Black Voices In Conversation: Sharon Watson of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance

"It's not about the pigmentation that you carry in your skin, it's about the hard work and the graft you put in": Watch Sharon Watson's interview above

Black Voices In Conversation is a new series of interviews by ITV News to mark Black History Month 2020.

Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland we've spoken to groundbreaking individuals from the black community to learn about their life experiences and to hear their vision for the future.

Sharon Watson is a leading figure in the dance industry. As CEO and Principal of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, she uses her years of experience to help young dancers develop their careers. Sharon is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusivity within the creative industry.

Despite being one of the only black female leaders of a dance school in the UK, Sharon came from humble beginnings. Her talent and determination saw her propelled into a prominent position.

At the age of nine, Sharon fell in love with dance when she attended a dance class at her local school in Leeds. When she turned sixteen, she packed her bags to move to London where she honed her skills and later returned to her home city, where she joined the award-winning all-black dance group Phoenix Dance Theatre as one of its first female dancers.

Sharon often draws on her Caribbean culture as inspiration for her creative pieces. She choreographed a powerful and emotive dance production about the journey of the Windrush generation, which was commended by audiences and critics . Sharon Watson has been widely recognised for her influence, not only in the dance industry, but in society. Among her many accolades, she has received the Yorkshire Woman of the Year award.

Read more about Sharon's journey here.

Watch more interviews from our Black Voices in Conversation series here - or listen below: