Contagion is a dance installation set against the backdrop of the end of the First World War. Inspired by the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, Contagion explores how the virus mutated, spread and attacked one third of the world’s population. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance emphasises the implications of the pandemic beyond the First World War, educating audiences of the physical and psychological impacts.
The audience are invited to sit, stand and move around the installation, while listening to a combination of music, effects and spoken word through headphones. Eight female dancers contort and mutate as they explore both the resilience and the vulnerability of the human body.
“The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 which reaches its centenary this year is beginning to assert itself in our collective memory as one of the most dramatic episodes of global proportions. I very much hope that Contagion will serve as act of commemoration and remembering.” (Shobana Jeyasingh)
The work of artist Egon Schiele, a victim of the pandemic, is a powerful cross-reference to the choreography. His use of twisted body shapes and expressive lines reflected early understandings of neuro-science and psychology.