Photo: Malcolm Johnson
Photo: Karol Wyszynski

Abirami Eswar

Abirami Eswar is a Kathak dancer, teacher, and choreographer based in London. For over a decade, she has trained with her Guru, Padmashri Pratap Pawar (MBE), one of the most senior exponents of Kathak globally, to master the nuances of traditional Kathak specialising in the Lucknow gharana, which emphasises on style and grace with speed and complexity. Whilst she remains true to traditional Kathak as a solo artist, her performances with other artists both in the UK and abroad has showcased her ability to blend her dance with other contemporary art forms with grace.

Abirami’s dedication to Kathak and the performing arts has brought her recognition as one of the UK’s 40 under 40 South Asian Artists in 2019. Her work aims to push her creative boundaries while keeping their roots intact. She continues to work as a freelance artist collaborating with dance companies such as Balbir Singh Dance Company, Akademi, Triveni Dance Company, Pagrav Dance Company, Nrityakala Dance Company and independent choreographers across England. Some of her previous performances with Balbir Singh Dance Company have included, Painting the Indian Gods, Love and Spice, Broken Tusk, Synchronised, Peacock Lake, Champion of the Flatlands and The Creative Spirit of John Curry.

Photo: Karol Wyszynski

Photo: Gavin Joynt

Kimberley Hardy

Kimberley Hardy is a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher based in South Yorkshire. She began her career with Balbir Singh Dance Company in 2017, where she performed in the premiere of Peacock Lake and later became the Education and Outreach Officer for the company. She has since performed in Love and Spice, The Creative Spirit of John Curry, The Telling of Tales, Champion of The Flatlands, 1001 Dreams, Scenes of Childhood, The Boy with the Rollerblades and The Strategists.

Kimberley began her professional dance career at age 16 and completed her training at High Melton University Centre in 2013, gaining a Distinction in choreography and performance. She has been honoured to perform for Dimensions Dance, QDOS Creates, Limits Dance Theatre, and Tim Noble to name a few. Her work has seen her perform with a variety of venues, from national arena tours and Disneyland Paris to care homes across Leeds.

Kimberley is a practicing behavioural analyst/therapist and specialises in educating those with autism (ASD) within the school environment. Her creative learning approach is influenced by her understanding of behaviour which enables her to adapt movement classes skilfully to cater for all needs.

Photo: Gavin Joynt

Photo: Doug Moody

Erica Mulkern

Erica Mulkern is a professional dancer, teacher, choreographer and mentor based in West Yorkshire, UK. She is currently a dancer with Balbir Singh Dance Company and Northern Dance.

She trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance where she achieved a first-class honours degree and the Carolyn Woolridge Prize, followed by an MA in Contemporary Dance.

Erica has worked with Black Box Dance Company, Maxine Fell, Jana Bitterová, The Hexagon Collective, Dionysia Bouzioti, Tina Tarpgaard, Jason Mabana, Marie Brolin-Tani, Steph Giles, Joseph Reay-Reid, Jacob Stage, Melody Putu, Alexander Michael, Lila Naruse and Gerry Turvey.

Photo: Doug Moody

Joe Harris

Joe Harris is a guitarist, composer and producer based in Leeds. He is a founding member of Gotts Street Park, releasing ‘Volume 1’ in 2017 on Blue Flowers Records, and the band has an album deal with PIAS.

As a freelance studio artist, Joe has written and recorded with major label names. Most recently he worked with Brit Award and BBC Sound of 2020 winner Celeste Waite to release ‘Both Sides of the Moon’ and ‘Lately’. Other features include Kali Uchis, Pip Millet, Yellow Days, Rosie Lowe. His songs have been played worldwide via Apple Beats 1, BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, 1Xtra, 6 music and more.

Joe has performed live throughout the UK and Europe with several ensembles. His interest in improvised music led him to study Jazz at Leeds College of Music and most recently Indian classical music with frequent collaborator Jesse Bannister. He is currently in the studio finishing a full-length album with Gotts Street Park.

Sam Bell

Sam Bell is a percussionist and a resident musician at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. He has worked with Phoenix Dance Company and is currently collaborating with Reggae Jazz Contemporary Dance Company. Sam is also a session musician, Leeds University lecturer, and a band leader of the critically acclaimed UK-based salsa band, The Casa Latina All Stars.

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
Performance
Who was Hans Krebs?
The Citric 
 Acid cycle
Accessibility
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