Balbir Singh Dance Company was originally established in 1997 as Diversity Dance but changed its name in 2008 to reflect the fact that its purpose is the creation and presentation of the work of Balbir Singh.
The work stems from the dual training Balbir Singh received in the fields of Kathak and Contemporary dance and his subsequent interest in exploring the creative potential of synthesising the two forms. Always working with original live music, the work challenges dancers to explore their musicality as well as their physicality and draws on the holistic relationship between Kathak dance and music.
In 2007, funding was secured for Balbir Singh to undertake a development project with four Contemporary-trained dancers over a nine-month period investigating how Kathak training might impact on their skills and capability. The project culminated in the creation of a new work – Play of Percentages – which brought together the two forms and was presented at three showcase events in middle scale venues.
The success of these events and the positive response from dancers, musicians, audiences and promoters played a key role in the Arts Council’s subsequent decision to recruit the company to its portfolio of Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) from 2009 onwards.
In 2012 BSDC was commissioned to create a piece to be performed as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Synchronised, a water-based work performed in a swimming pool with synchronised swimmers joining the company’s dancers and musicians was an instant hit. Synchronised subsequently toured nationally around ‘arts cold spots’ where it successfully engaged audiencess who otherwise might not attend a dance performance.
This sport-dance crossover proved to be a rich seam for BSDC: the company went on to develop successful partnerships with a range of sports organisations, leading to work exploring rugby (Full Contact, The Strategists), cycling (Champion of the Flatlands, Dancing Bicycles) and figure skating (Peacock Lake, Boy with the Rollerblades) as well as more swimming pool-based work (Broken Tusk).
BSDC also has a long-standing commitment to educational work, both in schools and community settings. Over recent years the company has supported many children to achieve their Arts Award. Central to BSDC’s approach is a belief in culturally diverse learning and participation. The company is well known for delivering innovative programmes that inspire; encouraging individuals, groups and communities to engage further with the arts and leaving a lasting impression on all participants.
BSDC continues to be supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) and performs around the UK and internationally.