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Shobana Jeyasingh Dance's SJD SHORTS Presents Series of New Dance Films

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Shobana Jeyasingh Dance's SJD SHORTS Presents Series of New Dance Films

Shobana Jeyasingh, one of the UK's most fiercely-intelligent dance artists, turns her thought-provoking and surprising aesthetic to SJD SHORTS, a series of creative translations of some of her most resonant works for small screens. During lockdown Jeyasingh worked with filmmakers Terry Braun and Gary Tanner to sculpt new short films from raw footage of her original stage works.

Jeyasingh is known for work which is rooted in explorations of the important issues of our time. Three of the works in the series particularly exemplify her sensitivity to the zeitgeist - TooMortal with its themes of mortality and spirituality; Material Men redux with its stories of migrant exploitation and indentured labour and Contagion on the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

With a new and growing online audience for dance in mind, Jeyasingh and Guardian writer Sanjoy Roy, suitably distanced on their respective staircases, provide a lively context for SJD SHORTS. They introduce each short film then follow it with a freewheeling conversation about its creation and content. Some episodes will have extra 'making of' footage or footage of related projects with schools.

Jeyasingh says: "Creating SJD SHORTS was an incredibly stimulating process. Together with Sanjoy Roy, I wanted to explore how dance could be enjoyed in the times we find we ourselves in and speak to us about issues that concern us now. We were interested in curation, duration and translation - and creating something new which communicated the essence of the original works."

Until 5 July: TooMortal (director Gary Tanner)
Included in the Guardian's list of the best dance works of the 21st century so far, TooMortal sees six women dancing within the pews of a historic church. The story they weave moves between power and quiet reflection. Are they cast adrift on a wooden sea - or charting a journey from cradle to grave?

Monday 6 July: Outlander (director Terry Braun) / études (director Gary Tanner)
These two short works were each created in response to other works of art: Outlander to Paolo Veronese's 1563 masterpiece 'The Wedding at Cana', an exuberant multi-cultural wedding feast; and études to Auguste Rodin's sculptures of dancers and bodies.

Monday 20 July: Material Men redux (director Gary Tanner)
This virtuoso piece was made for two dazzling performers of the Indian diaspora. Their chosen dance styles could not be more different - classical Indian and hip hop - but they share a history rooted in the dark realities of colonial migration and plantation labour.

Monday 3 August: Staging Schiele (director Terry Braun)
The works of Austrian painter Egon Schiele put the human body on visceral display. Four dancers inhabit his highly-charged world of colour, masterful lines and unusual perspectives. Jeyasingh's choreography matches the intensity of Schiele, engaging with his anxieties as well as his supreme self-confidence.

Monday 17 August: Contagion (director Terry Braun)
Contagion commemorates the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic which killed more people than the First World War itself. A dance installation with digital visuals the choreography 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.

SJD SHORTS will premiere on the company's Facebook
and then be available for a further seven days on Facebook and the company's YouTube channel

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