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 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