|Born in Chennai, India and now living in London, Shobana Jeyasingh is a choreographer who has created, and continues to develop, a unique dance language that draws on her knowledge of contemporary dance, as well as Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam and the Indian martial art forms of Kalari and Chhau.
Shobana’s work is inspired by the coexistence of different personal and historical territories within the make-up of one individual, referencing issues of migration such as: ideas of home; boundaries; territories; belonging; leave-taking and new beginnings.
She founded Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company (SJDC) in 1988 and has produced numerous works for stage, theatre and television. Her recent work includes site-specific performances such as [h]Interland (2002) created for the Greenwich Borough Hall (with a live webcast from Bangalore, India), Café Event for the café at Waterman’s Arts, Brentford (2003) and Curve Chameleon for the City Hall, London (2003). In 2005 she was commissioned to make a work Foliage Chorus for, and inspired by, the new artsdepot building in north London.
Other commissioned works include Polar Sequences (2004) for Random Dance, Pop Idle for Ricochet’s Move Me Dance Booth and most recently a new specially commissioned dance work for City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong.
Shobana is renowned for commissioning new music from eminent composers such as Michael Nyman Exit No Exit (2005), Kevin Volans Surface Tension (1999), and Django Bates Fine Frenzy (1998). She regularly works with digital and sonic artists and recently commissioned Scanner and filmmaker Pete Gomes to contribute to Faultline (2006).
SJDC tours extensively throughout Britain, Europe, North America and Asia. The Company has visited major European and North American festivals such as SDrinndance in Holland, Nova Danca Britanica in Lisbon, Jacob’s Pillow Festival, Massachussetts and the Vienna Music Festival.
Over the last two decades Shobana has received numerous awards including: a London Dance and Performance award in 1988; three Digital Dance Awards; an Arts Council Women in the Arts Project award in acknowledgement of her valuable contribution to the arts; two Time Out Dance Awards. In 1993 her company was the overall winner of the prestigious Prudential Award for the Arts and her dance work Palimpsest was nominated for the South Bank Show Awards in 1996. In 1997 the Company was the subject of an hour-long BBC documentary In Between: 3 Dance Pieces by Shobana Jeyasingh.
Shobana was awarded an MBE in January 1995 for services to dance. She holds an honorary MA from Surrey University and an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University, Leicester. In 2005 she was awarded a NESTA Dream Time Fellowship, which took her on a research trip to China and Japan.