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


December seems to have arrived all of a sudden – so here is a note of clarification about the last classes of this term at URC and the start date of next term:

Friday 2nd December:  last of the Oxford Academy of Dance Friday classes with Karen Sellick.
I will continue teaching this Saturday 3rd December and next week, so the last classes of the term will take place on Saturday 10th December.
I will resume teaching after the Christmas holiday on Monday 9th January 2017.
Oxford Academy of Dance Friday classes next term with Karen Sellick will take place on the following dates:
Jan 13th, 20th, 27th
Feb 3rd, 10th, 24th (note the half term break)
March 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th.

Enjoy the festive season!

Ballet classes at URC for the autumn term of 2016 will commence on Monday 12th September.  The class schedule remains the same:

Mondays:  4.15-5.30pm Adult Beginners, 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate

Thursdays:  10.00-11.30am Advanced

Saturdays:  10.00-11.15am Adult Beginners, 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced

Having kept prices stable for a few years, but with a rise in rental from September, I am now reluctantly having to put my prices up, rates as follows:

Adult beginners, intermediate, advanced:  £10 per class, 10th class free

Student adult beginners:  £8, 10th class free

Student term card (8 classes to be taken within one term, any intermediate/advanced level classes):  £60

Glad to be able to announce that as from Friday 16th September Karen Sellick will be continuing to teach evening ballet classes at URC for Oxford Academy of Dance as follows:

Fridays:  5.30-6.45pm Beginners/Improvers, 6.45-8.15pm Intermediate

Both classes at £10 per class.

Full details of all classes are available on the updated Classes page

I look forward to seeing you in the studio!



Ballet classes at URC resumed as from this morning for the summer term.  Here are some dates for diaries re this term’s classes:

On Saturday 23rd April I will not be teaching.  However that day’s classes will continue as usual; I leave them in the more than capable hands of Ségolène Tarte who taught some classes last summer.  Don’t miss this chance to experience her inspiring and thoughtful teaching; you can find out more about her background and experience here

Oxford Academy of Dance classes with Karen Sellick resume on Friday 22nd April.

As election fever of one kind or another grips the country I have to announce not one but two Thursdays this term when there will be no ballet classes because URC becomes a polling station:
Thursday 5th May – Local council elections
Thursday 23rd June – EU referendum

It is planned that apart from this classes will continue as normal without a half term break, and the last classes of the summer term will be on Saturday 16th July.
See you in class!


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

With Easter coming up very shortly see below for end of spring term classes, and when ballet classes will resume for the summer term…

Remaining March classes:
Thursday 17th March: 10.00-11.30am Advanced
Saturday 19th March: 10.00-11.15am Adult beginners; 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced
Monday 21st March: 4.15-5.30pm Adult beginners; 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate
Thursday 24th March: 10.00-11.30am Advanced
There will then be a break for Easter.

April classes:
Thursday 14th April: 10.00-11.30am Advanced
Saturday 16th April: 10.00-11.15am Adult beginners; 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced
Monday 18th April: 4.15-5.30pm Adult beginners; 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate
Thursday 21st April: 10.00-11.30am Advanced
Saturday 23rd April: 10.00-11.15am Adult beginners; 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced
Monday 25th April: 4.15-5.30pm Adult beginners; 5.45-7.15pm Intermediate
Thursday 28th April: 10.00-11.30am Advanced
Saturday 30th April: 10.00-11.15am Adult beginners; 11.30am-1.00pm Intermediate/Advanced

Enjoy the Easter break and spring sunshine!



Rehearsing Sea of Troubles with Yorke Dance Project at the Place 22/02/16 -photo by Yolande Yorke-Edgell

Rehearsing Sea of Troubles with Yorke Dance Project at the Place 22/02/16 -photo by Yolande Yorke-Edgell

The last two Sundays I have spent at The Place in London rehearsing Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet Sea of Troubles. This innovative late work was made in 1988 for the independent ballet company Dance Advance, led by Michael Batchelor, Jennifer Jackson, Sheila Styles and myself. As aspiring choreographers we broke away from the Royal Ballet companies to make new ballet based work, using 20th century and live music, performing in a range of smaller, more intimate venues round the country, reaching new audiences. For our first programme we asked MacMillan if he would make something for us; he responded with an experimental take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, designed by Deborah MacMillan, and set to chamber music by Webern and Martinu played live in performance by the ensemble Quorum. We toured extensively in southern, south-eastern and eastern regions of the UK, culminating in two performances in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s South Bank. The piece later toured to Madrid, the Canary Isles, Bonn and China, and a short documentary was made about it by Anglia Television, featuring interview with MacMillan and extracts performed by the original cast: Michael Batchelor, Susie Crow, Jennifer Jackson, Russell Maliphant, Stephen Sheriff and Sheila Styles. Sea of Troubles subsequently entered the repertoire of Scottish Ballet and was also performed by an ensemble led by Adam Cooper.

Sea of Troubles is now being revived by Yorke Dance Project as part of their new programme Inspirit (also featuring works by Robert Cohan, Yolande Yorke-Edgell and Charlotte Edmonds), which will be previewed at the Clore Studio at the Royal Opera House on 11th March, and will tour in autumn 2016. MacMillan’s barefoot work, which the choreographer intended as a fusion of ballet and contemporary dance, has been taught from the original Benesh notation taken at the time of creation by notator Jane Elliott. I have been drawing on my embodied memory to inform and rehearse an exciting cast who are developing powerful new interpretations.  Wonderful to see this dramatic work, its fractured narrative full of insight and memorable imagery, coming alive once again. Here are some photos taken of the rehearsal process by Yolande Yorke-Edgell.

Looking at the original Dance Advance programme...

Looking at the original Dance Advance programme…

You can find out more about Sea of Troubles and MacMillan’s work here

And about Yorke Dance Project’s programme and activities here.

Dance Advance archival material can be accessed through the National Resource Centre for Dance at University of Surrey.

Coaching Amy Thake

Coaching Amy Thake