Phoenix Dance Theatre: Declarations
Four innovative pieces from the acclaimed dance collective
When Phoenix Dance Theatre (formerly Company) was created in 1981, the founders could scarcely have known how appropriate the name would prove to be. On many occasions over the past 30 years, the company has been re-born from the ashes of what went before. Today, standing stronger than ever, the company has much to shout about – not least the fantastic new building it shares with Northern Ballet in Leeds.
For artistic director, Sharon Watson (herself a dancer with the company in the 1980s), programming the 30th anniversary year was an opportunity to celebrate and reflect. Featuring works by choreographers Aletta Collins, Isira Makuloluwe, Warren Adams and Philip Taylor, Declarations captures the past and present of this well-loved company.
‘We’ve been through some rocky times,’ says Watson. ‘So Declarations is really a statement of our being – showing our audience where we stand right now in terms of our history, our current offerings and what we hope to offer in the future.’
Former Phoenix dancer, Adams was inspired by the words of Barack Obama for his piece The Audacious One; Makuloluwe, whose fluid Locked in Vertical forms part of the programme, also worked at Phoenix. Collins won an award for a previous Phoenix work, and now presents Maybe Yes Maybe, Maybe No Maybe, and Taylor’s 1989 piece Haunted Passages is deemed a bona fide Phoenix classic.
‘I think there’s a real athletic vigour about Phoenix, that sits within all of these works,’ says Watson. ‘The choreographers all understand the company and how incredibly versatile and diverse it is.’
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 25 Nov