Artistic Director and Choreographer
Born in Chennai and now living in London, Jeyasingh studied the classical Indian dance form of Bharata Natyam as a child. She has also lived in Sri Lanka and East Malaysia.
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.
Jeyasingh has collaborated with many significant composers including Michael Nyman, Kevin Volans, and Orlando Gough and sound artists such as Scanner, beatboxer Shlomo and DJ/producer Niraj Chag. She experiments constantly with film, text and technology. Her work (h)Interland broke boundaries in 2002 as the first live dance performance to be webcast between UK and India.
Jeyasingh commissions include Wayne McGregor's Random Dance Company, Hong Kong City Contemporary Dance Company and Ballet Black. Her creations for unusual and outdoor settings include 2Step on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral for the City of London Festival, Counterpoint, commissioned by English National Ballet, for the fountains at Somerset House, and TooMortal performed in historic churches across the UK and internationally.
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.
King's Cultural Institute appointed Shobana Jeyasingh Dance in 2012 as one of three Knowledge Producers. Shobana will work across several academic departments at King's College London – including film studies, geography and robotics – to find new ways to facilitate knowledge exchange between artists and academics, test new ideas, stimulate partnerships and reach out to new audiences.
Community and education work is a significant part of Jeyasingh's vision. Her company has worked in partnership with a wide range of organisations including Hestia Housing and Support, Mind and East London Dance. It works with numerous UK schools and colleges, including Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets.