Phoenix Dance Theatre & Opera North announce choreographer for The Rite of Spring

16 Oct 2018


Phoenix Dance Theatre and national opera company Opera North have today announced they are to work with internationally acclaimed choreographer Jeanguy SAINTUS on their reworked production of Stravinsksy’s The Rite of Spring in what will be his first work with a UK dance company.

The two Leeds-based companies are collaborating for the first time to present the iconic ballet more than 100 years after it first premiered.

Jeanguy SAINTUS: “I am thrilled about my upcoming adventure with Phoenix Dance Theatre. I’m very much looking forward to exchanging knowledge, ideas, and movements with the dancers and the creative team.

To re-envision a revered narrative choreographed by luminaries sounds like a feat. I will bring my truth to this rite of passage, embedding the initiation into how I experience Haitian culture. There will be dialogue. There will also be discomfort. But throughout, we will value respectful empathy.

I can’t wait for us to move through the lessons of this challenge. I’m very excited, grateful and humbled that I was chosen to do the work.”

The newly choreographed version will be performed by Phoenix, with the full Orchestra of Opera North, led by conductor Garry Walker, playing the unmistakable modernist score at Leeds Grand Theatre in February and March next year and on tour to The Lowry, Salford Quays, Theatre Royal Newcastle and Theatre Royal Nottingham. It will be presented in a double-bill with Puccini’s short comic opera Gianni Schicchi.

Sharon Watson, Artistic Director Phoenix Dance Theatre: “I am thrilled by this whole collaboration; Jeanguy SAINTUS is a remarkable choreographer and to be the first company to bring him to the UK is quite the coup! It’s also the first time we have worked with our neighbours Opera North which means we not only present ourselves to new audiences but take the Rite of Spring to new audiences too.”

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North:Opera North has long sought to programme a new version of  The Rite of Spring, and we are delighted that Jeanguy SAINTUS will be choreographing this new version of one of the most significant pieces of dance music of the 20th century. We are equally excited to collaborate with the exceptional ensemble of Phoenix Dance Theatre for the first time for this visceral, gripping work.

Opera North has a long history of experimental programming, constantly seeking to reinvigorate the classical artforms and deliver exceptional experiences to audiences across the country. We believe this is the first time The Rite of Spring has been paired with Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and it will take pride of place in our history alongside previous opera and dance mixed-bills.”

To find more information and tickets for The Rite of Spring and Gianni Schicchi click here.