Community Engagement Tour announcement

9 Oct 2023

As our dancers commence their final days of rehearsals ahead of their South African performances in Cape Town, we are pleased to announce our next performances – this time much closer to home!

Phoenix is incredibly proud of its roots and being born in Leeds. Whilst we are known for touring nationally and internationally, it is important for us to retain our position as one of the key cultural organisations right here in Leeds. We believe that great art should be accessible to everyone because it changes lives, and that great art is created through diversity – diversity of our company and staff, our programming AND our audiences.

Dance should be for everyone, and we are committed to ensuring that we are providing opportunities for local people to engage with, and experience, what we do. That is why we are bringing Phoenix performances and engagement opportunities into the community, and we are thrilled to announce the first of our annual Community Engagement Tours.

Launching this November, we will present a combination of performances and engagement opportunities across a number of venues and schools in the LS8 (Harehills) and LS9 (Burmantofts) areas of Leeds. Each event will be tailored to the specific venue space and for the specially invited guests or participants, many of whom who will never have had access to contemporary dance before. Audiences and students will be introduced to our artform and to Phoenix Dance Theatre, and each event will include a performance element of current, and in some venues new, work performed by Phoenix Dance Theatre. 

As part of this tour we are excited to build new relationships with schools in East Leeds, including Trinity Academy, where our dancers will deliver a bespoke Lecture Demonstration including a special excerpt performance to give students an up-close introduction to contemporary dance. Students will then take part in an immersive workshop based on what they’ve experienced to offer a deeper insight into the work. Working across a range of ages, the school’s young participants will later perform their own work to family and friends as a curtain raiser, before everyone is treated to a theatre style performance by Phoenix.

This November we are also pleased to work with students already on a professional dance pathway by offering them the opportunity to watch an exclusive Phoenix Dance Theatre performance at our home venue, the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, based at our city centre HQ.

Our Community Engagement Tour 2023 culminates with a very special performance on Tuesday 12 December at Shine. Supporting their 15th Anniversary Celebration Event, the immersive birthday celebration will include performances, archive exhibitions and digital screenings from Phoenix. Shine is based in a beautifully converted Grade II listed building and our two companies have a long-standing connection, intertwined from inception. Formerly Harehills Middle School, this is where Phoenix’s founders first learned dance under the tutelage of Nadine Senior. Appropriately, Phoenix featured at Shine’s opening celebrations in 2008 and we continue to work in partnership to inspire the next generation of artists.

The evening will include performances from Requiem, choreographed by Dane Hurst, and an exclusive excerpt from an, as yet, untitled work in creation ahead of its world premiere next spring. The visceral new work by choreographer Miguel Altunaga explores mankind’s relationship to tribe and community, mythology and deity, ritual and surrealism, and considers how choices made by our ancestors shape our cultures as well as our very being.

From black box theatre spaces to schools and community centres, we can’t wait to tour to a wonderful selection of different spaces, and we may have one or two up our sleeve too! Watch this space for future announcements. All of the events are offered by us free of charge to enable, and encourage, as many people as possible to experience and share in what we love doing.

Above: Miguel Altunaga’s new work in creation. Photos: Rachel Poole (l) & Miguel Altunaga (r)
Bottom: Requiem. Photos: Richard H. Smith (l) & Tristram Kenton (r)

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