My interest was piqued by the chance to watch a dance piece exploring issues of oppression with our current cultural context as a narrative backdrop to hold in my mind – as well as wearing multiple hats: dancer, student of psychology and working in medical research. I wondered how dance as an art form rooted in movement can offer space to explore, express, embody and perhaps come to terms with oppressive situations. How can oppression be conveyed in essence?

We are living in social and political instability resulting from the particular moment, embedded in history. It seems reasonable to propose that people of less privileged demographics – in increasing numbers and inequality – are disenfranchised, feel excluded from opportunities or have experienced discrimination from ruling class decision-making. From narrowing school curriculums, our precarious gig economy, public service and infrastructure funding cuts, NHS privatisation or divisive Brexit strategies, to name but a few examples close to home.  The repercussions of such circumstances include levels of oppression that have psychological consequences such as depression.  (more…)

C-A-G-E-D performed by  Thomas Page Dances was a thought-provoking performance from a young choreographer who clearly has some strong ideas, and a company of very capable dancers.

In terms of the tone of the movement, there were some effective sections including the very start of the piece, and much of the second half – these showed a contrast between sharp, almost robotic accents and sinuous, natural movements.  These were, for me, the most interesting moments: the choreography developing organically and looking almost improvised, rather than the more gymnastic cartwheels and rolls at other points which felt a little engineered and out of place.  There was a very clear sense of strong emotions being portrayed, in particular panic, anxiety, a palpable tension, and loneliness and isolation. (more…)

Following an intriguing sample of work shown at the recent Dance Scratch Night at Arts at the Old Fire Station, Thomas Page Dances comes to The North Wall to present the restaging of their debut work C-A-G-E-D: a series of events questioning, challenging and deconstructing the preconceived idea of oppression.  Exploring the psychology of oppressive events in individual, social and anatomical constructs through the medium of contemporary dance, the work questions to what extent is the cause of oppression inflicted by the oppressor or the oppressed.  Including original scores, with emerging dance artists directed in an interdisciplinary style from an up and coming choreographer, this work is set to be a melting pot of creativity from fresh talent.

Performances:  Thursday 6th and Friday 7th July 7.30pm

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

Tickets:  £10, £8 concessions.  A transaction fee of £2 per booking will be applied to customers paying in person or over the phone with a credit or debit card (capped at £1 for a single ticket).

Book tickets online here or call the Box Office on 01865 319450

Read Emily May’s report of C-A-G-E-D in performance at the Laban Centre in 2016 here

Dancin’ Oxford’s annual Spring Festival offers something for everyone. From international choreographers, to free outdoor experiences, a Dance-A-Thon, professional and amateur companies, plus shows for children and workshops, Dancin’ Oxford 2017 has programmed a festival of treats.

Now in its 11th year and funded by Oxford City Council and Arts Council England, Dancin’ Oxford goes from strength to strength. Claire Thompson, Oxford City Council Dance Officer said “We find that each new festival is rewarding in so many ways. Oxford’s vibrant dance scene love it as do many people who have never experienced dance before. The free dance event in the city brings a variety of dance styles to the shoppers some of whom have been known to join in.’

Dancin’ Spaces (4 March), in and around the City Centre, is a variety of programmed dance performances and promenade pieces. Shoppers might find they are chosen to be ‘protected and defended’ by dancing Bodyguards, discover a dance about football fusing hip hop with contemporary dance, watch a performance for children in the Museum of History of Science or a duet in the Weston Library foyer. All this runs alongside a plethora of local dance companies which will entertain and delight shoppers. (more…)

Kally Lloyd-Jones’ Lady Macbeth: unsex me here is a riveting exploration of the psychology of Lady Macbeth, which both moves and shocks, exposing the vulnerabilities that lie beneath the face of evil. The work opens with three men, seated at their dressing tables, one behind the other across the back of the stage, preparing their makeup. A long white nightgown hangs beside each mirror, and we know that they are transforming themselves from man to woman. As in Nijinsky’s Last Jump (shown at The North Wall in May this year) Lloyd-Jones blurs the line between preparation and performance and uses simultaneous portrayal of the same character by different performers to illuminate hidden layers of her subject’s personality. (more…)

Following the success last year of Nijinsky’s Last Jump Company Chordelia return to The North Wall for the only performance of their new dance theatre show south of the border.  Lady Macbeth: unsex me here is an exciting and unique piece of dance theatre is created and directed by award winning company Artistic Director Kally Lloyd-Jones and presented in co-production with Solar Bear.

Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and programmed here as part of Shakespeare Oxford 2016 celebrations, Lady Macbeth: unsex me here explores one of Shakespeare’s most complex women. Ambition, power, guilt, remorse, loss, death. Paralleling Shakespeare’s time, a cast of three male dancers all play Lady Macbeth, exploring the relationship between masculinity and femininity.  Using Shakespeare’s language as the source, British Sign Language is used to create choreography, producing a piece of visceral dance & movement theatre which will reach D/deaf and hearing audiences alike, in different ways.

Kally Lloyd-Jones said, ‘Lady Macbeth is a fascinating character but her story recedes into the background in Shakespeare’s play and I wanted to shine a light on it, colour it in, bring it to the fore. I am sure many people, like me, find themselves fascinated by the BSL interpreters at performances. It is a visual, movement language and I have wanted to explore how that might become a foundation for choreography. I was thrilled when Gerry Ramage, Artistic Director of Solar Bear, loved the idea so much that the company became our invaluable co-producers.  Using Shakespeare’s text as a starting point enabled a process that is part BSL-based choreography, part dance and part physical theatre, as universal visual languages.’

Gerry Ramage, Artistic Director Solar Bear said, ‘Solar Bear is delighted to be working Company Chordelia on Lady Macbeth: unsex me here. This ground-breaking new work, which explores how British Sign Language may be interwoven into the physical language of the piece, continues our journey towards enriching the theatre going experience for D/deaf and hearing audiences alike. It is a stunning, powerful and very moving piece of dance and theatre and we are proud to be associated with it.’

Date:  Wednesday 26th October, 8.00pm

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

Tickets:  £16, £13 concessions

Book online here or by telephone: 01865 319450

You can find more information about Company Chordelia here

Read Maggie Watson’s review of Company Chordelia’s previous performance at The North Wall of  Nijinsky’s Last Jump here

The North Wall is delighted to announce that Scotland-based Company Chordelia will bring Nijinsky’s Last Jump to Oxford as the only English venue on its UK tourAt Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015, the show gained wide acclaim amongst critics, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the gems of this year’s Edinburgh fringe.’

Created, directed and choreographed by Company Chordelia’s Artistic Director Kally Lloyd-Jones Nijinsky’s Last Jump combines theatre and dance to evoke the legendary 20th Century dancer Vaslav Nijinky’s journey from global success to the desolate isolation of mental illness. As the passionate obsession of the young Nijinsky (Darren Brownlie) comes face to face with the searching inner life of the older Nijinsky (James Bryce), this sharp and tender show portrays a poignant intimacy of genius and madness, youth and age, both the performing and private self.  Inspired by the rhythmic obsession of Nijinsky’s diaries, Young and Old Nijinsky consider their life together, on and off stage, trying to make sense of the loss of self. (more…)