About us

Avid for Ovid (A4O) is a group comprising three Oxford-based artists (dancers Susie Crow and Ségolène Tarte, and musician Malcolm Atkins) and Birmingham-based dancer Marie-Louise Crawley. In summer 2013 we participated in the (now-concluded) Oxford University research project Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers (ADMD), bringing our practical knowledge as performers to explore the long forgotten form of tragoedia saltata, or ancient Roman pantomime, solo storytelling through dance and music. We formed A4O as a group of performers to explore from our perspective as artists the potential of using principles and ideas from ancient dance and music in contemporary performance.

We bring together a rich range of dance knowledge both as performers and choreographers, drawing on experience of ballet, contemporary, mime, mask work, and butoh. Malcolm is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who works across a wide range of musical genres. We are all experienced improvisers interested in the use of improvisation within a narrative structure in performance, and the fluid boundaries between the composed and the spontaneous.
Working on turning selected episodes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses into short solo pieces, and prompted by the constraints suggested by the historical evidence about ancient Roman pantomime, our wider artistic questions and explorations revolve around the following reflections. Narratives are a universal mode of expression and a powerful way of creating meaning; and although their natural medium is language, there is an inherent multifarious richness in the ways in which non-verbal narratives can be woven. We are particularly interested in devising a new modality for performance that embodies narratives through the use of integrated movement and sound (rather than text) by combining our own approaches with approaches that have been employed in the ancient and modern world (eg., Roman pantomime, ballet, kathak...). In turn, these explorations raise fascinating questions: How to re-mediate text into expressive non-verbal dance and music performances? How does one make non-verbal performances understandable, emotionally resonant, relevant for audiences through dance and music? How does the solo constraint affect the story-dancing, the story-musicing?

We are delighted to be Artists in Residence at the East Oxford Community Classics Centre (EOCCC)

Avid for Ovid artists:

Ségolène Tarte, dancer

Susie Crow, dancer

Malcolm Atkins, musician

Marie-Louise Crawley, dancer

Our Facebook page is here.
Find us on twitter: @Avid4Ovid 

For enquiries, please email avidforovid (AT) gmail.com

Our individual biographies:

photography by Chris Atkins
Malcom Atkins is a composer/performer and specialises in creating improvised and composed music for dance of all genres. His CD contains examples of work composed for butoh, ballet and kathak dance. His website contains numerous videos of dance collaboration as well as scores for professional musicians and community use. He has a doctorate in composition from Oxford Brookes University in which he explored the boundaries of improvisation and composition and is an Associate Lecturer in music and a Honorary Research Associate in music at the Open University.
Personal website: http://www.malcolmatkins.com/

Marie-Louise Crawley is an independent choreographer, based in Birmingham. Educated at Oxford University and trained at the Ecole Marceau in Paris, she worked for several years as a performer with Ariane Mnouchkine's Théâtre du Soleil, before relocating back to the UK where she has worked with Birmingham Opera Company, GDance / Ballet Cymru / Marc Brew, Sampad, dx / International Dance Festival Birmingham, Rosie Kay Dance Company, Dancefest and Dance Sansaar. She was recently Choreographer in Residence alongside Tate's ARTIST ROOMS Robert Therrien exhibit at mac Birmingham and is currently in research and development for a new work supported by Arts Council England. She also lectures in Choreography and Performance at the University of Worcester and guest teaches in Contemporary Dance Technique at the University of Wolverhampton.
Personal website: https://www.westmidlandsdance.com/profile/marie-louise-crawley

Susie Crow danced with Royal and Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet; twice a finalist in the Madrid Choreographic Competition, her works include ballets for SWRB, Dance Advance, National Youth Dance and Ballet companies. Now based in Oxford she choreographs and devises projects for Ballet in Small Spaces (BiSS); teaches students, professionals and teachers; runs the Oxford Dance Writers website; and collaborates with musicians, visual artists and other dancers in creative research. Recent work has included full length narrative work Black Maria and BiSS double bill of Inside Out and Commedia which toured Oxfordshire supported by Grants for the Arts and Exuberant Trust. She holds an MA in Dance Studies from University of Surrey and is currently researching the ballet class for a PhD at University of Roehampton.
Personal website: http://balletinsmallspaces.wordpress.com/about/

photography by Frank Cortot
Ségolène Tarte is a dancer and an academic. Trained as a ballet dancer in Paris and Berne, she danced with the semi-professional company City Ballett Halamka in Berne for 5 years, whilst completing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering there. In parallel with pursuing her academic career, now working as a Digital Humanist in close collaboration with Classicists at the University of Oxford, her move to Oxford in 2008 has seen her debuts as a choreographer and as an improviser. She has shown her work at various venues in Oxford, including at the Pegasus theatre as part of the 2013 edition of the Moving with the Times platform and at the Old Fire Station. She also obtained support from the Oxford Dance Forum in 2013 to further her choreographic explorations.
Personal website: http://dancingconvolutions.blogspot.com