After spending his early years in India, Darshan moved to the UK with his family. He began dancing at Harehills Middle School in Leeds, under the tutelage of Nadine Senior, continuing under John Auty at Intake High School and completed his training at the London School of Contemporary Dance.
Darshan was a longstanding member of the world-renowned London Contemporary Dance Theatre from 1979 to 1994, first as a dancer, then rehearsal director, choreographer and teacher. He also danced as a member of Siobhan Davies Dance Company in 1991 and was Assistant to the Director of Richard Alston Dance Company from 1994 to 1996.
Darshan has created and directed works for international companies including London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Scottish Dance Theatre, CandoCo, Nordic Dance Theatre, CeDeCe and for Companhia de Bailado Contemporaneo (Portugal). Schools for which he has created work include Northern School of Contemporary Dance, London School of Contemporary Dance, Danshögskolan in Sweden and English National Ballet School. London Studio Centre & Millennium Dance, Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance and New World School of the Arts, Miami USA.
Darshan still continues to choreograph and direct for his own company, Singh Productions. Premiering in 1998, Planted Seeds, a poignant and brutally honest look at the abuse of human rights in former Yugoslavia, toured the UK to critical acclaim. In 2000, Recall, a richly woven tapestry of various vocal narratives, dream sequences and memories, received equal critical acclaim. Set in a 1970’s strip club, Recall parallels the life of a young stripper grappling to support her dying father, with a young Asian punter wrestling with his own identity. In 2001, Darshan created Sita, a duet for celebrated Russian ballet dancer, Irek Mukhamedov and Company.
Graham Dean, a successful painter and friend, collaborated with Darshan on films such as Breaking the Surface, 1985. Music from composer Barry Guy often crops up in Darshan’s work, notably in Breaking the Surface, and most recently Exile and Death, an adaptation of the life of revered Baroque painter Caravaggio, danced by the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2007. Barrington Pheloung, who composed music for Inspector Morse, worked with Darshan on the music for Shaolin Wheel of Life in 1999. Darshan also collaborated with the late and admired singer- songwriter, John Martyn in 1993 in London Contemporary Dance Theatre’s, Fall Like Rain. Jocelyn Pook who worked with Stanley Kubrick on Eyes Wide Shut composed the music for Darshan’s 2003 Requiem, a poignant narrative about a missing child.
2009 and 2010 were busy years of guest teaching at Rambert School and The Place (London), New World School of the Arts (Miami) and Terence Lewis Contemporary Dance Company (Mumbai), while creating new works for NWSA and Florida State University. Darshan choreographed the solo for the national winner of the 2010 NDEO (National Dance Education Organization) Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievements Award. Please see the video of the work on www.ndeo.org/awards2010. While continuing his freelance teaching and choreographic work internationally, Darshan will be touring his new work, Caravaggio: Exile and Death in the UK in autumn 2011.
Darshan Singh Bhuller
Darshan was appointed Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre in February 2002. During his four years with Phoenix, he re-vitalised the reputation of the company on the national and international stage earning Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Modern) in the 2006 Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards.
After a successful US tour in May 2006, he stepped down as Artistic Director, returning to freelance teaching and directing in the UK and USA.
In 2006, Darshan received a commission from Rambert Dance Company to create Stand and Stare to mark the 30th anniversary of LS Lowry’s death. The piece was essentially a physical assimilation of the late painter’s work, a dark and enigmatic materialization of Lowry’s paintings. Darshan was invited by Zero Culture to direct Find Me Amongst The Black, a multi-media piece that combined dialogue, dance and interactive digital projection, premiered in July 2007.
Darshan has directed numerous dance and music videos since 1985, including The Fall (nominated for BFI innovation award), Harmonica Breakdown for BBC2 and What About Sky (MTV, ITV Chart Show). In 2004, he completed the biographical film, Robert Cohan: Another Place, comprising in depth interviews and unparalleled access to archive material. Darshan was awarded a grant from Dancer’s Career Development fund to study at the Metropolitan Film School in January 2007. His latest films, Jayne Lee’s Dance Down River and a documentary on works by Richard Alston were both launched in the autumn of 2009 and 2010.
Collaborations with other artists, choreographers, musicians and film-makers spanning his 30 years in theatre include working alongside Director Micha Bergese to choreograph and direct the Opening Ceremony for the Millennium Dome. As Assistant Director and Choreographer for Shaolin Wheel of Life, an international production with the masters of Kung Fu, Darshan had the honour to meet and work with the Abbot and the Zen Buddhist Monks of the ancient Shaolin Temple of China. Darshan was Choreographer for the opening section of the immensely popular Bollywood awards in Yorkshire IIFA 2007.