Organisers of the Leeds West Indian Carnival have announced their first plans to mark the event’s 50 year anniversary in 2017.
Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean Carnival is set to partner with the critically-acclaimed Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre to celebrate the remarkable milestone and stage ‘Carnival Ballet’ - a unique dance production which aims to share the spirit, history and heritage of the carnival with national and international audiences.
With an autumn 2017 world premiere in Leeds, Carnival Ballet will bring together leading artists in dance, music and carnival costume design in a showcase performed by 16 dancers from Phoenix, the UK and international dance companies.
The performance will then kick-start a national tour to six venues in major UK cities including London, Hull, Bristol and Liverpool whose histories resonate with carnival and its origins as a celebration of the emancipation of slavery.
The UK dates will be followed by a tour to Europe and the Caribbean in 2018.
Carnival chairman Arthur France said; “The Leeds West Indian Carnival partnership with Phoenix Dance Theatre is a perfect match, reflected in our shared heritage and beginnings in inner city Leeds. Carnival Ballet will be an incredible centrepiece of our milestone 50th anniversary celebrations and will share the stories behind the phenomenal spectacle which brings people together every year.”
Phoenix artistic director Sharon Watson said they were delighted to be part of the carnival’s 50th anniversary celebrations. She said: “Steeped in Caribbean culture and flying the flag for a wonderfully diverse Leeds, Carnival Ballet is an amazing opportunity to be at the heart of brand new inspirational art which will appeal to lovers of dance, carnival spectacle, music and theatre.”
**The partnership adds another boost to the city’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2023.
The YEP is calling for people, organisations and businesses across the city to come together and give their support to the bid for Leeds to join the premier league of cultural hotspots.
Leeds City Council is currently on the hunt for volunteers to be part of the steering group who will put together the all-important bid for European Capital of Culture 2023.
Expressions of interest must be made by July 31. Visit www.leeds-2023.co.uk.
The city’s final bid for the title must be submitted by December 2017.
Previous holders include Paris and Athens.