Shobana Jeyasingh

Artistic Director and Choreographer

Born in Chennai, India and with roots in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Shobana Jeyasingh lives and works in London. She has been creating dance works for 25 years. Her highly individual work has been seen in a variety of venues including theatres, outdoor and indoor sites and on film. It is work that is rooted in a vision of society that can be culturally coherent in new and unexpected ways and in a firm belief in the intellectual as well as the physical power of dance.

Especially commissioned music has been a significant feature of her work and has led to new scores from an array of contemporary composers ranging from Michael Nyman to beat boxer Shlomo. Her creative collaborators over the years have been drawn across a variety of media such as filmmakers, mathematicians, digital designers, writers, animators as well as award winning lighting and set designers.

Her critically acclaimed and pioneering dance works include [h]Interland which broke boundaries in 2002 as the first dance performance to be webcast live between the UK and India. Shobana’s work has been widely toured to festivals and venues in Europe, USA, India, Singapore, China, South Korea and Hong Kong. Commissions include works for Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Ballet Black, Beijing Dance Academy and City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong.

Her creations for unusual and outdoor settings include Pop Idle, an instant dance for non-dancers to be performed inside photo booths commissioned by Ricochet Dance, 2Step on the steps St Paul’s Cathedral for the City of London Festival, and Counterpoint, a work for 20 dancers and 55 fountains commissioned by English National Ballet and Somerset House, London. TooMortal, a work designed to be performed within the pews of historic churches was premiered at the Venice Biennale 2012 and toured in the UK and internationally. In 2013 King’s Cultural Institute appointed Shobana Jeyasingh Dance as one of three Knowledge Producers. Work in development includes a series of 5 films exploring the impact of dance on five academics and a collaboration with the Centre for Robotic Research at King’s College exploring the interaction between humans and robotic systems.

Shobana Jeyasingh has made a significant contribution to dance discourse in the UK and abroad through her published writings, papers, panel presentations and broadcast interviews.

Community and education work is an important and natural extension of the vision of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance. Shobana has run numerous choreographic residencies, mentoring programs and workshops most recently with hip hop dancers at Sadler’s Wells theatre. To tap the creative potential of each individual and share with him or her the uniquely empowering quality of designed movement has led the company to work in partnership with a wide range of organisations. These include Hestia Housing and Support, the mental health charity Mind and East London Dance as well as numerous UK schools and colleges. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance has a long and special association with The Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, a flagship for the company’s Empowering Women, Inspiring Girls program.

Shobana Jeyasingh achievements as a choreographer and her company’s contribution to dance discourse and dance education has been recognized by an honorary MA from Surrey University and an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University Leicester. She has won the Time Out award for best choreography twice. Shobana is a Research Associate at ResCen, the Centre for Research in Creation in the Performing Arts at Middlesex University.

Photo: JP Masclet