Photo: Gavin Joynt

Something in the universe places these gems of an idea in my mind: I just have to be open to receiving them. My duty to the art form then is to try and make sense of and bring them to life as part of finding a new connection with audiences as a vessel for the work.

A lot of my thinking is in the abstract. The fun starts in translating it into the literal. Sometimes my thinking is clear in what we are exploring, at other times I am still trying to figure out the question. What is clear from start to the end is the artistic vision and direction of travel. How we get there and what ‘there’ looks like gradually reveals itself as the adventure unfolds.

Photo: Gavin Joynt

The work – images, film, words, design and so on – ultimately all lead to the audience as the final destination. The audience is in mind from the start and an early question in the devising process is: ‘what experience do we want the audience to have and how do we want them to come out of the theatre feeling?’

The artists become the bridge to realising the creative vision. Once the casting has been done the focus becomes about facilitating and managing the creative process to support, cajole, encourage and push the artists to work outside their comfort zones and discover what doesn’t work, as well as what does.

Bringing together disciplines that may seemingly have little or no common ground, to discover a shared new language, is a process that I am naturally drawn to. This isn’t always easy: often you are doing something that hasn’t been done before.  It is exciting, exhilarating, creatively challenging and exhausting in equal measure. It’s where I feel most at home and work at my best.

Once the work is made my role becomes secondary and the artists take ownership. The piece begins to evolve through each performance into what it is meant to be and everyone’s relationship with it, with the audience and with each other becomes clear.

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