Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love

by Handy Mag

York Theatre Royal is the final venue in Phoenix Dance Theatre’s first UK tour since 2022 with a brand-new mixed programme, ‘Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love’. The powerfully visceral and thought-provoking triple bill explores the nuances of human experience by three exciting international dance makers: Miguel Altunaga, Marcus Jarrell Willis and Dane Hurst.

Alongside two world premieres—Miguel Altunaga’s Cloudburst and Marcus Jarrell Willis’ Terms of Agreement—this will be the first-time the Leeds-based company has toured Dane Hurst’s acclaimed Requiem (excerpts). Requiem by South African choreographer, and former Phoenix Artistic Director, Dane Hurst is a powerful reimagining of Mozart’s awe-inspiring choral masterpiece, and an emotional response to the grief experienced by so many during the pandemic. The critically acclaimed production premiered at Leeds Grand Theatre last year as part of LEEDS 2023: Year of Culture.

In his first stage commission for Phoenix, Afro-Cuban choreographer Miguel Altunaga premieres his daring new work, Cloudburst. It explores mankind’s relationship to tribe and community, mythology and spirituality, ritual and surrealism, and how choices made by our ancestors shape our culture as well as our very being. The performance will be set to a new score by composer David Preston.

Terms of Agreement is Texas-born Marcus Jarrell Willis’ first creation for Phoenix, and is the third work of his choreographic series Terms & Conditions. Focusing on the more ethereal, spiritual and kismet perspectives, it unravels the eternal question: what is true love? Further to understanding this, once you have negotiated the terms, will you accept the agreement? It includes original written compositions by Tomos O’Sullivan and music by various popular artists.

Marcus Jarrell Willis, Artistic Director, says: “Building upon the resounding success of Phoenix Dance Theatre’s last tour, Phoenix is now poised to direct its focus forwards.” Marcus took up the position of Phoenix Dance Theatre Artistic Director in October last year.

He said: “I am thrilled to be contributing my own creation to this versatile program and it has been a privilege for me working with our exceptionally gifted dancers. I believe that this mixed bill will speak to every audience member. The emotions we feel during the different stages of our life and the questions we ask about our past, present, and future shape who we are and inform our sense of belonging. The sentiments expressed through these three works will resonate differently with each individual present in the audience, allowing space for both an impactful and memorable experience.”

York Theatre Royal Main House, 3rd – 4th May 2024
Box office: 01904 623568, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

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