BSDC is well known for being as creative off-stage as they are on it. Part of this involves working closely with venues to plan a marketing strategy that will maximise audience-building potential. For BSDC’s Full Contact, the rich history of vernacular graphics associated with Rugby League provided a great starting point for eye-catching marketing collateral.

Play up!

Named after John Baines, inventor of the football card in 1885, Baines cards were for decades highly prized by rugby league fans in the northern English working class towns where the game originated. Cards from the early twentieth century often feature star local players of the time and exhortations to ‘Play up!’

Reimagining the Baines card

The game still generates fierce loyalties in its northern heartlands, so Full Contact, BSDC’s dance and storytelling piece that celebrates the rich and little known community history of the League, provided the perfect opportunity to resurrect the Baines card tradition.

In a modern take on the originals, digital Baines cards were created as ‘teaser’ marketing to distribute online. Animated teasers brought snippets of the script to life as a way to get people sharing promotional material on social media.


Vernacular style

The uniquely evocative graphic style of the cards was referenced throughout the publicity material.

There was even a specially commissioned ‘Baines-style’ illustration, which was used as the main poster image for the show.

Explore the process

A lost art?
A bridge to India
Immersed in music
When Worlds Collide
The Idea (learning to dance)
Natural curiosity and questions (learning to dance)
Composer thoughts on Learning to Dance
In the presence of geniuses
The story (love and spice)
A dancer reflects on The Strategists (1)
Overview of The Strategists
Breakdown of The Strategists
Roundness of 12: a breakdown of the piece
Breakdown of the piece (love and spice)
Script (12)
Painter research
A dancer reflects on Love and Spice
Full Contact – highlights from the script
Dancer notes performance (flatlands)
Peacock Lake – genesis of the concept
Firing up the Mehfil Machine
The Collaborators
Creative Case – challenges along the way
The Guru-Shishya relationship
What is Kathak?
Life blood
Collaboration: Balbir & Gary
Colouring your emotions
Covid-19 Update on Monday, April 6th, 2020
Creative Case in action – July to September 2019
Finding my way in The Creative Spirit of John Curry
Talent Development – Abirami Eshwar
Talent Development – Kimberley Hardy
Collaborators: Lorna Brown and Gary Beacom
The Work: Act 1
The Work: Act 2
Planning the show
The 8 Dances
Who was Hans Krebs?
The Citric 
 Acid cycle
Balbir’s thoughts behind the work
Balbir on developing the work
Amrita Sher-Gil & Frida Kahlo
My favourite painting is. . .
Balbir reflects on The Two Fridas
Cast one
Devising in lockdown
Las dos Fridas
‘Alas Para Volar (Wings to Fly)’
Amrita – a story that lives in Art