John Ball is a composer, tabla and santoor player, and a long time collaborator with Balbir Singh Dance Company, performing in Decreasing Infinity, The Telling of Tales, Irish Indian Dreams and The Boy with the Rollerblades amongst others.
John completed a Master of Arts in Musicology and Ethnomusicology from the University of York in 2000, and he is currently working with the University of Sheffield as World Music Performer in Residence, teaching North Indian Classical Music tabla and 100 stringed santoor.

A collaborator at heart and a generous performer, John Ball has received meticulous and intensive santoor training under the guidance of Sri Harjinder Pal Singh a senior disciple of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. He also received extensive training from some of India’s greatest tabla maestros including Sri Sudhir Saxena, Ustad Faiyaz Khan and Pandit Yogesh Samsi, and has accumulated over twenty years of experience playing tabla.

He is often playing in world music ensembles, collaborating with Western Classical, West African, Jazz, Folk, and Pop Musicians. He routinely performs on tabla and santoor with Rafiki Jazz, a Sheffield based 10-piece world music collective. Mishra, a Sheffield based Indo-Folk music quartet made University of Sheffield music graduates and the world-famous dancer Padmashri Guru Pratap Pawar in several Kathak performances.

John has worked with a broad spectrum of artists including Sarathy Korwar, Juldeh Camara (BBC World Music Award Winner), Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley. His research focuses on the adaptation of ‘Indian music’ skills and aesthetics on ‘Western’ and/or non-Indian instruments with interest in exploring improvisation skills through Indian music rhythmic and melodic concepts.

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