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Press Release: Phoenix Dance - Celebrating the 1964 Civil Rights Act

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Tenacity – Phoenix at Home (24 - 27 Sept)



Phoenix Dance Theatre celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the ground-breaking 1964 Civil Rights Act



Phoenix Dance Theatre proudly presents Tenacity (24-27 Sept), a specially curated programme that commemorates 50 years of the Civil Rights Act; a landmark piece of American legislation that allowed voices to be heard and actions to have meaning and which became a catalyst for change in many parts of the world. Presented at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds Tenacity is a mixed bill curated from Phoenix’s archive, reflecting the company’s own heritage through a range of choreographic voices and paying tribute to the global civil rights movement.


Alesandra Seutin’s1976 tells the story of the Soweto uprising in South Africa, where a group of children were shot dead amidst a bloody protest for their rights. Longevity is an emotional duet by Gary Lambert, inspired by Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech delivered during the Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963. The Audacious One, by Warren Adams is a taut, passionate look into a world of political intrigue and power. Based on Barack Obama’s keynote address ‘The Audacity of Hope’ it examines the question ‘What do we do once we agree to disagree?’


24 - 27 Sept - Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7PA

Box Office: 0113 220 8008


To accompany the Tenacity season Phoenix Dance Theatre presents a unique multi-media Symposium on Saturday 27 September– including dance, lectures, film and audience discussions – that further explores how dance and choreography address historical and current political issues.


The Symposium, organized by Christy Adair and Ramsay Burt, considers the history in this programme not only in the selected works but in the dancers engaged to deliver them and explores how movement can approach historical moments and express the forces and debates that fuelled them.


For more info: 


Book Online: www.theatreleeds.com



National Tour


Phoenix will then head back on the road for a 7-venue national tour with its new triple bill of exciting and musically diverse dance works – featuring a debut work for the company from choreographic duo Ivgi & Greben – as part of its 2014 national tour, including a week-long season at Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London (25-29 Nov). The London season features a double bill by Christopher Bruce CBE including Shadows, a brand new work created especially for Phoenix Dance Theatre and  a restaging of Christopher’s classic study of life in the 1940’s, Shift.  Having choreographed works for leading dance companies across the globe, this is the first time that Phoenix will perform any of this renowned choreographer’s work.


This new company repertory programme, a trademark Phoenix Dance Theatre mixed bill, includes new work from Darshan Singh Bhuller and a company revival for Didy Veldman’s sensational See Blue Through.


Powerful, relentless and hard hitting, Document is the first UK work by exciting Amsterdam-based choreographic duo Ivgi & Greben. Set to music by long term collaborator Tom Parkinson this brooding new piece sees five dancers grappling with the darkest aspects of human emotion, building to fill the stage with blistering, intense movement.


Didy Veldman’s See Blue Through plunges the stage into a fascinating, mysterious undersea world. Featuring sensuous, elastic choreography and costumes, this audience favourite was first performed by the company in 2005. See Blue Throughwas premiered by the Ballet Gulbenkian in 2001.


Inspired by his father’s journey from East to West, Mapping is former Phoenix Artistic Director Darshan Singh Bhuller’s first work for the company since 2006. One of the leading voices in British dance, this new work sees Bhuller looking down on the world from above, and is packed with his signature thrilling, dynamic and inventive choreography. Mapping 1, 2 & 3 were originally developed with Ballet Central and the full re-working of Mapping represents the final choreographic journey of this piece.


Dates              Venue                                                                         Box Office     


2 Oct               The Lowry, Salford                                                   0843 208 6000

10 Oct             Barnsley Civic                                                           01226 327 000

14 Oct             The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough                     01933 270 007

22 Oct             Victoria Theatre, Halifax                                          01422 351158

12 &13 Nov    York Theatre Royal                                                  01904 623568

19 Nov            Nottingham Playhouse                                            0115 941 9419

25-29 Nov       Linbury Studio Theatre, ROH, London                  01484 430528 **

** (Mapping, Document, plus Christopher Bruce’s Shadow & Shift)




Sharon Watson – Phoenix Dance Theatre Artistic Director


Sharon Watson was appointed as the 7th Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre in May 2009. Trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance, Sharon danced with Spiral and Extemporary Dance Theatre before joining Phoenix as a dancer from 1989 to 1997. During this time Sharon choreographed Never Still and Shaded Limits for Phoenix as well as creating new works for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, National Youth Dance Company, Union Dance and a specially commissioned piece for the opening ceremony of the Royal Armouries in Leeds. She formed ABCD in 1998 and returned to Phoenix in 2000 as the company’s Rehearsal and Tour Director. In 2006 she embarked upon a fellowship with the Clore Leadership Programme and in 2008 she was one of 26 aspiring leaders from around the globe selected to attend Dance East’s fourth Rural Retreat. Sharon was named as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s Women to Watch, a list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK selected by a distinguished panel made up of figures from the cultural and creative industries.


Phoenix Dance Theatre



Formed in 1981 in inner-city Leeds, Phoenix Dance Theatre has grown to be one of Britain's leading international dance companies. As a repertory company, Phoenix aims to bring together the best choreographers from the international contemporary dance world. A diverse company of dancers works with these choreographers and the Artistic Director to create innovative work, which is communicative, highly accessible and represents the cultural diversity and experience of life in multi-cultural society. Phoenix is inclusive and open to people from all backgrounds. The company has a commitment to widening access to dance through its education, audience development and creative programmes. Phoenix Dance Education’s highly acclaimed programme of education work promotes participation in the arts as a stimulating and creative pursuit within schools and community settings.The company takes on dance apprentices and dancers are encouraged to develop their skills as teachers and choreographers. Sharon Watson was appointed as Artistic Director in 2009. A more detailed history of Phoenix is available at www.phoenixdancetheatre.co.uk

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