Hard to believe, but 2014 is the 10th anniversary year of Ballet in Small Spaces. The project came into being with an Arts Council funded research and Development fund project which looked at how ballet might evolve when transposed from large conventional theatres to small or unfamiliar spaces. This resulted in a piece called Catch Your Breath which first saw the light of day at the Pegasus Theatre on 6th February 2004 as part of the Oxford dance showcase programme In the Mix. The rest as they say is history, with a series of projects exploring ballet based work and dance and music collaboration in a range of Oxford venues: Stravinsky in Miniature at the Holywell Music Room, Dance and Music Showcase at St Edward’s School, 2 Solos Projects at the Burton Taylor Studio, pieces inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy performed in Robinson College and Emanuel URC Cambridge as well as in the Chapel at Mansfield College, and an Oxfordshire tour of new works in 2011 with performances of Inside Out and Commedia at The North Wall, Cornerstone Didcot, the Theatre Chipping Norton and the Castle Wellingborough.
The last couple of years has seen further fruitful collaborations with visual arts, music and academe as part of other groups; DEC Drawing Dance, and longstanding colleague Jennifer Jackson’s mature dancers’ project Dancing the Invisible. Rediscovering performance as a mature dancer through these has given the necessary experience to embark on a project which perhaps takes Ballet in Small Spaces the furthest in its journey of discovery of the potential of ballet to go beyond its traditional environment.
Two old instruments is a collaboration between myself and viola da gamba player Jonathan Rees (half of the prizewinning Duo Domenico), celebrating the delightful solo salon pieces of 18th century virtuoso Carl Friedrich Abel. Contemporary choreographic interpretation and presentation is informed by historic research; and taking its cue from the character of the viola da gamba the piece is also a reflection on memory and details perhaps forgotten in both music and dance. The piece is flexible in format and can be performed in intimate and non-theatrical settings: concert or village halls, churches, libraries, museums, beautiful rooms, historic locations. We already have three performances booked for the end of April as part of a collaborative programme with Barefoot Opera entitled Visible Music, and are discussing further dates with other venues.
This tiny project has the virtue of being accessible and economically viable for small venues; there are only two performers and the viola da gamba, and it can be performed without scenery and stage lighting. However a visual highlight will be beautiful costuming by talented Oxford based designer Ellen Nabarro (who as Ellen Stewart designed for Ballet in Small Spaces in 2011). And in the ongoing process of production BiSS as always is looking to draw in and give opportunities to young artists in different media; emerging photographer Dulcy Lott to generate striking imagery and video maker Chris Atkins to film.
Ballet in Small Spaces is therefore looking for angels who might like to support the completion of this work. True to the spirit of Two old instruments our fundraising strategy mixes the traditional and the new; we are seeking enlightened artistic patrons via modern online means. See below for details of how to donate if you would like to give financial support at any level to this project. All angels will be acknowledged by name on Ballet In Small Spaces’s website (unless you wish to remain anonymous) and when you come to see the show there will be a complimentary drink of your choice to celebrate our anniversary.
Thank you for reading!
To support this project:
Make a donation of £10 or more if you wish by 10th February 2014.
Either cheque made out to Susan Crow and post to:
Ballet in Small Spaces, 28 Victoria Road, Oxford OX2 7QD
Or bank transfer to:
Project Account name: Susan Crow
Account number: 14002032
Sort Code: 40-47-82
Please mark your transfer “Two old inst”, and email to let us know you have donated so that we can thank you properly!
Visible Music performances including Two old instruments to date:
Friday 25th April Bristol Music Club
Sunday 27th April St Leonard’s Church Hoxton, London
Tuesday 29th April The North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford