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Choreographing History – BBC Four film


The BBC and Sadler’s Wells are creating four 30-minute artist-led films for broadcast on BBC Four this May as part of their dance season. Each film introduces audiences to a different dance artist from diverse backgrounds and styles, taking you behind the scenes to observe them at different points in their career as they create new work or prepare for a new show. Including extended sequences of performance, each film offers viewers a unique insight into the world of dance in Britain today.

Choreographing History focusses on Shobana’s research and creative process for her new work Contagion, which evokes the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed over 50 million people.

The film gives a unique insight into a choreographer’s artistic process and their sources of inspiration as Shobana researches the pandemic and attempts to translate what she finds into movement as she workshops with dancers on stage.

As part of this process Shobana meets Professor John Oxford, one of the world leading authorities on the Spanish flu, who shares a lung sample of a British victim of the 1918 outbreak. Shobana also visits Professor Wendy Barclay, chair of influenza virology at Imperial College London. Professor Barclay has spent many years trying to learn everything she can about the way flu viruses behave and now leads a team of scientists based at her London laboratories. She shares how flu viruses act at microscopic level.

Watch an excerpt here

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