Photo by Kyle Glenn

As someone for whom socialising does not come naturally, to isolate is a default state. I have spent a lot of time in life in my own head and imagination, with creative thoughts as a bubbling undercurrent. This time of social distancing is a heaven-sent chance to lead a hermit-like existence, lost in the art. 

I find a solid pleasure in catching up with reading. I stay distracted from the world and mentally strong through the artform of literature, returning to a secret room of old friends that I have neglected over the years – Dickens, Hardy, Woolf, Shakespeare. Today I’m reading Ulysses:

Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves. 

I find myself breathing easier, continuing to grow and can feel myself being nurtured by Joyce’s rich imagery.

With all the creative ideas queueing up to be realised, artists are the vital means to bring them to life, develop them, translate them from the abstract into the real. Our process means realisation is not possible at the moment. Digital connections support a creative energy, but to be in the studio face-to-face with a shared creative energy building to a critical mass works best for me. This is a contradiction in my nature: being more natural at home, comfortable on my own but also needing to gather those wonderfully creative talents in person to create the bridges to realising the artistic vision.  

I don’t need much to come up with starting points. I think best in a quiet room, with a laptop to articulate thoughts, ideas and instructions. Having come up with the ideas, however abstract or vague, I shape and define them in my mind and structure the work way in advance of bringing a company of artists in. I’m mindful throughout of the journey we want to take the audience on. With the right artists assembled, we flesh out the structure of the piece, surprise and inspire each other with new directions of travel, bring new themes to explore and help to form the missing parts of the jigsaw. This people-fired creativity ensures it is right and good enough for an audience.   

It is usually in the downtime of holiday periods, where there is less distraction and busy-ness, where new ideas begin to form. Staff are used to me come the start of a new year, after Easter or the summer holidays, saying ‘I have had an idea.’ 

Pausing the world and getting off it sometimes is probably a dream a lot of people have from time to time, longing for some respite from the fast pace of life.  These are sad and dangerous times, yet if one can find a bubble of one’s own and stay safe, we have the gift of time, of pausing the world, of existing in the moment.

 As a company, we are trying to keep pace with all the ideas we are trying to realise. Reflection can sometimes be rushed or lacking, at other times it is ongoing. Being a parent I’m acutely aware of the need to keep up with one’s children as they grow, adapting to their thinking and loving how they see and make sense of the world. It’s the same with the creative nature of the company that constantly evolves and redefines its relationship to the art through each new project.

 Balbir Singh

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