UK’S Phoenix Dance Theatre releases three new original dance films
Phoenix Dance Theatre is delighted to announce the release of three new original dance films in a celebration of Black women choreographers. The English company based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary and is the longest-standing contemporary dance company outside London.
Commissioned in 2021 by then Artistic Director Dane Hurst, and created and filmed during the company’s milestone 40th anniversary year, these films make up Phoenix Dance Theatre’s latest Digital Programme.
A/Part is a film by Phoenix Dance Theatre & Alleyne Dance, directed by Antoine Marc. Inspired by true stories of family and friends, Alleyne Dance created a duet exploring the emotional and physical stress of growing apart from a person that you used to have a bond with. Time and space are confused with what is reality, what is a flashback or a dream.
The second film is Kalena by Phoenix Dance Theatre & Sarah Golding, directed by Dan Löwenstein. Inspired by, and a gift to, African American and Hispanic conductor Kalena Bovell exploring the significance of her journey to the podium, a history of violin playing, her book of beautiful poetry and periods of depression.
Lastly is Am I? a dance film by Phoenix Dance Theatre and Alethia Antonia, directed by Dan Löwenstein. Confronted with all you are expected to be, how do you process, accept and put together the many fragments of self. Are you… Am I?
The Phoenix Digital Programme aims to support emerging and early career artists and fuel the production of innovative digital dance content. Now in its second year, Phoenix Dance Theatre continues its exploration and celebration of young Black dance artists and choreographers with this Programme highlighting and celebrating the work of four women working in the industry today: Kristina and Sadé Alleyne (Alleyne Dance), Sarah Golding and Alethia Antonia.
The Programme also pays homage to the introduction of women to what was once an all-male dance company.
Dane Hurst, commissioning Artistic Director, explains: “With this programme we are celebrating the vitality and dynamism of these choreographers and our dancers, as well as also making a gesture towards the moment in Phoenix’s history which saw four black women dancers joining the male dancers of the company in 1989. We are proud of this moment in history which marked the expansion of the company and what it meant for the development of dance in this country”.
The first Digital Programme released last year was born out of a vital need to find new ways to create and deliver dance as a result of national lockdowns, the closure of theatres and new approaches to working. A creative response to these challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was also a response to the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.
The company initially gave a platform to three emerging/early career Black male choreographers to nurture their talent and vision. This was a poignant gesture towards, and reminder of, the remarkable origins of Phoenix Dance Theatre which was founded by three young Black British men in 1981: David Hamilton, Vilmore James and Donald Edwards.
Hurst added: “Four decades later Phoenix is still here, proud of all that has passed and looking forward to the continuation of the rising of the Phoenix and elevating the voices of today who will be the pillars of tomorrow”.
The three new original dance films are available to watch for free now at phoenixdancetheatre.co.uk