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★★★★★ The Times
‘When Shobana Jeyasingh is firing on all cylinders there is hardly another UK choreographer who can touch her.’

★★★★★ Culture Whisper
‘Shobana Jeyasingh’s fierce intelligence and outstanding ability to tell a story and convey emotions through her meticulous choreography.’

★★★★★ Broadway World
‘Contagion is sharp and precise, but also imaginatively inventive’

Contagion has been featured in three of the year’s best dance highlights of 2018:

‘It showed Jeyasingh at her most humane but also at her most uncompromisingly original and intelligent.’ 
Guardian 2018 dance highlights

‘A challenging and moving, not to mention overdue, act of remembrance to these Great War dead.’ 
Evening Standard best dance of 2018

‘Shobana Jeyasingh’s fierce intelligence and outstanding ability to tell a story and convey emotions through her meticulous choreography.’

 is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Contagion commemorates the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed more people than the First World War itself. The piece is inspired by the nature and spread of the flu virus, the unseen enemy that mankind was battling within, while engaging in more conventional warfare in the world outside. The striking work of the Austrian artist Egon Schiele, who fell victim to the Spanish flu, forms a visual footnote to the piece.

Set to an atmospheric soundscape, this dance installation with digital visuals echoes the scientific features of a virus – rapid, random and constantly shape-shifting. Eight female dancers contort and mutate as they explore both the resilience and the vulnerability of the human body.

This is a standing performance presented in unusual venues, many with connections to the First World War.

The work will be accompanied by an innovative learning programme, bringing the public closer to a subject that remains relevant today.

Watch the live streamed performance from The Great Hall, Winchester

Listen to Surface Tension – the podcast from Shobana Jeyasingh Dance.
In Episode 1, Guardian Dance Critic Sanjoy Roy talks to Shobana and composer Michael Nyman about their collaboration on Configurations from 1989.

Gymnasium Gallery, Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Sat 15 Sept: 1pm, 3.30pm, 6pm
Sun 16 Sept: 1pm, 3.30pm
The Great Hall, Winchester
Sat 22 Sept: 11am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm
Sun 23 Sept: 11am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm Live Stream
Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich
Fri 5 Oct: 7.30pm
St Gabriel’s Church Hall, Sunderland
Thu 18 Oct: 2pm, 6pm
Fri 19 Oct: 2pm, 6pm
Imperial War Museum North
as part of Manchester Science Festival
Sun 21 Oct: 12pm, 2.30pm
British Library, London
2 Nov: 6.30pm (Sold Out), 9pm (Sold Out)
3 Nov: 6pm (Sold Out), 8.30pm (Available)

Suitable for ages 12+

Available for touring

'Vivid, moving and stunningly stylised'

The Times

'A moving act of remembrance.'

Evening Standard

'The body's feverish battleground'


Watch the trailer

Creative Team

Shobana Jeyasingh / Concept, Choreography & Direction Merle Hensel / Set & Costume Design Yaron Abulafia / Lighting Design Nina Dunn / Video Design Graeme Miller / Composer


Avatâra Ayuso Catarina Carvalho Vânia Doutel Vaz Sunbee Han Rachel Maybank Estela Merlos Emily Pottage Ruth Voon


Homepage photo by Chris Nash. Production images by Jane Hobson.

Research and development photography and footage taken at Studio Wayne McGregor

Digital partner Flying Object

Contagion is co-commissioned by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Supported by The Deborah Loeb Brice Donor Advised Fund at CAF America, Garcia Family Foundation, Dr Michael and Anna Brynberg Charitable Foundation, The Mila Charitable Organisation, Oak Foundation, Wellcome and our Creative Circle supporters.

Research and development photos taken by Foteini Christofilopoulou

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