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Dancin' Oxford Festival 2010

Oxford's annual spring dance festival
All around Oxford, Feb 16th - April 12th 2010

February 25, 2010
Platform, O'Reilly Theatre, Keble College, 23-27 Feb 2010
Platform is an impressive, nicely put-together showcase of student dance created by Oxford University Dance Society and open contemporary dance group Freefall. Covering a good range of styles (including Flamenco, modern, tap and more) and ranging from duo to group pieces, the tight choreography and fun soundtracks create a vibrancy that's pleasing to witness. It's also a pleasure to see that out of 18 dancers, 4 are male - a good proportion for a discipline so often seen as a predominantly female preserve. And these dancers are good, too. Complex, long routines were performed with accuracy - and putting aside a tap or two out of time and the odd wobbly arabesque, on the whole you'd have a tough time determining which of these dancers weren't at least semi-professional. (I suspect somewhat jealously that none of them are!)

High points include the jolly flapper troupe curiously reminiscent of an old BBC ident, leaping about the stage with fixed grins and identical wigs; the Flamenco/Sevillana duo (you could cut the implied sexual tension with a knife, the glory being that the electricity is produced by the lack of contact between dancers - isn't Flamenco a heck of a lot like bullfighting?!), and the splendid finale, which shouldn't be spoiled too much by description, but suffice to say involves a tussle between lovers and clever use of a prop bed.

The odd fudge with the lighting and sound cues I'm sure will be ironed out during the run, and didn't detract for me from what was essentially a top-class show. If you're doubtful about dance's ability to express emotion, or its cool factor, or whatever, check this out - it'll be a very short hour, well spent.
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