Spring Awakening is the exciting new dance project which features 20 dance groups from seven global cities, including Oxford.

Commissioned by Dancin’ Oxford and filmed all over the world, Spring Awakening is an extraordinary four minute film demonstrating these dancers’ artistic and creative spirits articulated through dance, in their lockdown landscapes, whether it be snow or sunshine.

Dancers from across Oxford have taken part, as well as in six of its twin cities: Ramallah in Palestine, Perm in Russia, Padua in Italy, Leon in Spain, Wroclaw in Poland and Leiden in Holland.

From ballet in the snow to street dance in inner cities, contemporary and even Zumba, the commissioned piece is the highlight of Dancin’ Oxford’s spring festival this year.

“We have been overwhelmed with the response. Dance has a global language – you don’t need words to understand it,” Dancin’ Oxford’s Claire Thompson says of Spring Awakening, which is debuting on Saturday.

Dancers from Padua in Italy

“Every dance group has really embraced Spring Awakening and put their heart and souls into it,” Claire adds. “There has been a universal enthusiasm for the project that stretches right across the globe.”

“There has been a universal enthusiasm for the project that stretches right across the globe”

The brief was to film their choreographed response to a single piece of music outside while sharing some of the character and spirit of their cities.

Abigail Fleek, dance student at City of Oxford College

The result is an extraordinary four minute film demonstrating the dancers’ artistic and creative spirits in their respective countries, articulated through dance in their respective lockdown landscapes.

“the film has really bonded us together in a new way, while creating a platform for dancers and artists to express themselves in lockdown”

From urban inner cities to famous architectural sites, mountains to vineyards, Claire says: “The dancers loved being part of this bigger international project, and you can glimpse their cities and homes in the backgrounds, so it’s a beautiful film.

Dancers in Padua

“And because people couldn’t travel to perform in Dancin’ Oxford’s spring festival this year, the film has really bonded us together in a new way, as well as creating a platform for dancers and artists to express themselves in lockdown,” Claire continues.

The results can be seen live on Saturday morning at 9am as part of Dancin’ Oxford’s spring dance festival. (READ ABOUT THE FESTIVAL HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/dancin-oxfords-annual-spring-dance-festival-is-back-with-new-work-classes-films-magic-discos-talks-and-workshops-to-get-us-up-on-our-feet/)

Ruth Jones- City of Oxford College dance

Dancin’ Oxford’s Claire Thompson says: “We can’t wait to see Spring Awakening on screen. And having spread the net to encompass our twin cities as well as Oxford are so excited to see the new collaborations and the resulting film.”

“Many students were losing motivation but having a goal to work towards has really helped”

The project has already had an enormous impact on the motivation and psychological wellbeing of these dancers, largely unable to perform during Covid, as Ruth Jones, Head of Dance at City of Oxford College explains.

“This project came at the perfect time for our students when the government announced another extended lockdown. 

Rebecca Kaoud from Ramallah in Palestine

“Many students were losing motivation but having a goal to work towards has really helped. The fact that Oxford Council has dedicated a project like this for Dancin’ Oxford has made the film feel more prestigious and our students feel valued.

“Those who could dance together did, while others danced in their homes or spaces separately”

“It also meant that the students had the experience of developing their skills in choreography, performing for camera, filming and editing which I think was really valuable. Thank you to everyone involved in making the project happen.”

Amie Shaer from City of Oxford College 

Of course not all dance groups could even perform together, and yet they still managed to record work, albeit individually, that can be seen in Spring Awakening.

“Those who could dance together did, while others danced in their homes or spaces separately. So we are really passed to be able to present this amazing piece of work at the festival,’ Claire adds.

Ottavo Giono – Luca Olivetto

“It’s been a great way to bring everyone back together through dance. There has been a universal enthusiasm for the project that stretches right across the globe.”

“We are really excited to have captured that enthusiasm and love for dance. The challenge has been to whittle it down to just four minutes,” Claire admits.

Watch Spring Awakening on Facebook and Dancin Oxford’s YouTube channel from 1pm on March 6 until May 31. The live link will be posted on March 6 at https://www.dancinoxford.co.uk/event/spring-global-dance-film/

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