Sharon Watson and David Hamilton recognised in New Year Honours List

2 Jan 2021

We’re thrilled with the news that our former Artistic Director Sharon Watson and our founding member (and Phoenix’s first Artistic Director) David Hamilton have both been recognised for services to dance in the New Years Honours List.

Sharon Watson left Phoenix in May after a memorable decade which saw Phoenix grow and expand as a company, to join Northern School of Contemporary Dance as their CEO & Principal. Sharon’s history with Phoenix goes back a long way – she was one of the first female Principal Dancers, and toured with the company (known then as Phoenix Dance Company) from 1989 to 1997.

During her tenure at Phoenix Dance Theatre as Artistic Director, Sharon has received a number of awards and accolades. In 2010, she was named as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s ‘Women to Watch’, a list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK. Among her other achievement include being acknowledged at the 2017 Northern Power Women Awards as part of the very first ‘Top 50 Power List’. She was also presented with an Honorary Fellowship by Northern School of Contemporary Dance, received an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University and was recently appointed as the Deputy Lieutenant for Yorkshire earlier this year. All of these recognitions and achievements are testament to her exceptional leadership and commitment.

David Hamilton who founded Phoenix in 1981 (along with Donald Edwards and Vilmore James), also established RJC Dance and is Chair of the Black History Month Sub-Hub in Leeds. His passion for community engagement has inspired many aspiring dancers and artists in the city and beyond. He said in the Yorkshire Evening Post today: “If this gets some more young people interested in dance, that will be good, very good.”