Phoenix Dance Theatre are a company born and raised in Leeds. They returned to the West Yorkshire Playhouse this month to showcase their latest enterprise in contemporary dance, before taking the performance to various venues across the UK this spring. Composed of four dances across three acts, Particle Velocity depicts the exploration of such wide reaching themes as desire, destiny the intricate world of DNA.
The opening piece, All Alright, choreographed by the critically renowned Richard Alston, featured no less than seven dancers darting in and out of the wings with a beautiful lightness and fluidity, as they circled and stalked each other across the stage.
After a short interval, dancer Josh Wille took to the stage to perform the furiously powerful solo Ki, choreographed by Jose Agudo. Illuminated by a single spot light, Wille entranced the audience with the slow and deliberate movements that suggested a gradual exploration of the novelty of body, before exploding into violently physical movement as the throbbing beat of the music crescendoed through the theatre.
A hard act to follow, yet undoubtedly matched by Sandrine Monin and Phil Sanger’s next performance. Tender Crazy Love – an intense and passionate dance choreographed by Douglas Thorpe – was performed to a medley of popular songs in which the moments of stillness were as erotically charged as their fervent entwining embraces.
Repetition of Change, choreographed by artistic director Sharon Watson, provided a suitably dramatic end to a fantastic show. Accompanied by the impressive music ensemble Psappha, the dancers were illuminated by scintillating lights as they eerily moved in and out of the shadows whilst a vast silk parachute was elevated from the floor of the stage. This combined effect of this and Watson’s inspired choreography made for a dark and intense finale that left us wanting more.