Dance: Dancing to the music of pain

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Darshan Singh Bhuller's new work is a frank examination of the horrors of the war in Bosnia. But the ambitious project has been made even harder by an absence of Arts Council Funding

Darshan Singh Bhuller isn't dancing. You probably wouldn't feel much like it if the bone cysts on your ankle, having been patched up by a graft from your hip, had now sprouted scar tissue on the nerves. ``It hurts while I walk.'' He is resigned to undergoing more investigations and procedures: "I'd like to be well enough to teach. I'd like to get it sorted out so that my kids stop making fun of me first thing in the morning.

"In one sense I haven't missed dancing but I know that in the back of my mind I'd like to do it again. I try not to dwell on it, it's all I've ever done and I have to think about what direction to take.

He may not dance at the moment but he's still creating steps and his latest work, Planted Seeds, can be seen in London next week. The work is prompted by his response to the situation in what we have learned to call ``the former Yugoslavia''. ``Basically I've been intrigued by those stories of people under pressure, trying to stay alive during a very chaotic time. One of the stories that upset me the most was the treatment of women by the armies who planned to plant their seeds in the opposing side's women''.

Darshan Singh Bhuller travelled through Bosnia last summer: ``You can read so many books about it, but travelling through the ruins and talking to people gave me more of an understanding''. He has combined his reflections and experiences in the new work which premieres next week. Can the evils of civil war and ethnic cleansing really be told through movement alone? ``I have doubts all the time. It's a complicated subject and I get very frustrated, but I try to pick symbolic stories.''

He failed to get an Arts Council grant to tour the new work and next week's two performances are thanks to support from the Robin Howard Foundation. There's no set and the costumes have been cobbled together by the company, but Darshan Singh Bhuller trusts that the strong subject and a fine collection of dancers including Lauren Potter, David Hughes and Sarah Nicholls (pictured above) will enable the work to succeed without an expensive production. ``I'd rather do the piece this way than not do it at all - it's been churning inside me for two years.''

The Place, London WC1 (0171-387 0031) 27-28 Jan

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