Integrity of process is fundamental to Balbir Singh Dance Company’s work, which uses choreography to bring together two styles of dance and two different cultures.
Live music is integral to the work, not just as a performance medium, but furthermore as an active ingredient in the creative process. This highly integrated process of devising and composing requires dancers to have a strong sense of musicality and rhythm, in addition to technical skills and performance quality. This musical element attracts great interest, not least from dancers wishing to experience it through BSDC residencies.
It is precisely this process of synthesising two very different dance forms with the active ingredient of live music, which enables BSDC to create something new and fresh for the audience. The organic process of developing the music in parallel with the choreography allows for a fruitful cross-pollination of forms, creating works in which movement and music flow together seamlessly. Even when the show is performed, and the audience is given a snapshot of this relationship, it continues to grow and feed into new work. This artistic process is clarified further with the creation of each new work.
Voice is a key tool in learning and embodying rhythm, and BSDC dancers are encouraged to vocalise rhythms in the studio. Balbir Singh uses his own unique hybrid notation for sequences of dance, recording each movement and gesture in a simple pictogram. This ‘visual’ of the movement also aids dancers in memorising choreography.
Balbir Singh cites many influences on his choreographic practice, one of which is his affinity to numbers. This is prevalent in all of his work, and alluded to in show titles such as Decreasing Infinity, Play of Percentages and more recently Synchronised. Both the pure movement and storytelling qualities of Kathak are also a major influence. Applying these, amongst other influences, to his process, Balbir Singh creates exciting, captivating work with little repetition.
This unique creative process has been captured by dance filmmaker Andy Wood. See The Making of Decreasing Infinity.