Founded by Professor Susan Jones, Dance Scholarship Oxford (DANSOX) provides a major forum for dance scholarship in Europe, promoting dialogue between prominent academic disciplines and the worlds of dance theory and practice. The DANSOX series of events explore the ways in which the role of choreographic practice makes an essential contribution to innovations across academic fields, theatre and performance.The Patrons of DANSOX are Dame Monica Mason and Sheila Forbes, CBE, former Principal of St Hilda's College.
Some recent DANSOX events are as follows:
Choreographic Summer Residency: Kim Brandstrup
Exploring the Rhythm: the relationship between music and dance in the practice of choreography, 19 - 23 July 2016, Jacqueline du Pré Music Building
Artist in Residence at St Hilda’s College, Kim Brandstrup (international choreographer) and Oliver Coates (cellist/composer) were joined by renowned pianist Joanna MacGregor to direct a workshop with professional dancers, Simone Damberg Würtz (Rambert Dance), Liam Francis (Rambert Dance), Tobias Praetorius (Royal Danish Ballet). The workshop was open to public viewing as the artists explored the source of movement dynamics and musical/spatial form in choreographic composition. Filmographers Ardeshir Ab and Dominika Besinska joined us and the workshop formed the basis of a film Brandstrup is developing about the theory of choreography, to be shown at a later DANSOX event. Audience members included Oxford music and composition students, dance scholars, academics and many other interested viewers. Two evening showings were followed by intense discussion and interaction between the artists and the audience.
See also a report on the workshop by Maggie Watson
Exploring Mark Morris’s L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed Il Moderato, 9 June 2016, Jacqueline du Pré Music Building
An evening of talks on the contexts of choreographer Mark Morris’s iconic 20th-century dance piece based on Handel’s interpretation of Milton. Margaret Kean (St Hilda’s) discussed the poetry, Jonathan Williams (St Hilda’s) spoke about the score and libretto, and Guest Lecturer, Stephanie Jordan (Roehampton) gave a detailed, illustrated demonstration of the structure and development of Morris’s choreography, with questions to all speakers generating a lively discussion.
Perfectly Disgraceful, 10 March 2016, Jacqueline du Pré Music Building
Sam Ladkin (University of Sheffield) discussed the work of Frank O’Hara, Edwin Denby and the concept of ‘New York School Grace’ followed by a lively discussion. Participants explored the 19th-century critique of ‘grace’ that impacted on 20th-century American poetry.
Special Guest Lecture
Frederick Ashton: Steps, Stories, Style, 2 March 2016, Jacqueline du Pré Music Building
Distinguished guest lecturer, Alastair Macaulay (Chief Dance Critic, New York Times) discussed the life and work of Britain’s great 20th-century choreographer in a sparkling, illustrated talk. There was particular emphasis on Ashton’s contemporary exploitation of classical traditions, as well as the narrative, comedic and modernist abstraction of his diverse styles.
The Grace Project
In 2015, we saw the inauguration of an ongoing seminar series. The series focuses on the exploration of the concept of grace in all its meanings and interdisciplinary contexts, especially as it relates to dance. Events included:
Žižek, Contemporary Dance, and Grace, 20 November 2015, Jacqueline du Pré Music Building
Renate Braeuninger (Northampton University) discussed the work of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, particularly in Less than Nothing (2012), in relation to contemporary dance and grace. We gain a mediated perspective on German Idealism by looking at it through the lens of Žižek, but one that also reflects contemporary understanding of the term ‘grace’, as in the example of Anna Teresa de Keersmaker’s work. The talk was illustrated by footage of De Keersmaker and a stimulating question session followed.
Joint ARPGD and DANSOX guest seminar, 9 March 2016, Ioannou Centre
From the Neo-Classical Turn to the Baroque 'Re'-turn: French Dance in Retrospective Modernity and Recycling Postmodernity
Mark Franko (Temple University, Philadelphia) explored the complex French traditions and relationships between classicism and dance, from the baroque to the neo-classicism of Serge Lifar. A stimulating question session followed.