The famous ‘watersplash final’ of 1968 was one of the many moments from Rugby League folklore that inspired Balbir Singh to create Full Contact. Yet for every well-loved story from the sport’s picturesque history, there is a treasure of trove of local tales that have yet to see the light of day.

Full Contact was originally commissioned by Leeds Inspired to celebrate the Rugby League World Cup 2013. To create the piece, choreographer Balbir Singh worked closely with members of the Rugby League and the wider local community, exploring the rich and often little known history that helped make the game – and the Rugby League community – what they are today.

Full Contact’s life affirming tales of communities pulling together and of the eccentric characters that live on in Rugby League’s collective memory, have a universal appeal for all audiences. Interwoven with live music, dance and visual evocations of the games, the storyteller recounts some of the game’s most memorable moments:

The Enforcer

One the game’s all-time toughest enforcers of fair play was a 57-year-old grannie called Minnie Cotton, famous in the 1970s for marching onto the pitch, brolly in hand, to mete out punishment to any offending players . . .

John Jack Harrison

The real life ‘Roy of the Rovers’ character, who found an unlikely use for his Rugby skills on the battlefields of the First World War, dodging between shell holes towards enemy lines. While tossing a grenade in the direction of a machine gun post he was hit. The machine gun fell silent. But Jack was never seen again . . .

The Watersplash Final

The 1968 cup final is one of the most talked-about in the history of the competition. Amid torrential rain and a pitch that resembled a lake, in the dying moments of game Wakefield’s Don Fox made a fateful mistake that was to earn him Eddie Waring’s famous epithet “the poor lad” . . .

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
Namron
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 Eshwar