Creative work

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. Read More

Throughout this term’s series of Skinner Releasing Technique classes with Lizzy le Quesne, Oxford based artist Antonia Bruce has been drawing the dance, capturing the imaginative worlds of participating dancers as they improvise in response to SRT’s very particular conception and guidance of the moving body and persona.  Antonia has kindly allowed me to reproduce some of her beautiful and evocative images, a potent reminder of these sessions, encapsulating moments of watchfulness and spontaneous movement.  She will be exhibiting her work drawing the dance at the Jericho Art Gallery in the spring; watch this space for further details…



Dancers by Antonia Bruce - ink on paper

SRT class study – Antonia Bruce, ink on paper

Contemplative dancer, drawing by Antonia Bruce - ink on paper

SRT class study – Antonia Bruce, ink on paper

Once again classicists at Oxford University have shown a lively interest in dance, with an imaginative research project investigating the forgotten art of Roman pantomime.  This form of storytelling of Greek and Roman myths by a solo dancer became very popular in Imperial Rome, with pantomimes commanding a huge public following.  The form seems subsequently to have disappeared, and little evidence apparently remains beyond a few images and references in contemporary writings.  Under the auspices of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) researchers are exploring ways to imaginatively recreate or evoke it, by teaming dancers with classicists to collaborate on mining the texts for clues, and compose short dance studies inspired by their findings.  In addition to insights gained as to the nature of this very particular type of dance, the research team, which includes a social anthropologist, is particularly interested in the type of knowledge that can be generated through the engagement of practitioners in the research process. Read More

After the August days of summer sunshine it’s briskly back to work in September, rehearsing for forthcoming performances of Late Work with Jennifer Jackson and musicians Malcolm Atkins and Andrew Melvin at the new GOlive Dance and Performance Festival curated by dance critic Donald Hutera (the Times) at the intimate Lion and Unicorn Theatre in London.  Part of the Giant Olive Community Theatre Company, and now going into its twenty-fifth year, Kentish Town’s only theatre has firmly established itself as a cultural centre for high quality and innovative theatrical productions.  GOlive runs from the Monday 9th to Sunday 29th September, see the full programme and booking details here:

Late Work performances are at 7.30pm on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th September; more information about Jennifer’s Dancing the Invisible project of which it was a part, audience comments and link to the Late Work blog can be found here:

Jennifer Jackson and Susie Crow in the Haiku section of Late Work at the Ivy Arts Centre, Guildford

Jennifer Jackson with Susie Crow and Malcolm Atkins  in the Haiku section of Late Work at the Ivy Arts Centre, Guildford, May 2012

As a companion piece to the recently posted Inside Out video, here is another short video edited by Chris Atkins, this one featuring excerpts from Commedia, created for the Ballet in Small Spaces 2011 tour and commissioned by the Exuberant Trust – enjoy!

For more information about this tour:

The image below by Bill Cooper shows dancers Jack Jones, Katherine Kingston, Diamaid O’Meara, David Horn, Caroline Crawley and Bethany Elliott.

COMMEDIA; Ballet in Small Spaces,

DEC is delighted to announce a short promotional video by the talented Chris Atkins of the group’s recent Luminous Shadows performance at the Old Fire Station on May 23rd:

DEC is hoping to release further video material from our two performances that day, to give a flavour of the work in all its variety.  Watch this space!  And do visit the DEC page for further information about the group and its work, photos and video, music clips…


Jonathan Rees and I showed our work in progress on Two old instruments at The Space, Clarence Mews in Hackney on Friday 19th July to a small invited audience of colleagues; dancers, musicians and dance promoters.  A lovely intimate occasion, and feedback given was very encouraging.  Our thanks to all who came, and especially to Caroline Salem for hosting us and making us so welcome.  It has been a great place to create and rehearse.

So we are now looking for funding to take the work forward to full performance, and very happy to have been allocated a place to pitch for CREATE funds at the OVADA Gallery Oxford on Thursday 25th July 6.30-10.00pm.  The artists selected to compete for funds in this round of the innovative CREATE scheme are as follows:
Anja Meinhardt, Creation Theatre, Body Politic UK, Ellen Havard, Susie Crow and Moving Tone.
You are very cordially invited to come along, pay a suggested donation for entry, enjoy a drink, check out the six pitches and cast your vote.  The money collected will go to the artist who garners the most votes, and Oxford City Council will add a matching amount to double this funding.
Full details and how to register and reserve a ticket here:
Please come, this ongoing scheme is providing valuable and much needed support for local artists.  Your vote would be greatly appreciated!


Very unfortunately and possibly because of the heat over the last weekend some of the acoustic panels on the ceiling of URC have fallen off.  The Hall is therefore not safe to use and all bookings have been cancelled until further notice and until the problem is sorted. So all remaining classes of this term have had to be cancelled, and sadly also the planned showing of work in progress on Two old instruments on Saturday 20th July.  Please do pass this information on to any friends and colleagues who may have been planning to come to activities at the Hall over the next week.

Watch this space for an update on the situation and news of any rescheduling of Ballet in Small Spaces activities.  Full details of next term’s schedule will be posted nearer the time.

Have a great summer break and enjoy the sunshine!


Saturday 20th July 2013, 6.30pm

United Reformed Church Hall, 294A Banbury Road, Summertown (opposite South Parade and Radio Oxford) Oxford OX2 7HN

Drawing Dance image by Susan Moxley

Drawing Dance image by Susan Moxley

The intimate salon pieces of 18th century composer and viola da gamba virtuoso Carl Friedrich Abel
range in character from the exuberant and playful to the wistful and melancholic.  They are the inspiration for a collaboration between viola da gamba player Jonathan Rees and Susie Crow of Ballet in Small Spaces, who have been delving into the music and dance of the period to inform a contemporary interpretation.

Please join us as we show our work in progress, followed by an opportunity for discussion, and to give your feedback, which we would greatly appreciate as we develop this piece for performance.

Admission:  £5

Refreshments available for a donation

A meeting last night at Malcolm’s of the DEC group to look at footage from the recent Luminous Shadows performances at the Old Fire Station on 23rd May.  Some wonderful imagery which Chris Atkins will be pulling together into a short promo soon.  Meanwhile here are links to two positive reviews of the show:

Rebecca JS Nice review

Paul Medley review

And here are a couple of the lovely photos taken by Sarah Jex:

Ooze - dancer Susie Crow, artist Clare Bassett

Ooze – dancer Susie Crow, artist Clare Bassett

Fold and Stretch - dancers Ana Barbour, Susie Crow, artist Kassandra Isaacson

Fold and Stretch – dancers Ana Barbour, Susie Crow, artist Kassandra Isaacson