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Phoenix Dance Theatre brings mixed bill to Northern Stage in Newcastle

One of Britain's best dance companies is to conclude its spring tour with four works at Northern Stage

Tony_Nandi Shift by Christopher Bruce
Shift by Christopher Bruce

Phoenix Dance Theatre has been a welcome visitor to the North East for many years and is back at the end of May with an enticing mixed bill.

The Leeds-based contemporary dance company has undergone plenty of changes since it first emerged more than 30 years ago as an all-male outfit from the inner city.

But the quality of its work has never been in doubt and its international reputation is now established.

There will be an expectant audience at Northern Stage in Newcastle, where it concludes its spring tour on May 28.

It will be bringing four pieces of work, including a double bill by renowned choreographer Christopher Bruce, one-time artistic director of Rambert Dance Company.

The Bruce double bill includes Shadows, a new work created for Phoenix Dance Theatre, and a re-staging of Shift, the choreographer’s livewire study of life in the 1940s.

The pieces were first performed in tandem at the Linbury Studio Theatre in London back in November.

Tony_Nandi From Shadows by Christopher Bruce
From Shadows by Christopher Bruce

It was the first time the company had performed any work by Christopher Bruce.

The programme will also feature world premieres by Sharon Watson, artistic director of Phoenix Dance Theatre, and Caroline Finn, winner of the New Adventures choreographer award.

Watson is represented by Tearfall, a piece inspired by her exploration of tears through dance. It follows her earlier popular pieces of work, Melt (from 2011) and Repetition of Change (2013).

The Finn piece, Bloom, is said to reflect the choreographer’s darkly comic expressions of life and humanity and her “playful, quirky and highly engaging choreographic style”.

Sharon Watson, who was appointed the seventh artistic director of the company in May 2009, trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance and then danced with Spiral and Extemporary Dance Theatre before joining Phoenix as a dancer from 1989 to 1997, after which she formed a company called ABCD.

She returned to Phoenix in 2000 as its rehearsal and tour director and then embarked on a fellowship with the Clore Leadership Programme, which is dedicated to producing the next leaders in the arts. She was later named as one of the programme’s Women to Watch, a list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK.

Ahead of her visit to Newcastle she said: “Phoenix loves performing at Northern Stage and I’m thrilled to bring my latest work, Tearfall, to such a warm crowd of dance lovers.

“The piece was a joy to create and I’m looking forward to meeting the audience at the post-show talk.”

RICHARD MORAN PHOTOGRAPY LTD Sharon Watson,artistic director of Phoenix Dance Theatre
Sharon Watson,artistic director of Phoenix Dance Theatre

Phoenix Dance Theatre is at Northern Stage at 7.30pm on May 28. For tickets or more information, tel 0191 230 5151 or go to www.northernstage.co.uk

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