Bruise Blood’s starting point was the music. Shobana had met vocal performer Shlomo (“the human beatbox”) and discovered a shared interest in the music of Steve Reich and were taken by his piece Come Out, 1966. Come Out uses words spoken by a young black Harlem man in the 1960s; he had been wrongly arrested and had to let out his ‘bruise blood’ to show he had been assaulted by the police. His blood was the only evidence available to him. From that specific event Shobana took a more general point: the idea that someone offering up their own body as evidence is also what dancers do.
Although Reich moves quickly from documentary to the abstract, Shobana connects to the evidential nature of dance, which shows its tangled history through the machinery of the human body.