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DANSCROSS 2009    
Western Choreographers’ Biographies:

Shobana Jeyasingh Director of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company

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 in 2005, which took her on a research trip to China and Japan.

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 regularly works commissioning new music and with digital and sonic artists. 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 in the UK, as well as other commissioned works for Random Dance, Ricochet’s Move Me Dance Booth and City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong. SJDC tours extensively throughout Britain, Europe, North America and Asia and 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. Shobana was awarded an MBE in January 1995 for services to dance.

Jonathan Lunn Freelance choreographer

Jonathan Lunn trained at London Contemporary Dance School and spent ten years with London Contemporary Dance Theatre as a dancer, choreographer and Associate Director. He received the HKK Memorial Award in 1993, and was thereby Research Choreographer in Residence at Cross-Cultural Dance Resources, Arizona. He is a graduate of Hull University and also recipient of a NESTA Fellowship, and a Trustee for Contemporary Dance Trust’s Educational Endowment Fund and the Lunn Prothero Dance Award.

He is a choreographer and director working in dance, opera, theatre and film. He has choreographed for major opera productions at La Scala Milan, Amsterdam Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, English National Opera, Opera North, Vilnius Festival Lithuania, and Opera Bastille Paris and for theatre productions at Chichester Festival Theatre where he was 2003 Season’s Associate Choreographer; and the National Theatre, which earned him an Olivier Nomination for Best Choreographer in Theatre. He has recently directed Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Dardanus in Passau, Germany. He has created work for European and American dance companies including Ballett Theater Munchen (Bach Bench); Ballet Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Berg Jones & Sarvis, Portland Maine; Dansarutbildningen, Stockholm; EDge; 4D Performance Group, and National Youth Dance Company and for London Contemporary Dance Theatre; and has collaborated with Academy Award winner Anthony Minghella in several occasions. He has also done work for major films.

His own dance productions include Modern Living, winner of a 1993 Time Out Dance Award; Storyboard (UK/USA tour); and Removed From The Palace – a collaboration with Cambodian dancers and musicians – for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, USA.

Kerry Nichols Co-Director of Creative Learning for Wayne McGregor | Random Dance.

Kerry Nichols has taught and performed extensively for numerous dance companies and institutions throughout Europe and world wide, and her experience spans a diverse dance practice spectrum. Kerry has been a member of faculty at the London Contemporary Dance School, the Laban Centre and many others, where she has led both technical, performance and choreographical studies. Regularly teaching for DV8, Charleroi, Rambert and V-TOL companies to name a few, she is widely regarded as one of Britain’s leading contemporary technique teachers.

k|n|d|c (kerry nicholls dance company) was founded in 1999 as a vehicle to promote Kerry’s own choreographic research. Since it’s inception, she has created numerous works for the company as well as received independent commissions from institutions and companies within Europe – including ‘Pelleas and Melisande’, a collaboration with Opera North and the Bonnington Gallery in 2001.

Kerry was appointed Co-Director of Creative Learning for Wayne McGregor | Random Dance in 2007 focusing on years 16+ and professional development, and is their lead facilitator for D.A.N.C.E. (Dance Apprentice Network aCross Europe). In addition, she is an external assessor for the Royal Ballet School and the artistic advisor for the English National Ballet School.

John Utans Australia/Hong Kong freelance choreographer and Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts.

John Utans is an Australian choreographer, performer, installation artist and teacher. John has worked with many leading Australian and International artists within dance companies and independent projects including: the West Australian Ballet Company, Australian Dance Theatre, Human Veins Dance Theatre, the Queensland Ballet Company, Expressions Dance Company, Leigh Warren and Dancers, Dance Works and the Milwaukee Ballet Company. Also teaching and choreographing for: The Victorian College of the Arts, Queensland University of Technology and The AIT-Arts Adelaide.

In 2002, he was awarded first prize for his choreography with the Milwaukee Ballet Company in the International Choreographic Competition held in Milwaukee, United States of America. John has an ongoing commitment to the development of dance and its recognition as a vital; challenging and inspiring art-form that has no boundaries.

In his own words: “The inspiration for my dance and installation pieces comes primarily from the visual arts, the cinema and the awe of the human body. The whole body with its head and heart, its history and imagination.”

Avatâra Ayuso Choreographic Assistant

Born in Madrid and now based in London, Avatâra has trained extensively in dance, working as a performer, choreographer and teacher. Avatâra's professional qualifications include a Master of Arts in Professional Dance (Palucca Schule Dresden, 2008), a Certificate in Higher Education (London Contemporary Dance School, 2005), a BA (Hons) in Linguistics (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2004) and a professional degree in ballet (Professional Conservatoire of Majorca, 1999). In 2005 she joined D.A.N.C.E. (Dance Apprentice Network across Europe) where she worked and performed under the artistic direction of William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Frédéric Flamand and Angelin Preljocaj. Since 2005 she has been creating her own work. Her choreographies have been presented in Denmark, Belgium and UK. She has also been artist in residence at the Festpielhaus European Center for the Arts Hellerau (Germany).

Avatâra joined Shobana Jeyasingh Dancc Ccompany in 2007. Avatâra regularly teaches as part of the company’s education team. She has been awarded several artists grants and a Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Spain, and a scholarship for the Summer School at the American Academy of Ballet, as well as being finalist in several onternational choreographic and performing contests.

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