Ovid’s Metamorphoses – an epic poem exploring myths of transformation, love and loss – is the inspiration for a new work created by young Swiss dance company Le Marchepied. Their latest work – forming part of their tour of the UK – is the result of their collaboration with Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers (ADMD).  ADMD is a TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) funded project that seeks to investigate the Roman dance form tragoedia saltata (Roman pantomime) and to “develop ways of articulating the knowledge derived from kinaesthetic engagement with ancient material.”

The performance itself was preceded by a free workshop in the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford.  The workshop was open to anyone who wanted to learn more about the form of trageodia saltata and how it may be used in a contemporary setting to generate movement material or interpret ancient texts.  Helen Slaney (Classics Fellow at St. Hilda’s College) of ADMD kicked off proceedings with an intriguing, informative introduction to the form of Roman pantomime.  Referencing texts by ancient satirist Lucian, Slaney detailed the necessity of narrative precision in the dance form and also stated particular movements – such as freezing, falling or reaching – that would have been used by performers to physically recount the mythological tales. (more…)

Advertisements
Myths of transformation, love and loss are brought to life the way the ancient Romans would have seen them danced.  In collaboration with Oxford University researchers, Swiss company Le Marchepied have created their version of the popular Graeco-Roman dance form orchēsis, also called tragoedia saltata, or tragic pantomime. Their performance Metamorphoses is accompanied by an open interactive workshop on orchēsis taking place at St Hilda’s College in the morning of Saturday 20th. Audience members are warmly invited to participate or observe in advance of the evening’s performance (for more information on the workshop or to book a place, please contact helen.slaney@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk).
Since 2013, the Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers research project has been working with groups and individuals, including the Oxford-based Avid for Ovid, to develop a range of conjectures for how orchēsis might have appeared. In their experimental reconstruction, Le Marchepied will present a series of individual interpretations based on mythological scenarios from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses, known to have been used as a libretto for orchēsis. They bring to life Ovid’s vibrant tales of gods, mortals, passion, loss, and transformation in a way that has not been seen since antiquity. This performance will form part of Le Marchepied’s 2016 tour of the United Kingdom.

Performance:  Saturday, 21 May 2016, 6.00pm

Venue:  The Old Fire Station, 40 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AQ

Tickets:  Free, available from www.ticketsoxford.com or 01865 305305

You can find out more about Le Marchepied here and about Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers here

Over the past few months, a team of researchers from the Faculty of Classics and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford have been conducting a practice-based study into the ancient dance form tragoedia saltata, or Roman tragic pantomime. The pilot phase of this study is now complete, and the team hope now to present initial findings in conjunction with open discussion of the place of dance in academia, approaches to dance history, and intersections between dance scholarship and practice. (more…)

On Sunday 5th May I joined a long queue outside Oxford’s New Theatre; lots of little girls, many in pastel princess dresses and net petticoats, with their mothers.  Inside the auditorium much excitement finding seats, fidgeting to get comfy, sweets and fruit drinks, plastic tiara and fluffy glow wand merchandise.  For this was one of a weekend clutch of performances of My First Cinderella, English National Ballet’s latest initiative to catch a new young and family audience.

(more…)