Ghost Peloton, a Cycling Spectacular

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City Connect

Sharon Watson, Artistic Director with Phoenix Dance Theatre, talks about the Ghost Peloton, a major commission for the Yorkshire Festival

We can all do things to be more creative. However, having ideas isn’t the biggest challenge I have on my hands at the moment – or actually most of the time!

As one of the main commissions for the Yorkshire Festival 2014, Phoenix Dance Theatre and NVA in partnership with Sustrans will deliver an epic piece of public art. On May 16th and 17th “Ghost Peloton” will bring together 50 riders, bike and cyclist illuminated with NVA’s bespoke LED light suits, in this spectacle at Waides Yard Leeds.

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Something fundamental happens when creativity is synchronised seamlessly to offer a unique experience. Technology is allowing me to explore a whole new area of movement, blending concepts and different approaches to choreography. Over the next few weeks the studio will look and feel very different with the Phoenix dancers dressed in NVA’s specially designed light suits. The suits were initially created for the runners in NVA’s “Speed of Light”, however as creativity will have it, are now to be worn by highly skilled, athletic dancers which will enable the spectator to have a very different perspective on dance and choreography. All of this will be designed behind the lens of a camera and will result in a new film that will be broadcast in connection with the opening days of the Grand Depart.

Ghost Peloton Phoenix dancers getting Ready.

This brings me back to the challenges I face with the riders on bikes, yes….With the light suits! This will create a stimulating, visual piece of work where the effects are mainly done through light design and large scale choreographed patterns. It is however much more of an undertaking considering that, with no dance language to rely on, I will only have the knowledge and understanding of the kaleidoscopic effects the public will see to work with. However, the journey has begun. The nerves have kicked in. And now even though it is no more a question of if but when we deliver ‘Ghost Peloton’, the question of delivery sits on my shoulders. I do hope our audience will appreciate all the elements of this process coming together, cyclist, dancers, choreography, lighting design, music, film and much more. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for the people of Yorkshire to have the Tour de France on our doorstep and it deserves a creative send off!