Leeds West Indian Carnival, Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival, celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2017 and Phoenix Dance Theatre is proud to join in partnership with them to stage Carnival Ballet – a world class dance production which will share the spirit, history and heritage of the Carnival with national and international audiences.
Thanks to Arts Council England Exceptional Award funding and set for an autumn 2017 Leeds world premiere, Carnival Ballet will bring together leading artists from the worlds of dance, carnival music and costume design to share the stories behind the phenomenal spectacle which brings thousands of people together every year.
With a vibrant original musical score, inspired by the soca and calypso soundtrack of Caribbean carnival, stunning costumes and set design, Phoenix dancers will be joined by dancers from companies in the UK and the Caribbean. The cast will also feature amateur performers taking part in an education programme which will share carnival arts, dance and music with communities.
Author and BBC producer Colin Grant will work closely with carnival contributors to capture the stories for the narrative which will shape the dance piece to be created by award winning Phoenix Artistic Director Sharon Watson.
The production will tour to major UK cities including London, Hull, Bristol and Liverpool whose histories resonate with Carnival and its origins as a celebration of the emancipation of slavery.
The UK tour will be followed by international touring to Europe and the Caribbean in 2018.
We can’t wait for 2017, so in the meantime, the pictures to the right show how we imagine Carnival Ballet could look…
Phoenix Dance Theatre Artistic Director, Sharon Watson and Leeds West Indian Carnival Founder, Arthur France share costume style, which could inspire the 2017 Carnival Ballet production with Phoenix dancer, Marie Astrid Mence.
Costume by Leeds costume designers AnonyMas.