Northern School of Contemporary Dance awards 2018 Honorary Fellowships to Sharon Watson and Miranda Tufnell

24 Jul 2018

Sharon Watson (left) receives her Honorary Fellowship from Janet Smith MBE (right), photo by Nick Singleton

Artistic Director of Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre Sharon Watson and dance artist and celebrated writer Miranda Tufnell have been awarded Honorary Fellowships from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD). The awards were conferred as part of the School’s Graduation performances on Saturday 7th July.

Each year NSCD acknowledges individuals for their exceptional contribution to the School, Contemporary Dance and the cultural ecology at large with the highest award the School can currently bestow. Last year’s inaugural Honorary Fellowships were awarded to Gary Clarke and Wayne McGregor.

Speaking of Sharon Watson’s award, Janet Smith MBE, Principal of NSCD, said:

In her role as Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre, Sharon contributes to the development of arts and culture in the North through her leadership, programming and choreography. She has recently also shown inspiring leadership for the city as the Chair of the Leeds City of Culture 2023 Bid steering group, championing the cultural ambition of the city and ensuring dance is part of it.’

She continued:  ‘Sharon, who has studied, taught and most recently choreographed at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, has taken initiative to provide opportunities through Phoenix Dance Theatre to enhance the development of students and we proudly recognise her commitment to supporting emerging talent in the School as a partner in the city.’

Accepting the award, Sharon Watson said:

‘I’m delighted to receive this accolade as my connection with the Northern School of Contemporary Dance stretches back over 30 years. The founding Principal Nadine Senior was my teacher at Harehills Middle school and like so many others, I would not be doing what I do today if it wasn’t for the inspiring leadership Nadine gave. Northern School is a wonderful resource right here in Leeds, offering the only conservatoire-level professional contemporary dance training in the North of England, and I am proud to have played a part in it.’

Dance artist and highly respected author Miranda Tufnell was also awarded an Honorary Fellowship by NSCD this year and will accept her award at a private ceremony at the School at the start of the Autumn term.

Speaking of Miranda Tufnell, Janet Smith MBE, Principal of NSCD, said:

NSCD values Miranda Tufnell’s outstanding and longstanding contribution to dance through her movement and improvisation research, collaborative performance work and her dance writing. Her celebrated handbooks, Body, Space, Image: Notes Towards Improvisation and Performance and A Widening Field: Journeys in Body and Imagination, written in collaboration with Chris Crickmay are seminal works that continue to support and inspire students, dance artists, teachers and facilitators. When I Open My Eyes: Dance Health Imagination takes dance and creativity into the field of health and health care, offering doctors a different way of helping people through the provision of therapeutic dance.’