensely moving.  He consulted Alston about his recent work shortly before embarking on the project, and Alston responded that the group dances Cohan was creating were similar to his earlier works, but the solos were completely original and new.  Cohan went on to create Afternoon Conversations with Dancers, a collection of eight solos on which he worked collaboratively in dialogue with each dancer, exchanging ideas in words and movement, initially in the studio and then during lockdown over Zoom.

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On Thursday evening, The Mill Arts Centre presented three dance works for the Dancin’ Oxford 2022 Festival.  First, local dance group The Remarkables raised the curtain with a work created during one of the Chhaya Collective’s ‘Wild Workshops for Women’.  Five mature dancers used rhythmic, grounded movement to tell stories that connected their day-to-day lives with their inner feelings and the joyful experience of discovering and releasing them.  There followed two works on related themes danced by the Chhaya Collective:  Hymnos, for two dancers, and Khaos for six dancers and three musicians.

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Dancin’ Oxford‘s Spring Festival features exciting guest companies, local companies and newly commissioned work as well as a host of participatory activities such as workshops and discussions. Here follows a list of performances, with links to more information and booking details:

Moving With the Times, now in its 11th year, features three new works from exciting emerging companies, co-commissioned by Dancin’ Oxford and Pegasus Theatre. In Excessive Human Collective‘s piece Post Truth Whatever, three female performers create and broadcast propaganda in a fictional world which is eerily similar to our own. Night People Events present The Rave Girl; housed within a colourful visual landscape, the rave girl explores how hype, rave, and expression can collide, creating a complex, yet otherworldly persona that demands to be seen. In light of the horrific murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa, Phoebe Tompsett Dance work The Daily Male casts a stark light on the measures that women are forced to take every day simply to remain safe.

Date: Friday 4th & Saturday 5th March 7.30pm

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

Tickets: £13, concessions £10 Book online here

Recommended age: 12 years+

For the Festival Opening Oxford’s Westgate shopping centre will come to life with a series of short shows from national and local companies to make you think, smile and want to dance. Richard Chappell presents Infinite Ways Home – a multisensory production that explores ritual, rave and human connection. Unlock the Chains Collective depicts a community united in grief and anger as it remembers and mourns the lives of those lost at the hands of the state. This outdoor piece is commissioned by Dancin’ Oxford and supported by TORCH. Joli Vyann presents an innovative duet fusing circus, dance and theatre – blurring the boundaries of dance and circus skills. Also performing will be vibrant and talented youth dance troupes from across Oxford including Step2 Dance, Body Politic, TPD Young Artists and Mini Professionals. Join the Zumba party for fun and to learn some moves.

Date: Saturday 5th March 12.00-5.00pm

Location: Leiden Square, Westgate, Queen St, Oxford OX1 1TR

Free, and suitable for all ages

KHAOS & HYMNOS – Chhaya Collective

A double bill of two extraordinary dance pieces about women resisting oppression. In HYMNOS, inspired by the story of Iranian artist Saba Zavarei and her online platform Radio Khiaban,”even the most captured woman guards the place of the wildish self, for she knows intuitively that someday there will be a loophole, an aperture, a chance, and she will hightail it to escape.” In KHAOS live musicians join six contemporary dance artists to revel in the joy, tenderness and the power of wild women.

Date: Thursday 10th March 7.30pm

Venue: The Mill, Spiceball Park, Banbury OX16 5QE

Tickets: £16 Book online here

Recommended age: 13 years+

Body Politic – Them

Directed by Emma-Jane Greig and with choreography by L’atisse Rhoden, THEM flicks through the journal pages of three survivors of sexual violence, exploring the women’s struggles to navigate the trauma and its impact on their mental wellbeing, their loss of self, and finding healing. Inspired by American poet and novelist Kim Addonizio’s poem To The Woman Crying Uncontrollably In The Next Stall, this powerful and gripping display of hip-hop dance draws movement from the stark and vivid imagery of her words.

Date: Friday 11th March 7.30pm

Venue: The North Wall, South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JN

Tickets: £14 (concessions £12, under-25 £10) Book online here

Recommended age: 14 years+

Stay after the show for Talk About Dance, an opportunity to join Body Politic Artistic Director Emma-Jane Greig in conversation with independent dramaturg Miranda Laurence, share your thoughts, ask questions and join the discussion. 8.45-9.30pm, free.

Wriggle Dance Theatre – Squidge

Do you squish or squash, handshake or hug, stretch out or snuggle in like a bug? A truly magical and funny interactive dance show with live music and digital projection, taking a light-hearted look at our sense of touch and how it influences our everyday lives; at its heart a tale of  friendship and compromise. An immersive shared experience to delight children and their grown-ups alike.

Date: Saturday 12th March 11.00am and 2.00pm

Venue: The North Wall, South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JN

Tickets: £8 (concessions £6) Book online here

Running time: 50 minutes Suitable for ages 3-8 years

Watch the Squidge film and participate in a workshop at the Mill Banbury – find out more here

Richard Chappell DanceInfinite Way Home

Critically acclaimed choreographer Richard Chappell presents his most ambitious work to date, a multisensory production that explores ritual, rave and human connection. Using a diverse choreographic language of ballet, contemporary dance and improvisation, Infinite Ways Home looks to redefine our sense of community and home, in a mesmerising feast of colour and pulsating sound. Performed by an ensemble of extraordinary dancers, it features electronic music by award-winning experimental duo Larch, alongside live violin by acclaimed soloist Enyuan Khong.

Date: Monday 14th March 7.30pm

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

Tickets: £10 – £16.50 Book online here

Duration: 60 minutes Suitable for ages 7 years+

Stay after the show for Talk About Dance, with choreographer Richard Chappell and Miranda Laurence, to share your thoughts, ask questions and join the discussion. 8.45-9.30pm, free.

Botis Seva – BLKDOG

A beautifully brutal commentary on how the youth of today are coping in a world not built for them. Through emotionally charged Hip Hop dance, BLKDOG reveals how self-discovery leads to self-destruction. Through haunting childhood memories and adult life traumas, how do we fight through our vices to find a sense of peace? The music has grown from a long-standing collaboration with Torben Lars Sylvest and words performed by  Far From The Norm and guests. Tom Visser’s lighting brings a dark smog of disillusion, while hooded caps and padded costumes by Ryan Laight echo the protection and comfort of childhood. BLKDOG won an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2019 and in 2021, and has been was nominated for a Black British Theatre Award 2022 for Best Dance Production.

Date: Wednesday 16th & Thursday 17th March 7.30pm

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

Tickets: £10 – £26 Book online here

Suitable for ages 11 years+

Find a full programme of Festival activities including participatory workshops here

Vienna Festival Ballet’s production Snow White is lively, entertaining and fun. Presented in the manner of a traditional nineteenth century ballet, albeit on a small scale, the work features a ballroom scene (with show-piece tarantella), a nod towards a vision scene with a corps de ballet of nymphs and birds, and a grand pas de deux in the second act. The musical score, arranged by Alan Lisk from works by Samuel Alexander Faris and Charles-François Gounod abounds in danceable tunes, and the costumes were delightfully colourful. (more…)

For a proper Christmas treat, why not join Vienna Festival Ballet at The Mill in Banbury on a magical journey with their unmissable production of Snow White.  Sparkling choreography propels this timeless fairytale and answers the question; who is the fairest one of all?

Based on the traditional Grimm brothers’ story, this ballet incorporates all the important elements – a beautiful girl, an enchanted mirror, a poisoned apple. Hip-hopping dwarves help Snow White find her Prince Charming.  This spellbinding ballet with choreography by Barry McGrath promises to entertain and dazzle the whole family.

“The entire show was captivating from start to finish”  – WELWYN HATFIELD TIMES

“An excellent company of talented young dancers. Their energy and enthusiasm is breathtaking.” – ENTS24.COM

“This production looks and feels absolutely right”  WORTHING HERALD

Performances:  Friday 6th December 5.00pm and 8.00pm

Venue:  The Mill Arts Centre Trust, Spiceball Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 5QE

Tickets:  Call the Box Office on 01295 279002 or book online at boxoffice@themillartscentre.co.uk

Find out more about the company at www.viennafestivalballet.com

Or on Facebook here  and Twitter here

Don’t miss this chance to see Lukas Dhont‘s thought provoking and award winning film Girl this week at The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury.
Determined 15-year-old Lara wants to become a ballerina. With the support of family, she throws herself into this quest for everything at a new school. Lara’s frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realizes her body doesn’t bend so easily to the strict discipline because she was born a boy.
Showing:  Wednesday 11th September 7.30pm
Venue:  Main Auditorium, The Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park Road, Banbury OX16 5QE
Tickets:  From £8 from the Box Office on 01295 279002 or book online here
 
Rating: 15  Please note that this film is subtitled.
Find out more about the film here

Yorke Dance Project currently celebrates 20 years of performing inspiring dance by past masters and emerging artists from the UK and USA. This celebratory programme features works by world renowned choreographers Kenneth MacMillan and Robert Cohan alongside emerging Los Angeles choreographer Sophia Stoller with a commissioned score by Justin Scheid. Completing the programme is an exciting new work by artistic director Yolande Yorke-Edgell. April brings a not to be missed opportunity to see the company at the Mill Arts Centre, Banbury.

MacMillan’s Playground is one of the featured works in this anniversary programme, its first restaging since its premiere at the 1979 Edinburgh Festival and performed to music by Gordon Crosse. Costumes and set have been reimagined by Charlotte MacMillan.  Also featured is Cohan’s Communion set to music by Nils Frahm and designed by past Cohan collaborator from London Contemporary Dance Theatre,  John B Read.  Completing the programme is a Cohan Collective commission from Stoller and composer Justin Scheid Between and Within. The final work Imprint by Yorke-Edgell reflects her own experience of working with dance legends Richard Alston, Bella Lewtizky and Robert Cohan.  With highly acclaimed and athletic dancers performing engaging, thought provoking and enlightening new work, this is a rare evening of exceptional dance.

Dancers for the tour of this programme include wonderful guest artists Jonathan Goddard, Romany Pajdak (Royal Ballet Company), Dane Hurst, and Oxana Panchenko (Michael Clark Company). Ben Warbis will be returning to YDP as will last year’s apprentice, Ellie Ferguson, dancing alongside company members Edd Mitton, Abigail Attard Montalto and Freya Jeffs.  Yorke Dance Project is also excited to be working again with lighting designer Zeynep Kepekli.

The performance at Banbury will include a curtain raiser by The Mill’s own Remarkable Dance Company.

Performance:  Thursday 4th April 7.30pm

Venue:  The Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 5QE

Tickets:  from £15, book online here or call the Box Office on 01295 279002

Find out more about Yorke Dance Project here

 

The 2019 Dancin’ Oxford Festival brings a powerful and varied programme of dance to the city. It features shows and workshops for children, teenagers, dance enthusiasts and for the dance curious.  This year we are introducing our Festival Hub, in the Oxford Playhouse’s Lucy Room, where dance lovers can pop in for free tea, coffee and a chat.

The Festival, now in its 13th year, is funded by Oxford City Council and Arts Council England. Claire Thompson, Oxford City Council Arts Officer said ‘Although the Festival has no central theme several of this year’s companies have mental health issues at the heart of their work, which reflects current contemporary concerns. The shows are far from being all doom and gloom and offer thought provoking dance of the highest quality. We have a new venue for the Festival Launch on 2 March which will be held on a dance stage inside Westgate Oxford. We are delighted with this new location which will offer great views for everyone.’

The Festival Launch is an exciting and awe-inspiring afternoon of dance featuring breathtaking shows from professional and local youth dance companies. There will also be opportunities to join in a Zumba Party and learn African and Street Dance moves.  The annual Moving with the Times platform comprises 3 specially commissioned pieces by Dancin’ Oxford and Pegasus Theatre and features emerging companies, with work this year by Jann Esterhuizen Company, Joe Lott Company and returning Richard Chappell Dance.

Stuart Walters’ Rock Bottom is a moving dance solo based on the dancer’s own struggles with depression and addition. Two Oxford based companies are also looking into mental health. Body Politic, now on its first national tour, examines the fragility and vulnerabilities in men and young boys and Dance Creative offers the raw story of a daughter and her mother with early onset dementia.

Uchenna Dance will bring a flamboyance and colour with its blend of African and contemporary dance with The Head Wrap Diaries.  The Chit Chat Chalk Show will help children discover what makes them unique.

You can find full details of all the events and participatory workshops here, but below is a listing of performance events and discussion at a glance:

Moving with the Times platform- Richard Chappell Dance, Jann Esterhuizen Company, Joe Lott Company, contemporary dance

Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd March 7.30pm,  Sat. mat 2.30pm, Pegasus Theatre

Festival Launch – including performances by Company Chameleon, Messy Jam Dance Co, Step2Dance, Hakeem Omnibudo and his Impact Academy Dancers.

2nd March 12pm – 5pm, Leiden Square, Westgate Oxford

Festival Hub – speakers Emma-Jane Morbey AD Body Politic, Claire Thompson Director Dancin’ Oxford Festival, Paula Redway Cultural Development Manager at Oxford City Council, Susie Crow Ballet in Small Spaces and Oxford Dance Writers, Segolene Tarte Oxford Dance Forum, Angela Conlan Director Dance Creative.

Monday 3rd – Saturday 9th March 12 – 2pm, Oxford Playhouse

The Head Wrap Diaries – Uchenna Dance, fusion African and contemporary dance forms

2nd March 7pm, Kingsmere Community Centre, Bicester

Boys and Girls – The Pappy Show

2nd March 7.30pm, The North Wall

Mixtape – Dotdotdot Dance, contemporary flamenco

5th March 8pm, The North Wall

Rock Bottom – Stuart Waters, solo dance

6th March 7.30pm, Old Fire Station

A Million Memories – Dance Creative, interactive event with dance, music and poetry

7th March at 6pm, History of Science Museum

Works by Rafael Bonachela, Sharon Eyal and Benoit Swan Pouffer – Rambert2, contemporary dance

Friday 8th & Saturday 9th March, Friday 8 pm, Sat 2.30 & 7.30pm, Oxford Playhouse

Father Figurine – Body Politic, hip-hop dance and spoken word

8th March 7.30pm, The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury

The Chit Chat Chalk Show – Hawk Dance Theatre and The Knotted Project, children’s show

9th March 11am & 2pm, The North Wall

Ticketed events: from £3 for taster workshops;

Oxford Playhouse www.ticketsoxford.com 01865 305305,

www.pegasustheatre.org.uk 01865 812 150, www.thenorthwall.com 01865 319450,

www.themillartscentre.co.uk 01295 290 002, www.hsm.ox.ac.uk

 

This Autumn Dancin’ Oxford is celebrating all things ‘family’ with the return of its popular Family Dance Week. Between 6th – 14th October Dancin’ Oxford will be offering some fantastic opportunities for families (including every generation!) to enjoy dancing together. From exciting performances in theatres and libraries, to family disco events and even a ceilidh, there will be guaranteed fun for the whole family!  Here is a list of upcoming performances by Wriggle Dance Theatre, Dancing Strong, 201 Dance and Alexander Whitley Dance Company, but you can find the full programme including all participatory activities here(more…)

Choreographer Ieva Kuniskis’ work is exciting, moving and entertaining. First up last night, Encore was the debut performance by the Remarkable Dance Company. The dance opened with the entire cast in a closely gathered group, right arms raised, before they collectively followed a sequence of gestural movements. To music ranging from Eric Satie’s Je te veux and Csokolom’s Lulu Valse to Lou Reed’s Goodnight Ladies, they took us through a series of scenes that affirmed the dancers’ wit, experience and individuality. This was an outstandingly successful engagement between a choreographer and a group of older dancers, who are for the most part without vocational training. Some barefoot, others in shoes, they clearly wore what felt right (and what they could see in; at least two wore their spectacles).  (more…)