Leeds Legend to be Celebrated



When two of Leeds’ greatest dance companies come together next week, the West Yorkshire Playhouse stage is set to be alight with a passion and energy that this city’s dance scene has become renowned for – thanks to one woman.

Nadine Senior MBE was deputy headmistress of Harehills Middle School when she began introducing the students to dance. Her revolutionary approach harnessed the children’s natural ability and recognised their talents in movement.

Three young men in particular would have their passion for dance ignited and go on to form Phoenix Dance Theatre in 1981 – David Hamilton, founding Artistic Director, Donald Edwards and Vilmore James.

Sharon Watson, Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director acknowledges Nadine’s crucial role in her own career ‘Like so many others, I would not be doing what I do today if it wasn’t for the inspiring leadership Nadine gave. I’m delighted that we can pay tribute to such a motivating and influential woman with an evening of amazing dance talent, all of whom she inspired.’


Nadine lobbied to prove the need for professional dance education in Leeds and in 1985 founded Northern School of Contemporary Dance; it remains the only provider of conservatoire-level professional training in contemporary dance outside of London.


Janet Smith MBE, Principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance said ‘I am delighted that Northern School of Contemporary Dance is collaborating with dance partners across the city and artists from the UK, Europe and the US in celebrating the visionary leadership of our founding Principal, Nadine Senior, and the continually resounding impact of her work. This will be a very special event for us in paying tribute to an extraordinary woman who championed the value of arts education from a young age in achieving the highest aspirations for all.’


Nadine Senior died in January 2016 but on Sunday October 8th Phoenix Dance Theatre and Northern School of Contemporary Dance will together lead a tribute to her life and her loves.


The Gala will include performances from Leeds-born, New York-based Darshan Singh-Bhuller who in a recent interview with Broadway World said of Nadine:

Her main thing was to get boys to dance somehow. I was the captain of the football team, so she got me involved, and the rest of the kids followed. The area was predominantly Indian, West Indian, Chinese – some white working class people. It was rare that anybody was teaching any kind of art form in a state run school. We were lucky.”


With live music, film, poetry, and guest speakers the life and work of this extraordinary woman will be honoured in style.


The Celebration Gala for Nadine Senior is at West Yorkshire Playhouse on Sunday 8 October at 7pm

Tickets are priced from £15

Book online at wyp.org.uk or call the Box Office on 0113 213 7700