Balbir Singh Brings A New Performance Home To Bradford Celebrating Age And Wisdom  

Balbir Singh Dance Company is proud to announce the World Premiere of a new dance performance ‘The Wise Ones’ to be performed on December 10th and 11th 2021 at 7.30pm at Kala Sangam in Bradford.  

Artistic Director and Bradfordian Balbir Singh owes much to the city for helping him in his choice of career and his introduction to Indian dance would not have happened without the help of Bradford-based Unniti South Asian Dance. For his latest work, he will gather world class performers from London, Liverpool and Leeds to work with the company in Bradford this December. ‘The Wise Ones’ are played by two septuagenarians, dance giants Bisakha Sarker and Guru Pratap Pawar, and by veteran breakdancer from Leeds Villmore James, alongside younger performers who will pair with them to play their younger selves.  

‘The Wise Ones’ is a passion project for Balbir Singh. He explains: ‘I’ve always dreamed of bringing all my favourite older dancers together in one show. These dancers were my mentors and I can’t forget that. ‘The Wise Ones’ is helping me to achieve that dream on my doorstep as well as helping the next generation’   

‘The Wise Ones’ celebrates the powerful gifts of our older people and explores the forces that have shaped them. It is a work about ageing and the acquisition of wisdom that unites a live music score with contemporary Western and classical Indian dance. The choreography has taken influence from the journey of life, battles between good and evil, light and darkness. ‘The Wise Ones’ is an uplifting work, revealing the past in the present, as our lead characters pass on their stories – and their wisdom – to the next generation. The audience will experience intricate and expressive movement from the dancers along with colourful costumes, engaging storytelling and an unusual take on unpacking the dilemmas of growing old.  

The dancers will be accompanied by live music created by composer and virtuoso instrumentalist Jesse Bannister. Jesse and Balbir are long-time friends and collaborators sharing a mixed heritage background and a ‘third culture’ sensibility. ‘ It’s great to bring Jesse into this work. We always like to push each other out of our comfort zones and the work is always the better for it.’ Jessie agrees: ‘It’s fantastic to be able to make work together again.’ Jesse will be joined on stage by vibrant guitarist Joe Harris. 

‘The Wise Ones’ is a commission from Kala Sangam, Bradford’s Arts Centre. Specialising in South Asian arts and culture, Kala Sangam aims to reflect the diversity of contemporary Britain through the work they present, the artists they support and the communities they engage.  

As part of the celebratory atmosphere, audiences will be able to enjoy a pre-show festive drink and delicious post-show curry with their tickets. Like all work presented at Kala Sangam, these performances will be Pay What You Decide, which means you don’t have to pay until after you have seen the event. 

Balbir Singh said he’s looking forward to seeing old and new friends from the City ‘Covid has upended a lot of people’s lives and now more than ever we need to celebrate people of all ages. Dance and music have such immediacy and impact – ‘The Wise Ones’ will be a symbol for the future of Bradford. There’s no better way to lift the spirits than to come together in your local venue.’  

Alex Croft, Creative Director of Kala Sangam said, ‘New work from Balbir Singh Dance Company is always exciting but we are particularly proud to be hosting the premiere of ‘The Wise Ones’ here in Bradford, the city where he started his career. This show will be a celebration of the power and influence of dancers who have inspired not just Balbir but generations of dancers in the UK. In an artform that can be very focused on youth, it’s important to be acknowledging those that came before and from whose wisdom we can and do learn.’ 

Director of UK City of Culture bid for Bradford 2025 Richard Shaw has spoken of the transformational power of the arts and culture to Bradford and ‘The Wise Ones’ will make a fantastic contribution to culture in Bradford this winter season.  

About Balbir Singh Dance Company 

BSDC was founded in 2005 by Bradford’s Balbir Singh, one of the region’s most accomplished creatives.  The company is based in Leeds at Yorkshire Dance. Balbir’s mission has been to bring together the very best in classical Indian and western contemporary dance and Balbir has trained in both dance genres. He has created over 20 eclectic dance productions around the world on traditional stages and in communities to celebrate and commemorate national and international occasions, both large and small. His choreography has been presented in swimming pools, ice rinks and woodlands and well as on traditional stages of all sizes. BSDC has performed at the Edinburgh Festival, as part of the 2012 London Olympics and to celebrate the Women’s Rugby League World Cup. BSDC is supported by Arts Council England through its National Portfolio funding scheme.  

About Kala Sangam: 

Kala Sangam is an intercultural arts hub based in the heart of Bradford city centre which reflects the diversity of contemporary Britain through the work it presents, the artists it supports and the communities it engages. In addition to the company’s two performance programmes a year, Kala Sangam delivers outreach activity in schools and communities across Bradford and throughout the country, as well as delivering classes and workshops in a number of art forms. The organisation’s thriving Arts Centre houses two main spaces – The Ganges Theatre and The Indus Hall – alongside a number of high quality meeting spaces and the independently run Roof Top Café, making it an ideal venue for conferences, large events, weddings and meetings of any size. I 01274 303340 I  

Kala Sangam, St Peter’s House, 1 Forster Square, Bradford, BD1 4TY 

While restrictions have been eased, please remember to follow the latest COVID-19 guidelines in order to enjoy these events in a safe and responsible manner.