Creative work

Delighted to announce a forthcoming performance of Two old instruments by viola da gamba player Jonathan Rees and myself on Saturday 7th February.  This piece celebrating the music of 18th century viola da gamba virtuoso Carl Friedrich Abel was premiered last year and performed in a variety of venues.  Once again we are in a library, this time Worcester’s state of the art The Hive which since its opening in 2012 has uniquely brought together both the city’s public library and University of Worcester Library in a stunning honey-coloured new building.

Susie and Jonathan in Two old instruments at Braziers Park, phot by Dulcy Lott

Susie and Jonathan in Two old instruments at Braziers Park, photo by Dulcy Lott

We will be performing in the intimate Studio at 7.30pm as part of a developing programme of events, download the Spring brochure here:

BiSS The Hive Whats On Jan-April 2015

Booking details can be found on page 23, and online here.  Tickets for Two old instruments can be purchased in person from the Information Pod on Level 1 of The Hive, or can be booked by calling 01905 765576 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm).  Find out more about Two old instruments, including further images, reviews and video clips here.

We look forward to seeing you there…



Start as you mean to go on…

This year’s creative endeavours got off to a positive and life affirming start. I joined colleagues Jennifer Jackson and Nicholas Minns in the spacious dance studio at the Ivy Arts Centre at University of Surrey once again on 6th January at the request of dancer and researcher Sonia York-Pryce, to contribute to her research into older dancers.

Sonia’s research into ageism and the mature dancer began in 2013 as part of her Bachelor of Digital Media (Hons) at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia. She called it Does the Dancing have to Stop? and initially involved dancers Jennifer Jackson and Louise Lecavalier in interviews and questionnaires about their process, fitness, and performance thoughts.  This and a short film using archive footage of the young Sonia and the mature became the creative input of her degree; watch the film here.

Read More

Following last Sunday’s performance for CARU, the Avid for Ovid team will all be performing this Friday afternoon 3rd October as part of the Festival of Ancient Tales being masterminded and hosted by East Oxford Community Classics Centre run by the Iris Project at Cheney School in Headington.  Lots to enjoy at this lively event: stalls, activities, dance, drama, music, an exhibition and talks by famous authors; full details here.  Avid for Ovid will be in action at 3.45pm and 4.45pm in room L2 – only 15 minutes, so don’t be late!  Follow this event on our Facebook event page here.

Avid for Ovid has not been idle since Metamorphoses, our showing of work in progress at Corpus Christi College on 28th August; read Ségolène Tarte’s blog post about it here, where you can also find our programme and evocative images by Bruno Guastalla.  Since then, Ségolène and Malcolm have shown two pieces at the Contemporary Arts Research Unit‘s (CARU) 1st birthday event Where’s the Art? at Modern Art Oxford on Sunday 28th September.  You can see some of Pier Corona’s fabulous pictures of Ségolène in full transformation and Malcolm at the keyboard on the new Avid for Ovid Facebook page here, but here are a couple to give a flavour of the occasion…

Ségolène Tarte as Lycaon, CARU 28th September 2014; photo by Pier Corona

Ségolène Tarte as Lycaon, CARU 28th September 2014; photo by Pier Corona

Ségolène Tarte as Icarus, CARU 28th September 2014, photo by Pier Corona

Ségolène Tarte as Icarus, CARU 28th September 2014, photo by Pier Corona

Malcolm Atkins at CARU 28th September 2014 photo by Pier Corona

Malcolm Atkins at CARU 28th September 2014 photo by Pier Corona

At our recent workshop we explored and developed dances based on Ovid’s account of the funeral of Memnon, the warrior son of Aurora, Goddess of the Dawn, who is killed in battle by Achilles.  Malcolm and I showed a version of this to illustrate Helen Slaney’s paper on Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers at the 14th Annual Postgraduate Symposium on the Performance of Ancient Dance held at the Ioannou Centre the following day Tuesday 1st July.  We have continued working on this piece, and will be perfoming it on Saturday 19th July as part of the Iffley Music Society Summer Community Concert.  Held at the beautiful and atmospheric St Mary’s Church in Iffley Village, this popular annual concert with time for an interval picnic in the churchyard is the final event of this year’s season by Iffley Music Society; it features locally based performers and this year includes dance with live musical accompaniment. Read More

I have just posted a new page on this blog about the emerging Avid for Ovid group (see above).  Please check it out to find out more about this exciting project which brings together the academic research being conducted at Oxford University through Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers and artistic research by local Oxford dancers and musicians, with a view to presenting performances which draw on ancient techniques to tell stories in dance.

Monday 30th June saw a preliminary workshop session at URC in Summertown with the Avid for Ovid team and classicist Dr Helen Slaney, anthropologist Dr Caroline Potter, doctoral researcher Sophie Bocksberger and special guest dancer Marie Louise Crawley, who brings not only expertise in contemporary dance and mime, but also a background in Classics.  She has been associated with the project since last year, and in May gave a workshop on the use of the neutral mask, as one of a series of thought provoking sessions over three days looking at how stories are told in dance through different genres and techniques.  Great to have her powerful and inspiring contributions in improvisation tasks as we looked closely at examples of transformation in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and how these might be wordlessly conveyed; we look forward to further collaboration with Marie-Louise

This session was planned to start the ball rolling for more intensive work over August with a view to showing work in progress at the end of that month. Watch this space for updates about the work as it develops…


Following performances at Bristol Music Club, St Leonard’s Shoreditch and at the North Wall in Oxford here are links to some reviews and responses to Two old instruments

“Dance and music in perfect partnership” – read David Bellan’s review for the Oxford Times here

“…memory danced as a reminder for us all…” – read Barbara Berrington’s response here

“…fascinating… responsive communication…” – read Alexandra Stacey’s impressions here

In the Financial Times Clement Crisp writes:

“Susie Crow, formerly a fine dancer and choreographer with the Royal Ballet’s second troupe, now makes dance in spaces where ballet might seem cramped – but with her skilled creations is not.  Latterly she has been producing stylish work with the viola da gamba player Jonathan Rees.  You can sample her creativity on YouTube or seek it out in live and vivid performance.  I admire her.”

Financial Times, May 10th/11th 2014  Critic’s Choice, Life and Arts section p14

“…simple, elegant and charming…” – read Emily Romain’s review for Oxford Dance Writers here

Ballet in Small Spaces on tour… Delighted to give details of further performances of Two old instruments on Saturday 17th May in St Helen’s Central Library as part of the St Helen’s Arts in Libraries Programme supported by Arts Council England through Lottery funding:

Susie Crow and Jonathan Rees in Two old instruments - photo by Dulcy Lott

Susie Crow and Jonathan Rees in Two old instruments – photo by Dulcy Lott

Jonathan Rees and Susie Crow of Ballet in Small Spaces have been delving into the music and dance  of the 18th century, inspired by the salon pieces of composer and viola da gamba virtuoso Carl Friedrich Abel.  Their unique performance infoms a contemporary interpretation reflecting on both history and memory.  The viol or viola da gamba is one of a family of bowed, fretted and stringed instruments that first appeared in the mid to late 15th century, and was most popular in the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

2.00pm Afternoon family focused shortened performance and talk:   Grab the opportunity to speak with the professional dancer and musician and enjoy seeing them perform up close.  Listen and learn about the history and stories behind the instrument, music and dancing.

5.00pm  Early evening full performance:  Share an intimate and delightful early evening of music and dance collaboration, with top performers conjuring forgotten pasts into present life through unusual repertoire…

St Helen’s Central Library, The Gamble Building, Victoria Square, St Helen’s WA10 1DYY, Merseyside

Tickets can be reserved for FREE by emailing or by calling 01744 677087  (You will be asked to contribute what you can afford on the day; 1p, £1, £10, no amount is too big or too small)

Flyer here:

Find out more about St Helen’s Council Arts Service here – and what’s on in St Helen’s here

Here are links to two short videos of extracts from Two old instruments made by talented video maker Chris Atkins and filmed on location at Braziers Park in March.  Still time to book tickets for forthcoming performances as part of the programme Visible Music, see information here.  Strong Women  Portrait


DSC_0262 Two old inst de Valois pose away web version

Two old instruments photo by Dulcy Lott

Looking through Dulcy Lott’s pictures from the Two old instruments photo shoot at picturesque Brazier’s Park on a sunny spring day in March; here is one to give a flavour of the piece in an intimate historical setting.  First glimpse of costumes by designer Ellen Nabarro, the dress realised by expert maker Roz Culling.

Susie Crow and Jonathan Rees in Two old instruments at Brazier's Park

Susie Crow and Jonathan Rees in Two old instruments at Brazier’s Park