News: Rashpal Singh Bansal

Monday 10 August 2009

Choreographer and dance artist Rashpal Singh Bansal died in the first week of August. He was just 29.

He trained at London Contemporary Dance School in the 1990s and was associated with many dance companies and organisations in London. He was choreographing his own work from 1997 and for a while ran his own company, United Dance Artists.

In 2004 he was the recipient of a Bonnie Bird Choreography Award at Laban and worked with Shobana Jeyasingh, contributing a section of choreography to her work *Transtep*. In 2005 he received a Robin Howard Foundation Commission from The Place. The work he produced, called *Parallels*, featured in Dance Umbrella that year, alongside Dissonant*another another commission from *ROH2.

In 2007 he appeared in Darshan Singh Bhuller’s multi media production *Find Me Amongst the Black* _at Southbank Centre and in 2008 his work _Anything… but exotic was part of the Springloaded season at The Place. Our reviewer said his solo was “mesmerizing” read more

He started his dance career studying Performing Arts at Newham Sixth Form College, East London, where he worked with a range of artists who inspired him – including Clare Connor, Wayne McGregor, Mark Murphy and Saburo Teshigawara.

Tributes

*_\“Rashpal Singh Bansal was one of the most talented and thoughtful choreographers of his generation and his loss will be keenly felt by all. Dance Umbrella was proud to present his works Dissonant and Parallels in 2005, the first year of our Brief Encounters strand, in which talented, younger choreographers are introduced into the context of our Festival. Rashpal had a powerful stage presence and his performances, particularly in his own work but also in works by others including Shobana Jeyasingh, were memorable. He had much, much more inside him and I am deeply saddened that we will never know what he might have given us in the future.\” *_
_*_Betsy Gregory, Artistic Director, Dance Umbrella*

*\“I met Rashpal Bansal in 2004 through Wayne McGregor and I asked him to choreograph a short piece for us and we remained friends ever since. Our long conversations over the phone or in person ranged from choreography to relationships and much in between. Whatever it was, Rashpal always engaged with it with a rare passion and intensity. When he danced in the studio his face and his entire being seemed to lock into a concentration that left the outside world ( where he sometimes felt vulnerable and frustrated) behind. He cared deeply about the possibilities and resonance of movement and brought a seriousness and intelligence to the art of dance making. His depth of feeling often meant that the contrary voices and politics of the dance world at times caused him distress. As an Asian man from a traditional family trying to forge a career in the arts he was particularly under pressure. Rashpal was a rare and beautiful young man and I mourn his loss not only as a friend but also as a fellow choreographer.\” *Shobana Jesyasingh.

*\“For the past 10 years, Rashpal was part of the artistic community of The Place, as a student at London Contemporary Dance School and as a performer and choreographer. He made his Resolution! debut in 2004 and in 2005 presented a full evening of works in our theatre, including that year’s Robin Howard Foundation Commission. His work was also included in the Spring Loaded season in 2008. He was a regular presence at The Place, developing his own work and supporting that of other artists. *
_*We will miss the work of a singular artist, and the company of a good friend.\”* _The Place – see www.theplace.org.uk/rashpal

Photo:Rashpal in 2005

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