Creative work

Over the course of the pandemic and under the limitations of lockdown I have been creating miniature dances arising from balletic challenges that could be practised and performed at home. There is a long established tradition in Western classical music whereby established composers have written technical studies, aimed at both amateur and professional musicians; some of these transcending their functional starting points to become great music. These are published and as such available to all who wish to try playing them; I hope to make my dance studies similarly publicly available online, and am currently investigating appropriate formats and platforms for doing this.

This grew from my response to those initially intimidated by live Zoom ballet classes, for whom I began making and posting a daily enchaînement on YouTube, to be viewed and practised in one’s own time and at one’s own pace – you can find Enchaînement of the day here.   I began making more choreographic studies in the summer of 2020, greatly supported by the shared process of two wonderful programmes run by Caroline Salem at Space @ Clarence Mews in Hackney.  I had previously passed valuable and constructive time in this wonderful studio facility, dedicated to the exploring and making of new work through structured programmes which include expert mentoring.   Under lockdown it was of course impossible to go there in person, but Caroline designed online programmes which via Zoom allowed small groups of diverse artists to share their emerging ideas, receive peer feedback, and explore new virtual ways of framing and disseminating their work. 

Initially I was dancing in my kitchen; but gradually towards the end of 2020 Oxford’s Arts at the Old Fire Station (OFS) began to open its studio for individual rehearsal.  I was thus able to take advantage of Oxford Dance Forum and OFS’s generous Breathing Space programme of subsidised rehearsal space, generating and filming further dances to add to a small but growing portfolio of solos to share with Caroline and my newfound online colleagues.

Oxford Dance Forum’s Scratch Night on 9th February 2022 – ODF’s first live show since before the pandemic – provided a perfect opportunity to show some of these works to a wider group and receive feedback, but also to see the studies in a more conventional performance setting rather than in the studio or domestic space, alongside striking solos by Pragna Das and Helen Edwards.  You can read Maggie Watson‘s account of the evening here. Having done the initial dancing work myself I was delighted to be able to teach existing studies to talented local Oxford dancers, and to make one new.  Some of these pieces have been conceived with the qualities and needs of specific dancers in mind; others to focus on particular technical concepts.  Ségolène Tarte, Evie Tucker and Thomas Page danced a selection set to piano music by composers Anatoly Lyadov, Trevor Hold, Erik Satie, Georgy Catoire, Francis Poulenc, and Jean-Philippe Rameau.

Rehearsing with Evie Tucker at URC
Photo by Thomas Page

I hope you enjoy the following selection of pictures taken by experienced and sensitive Oxford dance photographer Stu Allsopp.  This was an encouraging event; watch this space for further developments!

My sincere gratitude to Arts Council England’s prompt and empathetic Covid Emergency funding scheme, which supported me at the outset of the pandemic, enabling me to equip myself and develop my limited IT skills to cope with the new realities of dancing, teaching and creating online…


After show discussion with Ségolène, Evie and Thomas…

An annual spring social gathering in our road about recycling and exchanging household stuff, plant cuttings, and meeting the neighbours over a mug of coffee and home-made cake was sadly impossible in its usual form this year while observing guidelines for social distancing.  So alternative ways to share and promote community spirit were proposed by the tireless organisers, encouraging all to contribute in other ways, with people posting up poems and images for passing residents to enjoy, and a moment to come onto the street to greet each other from a suitable distance.  I devised a topically themed physically distanced Scottish country dance which we could participate in without breaking the rules – and much entertainment and amusement was had by those who wholeheartedly joined in or watched.  Accompaniment on the bagpipes from husband Peter was a medley including “Cock of the North”. Feel free to use the instructions below in your own street…


Looking back on the review of 2015, 2016 didn’t work out quite as expected – but in a year of global upheaval that is perhaps hardly surprising…

Following on from Two old instruments, an amazing opportunity had presented itself in December 2015 to work with Baroque musician Evelyn Nallen on a recreation of what could claim to be the first dramatic ballet in which a story was told without recourse to words, but through dance and mimetic gesture. John Weaver’s The Loves of Mars and Venus was premiered on 2nd March 1717 at Drury Lane.   His original scenario survives, and Evelyn and dance historian Moira Goff had used it as a base to put together a score of suitable period music; the idea to recreate the work incorporating some authentic dance material of the period but to reset ensembles and the gestural scenes, which Weaver had originally “attempted in imitation of the Pantomimes of the Ancient Greeks and Romans”.   This fascinating project was set to be unveiled on the 300th Anniversary in a truly period magnificent setting with a team of 14 dancers, 7 musicians and an actress. Unfortunately despite our best efforts and heavyweight support from some big names including Dr Richard Ralph, Weaver’s biographer, we were unable to raise sufficient funds; and ultimately lost our venue through factors beyond our control. The project has now morphed into an intimate play with music and authentic dance “Mr Weaver’s Dramatick Entertainment”, but I am sadly no longer involved. I will however keep you posted of performances of what should be a very enjoyable celebration of a truly notable date in the history of ballet. Read More

Leap Day Dancing Flyer

Late last year I felt honoured to be approached by two of the Oxford dance scene’s most respected figures, Cecilia Macfarlane and Joëlle Pappas, with an invitation to present work at Leap Day Dancing at the Old Fire Station during the 10th anniversary edition of Dancin’ Oxford. This platform, aptly named for its Leap Year’s Day performance date of 29th February, curated by Cecilia and Joëlle with producer Euton Daley, offered an alternative to the Festival’s regular Moving With The Times programme at the Pegasus Theatre where selected choreographers receive support (mentoring, studio and theatre space, work in progress showings) to present new works which relate to the platform’s titular theme. Leap Day Dancing by contrast brought together a collection of new and existing short studies and completed works from Oxford dance makers; and serendipitously revealed connections between the artists, and themes which gave meaning to apparently disparate contributions, making for a touching and satisfying event which revealed and reflected particular characteristics of Oxford’s idiosyncratic dance culture. Read More

Exciting news: Sonia York-Pryce’s short film Interprète/Inappropriate Behaviour featuring the danced responses of 8 mature dancers from the UK and Australia to her original dance motif has been awarded the Gold Medal in the first ever “Joie de Vivre” Dance Film Competition being run by Pavilion Dance South West in celebration of UN International Day of Older Persons on 1st October.  The winning films will be being shown in various arts and health venues in the South West over the month of October, and you can see details about them on PDSW’s website here:

Watch Sonia’s film here

Full credits for Sonia’s film can be found here

You can read more about how the film came to be made and Sonia’s research with mature dancers here

And find links to the contributions of some of the British dancers involved here


A brief update on Sonia Yorke-Pryce’s project with older dancers, Inappropriate Behaviour, of which it has been fascinating to be a part, with news of showings of the work in Australia this summer.  Sonia’s filming of 4 Australian dancers and 4 British dancers interpreting her original motif was exhibited in a video installation in the Whitebox Gallery of Queensland College of Art at Griffith University from Tuesday 28th July to Friday 31st July.  Sonia will also be making a presentation about her work on this as part of the DANscienCE FESTIVAL this weekend 21st to 23rd August at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.  This will include a showing of the final cut of her short film incorporating the interpretations of all 8 dancers: Ann Dickie, Jennifer Jackson, Susie Crow, Nicholas Minns (UK) and Anca Frankenhauser, Ross Philip, Patrick Harding-Irmer and Susan Barling Australia).

Nicholas Minns and Jennifer Jackson rehearsing for Inappropriate Behaviour, Ivy Arts Centre January 2015

Nicholas Minns and Jennifer Jackson rehearsing for Inappropriate Behaviour, Ivy Arts Centre January 2015

Watch Sonia’s final cut here

Read more about Sonia’s work here


Curated by veteran dance and theatre critic Donald Hutera the vibrant GOlive Dance and Performance Festival began in London two years ago and is now moving out for the first time, with performances coming up in Oxford at the Burton Taylor Studio Wednesday 15th to Saturday 18th July and in Winchester at the Chesil Theatre on 24th July.  Having performed previously for GOlive in London this year and in 2013, I am delighted to be part of the eclectic mixed bill at the Burton Taylor with colleagues Ségolène Tarte and Marie-Louise Crawley, showing pieces from the Avid for Ovid repertoire on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th.  Other Oxford based artists include Crossover Intergenerational Dance with Cecilia Macfarlane, Marina Collard, hip-hop crew Beat Street and Anuradha Chaturvedi of Drishti Dance.  Exciting visitors showing their work in Oxford for the first time are Hanna Wroblewski, Sarah Kent, Mara Vivas, Shane Shambhu, Ffin Dance and Susan Kempster.  Not to be missed!  Get your bookings in soon, the Burton Taylor is an intimate venue…

You can find out more about GOlive Oxford and book tickets here

and on Oxford Dance Writers here

and for GOlive in Winchester here

And check out Avid for Ovid’s developing work here

See you at the BT…


Hard to believe that two weeks has already passed since the performance of inflect, unravel at Donald Hutera’s GOlive Festival at the Giant Olive Theatre above the very agreeable Lion and Unicorn pub in Gaisford Street, Kentish Town.  A packed house, and even more packed dressing room, for this informal eclectic closing evening where Jennifer Jackson and I along with musicians Jonathan Rees and Jenna Sherry shared the bill with a rich range of dance and performance: Mamoru Iriguchi’s wacky multi-layered 4D Cinema: Screen 2, Alice Labant’s fluid solo Je m’appelle Reviens accompanied by the mysterious swooshings of her washing machine cycle; heartwarming Corali Dance Company in a summery quartet, powerfully brave Hanna Wroblewski’s dark solo My Heart became this Monster, Mara Vivas’ cool gestural Triptych and Fred Gehrig’s quizzically suggestive A Tree.  Great to be part of this vibrant sharing of new ideas in an intimate space, ingeniously lit and cheerfully compered by Donald Hutera.  The future of GOlive at this location has been somewhat up in the air of late but, with luck and perseverance, it will continue here as well as elsewhere; there are imminent dates at the Oxford Playhouse Burton Taylor Studio July 15-18 and Chesil Theatre, Winchester July 24.  More information to follow…

Sharing inflect, unravel at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Barnes - photograph by Adrian Hobbs

Sharing inflect, unravel at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Barnes – photograph by Adrian Hobbs

Grateful thanks are due to Holy Trinity Church in Barnes which afforded free space for us to rehearse in their peaceful church hall; on Wednesday 17th June we did an informal showing there for local parishioners, well received and followed by tea, chat and strawberries.  It has been great to be able to work on this piece in gorgeous studios at the Royal Ballet Senior School in Covent Garden, at the Ivy Arts Centre of Surrey University and once again at Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot.  We hope that there will be further opportunities to perform it, and there is another movement from Ravel’s lovely work to be developed; watch this space…

Delighted to report that Sonia York-Pryce has recently finished editing the video footage taken during her visit  to the UK in January, as part of primary research and creative practice for her PhD research project Ageism and the Mature Dancer.  Under the title Inappropriate Behaviour she has made short films of 8 dancers’ interpretations of an original movement motif of hers, set to contemplative music by American composer Bill Ryan.  Here is a link to her short compilation Interprète – the beginning featuring the British contingent; myself, Jennifer Jackson, Nicholas Minns and Ann Dickie:

And see the links below for our varying takes on her original material: – Susie Crow – Jennifer Jackson – Nicolas Minns

You can find out more about Bill Ryan and his music here

GOlive is a dance and performance festival curated by the arts journalist Donald Hutera (The Times, etc) and produced by George Sallis, founder of the Giant Olive Theatre. It launched in autumn 2013 as an eclectic, intimate and playfully unpredictable platform for dance-based and other work by performing artists of all stripes. GOlive’s base has been the Lion and Unicorn pub theatre in Kentish Town, which is also where the latest and laboratorial edition is in progress until June 18.

Hutera is hosting each evening during a nine-night season where the spotlight will be on dance and movement with special emphasis on the work of women spanning the generations.  Under the name of BIG Ballets, long standing colleague Jennifer Jackson and I are delighted to be performing once again at GOlive on Thursday 18th June in inflect, unravel – a dance and music collaboration exploring Ravel’s Sonata for violin and cello with violinist Jenna Sherry and cellist Jonathan Rees (viola da gamba player from Two old instruments).

Jenna Sherry  and Jennifer Jackson rehearsing inflect, unravel at Ivy Arts Centre Guildford

Jenna Sherry and Jennifer Jackson rehearsing inflect, unravel at Ivy Arts Centre Guildford

You can find out more about the Festival programme and how to book here

Read Rebecca JS Nice’s review of Jennifer’s and my previous appearance at GOIive in 2013 here

And read Nicholas Minns’ review of Late Work here

We all look forward to seeing you there!


To Worcester by train on Saturday 7th February for another performance of Two old instruments with Jonathan. Our second show in a library, this time in the intimate Studio of The Hive, Worcester. This state of the art building opened in 2012 combines the public library, University of Worcester library and access to County Council services in a single open plan structure. On a Saturday afternoon it was exhilarating to see it teeming with families visiting its extensive and welcoming children’s library spaces with their panoramic outlook, and using its friendly café; this striking piece of architecture evidently establishing itself among local people as a valuable and homely amenity.

The Hive, Worcester

The Hive, Worcester

Our evening show was the first dance event in a developing programme of small-scale performances. Afterwards our small but appreciative audience, including two young children, asked interested questions about the viola da gamba, unknown to most, and about the emergence of ballet in the eighteenth century… we felt encouraged by their engagement and concentration – and fascination with footwork!

Susie and Jonathan rehearsing Two old instruments, Diamond Studio, Corenerstone

Susie and Jonathan rehearsing Two old instruments, Diamond Studio, Corenerstone

Preparations for this performance took us twice to Didcot where we benefitted from the Cornerstone Arts Centre’s enlightened offer of reduced price rehearsal space in their bright purpose built dance studio, providing an ideal working environment of professional standard, cheaper than anything available in either Oxford or London. Cornerstone offers a cheering example of a local authority investing in a well equipped and centrally located arts facility, with friendly staff and an open door policy. A big thank you – welcoming artists in to use the facilities at off-peak times offers a lifeline to small scale initiatives developing and refining their work.

Here’s hoping that over time performing artists can become embedded, and audiences for dance and music built in these aspirational public spaces…


TOI Cornerstone Susie & Jonathan 27 jan 15