Award winning composer announced for major new dance piece  

Published: 20 Jul 2017

Phoenix Dance Theatre are delighted to announce a new collaboration with renowned jazz musician and composer Gary Crosby, generously funded by the PRS for Music Foundation’s Open Grant. Gary Crosby will create an original music score for Windrush: Movement of the People a major new 40-minute, multi-disciplinary dance piece by Artistic Director Sharon Watson, that will premiere at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2018.

The Windrush dance production celebrates the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush, which brought the first wave of Caribbean migrants to the UK in 1948 in significant numbers. A symbol of the rise of multicultural Britain, Windrush is an incredible story that is now being re-told through the idioms of dance and music.

This dance work tells the collective history of British Caribbean people; their dreams, hopes and pain, while celebrating the complexities of their struggle for identity, equality and belonging.

This dance narrative explores a history that has led to demographic, cultural, economic and social changes to the British landscape. Drawn from oral memories and historical texts, underscored by a musical soundtrack that will start from 1948 to present day, spanning the vast sweep of 70 years with different music genres – calypso, jazz, blues, ska, gospel, reggae, soca and popular urban music – which were the soundtrack to the lives of the Caribbean British people and the wider Black British communities.

Music composer, Gary Crosby has over 40 years’ experience as an award-winning musician, composer and music educator – celebrated as a towering figure on the British jazz scene. The new score will be performed live by Leeds music ensemble, led by Christella Listras at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre.

Image courtesy garycrosbybass.com photo by Howard Denner