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Strange Blooms

In the autumn of 2013, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance celebrated its 25th anniversary with a new commission for London’s prestigious Southbank Centre. Performed by world-class dancers, Strange Blooms proved to be propulsive and stimulating. The piece was inspired by the study of plants. Shobana focused on their cellular processes, their morphologies and patterns of growth, as registered in the lens of the time-lapse film.

Collaborations with an inspired choice of composers have always been the hallmark of the company, and Strange Blooms was no exception. Gabriel Prokofiev, composer, producer and DJ at the forefront of the UK classical music scene, shares a bold distinctive take on past and present.

In 2015, Strange Blooms was revived and presented as part of a double bill with Material Men.

Exeter Northcott Theatre
14–15 Nov 2013
Double bill with Configurations

The Performance Centre, University College Falmouth
27 Nov 2013
Double bill with Configurations

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London
3–4 Dec 2013
Double bill with Configurations

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London
16–17 Sept 2015
Double bill with Material Men

The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
22 Sept 2015
Double bill with Material Men

Brighton Dome
6 Oct 2015
Double bill with Material Men

Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea
8 Oct 2015
Double bill with Material Men

Aberystwyth Arts Centre
15 Oct 2015
Double bill with Material Men

 

There is no gentleness in Jeyasingh’s representation of nature; it’s almost like watching time lapse footage.

bachtrack.com

Hand patterns and deep pliés suggest Jeyasingh’s classical roots, with contemporary weight to her fierce lines.

The Independent
 

Jeyasingh’s new creation, Strange Blooms, is a work of strange beauty.

londondance.com

Creative Team

Shobana Jeyasingh / Concept, Choreography & Direction

Shobana Jeyasingh has been creating dynamic, fearless and enigmatic dance works for over 27 years. Born in Chennai, India, she currently lives and works in London. Her acclaimed, highly individual work has been witnessed in all kinds of venues, including theatres, outdoor and indoor sites and on film. Her work taps into both the intellectual and physical power of dance, and is rooted in her particular vision of culture and society.

Shobana’s work is often enriched by specially commissioned music composed by an array of contemporary composers — from Michael Nyman to beat-boxer Shlomo. Her eclectic band of creative collaborators have included filmmakers, mathematicians, digital designers, writers, animators, as well as lighting and set designers.

Lavishly honoured and awarded, Shobana has also made a significant contribution to dance in the UK and internationally through her published writings, papers, panel presentations and broadcast interviews.

Gabriel Prokofiev / Composer

Gabriel Prokofiev is a London-based composer, producer, DJ and founder of the NONCLASSICAL record label & club-night. Composing music that both embraces and challenges western classical traditions, Gabriel has emerged at the forefront of a new approach to classical music in the UK at the beginning of the 21st century. His compositions have been performed at a diverse range of venues, from the Royal Albert Hall and Tchaikovsky Hall, through to East London night-clubs & warehouses. With performers including Daniel Hope, Vladimir Jurowski, Sascha Goetzel, Seattle Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Russian State Symphony, Copenhagen Philharmonic, and Princeton Symphony. Gabriel is published by Mute Song.

Guy Hoare / Lighting Designer

Dance work includes: Bruise Blood; Flicker, Strange Blooms (SJD); The Metamorphosis (Royal Ballet); Ex Nihilo/The Human Edge (Royal Ballet/ATMA Dance); The Land of Yes and The Land of No (Sydney Dance Company); And Who Shall Come to the Ball? (Candoco, International Tour); Made In Heaven; Love & War; Sea of Bones (Mark Bruce Company); Square Map of Q4 (Bonachela Dance Company); Chotto Desh (Akram Khan Company); White Space; Shot Flow; Second Signal (Henri Oguike); Without Stars (James Cousins).

Theatre includes: Strange Interlude (NT); A Doll’s House; Going Dark (Young Vic); Clarence Darrow (Old Vic); Roots; Serenading Louie; (Donmar Warehouse); Little Revolution; Waste (Almeida); Electra (The Gate); Peter Pan (National Theatre of Scotland); Faith Healer (Bristol Old Vic); As You Like It; A Christmas Carol; Macbeth (WYP).

Opera includes: Jakob Lenz (ENO, Hampstead Theatre); The Firework-Maker’s Daughter (The Opera Group); King Priam, Paul Bunyan; The Lighthouse; Don Giovanni; Eugene Onegin (ETO).

Jan Urbanowski / Video Designer

Jan began working with moving image and post-production after developing techniques in special effects for film whilst working for companies such as Glassworks and Framestore. He progressed into design and editing, working as a motion graphics director for CC-Lab where he composed music, edited and animated content.

After working with Flynn Productions as senior in-house editor he began his independent directing career working closely with Onedotzero who explore and develop new generation filmmakers. His work includes live visuals, promos, installations, commercials and emergent technologies.

Jan has worked with a wide range of artists, including Russell Maliphant, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lady Gaga, George Michael, Q Tip, Nitin Sawhney, Pet Shop Boys & Kasabian. Recent projects include working with the EU in developing novel visualisation tools for enhanced nanotechnology awareness. Jan is also the founder and creative director of Rysunku, an independent record label which encourages and promotes forward thinking individuals in the creative arts with an approach sensitive to cultural fusions and experimentation. He currently works from his studio in London Clerkenwell.

jasiurb.com

Fabrice Serafino / Costume Designer

Fabrice’s theatre experience includes 15 years as a dancer for various internationally renowned companies. In September 2004, he left dancing to attend the prestigious Motley Theatre Design Course. Since then, he has designed extensively for theatre, dance and opera.

Dance designs include Coppélia (Wroclaw Opera House), Elegie (Ballet Black, ROH2), Nest, In The Hands of Others, Solo? and Anatomica # 3 (Rambert Dance Company), Magpie and Running on Empty (Probe,UK tour), Dear Body (ProteinDance, UK tour), Hinterland (BareBones Dance, UK tour), Kith/Kin, Gameshow and Pictures We Make (Company Chameleon, UK tour), Three and Four Quarters (HeadSpace Dance).

fabriceserafino.com

Bronia Housman / Production Designer

Bronia Housman trained at the Motley Theatre Design Course and Kent University. Recent designs include work at Glyndebourne, Sadler’s Wells, La Carrière de Normandoux, Nottingham Playhouse and Arcola Theatre. Bronia has been Es Devlin’s associate since 2004, where she has worked on opera, theatre, dance and pop music around the world including Complicité, London Olympic Closing Ceremony and at the Royal Opera House.

Chris Fogg / Dramaturgical Support

Chris Fogg is a writer, producer, director and dramaturg. As a dramaturg his recent credits include: Alexander Whitley: The Grit in the Oyster; Lost Dog: Paradise Lost; Sadhana: Under My Skin and The Unkindest Cut; Tavaziva Dance: Africarmen; Theo Clinkard: Of Land & Tongue; Yorke Dance: Figure Ground. As Creative Producer for the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund he is supporting research being undertaken by Rosemary Lee, and he is currently producing the next project for Probe with Antonia Grove. Between 2009 and 2013 he was Creative Producer at South East Dance leading their Associate Artists programme, developing work with Subathra Subramaniam, Ben Wright, Lucy Cash and Charlie Morrissey, and between 2011 and 2013 he was also Associate Producer at Akademi, where he developed their strategy for Artist Development. As a director he has developed All the Ghosts Walk with Us in collaboration with Laila Diallo and Phil King, and Tree House in association with Farnham Maltings, both written by Chris and toured in 2016. His second book of poems, stories and essays, Northern Songs, was published in 2015 by Mudlark Press.

Elisabetta d’Aloia / Rehearsal Director

Elisabetta is a performer, rehearsal director and assistant choreographer. Born in Italy she trained at The Place and Laban where she gained an MA in Performance. As a movement director and assistant choreographer Elisabetta has worked with Russell Maliphant, Kim Brandstrup, Luca Silvestrini, Cameron McMillan, Alexander Whitley. As a performer Elisabetta has created work and performed with Transitions Dance Company, Bare Bones, Retina Dance Company, Protein Dance, Russell Maliphant Company, Stephanie Schober & Dance Company, Sarah Dowling and Theatre Rites. She was part of the 2008 Handover Ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. As a freelancer, her credits include Frantic Assembly, William Tuckett, Hofesh Shechter, Akram Khan, Kim Brandstrup, Arthur Pita, Jasmin Vardimon and Javier De Frutos. She has performed and assisted in operas directed by Deborah Warner and Carousel directed by Jo Davies. Elisabetta is the Subject Leader for the Centre for Advanced Training in Birmingham at DanceXchange. She is also a freelance dance teacher.

Hian Ruth Voon / Rehearsal Director

Ruth has danced for Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, Will Tuckett, Fin Walker, Art of Spectra (Sweden), Union Dance, Freddie Opoku-Addaie/Jagged Antics, Aletta Collins, Stephanie Schober, Mayuri Boonham/ATMA Dance, Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Palau de les Arts (Valencia) amongst others. She has worked with choreographers including Rafael Bonachela, Henri Oguike, Alex Reynolds, Stephan Koplowitz (New York), Mavin Khoo and Michael Joseph, and performed in aerial work (bungee and harness) for The Generating Company and Robyn Simpson. Ruth was a dancer in the ROH DanceLines project under the direction of Wayne McGregor, and she also participated in ArtsCross 2013. Commercial credits include World War Z, and music videos for James Blunt and Gabby Young & Other Animals. As a teacher Ruth has taught at Greenwich Dance Agency, The Place, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, Walker Dance and Union Dance. She was rehearsal director for Shobana Jeyasingh’s TooMortal and is also a qualified Yoga teacher.

Hayley Ryan / Rehearsal Assistant (2013)

Hayley joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in 2010. She has a first-class BA Hons in Dance and Culture from University of Surrey and in 2010 gained an MA in Dance:Performance at the University of Chichester, as a member of MAPDance. As an aerialist and dancer, Hayley has performed at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony, with Secret Cinema and their sister company Future Cinema and with various dance companies. She has also choreographed and taught for the Royal Academy of Dance’s Performance School, RAD’s Step Into Dance programme and various projects with DanceDigital.

Rachel Shipp / Production Manager Fred De Faye / Sound Engineer

A sonic artist and composer, and member of the People Show theatre, Fred learnt his trade in Paris as a recording engineer, moving to England to become the personal recording engineer of the Eurhythmics.

Through his career he has mixed and recorded albums for the likes of Bob Dylan, The Prodigy, Depeche mode, Tom Petty, David Gray and many more. He has sound designed for theatrical experiences created by Punchdrunk, Burberry, Tods and Philipp Plein fashion shows in Paris, London and Milan. Fred has also composed music for choreographer Garance Marneur, on behalf of Levy Dance in San Francisco, for Alone Together and Pull Me Closer part of the SF International Art Festival 2017.

Touring as a live sound engineer, his broad client base includes choreographer Lee Anderson, Patti Smith, and the KLF Welcome to the Dark Ages. Fred has worked with Shobana Jeyasingh for the past eight years.

Dancers

Avatâra Ayuso

Avatâra trained in ballet (Conservatorio Profesional de Mallorca) and Linguistics (BA and MA, Universidad Complutense de Madrid) before moving to London to trained at London Contemporary Dance School. In 2005 she became part of the D.A.N.C.E. programme where she worked and performed internationally under the artistic direction of William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Frédéric Flamand and Angelin Preljocaj. In 2008, she obtained a Masters in Professional Dance from Palucca Schule Dresden. Over the years, Avatâra has received several awards and grants to develop her skills as a choreographer, researcher and cultural leader. Avatâra has completed studies in leadership with the Open University UK and with the prestigious Clore Leadership Programme (Emerging Leaders). As a choreographer she is Associate Artist of the European Center for the Arts Hellerau Dresden and her AVA Dance company Associate of Creative Academy Slough. She was nominated for the 2015 UK National Dance Awards. Since 2007 she collaborates regularly with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance.

Richard Causer

Richard completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2004 and joined Expressions Dance Company (EDC-Australia) in 2006. He earned nominations for Most Outstanding Male Dancer for both the 2011 Australian Dance Awards (ADA) and Helpmann Awards, and again in 2012 ADA for performing is self choreographed work ‘Wilhelm Scream.’

Richard moved to London in 2012-15 working as a dancer, choreographer and teacher with various companies and independent choreographers and worked with Shobana Jeyasingh from 2013-2014 returning to EDC in Australia in 2016.
His Choreographic credits include works for the Malaysian Dance Festival, Aboriginal Centre of Performing Arts, EDC, QUT, Third Row Dance Company (UK), Centre of Advanced Training (UK), Inky Cloak Theatre Company (UK), and Raw Moves Dance Company (Singapore).

Richard has been nominated again for another Australian Dance Award for Best Male Dancer for 2017.

Sunbee Han

Sunbee was born in Seoul, South Korea, where she obtained a BA and MA in Dance & Dance Film from Han Yang University’s Arts Faculty. In 2009 she also won the gold medal at the Dong-A National Dance Competition – the most prestigious dance prize in South Korea. From 2007 to 2010 Sunbee danced with Garimda Dance Company in Seoul and in 2011 she joined the London-based Henri Oguike Dance Company, receiving critical acclaim for her first performances in the UK in Oguike’s V4.

In February 2014 Sunbee was featured as Dancer of the Month in Dancing Times, which was the first major interview of a Korean dancer in this magazine.

Sunbee joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dance for Strange Blooms in 2013.

Noora Kela

Noora was born in Finland, Helsinki. She started dancing at the age of 13. She went into full time dance training after she was granted a place at the Sibelius High School for music and dance in Helsinki (1997-2000). During this time she also worked for the Finnish National Theatre assisting on various plays and musicals. She graduated in 2003 from The London Contemporary Dance School with First Class Honours. Since then Noora has worked with Jan De Schynkel, David Bolger, Nigel Steward, Hubert Essakow, Fernando Magadan of NDT, and Tanja Raman. She also worked with the Henri Oguike Dance Company for four years, touring nationally and internationally. She joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in 2009. She has also worked with the ENO on two of their productions and been part of a few commercial videos.

Simone Muller-Lotz

Simone was born in Cape Town, South Africa and trained at Elmhurst Ballet School, The Royal Ballet Upper School and Central School of Ballet. On graduating she joined Northern Ballet Theatre. She then returned to South Africa and joined Cape Town City Ballet performing works by Van Danzig, North, Spoerli and Balanchine as well as principal roles in The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Simone worked with Ballet Theatre Afrikan, Free Flight Dance Company and the Cape Dance Company performing works by David Krugel (NDT) and Christopher Huggins (Ailey).

Since returning to the U.K. Simone has worked with Hubert Essakow, New Movement Collective, Mbulelo Ndabeni and Martin Joyce. She performed at the Edinburgh International Festival and at Sadler’s Wells in “Inala” featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo and choreographed by Mark Baldwin. Simone joined SJD in 2013 for Strange Blooms at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Teerachai Thobumrung

Born and raised in Thailand, Teerachai moved to the UK in 2002 aged sixteen to study music, and aged nineteen he discovered his interest in dance. He then trained at Lewisham College before joining the BA programme at London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) in 2008. He received the Charlotte Kirkpatrick Award for demonstrating exceptional potential as a male dance artist in 2010. After finishing his training at LCDS in 2011, Teerachai became a freelance dancer and worked with Martin Constantine, James Cousins, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui for the film Anna Karenina, Akram Khan for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and Henri Oguike. Teerachai is now working to support adults with learning disabilities, he is grateful to be able to use dance and his knowledge of movement in a new field of work.

Lee-Yuan Tu

Originally from Taiwan, Lee-Yuan graduated from the Dance College of Taipei National University of the Arts in 2011. He has previously worked with choreographers such as Meng-Ke Wu (Nederlands Dans Theater), Tanja Liedtke (DV8), Ho Hsiao-Mei (Meimage Dance) and Lin Hwai-Min (Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan). He has choreographed and performed After the End which won the Taiwan Golden Dance Award.

Marco Mantovani (Apprentice Dancer)

Originally from Verona, Italy, Marco started his training with the study of Ballet and modern dance. In 2010, Marco joined Northern School of Contemporary Dance and has since then created works with Alexander Whiteley, Simon Birch and Andrea Buckley. Whilst training, in 2012, he formed a youth dance group, AP group, and performed in Leeds and Poland.

Marco graduated from Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2013 with a Bachelor of Dance Performance and is now an apprentice with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance.

Antonette Dayrit

Born in London, Antonette trained at The Debra Bradnum Ballet School, The Royal Ballet School and Central School of Ballet, graduating with a BA Hons in Professional Dance with First Class Honours. As a student she performed with The Ballet Central 2005 Tour, The Royal Ballet Company and Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Antonette has worked professionally with CeDeCe, The Curve Foundation Dance Company, Malgorzata Dzierzon, Patricia Okenwa, Renaud Wiser, New Movement Collective, Alexander Whitley Dance Company and Rambert performing in works by renowned choreographers such as Christopher Bruce, Michael Clark, Merce Cunningham, Siobhan Davies, Javier de Frutos, Itzik Galili, Ashley Page and Paul Taylor.

She is currently a freelance dancer, teacher and became a STOTT PILATES® Trained Instructor in February 2015. Antonette joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dance for the revival of Strange Blooms in 2015.

Jason Mabana

Born in Belgium, from an Italian and Filipino heritage, Jason began dancing at an early age. Jason has recently graduated from the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, where he worked with choreographers such as Mark Baldwin, Kerry Nicholls, Christopher Bruce and Darren Ellis. Jason has been choreographing for Design for Dance at Central St Martins, UAL, and also for BBC Young Dancer 2015. As well as dancing with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, Jason will also join Akram Khan Company as an apprentice. Jason joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dance for the revival of Strange Blooms in 2015.

Estela Merlos

Born in Barcelona, Estela trained at Escola de Dansa Madó and Central School of Ballet. Before joining Rambert Dance Company (2008-2014) she danced with Cannes Jeune Ballet and IT Dansa (2004-2008). Since becoming independent she has performed with Didy Veldman, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, New Movement Collective, Patricia Okenwa, AVA Dance Company, Renaud Wiser, Hubert Essakow. Estela’s own choreographic work has been presented in Spain and the UK.

Wayne Parsons

Wayne has worked with National Dance Company of Wales (NDCWales), Richard Alston Dance Company, Sydney Dance Company, Motionhouse, Mark Bruce Company, Alexander Whitley Dance Company, Joe Moran Dance, Kim Brandstrup, Yorke Dance Project, SmallPetitKlein and Oguike Dance amongst others. Wayne has also been the recipient of an Arts Council of Wales grant and the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship.

Throughout his performance career, Wayne has also developed his choreographic practice. Most recently his duet Meeting was a finalist and the only representative from the UK to compete in the 6th Copenhagen International Choreography Competition in March 2013.

In 2014, Wayne created three new works. After working with London Studio Centre students he was invited back to make a new work for Intoto Dance Company. He also made a new work titled Like This? for London Contemporary Dance School’s 2014 graduation showcase performed at The Place, London. He was commissioned by Art Active in Cardiff to make Enter After Dark for their Dans Haf season. Wayne joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dance for the revival of Strange Blooms in 2015.

Jack Thomson

Jack is a London based dancer, photographer, choreographer and film maker. After training at Rambert School, Jack went onto to dance for Phoenix Dance Theatre performing choreography by Itzik Galli, Caroline Finn and Sharon Watson among others.

In addition to this he was a feature dancer in ENO’s award winning opera The Indian Queen (2015) choreographed by New York based Christopher Williams. Jack was also an original dancer in Mark Baldwins’ ‘Inala’ (2014 – 2015), featuring Lady Smith Black Mambazo which he performed national, internationally and for the Royal family at the 2014 Royal Variety Performance. Most recently he danced in the 16th revival of the Royal Opera House’s Turandot (2017) choreographed by Kate Flatt.

Jack joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dance for the revival of Strange Blooms in 2015 and is excited to perform in Bayadère – The Ninth Life.

www.jack-thomson.com

Hian Ruth Voon

Ruth has danced for Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, Will Tuckett, Fin Walker, Art of Spectra (Sweden), Union Dance, Freddie Opoku-Addaie/Jagged Antics, Aletta Collins, Stephanie Schober, Mayuri Boonham/ATMA Dance, Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Palau de les Arts (Valencia) amongst others. She has worked with choreographers including Rafael Bonachela, Henri Oguike, Alex Reynolds, Stephan Koplowitz (New York), Mavin Khoo and Michael Joseph, and performed in aerial work (bungee and harness) for The Generating Company and Robyn Simpson. Ruth was a dancer in the ROH DanceLines project under the direction of Wayne McGregor, and she also participated in ArtsCross 2013. Commercial credits include World War Z, and music videos for James Blunt and Gabby Young & Other Animals. As a teacher Ruth has taught at Greenwich Dance Agency, The Place, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, Walker Dance and Union Dance. She was rehearsal director for Shobana Jeyasingh’s TooMortal and is also a qualified Yoga teacher.

Credits

Commissioned by Southbank Centre
Gabriel Prokofiev’s music is performed by arrangement with Faber Music Ltd
Thanks to harpsichordist Jane Chapman
Photos by Chris Nash