Phoenix Dance Theatre to perform Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love triple bill at York Theatre Royal tonight and tomorrow

Terms Of Agreement: Marcus Jarrell Willis’s first work for Phoenix Dance Theatre

PHOENIX Dance Theatre will perform artistic director Marcus Jarrell Willis’s first work for the Leeds company as part of the Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love triple bill at York Theatre Royal tonight and tomorrow.

Terms Of Agreement is the Texas-born choreographer’s third work of his Terms & Conditions series. Featuring original written compositions by Tomos O’Sullivan and music by popular artist, this one focuses on the more ethereal, spiritual and kismet perspectives to unravel the eternal question: what is true love? “Further to understanding this, once you have negotiated the terms, will you accept the agreement?” he asks.

“Building upon the resounding success of Phoenix Dance Theatre’s last tour, which fittingly reflected on the company’s remarkable 40th anniversary, Phoenix is directing its focus forwards. Marking this latest chapter for the company we are embarking on a tour of new choreographic works, including two world premieres,” says Marcus, who took up his post last October.

“I am thrilled to be contributing my own creation to this versatile programme, and it has been a privilege for me working with our exceptionally gifted dancers to craft my first work for Phoenix.”

Phoenix Dance Theatre performing Dane Hurst’s Requiem. Picture: Drew Forsyth

Terms Of Agreement forms part of a “powerfully visceral and thought-provoking triple bill exploring the nuances of human experience by three exciting international dance makers”: world premieres by Miguel Altunaga and Marcus Jarrell Willis, complemented by the Leeds company’s first touring performances of former artistic director Dane Hurst’s Requiem (Excerpts).

South African choreographer Hurst’s Requiem is a “powerful reimagining of Mozart’s awe-inspiring choral masterpiece in an emotional response to the grief experienced by so many around the world during the pandemic”.

The work was premiered at Leeds Grand Theatre last year as part of Leeds 2023: Year of Culture in a co-production with Opera North and South African partners Jazzart Dance Theatre and Cape Town Opera.

In his first stage commission for Phoenix, Afro-Cuban choreographer Miguel Altunaga premieres his daring new work, Cloudburst, set to a new score by composer David Preston. 

World premiere: Phoenix Dance Theatre in Miguel Altunaga’s Cloudburst

Altunaga first collaborated with Phoenix in 2022 to create the dance film EBÓ as part of the company’s inaugural digital programme. Now, in a continuation of that work, Cloudburst 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.

“I believe that this mixed bill will speak to every audience member at each theatre we visit,” says Marcus. “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 is the final venue of Phoenix’s first British tour since 2022. Tickets for performances at 7.30pm tonight and 2.30pm and 7.30pm tomorrow are on sale at 01904 623568 or