‘You know how the place you were brought up in seems so ordinary, so familiar that you don’t even think about it? That’s how diversity is for us. You don’t go around looking at your home, saying “Look. How interesting. This place is so different.” You just get on with things. But since you ask . . .’

From the introduction to Life Blood

Life Blood is a creative contribution to the Creative Case for Diversity, from BSDC. Written in 2017. A collection of articles written by the company and insights from Balbir Singh. It explores the Creative Case through the lens of someone who grew up in a world between cultures, where outsider status was the norm, resilience was a given.

At Balbir Singh Dance Company, we always say we’re all about diversity. But quite often, we leave it at that. We realise that maybe sounds a bit churlish. It’s not. It’s just that we’ve never really stopped working for long enough to talk about it. But if ever there was a time to stop, reflect and draw out whatever it is that makes us what we are, this is it. So we wondered how we could contribute to the conversation, in a way that a) doesn’t state the obvious and, b) adds something positive that isn’t already out there.

That’s not easy, especially for a company that’s more used to making work than commentating on it. In the end, we went back to basics: what is the conversation about? It’s about the creative case for diversity. Not the social case, not the economic case. And certainly not the political case. It’s the creative case. So any exploration has to focus on how diversity is good for art. That suits us fine. Because, for our artistic director Balbir Singh, it’s all about creativity, all about the art.

Life Blood also has some really useful tips and ideas drawn from the company’s and Balbir’s life experience that will prompt and provoke you to think again about Creative Case.

Download a copy here

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