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News Release - Issued by Phoenix Dance Theatre

Ghost Peloton at Yorkshire Festival 2014


On Friday 16 and Saturday 17 May 2014, a ghost peloton of 30 synchronised cyclists in LED light suits will commit to mass choreographed movement in a live performance that fuses endurance sport, dance and public art. A collaboration between Phoenix Dance Theatre and Glasgow-based public arts organisation NVA in partnership with Sustrans, Ghost Peloton is a 45-minute event. It will unite the live action of the cyclists in their controllable LED light suits with film projection of stunningly illuminated dancers interacting with nationally reputed ‘flatline’ BMX a stunt cyclist. This film also includes the Ghost Peloton blazing a trail through iconic locations drawn from the Tour de France route through Yorkshire.

Ghost Peloton is part of Yorkshire Festival 2014, the first cultural festival in the Tour de France’s 111 year history. Until 6 July, a vast programme of world-class cultural events is taking place in the lead up the first two race days of the Tour, the Grand Départ, this year hosted by Yorkshire.

“Ghost Peloton draws on talented and diverse artists coming together to create something unique, engaging and appealing on many levels. I am proud and excited to be sharing it with the world. It really is Yorkshire giving you more! Looking at world class art in a fresh way.“

Sharon Watson, Artistic Director, Phoenix Dance Theatre

“Building on the worldwide success of Speed of Light [NVA’s response to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, work which premiered on Arthur’s Seat as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, 2012] with endurance runners, the collaboration with Phoenix Dance Theatre and amateur racing cyclists will present a beautiful and poetic visual response to the Tour de France both as a film work and live public event”

Angus Farquhar, Creative Director, NVA

“We are delighted to be supporting this exciting event. We hope it will inspire people to recognise the beauty as well as the practicality of being on a bike more often”

Paul Osborne of sustainable transport charity Sustrans

Directed by Angus Farquhar of NVA and choreographed by Sharon Watson, Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre, Ghost Peloton will include a new film by Mark Huskisson to be broadcast in connection with the opening days of the Grand Départ and a large-scale public performance in Waides Yard, central Leeds on 16 & 17 May.

Inspired by the wheel in motion, the work fuses performance cycling with choreography performed by Phoenix’s dancers on film, and the varied landscapes of Yorkshire. Each ghost rider, bike and performer will be illuminated by Phil Supple’s brilliant lighting design utilising NVA’s bespoke LED light suit which can instantaneously change colour, flash-rate and luminosity supported by a stunning electronic score by Hebden Bridge composers Frame Missing.

The live event, film of the dancers, and the creation of a short film of the Ghost Peloton on the Tour de France route, will be compiled into a short film intended for broadcast to an audience of 180million people in over 150 countries during the opening days of the race, 5 & 6 July 2014.

Ghost Peloton, 16 & 17 May, Waides Yard, The Tetley, Hunslet Rd, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ. Part of Yorkshire Festival 2014. For more information about the project visit:

And for more info about the

Yorkshire Festival is supported by Arts Council England, Yorkshire Water, Welcome to Yorkshire and the Local Authorities of Yorkshire.


New Cyclist rehearsal AND Dance filming Photos by Tim Smith © NVA and Phoneix available at this link:

Film footage for view ONLY > Available soon by Mark Huskisson © NVA and Phoenix

Dates and times for media to plan coverage:

Photo Call at dress rehearsal on Thursday 15th May, 8-9pm, at Waides Yard

Available for interviews: Phoenix’s Artistic Director, Sharon Watson 8-9pm

NVA’s Artistic Director, Angus Farquhar available ONLY between 4-5pm

Fra Panella available to receive journalist from 7.30pm onwards.

Launch Event 16th May, 8pm at The Tetley

Available to interview:

Phoenix’s Artistic Director, Sharon Watson, 8–8.30pm

Phoenix’s dancers 8-9pm

Sustrans’ Director, Paul Osborne between 8-9pm

- ENDS -

Editors’ Notes:

A peloton is the main field or group of cyclists in a race






Facebook: Speed of Light


Images for some the Yorkshire Festival 2014 commissions, including Ghost Peloton, can be downloaded from


Sharon Watson – Phoenix Dance Theatre Artistic Director

Sharon Watson was appointed as the 7th Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre in May 2009. Trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance, Sharon danced with Spiral and Extemporary Dance Theatre before joining Phoenix as a dancer from 1989 to 1997. During this time Sharon choreographed Never Still and Shaded Limits for Phoenix as well as creating new works for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, National Youth Dance Company, Union Dance and a specially commissioned piece for the opening ceremony of the Royal Armouries in Leeds. She formed ABCD in 1998 and returned to Phoenix in 2000 as the company’s Rehearsal and Tour Director. In 2006 she embarked upon a fellowship with the Clore Leadership Programme and in 2008 she was one of 26 aspiring leaders from around the globe selected to attend Dance East’s fourth Rural Retreat. Sharon was named as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s Women to Watch, a list of 50 influential women working in arts and culture in the UK selected by a distinguished panel made up of figures from the cultural and creative industries.

Phoenix Dance Theatre

Formed in 1981 in inner-city Leeds, Phoenix Dance Theatre has grown to be one of Britain's leading international dance companies. As a repertory company, Phoenix aims to bring together the best choreographers from the international contemporary dance world. A diverse company of dancers works with these choreographers and the Artistic Director to create innovative work, which is communicative, highly accessible and represents the cultural diversity and experience of life in multi-cultural society. Phoenix is inclusive and open to people from all backgrounds. The company has a commitment to widening access to dance through its education, audience development and creative programmes. Phoenix Dance Education’s highly acclaimed programme of education work promotes participation in the arts as a stimulating and creative pursuit within schools and community settings. The company takes on dance apprentices and dancers are encouraged to develop their skills as teachers and choreographers. Sharon Watson was appointed as Artistic Director in 2009. A more detailed history of Phoenix is available at


Established in 1992, NVA is a registered Scottish arts charity funded by Creative Scotland and a number of UK trusts and foundations. The organisation has produced award winning and dynamic projects in challenging landscapes – these have included temporary lighting animations on the mountains of Skye; permanent spaces such as the Hidden Gardens in Glasgow and major urban festivals.

NVA’s vision is to make powerful public art articulating the complex qualities of a location through collective action. Our practice engages participants physically and creatively in redefining urban and rural landscapes. We take the existing landscape as a starting point for uncovering underlying layers, revealing how places shape and are shaped by their inhabitants.

NVA was established in 1992 by creative director, Angus Farquhar. NVA is an acronym of nacionale vitae activa, a Latin phrase describing ‘the right to influence public affairs’

In 2012, NVA created Speed of Light in response to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A monumental public artwork, Speed of Light fulfilled a desire to elevate non-elite distance and endurance running to the realms of the extraordinary. Premiering on Arthur’s Seat, Speed of Light was a lead event of the Edinburgh International Festival 2012, with 4,000 hill runners taking part over 21 nights. Further information on Speed of Light is available at


Sustrans is a leading UK charity enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Sustrans works with communities, policy-makers and partner organisations so that people can choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys and enjoy better, safer spaces to live in. All over the UK, we make a positive difference to people's lives. We help people think about and change the travel choices they make. Through our work to create better walking and cycling links, including the National Cycle Network, we're providing the space to make sure sustainable travel is not just a choice: it's the most obvious and convenient option.

Welcome to Yorkshire

Welcome to Yorkshire, a not-for-profit organisation, successfully led the bid to host the Tour de France. Yorkshire’s Grand Départ will be held in the county on the 5 and 6 July 2014. The successful bid was backed by Local Government Yorkshire and Humber, North Yorkshire County Council, the Leeds City Region, The Arts Council England, Kirklees, Calderdale, Bradford, Wakefield and Scarborough councils, York, Sheffield and Leeds City Councils, with Leeds being the bid host city. For further information about the Grand Départ 2014 visit

Yorkshire Water

Yorkshire Water is supporting Yorkshire Festival 2014 which will showcase the region’s finest creative talents on the national and international stage in the run up to the 2014 Grand Départ – the opening two stages of next year’s Tour de France cycle race. As the region’s biggest landowner on the race route, the water company’s parent company, Kelda Group, has agreed to give the 100-day Yorkshire Festival 2014 its full support.

Yorkshire Water manage the collection, treatment and distribution of water in Yorkshire, supplying around 1.24 billion litres of drinking water each day. They are one of Yorkshire’s biggest landowners and invests billions into maintaining the glorious countryside and pure fresh water throughout the county. Yorkshire Water operates more than 700 water and sewage treatment works and 120 reservoirs.

Tour de France 2014: Grand Départ in Yorkshire After an outstanding 2012 for British cycling, marked by the historical victory of Bradley Wiggins on the Tour de France, the United Kingdom will again hold pride of place in 2014. The Grand Départ of the 101st edition of the Tour will take place on 5th July in Leeds in the county of Yorkshire.Seven years after the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2007, and two years after the latest Olympic Games, London will host the last stage on British soil, before the pack returns to mainland Europe.

For further information contact


Fra Panella, Phoenix Marketing Manager:


Corner Shop PR on 020 7831 7657

Dee Marshall - Head of Communications

Direct Line: 0113 3223505

Mobile: 07950 325 901

Jo Francisco - Press Officer

Direct Line: 0113 322 3563

Mobile: 07769257327