Film which reveals the artistic process behind Shobana Jeyasingh's new work, Contagion, an evocation of the 1918 flu epidemic.
Experimental and highly original, Shobana Jeyasingh is a female choreographer in a male-dominated world. Her tenaciousness has resulted in her dance company surviving for over thirty years, a rare achievement in the dance world.
This film follows the research and development phase of her new work exploring a viral attack. The piece, called Contagion, will evoke the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which killed over 50 million people, through dance. This film gives a unique insight into a choreographer's artistic process and their sources of inspiration as Shobana researches the pandemic and attempts to translate what she finds into movement as she workshops with dancers on the stage.
As part of this process Shobana meets Professor John Oxford, one of the world leading authorities on the Spanish flu, who shares with Shobana a lung sample of a British victim of the 1918 outbreak. Shobana also visits Professor Wendy Barclay, chair of influenza virology at Imperial College London. Professor Barclay has spent many years trying to learn everything she can about the way flu viruses behave and now leads a team of scientists based at her London laboratories. She shares with Shobana how flu viruses act at a microscopic level.