Worcestershire Arts Partnership Blog

Monday, 26 January 2015

Come along to The Hive on Saturday 7th February for an evening of ballet and dance. All ages welcome!

Come along to the Hive to see 'Two Old Instruments, a beautiful dance show, taking place at The Hive on Saturday 7th February at 7.30pm. The show is produced by Ballet in Small Spaces and all ages are welcome.

Ballet in Small Spaces presents


Two old instruments


Music:  Carl Friedrich Abel

Viola da gamba:  Jonathan Rees

Dance:  Susie Crow

Design:  Ellen Nabarro

Dress made by Roz Culling


1.         Prelude

2.         Andante – Minuet

3.         Allegro – departing from Monsieur Rameau

4.         Adagio – Portrait

5.         Allegro – two pints of claret and Jane Poitier

6.         Arpeggiata

7.         Minuetto – almost a waltz

8.         Allegro – La Guimard’s caprice

9.         Allegro – Strong women

10.       Adagio – just a little longer

11.       Allegretto – la bonne compagnie

12.       Allegro – country dance; Lambranzi’s jig

13.       Tempo di minuet


Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787) was one of the last virtuoso viol players before the instrument's twentieth-century revival. Born in K├Âthen, Saxony, he was taught by J.S. Bach in Leipzig's Thomasschule before moving to London, where he became close friends with one of J.S. Bach's sons, Johann Christian Bach. They founded a concert series in Soho Square, called the Bach-Abel concerts. 


Abel would give regular solo recitals on the viol, often improvising most or all of the recital, not infrequently under the influence of a lot of alcohol. The music in the so-called "Drexel manuscript", from which the music for Two old instruments is taken, is essentially a set of written-out improvisations - formally very free in most cases, with no clues in the manuscript as to a "correct" order for the pieces to be played in, or indeed as to the mood of many of them. 


If much of the music of the baroque is to be understood as dance music or as the musical equivalent of the classical art of rhetoric, then fifty years later we find these threads in a much freer musical language, where rules have been abandoned in favour of a more individualistic approach to musical expression which still maintains all of the gestural quality of baroque music - crying out to be made visible in dance.


Acknowledgements: Heartfelt thanks to Nicola Gaines Armitage for teaching us the minuet, Moira Goff for expert advice, Caroline Salem at The Space Clarence Mews for hosting work in progress in 2013, all our colleagues who gave feedback, Roger Tully for use of his studio, Ana Barbour for the loan of her skirt – and especially to all the BiSS Angels for their generosity in supporting this project …



Susie Crow: dance artist, choreographer, teacher. Danced with Royal and Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet becoming a soloist; now runs Ballet in Small Spaces (BiSS) in Oxford.  Twice a finalist in the Madrid Choreographic Competition; ballets for SWRB, Dance Advance, National Youth Dance and Ballet companies, Black Maria for Green Box Productions. Works for BiSS include solos for Lisia Moala and Debbie Camp in 2008 and 2009; works inspired by Dante for Cambridge and Oxford 2009-10; Inside Out and Commedia 2011. On-going collaborations with musicians, dancers and visual artists include improvisation work and cross-art research projects DEC Drawing Dance and Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers, and with Jennifer Jackson on Dancing the Invisible – Late Work. She holds an MA in Dance Studies, runs the popular blog Oxford Dance Writers, and is undertaking research into the ballet class for a PhD at Roehampton University.


Jonathan Rees: Bristol born cellist and gamba player with leading UK period performance ensembles, including recent appearances as principal cellist and gamba soloist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and La Nuova Musica.  Solo performances in the Leeds International chamber music series, Lichfield Festival, Bristol’s Colston Hall, BBC Proms composer portrait of Colin Matthews and Birmingham Opera Company’s 2012 performance of Stockhausen’s “Mittwoch aus Licht.” Chamber musician at Cheltenham, Lake District, York and Trondheim Music Festivals; has played as principal cellist with the Manchester Camerata, and with the LSO, London Sinfonietta and Aurora orchestra. He is enthusiastically involved with music outreach work with children and adults of all ages. Before post-graduate studies with Mats Lidstrom and Jonathan Manson at the Royal Academy of Music, Jonathan gained a first class degree in German and French from Cambridge University where he is currently employed as a researcher into seventeenth-century French street song and also teaches baroque cello.


Ellen Nabarro:  Oxford based theatre designer.  Graduated from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 2008 with Principal’s Award.  Shows include Hay Fever, UK premiere of High School Musical 2, Merrily We Roll Along etc.  Resident Designer for The Musical Theatre Academy; designed Inside Out and Commedia for BiSS in 2011. Assistant designer for Bunny Christie currently working on Blurred Lines at National Theatre.  Associate Designer on Donmar production of Julius Caesar in New York.


Ballet in Small Spaces (BiSS) makes and presents ballet based work for small and unconventional spaces in response to its local environment.  As well as refining an understanding of ballet’s form and expression, it aims to reach out to a wider audience, tapping into local enthusiasm for dance through performances, classes and projects, and drawing in dancers at all stages of development from young students to mature professionals. Since emerging in Oxford from Arts Council funded research in 2004, BiSS has devised and presented projects for a range of settings including Stravinsky in Miniature at the Holywell Music Room (2004), Dance and Music Showcase for St. Edward’s Arts Programme (2005); Long Hot Summer for performances in Dancin’ Oxford, OxDox Documentary Film Festival and London (2007), two editions of The Solos Project at Burton Taylor Studio (2008-9), Dante in the Chapel in Cambridge and Mansfield College Oxford (2010), and double bill of Inside Out and Commedia which toured Oxfordshire venues in 2011.

No comments: