The autumn season of Merseyside Dance Initiative’s LEAP festival – a year of dance in Liverpool - continues this month.

This September Phoenix Dance Theatre arrives at the Liverpool Playhouse on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 September with the premiere performance of their new tour, entitled Declarations, which is Phoenix’s first major tour under artistic director Sharon Watson.

Declarations aims to be programme of four contrasting and musically diverse dance works by celebrated choreographers including former Phoenix dancer Warren Adams.

Meanwhile, Merseyside Dance Initiative has announced that former Riverdance star and Irish dance marvel Colin Dunne is to bring his solo production Out Of Time to Liverpool’s Contemporary Urban Centre on Wednesday 20 October.

Internationally acclaimed in the world of traditional Irish step dance (he was a nine times world champion, and principal dancer in Riverdance from 1995-1998), Dunne has been forging a new creative path since gaining an MA in Contemporary Dance at the University of Limerick in 2002. In 2007 Dunne was nominated for a UK Critics Circle National Dance Award (best male: modern dance) for performances in Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre’s The Bull, at The Barbican, London.

More recently, Dunne was nominated for the 2009 UK Critics Circle National Dance Award (Best Male Dancer) and also received a nomination for the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award (outstanding achievements in dance).

For Out Of Time, Dunne has reconsidered Irish dance performance in a post Riverdance era. The production also represents a personal shift away from the large-scale ensemble Irish dance show genre towards a new appreciation of the solo Irish step form. In Out Of Time he has created a full-length solo dance-theatre show where his research and experimentation over the last five years aims to find formal completion.

Dunne said: “I think people see Out of Time as a post Riverdance show. I think many of us in Irish dance spent much of the nineties adding to the form, in terms of its vocabulary, style and production value. It was all about getting bigger. There was very much a sense in my work in the run up to making this show of wanting to strip all that away and really ask some personal questions about the tradition itself and my relationship with it; particularly as I was approaching the age of 40 and had been involved in it since the age of three. And whilst the production itself is maybe quite complex in terms of sound design and video design, I think and hope it displays a very simple and personal dialogue between myself and the tradition.

“I am excited to be performing in Liverpool - I haven't performed there since 1990 at the Liverpool Irish Centre! And am delighted to be working with MDI during this LEAP year of dance, in association with the Liverpool Irish Festival.”

For more details visit the LEAP 2010 website