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The Ninth Life

Information and tickets for Bayadère – The Ninth Life 2017


In March 2015, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance premiered a new theatre work, Bayadère – The Ninth Life, commissioned by the Royal Ballet Studio Programme and inspired by the ballet La Bayadère. Drawing on Marius Petipa’s original choreography and the stories of the first real ‘temple dancers’ to visit Europe, Shobana illuminates the West’s fascination with the myth of the Orient. She examines how this legacy has directly affected the Indian diaspora today, and how the story of La Bayadère relates to modern fantasies of East and West.

mac Birmingham
18 Mar 2015

Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
25–28 Mar 2015

The Point, Eastleigh
2 Apr 2015

Watford Palace Theatre
6 May 2015

Exeter Northcott Theatre
12–13 May 2015

.. keep the words Shobana Jeyasingh Dance very much at the forefront of your mind ...utterly mesmerising

Culture Whisper

In this strange other-world of dappled light ... Jeyasingh choreographs her own Bayadère to magical effect

Critical Dance

[Jeyasingh uses] dancers to portray, simultaneously, the visceral intensity of the devadasis and the wary fascination of their observers

The Guardian

Creative Team

Shobana Jeyasingh / Concept, Choreography & Direction

“When Shobana Jeyasingh is firing on all cylinders there is hardly another UK choreographer who can touch her” – The Times


Shobana Jeyasingh was born in Chennai ,India and has lived in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. She founded Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in 1989 and has created over 60 critically acclaimed works for stage, screen and out and indoor sites ranging from Palladian monasteries in Venice to contemporary fountains in London.


Shobana’s work is noted for both its intellectual rigour and its visceral physicality. It is rooted in her experience and perspective of life as a female postcolonial citizen of the world. She trained in Bharata Natyam (the classical dance of Tamil Nadu), under Vazhuvoor Samaraj Pillai and read English Literature, specialising in Shakespeare at The University of Sussex. Over the course of a distinguished career she has collaborated with scientists, curators, composers, film makers, digital creatives, dancers and designers to make dynamic multi-disciplinary work that places the body centre stage in the dialogue of ideas.


“Petipa’s La Bayadère is the ultimate orientalist fantasy. Now, 138 years – and a seismic shift in sensibility – later, Petipa’s ballet is ripe for reinvention. And there’s surely no choreographer better qualified for the task than Shobana Jeyasingh …marvellous, inspiring mesh of history, poetry and ideas” – The Guardian


Her work has toured extensively in UK, Europe, USA, Turkey, India, China Singapore and Hong Kong. A number of works form part of the National Curriculum for Dance in the UK. Notable commissions include work for Rambert, Ballet Black, Company Wayne McGregor, the Venice Biennale, Beijing Modern Dance Academy, Contemporary City Dance Company Hong Kong, and Opera National du Rhin in France. Works such as Faultline (a response to the London tube bombings) TooMortal (for historic churches) Material Men redux (on 19th century indentured labour) have been included in UK end of year best-of lists for their respective years.


“With her emotionally honest approach to choreography, she has produced more than 50 dance works that make the audience think, dream and dissent.” – The HIndu


“The choreography is dizzyingly vibrant, absolutely engrossing … While the surface is hard and aggressive the dancers are ambiguous human subtle ” – Dagens Nyheter Stockholm


Her work for theatre includes choreography for the trailblazing Tara Arts in London and Tamasha Theatre Company. She has worked in productions at the Half Moon Theatre and at The National Theatre London.


The show is emotional, arduous, and enlightening. It’s a stunningly distressing piece, telling untold stories through sweat and exacting movement, while Jeyasingh both educates and wows through two artists who are truly mesmerising to watch. ” -Theatre Review


Shobana’s contributions to dance include writings, talks as well as presentations on numerous media platforms. She worked as researcher and scriptwriter for two pioneering programmes on British Asian Arts for Channel Four. More recently she was a judge for BBC Young Dancer in both 2017 and 2019. She has served on the panels of the Arts Council of England, Greater London Arts, London Contemporary Dance Trust and The Royal Opera House. She is patron of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.


Shobana was a founder member and research fellow of Rescen at Middlesex University a research centre into processes, practices and contexts of performance. She was invited to take on the role of knowledge producer by the Cultural Institute at Kings College London in 2014 which led to Translocations, a series of films where choreographic narratives met a range of academic disciplines such as Informatics and Neurobiology. She was awarded a Nesta Dream Fellowship to visit China and Japan and experience their contemporary dance cultures. Shobana holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Leicester and Chichester as well as an honorary MA from the university of Surrey. She was named Asian Woman of Achievement in Art and Culture 2008. Shobana was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the WOW Women in Creative Industries Awards in 2017. In 2020 she was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).


” Jeyasingh plays elegant games with the question of how an art form can feed off its history without actually cannibalising it. Such tempering of energy with intelligence is the mark of a classic” -The Evening Standard


David Micklem / Creative Producer

David is an experienced producer, cultural leader and strategic thinker with a demonstrable track record in supporting artists, delivering significant arts projects and influencing policy. He has played a central role in some of the most talked-about performance projects of the last decade including Punchdrunk’s mould-breaking The Masque of the Red Death, Royal de Luxe’s The Sultan’s Elephant, BAC’s One-on-One Theatre Festival and WildWorks’ BABEL. From 2007 until 2012 he was Joint Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Battersea Arts Centre, a ground-breaking theatre in South London. Prior to that he was Senior Theatre Officer in the national office of Arts Council England. He is currently working independently as a producer, consultant, trainer and writer.

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.

Adam Wiltshire / Set & Costume Design

Adam Graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a First Class Honours in BA Theatre Design and in 2003 he became a group winner of the Linbury Biennial for Theatre Design. He has designed productions for the Royal Ballet including Tanglewood, Sensorium and Children of Adam; also Miracle in the Gorbals and Quatrain for Birmingham Royal Ballet. Opera designs include As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, Almeida Opera; Romeo et Juliette & Bluebeard’s Castle, Opera North; Blond Eckbert, Birds, Barks, Bones, Opera Group; Teseo, Promised End, Duenna, ETO; Albert Herring, Mid Wales Opera; and Le Nozzie di Figaro; RNCM. Plays include The Arrival, Tamasha; Baggage, Arts Theatre; as well as productions for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Watford Palace, The Tron, Stratford Royal East, Mercury Theatre, The New Wolsey, Unicorn and the Salisbury Playhouse. In his role as an international associate Adam has opened productions in Korea, Australia and Japan.

Fabiana Piccioli / Lighting Design

Fabiana Piccioli studied philosophy in Rome, graduating in 1999, while also training in ballet and contemporary dance. Between 2000 and 2001 she performed with a number of dance companies in Belgium, and in 2002 she returned to Rome for the RomaEuropa Festival where she worked as Production Manager for three years.

In 2005 she moved to London to join the Akram Khan Company as Technical Director and Lighting Designer touring with the company worldwide. Since going freelance in 2013 she has collaborated with many international artists and choreographers. In 2013 Fabiana won the Knight of Illumination Award (Best Lighting for Dance) for her work on Akram Khan’s iTMOi.

Richard Twyman / Dramaturg

Richard Twyman is International Associate at the Royal Court Theatre. As theatre director: Fireworks, The Djinns of Eidgah, PIIGS (Royal Court), Henry IV Pt II (RSC), Ditch (Hightide/Old Vic Tunnels), Dr Marigold & Chops (Theatre Royal Bath & Tour), The Mystery of Charles Dickens (West End) Sixty-Six Books (Bush), Give Me Your Hand (Irish Rep, New York)

Awards include: Olivier Awards for Best Company & Best Revival, Evening Standard Editor’s Choice Award (Henry IV Pt II, The RSC Histories Cycle)

Dance (Dramaturg/Theatre Consultant): Please Be Seated (New Movement Collective, Royal Festival Hall), Who Killed Bambi? (Renaud Wiser Company, Greenwich Dance), Nest (New Movement Collective, Stone Nest).

Adam Peck / Dramaturgical Consultant

Adam is a dramaturg and playwright, a Yorkshireman, and an Associate Artist of Bristol Old Vic Theatre. He is currently working on Medusa for Bristol Old Vic, My First Ballet: Swan Lake for English National Ballet, Varmints for Sadler’s Wells, and Fagin for Avant Garde Dance. Previous credits include the Olivier-award nominated and Offie-award winning Cinderella: A Fairytale for Tobacco Factory Theatres, Minotaur for Bristol Old Vic, and Bonnie & Clyde which has been produced in Bristol, London, San Francisco and Athens, and is published by Oberon Books.

Fahrudin Nuno Salihbegovic / Video Interaction Design Consultant 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.

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.


Avatâra Ayuso

Avatâra trained in ballet (Conservatorio de Mallorca) and Linguistics (BA and MA, Universidad Complutense de Madrid) before moving to London to train 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. As a choreographer, she has presented work internationally in Europe, Africa and Asia. Over the years, Avatâra has received several awards and grants to develop her skills as a dance researcher and cultural leader (completing studies with the Open University UK and the prestigious Clore Leadership Programme Emerging Leaders). She is Associate Artist of the European Centre for the Arts Hellerau Dresden and her AVA Dance Company Associate of The Creative Academy Slough. She was nominated for the 2015 UK National Dance Awards. Since 2007, Avatâra has collaborated 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.

Nathan Goodman

Nathan studied Dance at the BRIT School (2002-2006), then went on to train at London Contemporary Dance School graduating in 2009. Nathan joined Richard Alston Dance Company in 2009 until 2014. Since then he has become a freelance artist and has worked with Arthur Pita & Headspacedance, Hofesh Shechter, Wayne McGregor, Chisato Minamimura, Fevered Sleep, Rosie Kay Dance Dance Company, Anna Watkins (Tavaziva Dance) and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance.

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.

Davin King

Davin is originally from Trinidad and Tobago but has grown up in London. He started his dance training at the BRIT School for performing arts and completed his vocational training at both London Studio Centre and London Contemporary Dance School graduating in 2008. Since then he has worked as a freelance artist for dance companies which include Henri Oguike Dance Company, National Dance Company Wales, The Balletboyz, Marc Brew Company, Staatstheater Kassel in Germany and both The Royal Opera and English National Opera. In February 2014 Davin choreographed his first professional work which was shown at The Place as part of Resolution!

Emily Pottage

Born in Nottingham, Emily started dancing at her local dance school at the age of 3. Emily started training at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in 2010 and during this time she performed in works by Kerry Nicholls, Mark Baldwin, and Ross McKim. During her 2nd year at Rambert Emily received the Charlotte Kirkpatrick Prize, which is awarded in recognition of effort, talent and exceptional potential for a future career within the dance world. Emily joined NDCWales as an apprentice dancer in 2013 and performed in works by Stephen Shropshire, Angelin Preljocaj, Eleesha Drennan, Stephen Petronio and Christopher Bruce. Since leaving the company, Emily has worked with Phoenix Dance Theatre on a short project and was guest artist on National Dance Company Wales’ international tour. Emily joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in 2014.

Sooraj Subramaniam

Sooraj Subramaniam began training at the Sutra Dance Theatre, Malaysia, in Bharatanatyam, Odissi, classical ballet and contemporary dance forms. He graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance) from the Western Australian Academy for Performing Arts.

Since 2007 Sooraj has been working in the United Kingdom, principally with Srishti – Nina Rajarani Dance Creations, and also with Akademi, Balbir Singh Dance Company and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, performing across the UK and Europe. Currently he lives in Belgium and works as a freelancer.

Photo by Simon Richardson

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.

Georgina Hill (Apprentice Dancer)


Commissioned by The Royal Ballet Studio Programme
Music by Gabriel Prokofiev, performed by arrangement with Faber Music Ltd, London
Photos by Chris Nash, Bill Cooper ©ROH, 2015
Generously supported by Arts Council England, Oak Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation

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