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The acclaimed Phoenix Dance Theatre return to TBTL with Black Waters

Manon Adrianow and Natalie Alleston in Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Black Waters, co-choreographed by Sharon Watson, Shambik Ghose and Dr Mitul Sengupta. Photo by Stephen Wright.

Internationally-acclaimed, Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre is set to return to Keswick on 4 March to present Black Waters in TBTL’s Main House, an original contemporary dance work which premiered at Leeds Playhouse on 12 February.

This is the third time Phoenix have visited TBTL in recent years, having thrilled audiences with The Rite of Spring in 2019 and Windrush: Movement of the People in 2018.

Black Waters explores two harrowing events in history. In 1782, the owners of the Zong ship attempted to claim insurance on the lives of the 130 slaves that they threw overboard. Over 100 years later the Kala Pani prison was used by British colonial forces to incarcerate Indian freedom fighters who spoke out against the regime.

Inspired by these two narratives Black Waters will present audiences with a wider exploration of how British colonial forces commodified people for gain, and as a consequence, saw a blending of cultures and the birth of fragmented identities for whom home has always remained a contested space.

Black Waters will also see Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director, Sharon Watson, co-choreograph for the first time with the Artistic Directors of Kolkata-based company Rhythmosaic, Shambik Ghose and Dr Mitul Sengupta, in a captivating fusion of western contemporary dance movement and classical kathak Indian dance.

Sharon Watson, Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre, said: “Black Waters is not about recreating these two events through contemporary dance, but is an exploration of place, worth and belonging, which can often be conflicting for people of colour.”

Placing multiculturalism at its heart, the piece promises to be an emotionally evocative and culturally relevant production, which shows how from despair, people find value, inspiration and hope. The tour also includes Leeds Playhouse, Northern Stage, Sadlers Wells, Forum Theatre, Cast in Doncaster, The Civic and The Lowry.

Following the piece’s premiere at Leeds Playhouse, The Yorkshire Post said: “This is dance theatre at its most potent and eloquent, telling stories that need to be told through thoughtful and thought-provoking choreography. Incredibly moving, visceral and honest, the whole thing is, quite literally, breath-taking”.

Tickets are £19, £16, £11; Students, U16s, Schools £11. To find out more or book tickets for the show visit or call the Box Office on 017687 74411.

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