In this dynamic cultural history of the internationally acclaimed Phoenix Dance Company, Christy Adair considers the factors which contributed to the company's success. This complex narrative, played out through gender, ethnicity, and class, locates Phoenix as a significant artistic force in British contemporary dance. It draws on a range of primary sources including the Company archives and interviews with members of the Company from 1981 to 2001.
One of the paradoxes which the company 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 reconsideration of British dance history confronts the Eurocentrism of dance in the late twentieth century and investigates institutional racism on the part of arts policy makers, funders, and critics.