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