Illustration: David Andrassy

Peacock Lake is Balbir Singh’s ice spectacular, developed and first performed as part of Billingham International Festival of World Dance in 2017. Having opened the previous year’s festival with a highly successful sell-out performance of Synchronised, Balbir was keen to see where his collaboration with the festival could go next.

Balbir worked closely with festival director Olga Maloney, whose career background in professional skating brought a deep knowledge of Russia’s ice-skating traditions to complement Balbir’s own cultural interests and experience.

From this starting point Balbir embarked on a wide-ranging creative development process, immersing himself in the history of ice-skating and exploring the rich folk traditions of Russia and India. Along the way he discovered a number of key motifs and ideas that both traditions shared in common.

genesis of the concept


From here it was a short, if creative leap to consider revisiting a western ice-skating classic through the diverse eyes of a different cultural tradition.

The resulting work is a modern take on Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. It draws on the narrative and musical legacy of that great work, to create a contemporary piece reflecting the diverse musical and choreographic traditions of East and West.

Below we reproduce some of the rich visual material, created as part of that development process.

Produced to share with partners and collaborators, they acted as both creative stimulus and promotional aid, articulating the ideas behind the piece and giving tangible form to what was, at least in the early stages, little more than a choreographic glimmer in Balbir’s creative eye.

genesis of the concept


Explore all

The Idea (learning to dance)
My destiny to bring them together
Natural curiosity and questions (learning to dance)
Composer thoughts (learning to dance)
The story (love and spice)
Dance with live cooking
On the trail of love and spice
Love, spice – and healthy eating
Breakdown of The Strategists
A dancer reflects on The Strategists (1)
An interview with Kuldip Singh Bist of the Delhi Hurricanes
Overview of The Strategists
Decreasing Infinity in India
Painter research
A dancer reflects on Love and Spice
Sooraj Subramaniam
Breakdown of the piece (12)
Dancer notes performance (flatlands)
Breakdown of the piece (love and spice)
Moon, dance
The Collaborators
Bones, Bodies and Beats
Peacock Lake – genesis of the concept
Script (12)
BMX and Flatland terminology
A dancer reflects on The Strategists (2)
Running order (full contact)
Watersplash! Uncovering hidden histories to reach new audiences
When Worlds Collide
Immersed in music
In the presence of geniuses
Olga Maloney
Exploring hidden worlds
Gary Beacom
A bridge to India
Jesse Bannister
A lost art?
Full Contact – highlights from the script
Kimberley Hardy
body/painting – dancers at an exhibition
Firing up the Mehfil Machine
Baines Cards
Who was Sir Hans Krebs?
Synchro in the city
Kali Chandrasegaram
Creative Case – challenges along the way
The Guru-Shishya relationship
Padmashri Guru Pratap Pawar
What is Kathak?
Life blood
A new aesthetic in the sport-art of synchro
AquaKathak – the creative water workout
Balbir on working with Gary
Colouring your emotions
Abirami Eswar
Care Homes Tour Leeds 2020
The Work: Act 1
The Work: Act 2
Erica Mulkern
John Ball
Artistic Highlights
Creative Case in action – July to September 2019
Covid-19 Update on Monday, April 6th, 2020
John Curry Olympic and World Champion
Finding my way in The Creative Spirit of John Curry
Talent Development – Abirami Eshwar
Talent Development – Kimberley Hardy
Collaborators: Lorna Brown and Gary Beacom