Love and Spice

Intro/Underlying threads and themes

Love is a dance between opposing energies

Spice is also a dance between opposing energies, sweet, savoury, tangy, creamy

With both of these

when balanced – magical force is unleashed that brings harmony and growth

.when out of balance – – – disaster is soon to come

Since the dawn of time our desire for love and spice has driven us to travel to the furthest reaches of this world and strive beyond to the magical worlds of the gods

Ganesh – sweet – in the spiritual world

  • Master chef of the heavens he stirs the opposing forces of the universe inside his belly
  • he loves sweets
  • this is a dance scene where Ganesh’s helpers are making sweets for him to taste

Chicken Curry – savoury – in this world

  • we introduce the chef
  • contemporary dance sequence showing the process of cooking chicken curry, interaction between dancers and chef, adding and tasting at the same time
    • pot
    • fire
    • oil
    • onions
    • tomatoes
    • spices
    • chilli
    • chicken

Spice Chess

Intro – Abi and Kali show that they are the chess players whilst narrator speaks

  • every spice has a different character and a different role to play in any recipe
  • master chef is one who can plan ahead and use his players with care – much like a game of chess
  • ancient game that originates in the place where so many of these aromatic ingredients were grown – India

Turmeric – Pawn – dance sequence with all dancers

To begin our game we need a playful pawn

Deep in the earth there glows a hidden root

Bulbs bursting with goodness, a branched and bumpy fruit

Bring me up from the dark to the light

And taste my bitter hue

No other can match the vibrant tone of turmeric

Cut me, pound me and I’ll pour with flavor anew

Abi calls Turmeric to C4 from her end position then moves to place her piece on the board

Nutmeg – Bishop – contact sequence with Kali and Sooraj

I taste nutmeg

And I am cocooned

Just like this tender fruit safe in its husk

I am a child nestled in my grandmother’s arms

Sweet fragrance calms and caresses me

But beware – for in this game nutmeg is our bishop, using its calming qualities to the lull the opposition into a false sense of security

Kali calls Nutmeg to B6 from his end position and then moves to place his piece on the board

Mustard Seeds – Knight

Delicate flowers that have been dancing with the arms yellow sunlight for thousands of years

Not many would guess such an innocent origin for the mustard seed, mysterious knight of our chess board

Even less can understand its mysterious transformation from light to dark, peace to potency, from the safe to the unexpected.

Ancient orbs that pop with power enough to build the kingdom of heaven, cure and ailment and weave a sweet sting into any dish

Abi calls Mustard Seeds to D8 from her end position and Narrator moves the piece at the board

Chilli – King

Chilli is the King of spices

And those who are wise keep their distance

Too many tongues have been tempted and burnt

Hot agony, powerful as flaming thunder

King chilli incinerated any evil that lingers

But approach him with care and our King will delight you

Entice sumptuous sensations into your special dish

Touch, temperature, pleasure, pain

With his royal power he will stoke the fire within you

Kali calls Chilli to F5 from his final piece and Narrator moves the piece at the board

Cardamom – Queen

Cardamom is the Queen of spices

Neatly composed in her pod she is regal, refined, balanced, beautiful

Her fragrant energy flows easily through her kingdom conveying peace and harmony throughout

But once her pod bursts there is no end to her expressive flavor

Passion, pleasure, dance, ecstasy

Go ahead – lose yourself in her hypnotizing whirls, let her waves lap against you

But never forget the ruthless power that she can unleash with every bite

Abi calls Check! From her final position

Love and War Duet

  • Abi and Kali perform classical love and war duet
  • Abi calls Check Mate! From her final position

Star Anise

  • dancers perform geometric sequence
  • perhaps a song at this point? On the themes of love and war

Transition sequence couple of Abi and Kali morphs into couple of Sooraj and Laura

Losing Senses – dance sequence of couple cooking together, narrator speaks as if it’s an intimate diary entry, but as she repeats, phrases get lost and confused until just a few basic words are left

They say that variety is the spice of life

But we have always said..


Love is the spice of our life

And spice is the spark of our love

We chop nutmeg, ginger, pepper

Tip paprika into the pot

We have stirred

We have simmered

Spices have always lingered

On our skin

As we hold hands tight

In the kitchen we are one

As we dance with their textures

I pour into your hands as they rub soft powders

You sprinkle onto my heart as the bubbling gets louder

These are the smells and tastes that have created our lives

Taste and Digestion

  • Abi mentioned something about a sequence for taste but I don’t know what this is
  • Digestion – Narrator speaks while Sooraj moves

We are what we eat,

We eat what we are,

As we breathe, as we eat, we are in divine encounter with the universe

I open my mouth

I close my eyes and I travel to the world within

The oesophagus is the channel from light to dark

Muscles that dance in unison to tease the morcels down

My stomach is my strength, strong acids that strike out infection

My intestine sifts the good from the bad

Sings with the spices and sumptuous molecules

Absorbing the nourishment that will make me stronger

Keeping my spirit alive

I am what I eat

I eat what I am

My digestion is my transformation

The Butter Thief

In all of this there is one ingredient missing

Something simple and honest

That allows all the flavours to float and flourish

On its innocent skin

Unnoticed, Unspoken

Humble and homely

It is Butter

Butter cool and squidgy as it glints on the counter

Butter warm and soft as it melts on the cheeky childs hands

Butter – that safe and sound feeling that only lingers in the enveloping arms of the truly beloved

For where butter is bountiful so is the unconditional love of the melted heart…a love that can transmit across any boundary and overcome any obstacle, a love that forgives, a love that forgets a love that lets all those who meet it to float and to flourish in their very own way

And it is here in our story that we meet Krishna – god of love and notorious butter thief

Story telling of Krishna the butter thief – culminating in unconditional love of his mother

Dance sequence of Krishna the butter thief

The Final Dish – Annapurna summons the Gods

Annapurna is the goddess of food and nourishment

Mother of the material world

It is only with her sustenance

That we can grow

Now we call on Annapurna to heal and restore our lost senses

It is only with her blessing

That this food can be transformed into something magical and healing

She is calling on Ganesh the Elephant God, Choreographer of the universe and remover of obstacles

He stirs inside his giant belly all of the opposing energies of the universe

His trunk is long and agile, unable to untangle even the most complicated knot

His tusks are long and pointed symbolizing focus and transformation

His ears are huge sails in the great winds of knowledge and he can grasp from even the quietest sound great understanding

But above all it is Ganesh’s sweet tooth that will add to our recipe. He is the delicious thread of sweetness that binds us all together whatever our differences may be

She is calling on Krishna, cheeky, playful, the god that blossoms with so many personalities

The god that dances so easily between our world and the world of the Gods

Krishna symbolizes the unconditional love and devotion that transcend and boundary and heal any wound

Annapurna is the goddess of food and nourishment

Mother of the material world

It is only with her sustenance

That we can grow

Now we call on Annapurna to heal and restore our lost senses

It is only with her blessing

That this food can be transformed into something magical and healing

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