Dance company turning 35 years

One of the country’s leading dance companies will mark turning 35 with an anniversary tour opening in the city.

Phoenix Dance Theatre will celebrate 35 years in 2016
Phoenix Dance Theatre will celebrate 35 years in 2016

Phoenix Dance Theatre will celebrate the milestone next year with a Triple Bill premiering at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on February 17.

From small beginnings in inner-city Leeds, the outfit has grown to be one of the UK’s leading contemporary dance companies.

In celebration of its 35th year Phoenix Dance Theatre presents a Triple Bill of dances including two new commissions toasting the diversity and collaboration for which the company has become internationally known.

In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the bard’s recurring themes are brought to life in Kate Flatt’s new work ‘Undivided Loves’.

Choreographer Itzik Galili will rework his piece, ‘Until.With/Out.Enough’, as part of a co-commission with The Royal Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre. Sharon Watson’s ‘Melt’ or Caroline Finn’s ‘Bloom’ will complete the bill.

Phoenix Dance Company was formed in 1981 by David Hamilton, Donald Edwards and Vilmore James; three young men whose enthusiasm for dance was sparked by the tuition they received at Harehills Middle School.

Artistic director Sharon Watson said: “We are enjoying our most successful times yet here in Leeds and like most 35-year-olds, now is the opportunity to be at our most creative, ambitious and experimental. Phoenix Dance Theatre is becoming a household name here in Yorkshire and the ambition going forward is to take that local legacy and build on it further afield. This birthday celebration is a real milestone and celebrates the great times that we have had, whilst looking ahead to the future.”

Following its Leeds premiere the Triple Bill 2016 will tour the country including Doncaster and York.