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…)

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“The psychology of oppression is thus self-inflicted in a constant struggle where man hypocritically creates standards of life that they themselves perpetually contradict” – Duane Campbell

C-A-G-E-D is the recent, ambitious choreographic debut from aspiring choreographer Thomas Page. Originally from Oxford – having taken class with Lunas Dance Project – Page is now a contemporary dance student at the renowned Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.  However, despite relocating, Page stays committed to the Oxford dance scene by commuting back to his hometown at the weekend to teach dance at Authentic Performance Academy.

Thomas is an individual with guts and motivation, having approached the conservatoire’s Student Union at the beginning of his first year, asking for support in producing a full length dance work to explore his interest in the psychology of oppression. It was on 16th and 17th June that this ambition manifested itself in reality, and Page presented his work in the Laban Studio Theatre, costumed and lit. It was performed by a quintet of diverse and mesmerising dancers – all students of Trinity Laban aside from Iona McGuire, a prospective student of London Contemporary Dance School. (more…)

“I want everybody to think alike… It’s happening here all by itself without being under a strict government; so if it’s working without trying, why can’t it work without being Communist? Everybody looks alike and acts alike, and we’re getting more and more that way. I think everybody should be a machine.” – Andy Warhol

On Thursday 7th April, The Ashmolean Museum opened its doors after hours for “Warhol Late” – a celebration of the recent Andy Warhol: Works from the Hall Collection exhibition. The evening event transported visitors back to 1960s New York by transforming the Ashmolean’s café into an underground “Factory Party”. The party was an eclectic array of happenings and performances inspired by Warhol; DJs, a “Warhol yourself” station kitted out with a variety of wigs, a silent disco, participatory screen tests… and contemporary dance. (more…)

‘One spring morning in AD 203, a young woman by the name of Vibia Perpetua, about twenty-two years old, well born, liberally educated, honourably married, went joyfully to her death before a great crowd in the amphitheatre at Carthage.’

From the impressive Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Cantata Dramatica presents the world premiere of Perpetua, a new dramatic cantata composed by Nick Bicât to a libretto by Nick Pitts-Tucker. Nick Bicât is an award-winning theatre and film composer, whose music is both contemporary and accessible; whilst director Pete Champness is an established film-maker and director. The solo singers and the instrumental ensemble come predominantly from Trinity Laban Conservatoire and will be conducted by Andrew Parrott.  Video projections will feature dancers from Trinity Laban. (more…)