Dancing the Black Question: The Phoenix Dance Company Phenomenon

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-02-01
  • Publisher: Princeton Book Co Pub
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A dynamic cultural history of the internationally celebrated Phoenix Dance Company, unique in several ways: its members were in their teens when they formed the company in 1981, they gained recognition very early in their careers through an established television arts program in 1984, they were skillful performers but had not received formal training, they were based in the north of England at a time when most dance centered in London (and New York), and they were black British men who had known each other since childhood, coming from a tight-knit African-Caribbean community.As children, they "learned a lot from London Contemporary Dance Theatre and watched videos of Twyla Tharp, Netherlands Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey Company." This complex narrative, played out through gender, ethnicity and class, places Phoenix as a significant artistic force in contemporary dance. One of the paradoxes it faced was the expectation by funding bodies, critics and audiences that it represent "the black community." Such expectations posed a challenge for each successive artistic director. This provocative story investigates institutional racism on the part of arts policy makers, funders and critics.

Author Biography

Christy Adair is Reader in Dance Studies at York St. John University.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Beginnings: Phoenix Risingp. 21
Historical and Cultural Perspectivesp. 73
Phoenix Plus: An Emerging Repertory Companyp. 109
Diving into the fire: Shifting Identitiesp. 153
Rewind: A Retrospectivep. 203
Phoenix Reviewedp. 235
Conclusionp. 267
Bibliographyp. 271
Interviewsp. 297
Abbreviationsp. 299
Choreochronicle 1981-2001p. 301
Dancers, 1981-2000/01p. 311
Board of Directors, 1985, 1986, 1992, 2000p. 313
Company Publicity circa 1982p. 315
Programme insert (p. 49) for Phoenix Dance Company performance at the Harrogate International Festival 1985p. 317
Reviewsp. 324
Indexp. 327
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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