New dance show about women’s rugby to premier in Barnsley

A dramatic story of women’s rugby told through a mix of contemporary and Indian dance will be shown for the first time in Barnsley this March.

Not afraid of a challenge, Yorkshire choreographer Balbir has created dance pieces for the ice rinks, swimming pools and works performed on bikes. Now he is embarking on a new project commissioned by The Civic. We present you The Strategists, a brand new dance piece about women’s rugby.

‘An exciting, supremely energetic choreographer.’ – The Stage.

Once seen as a purely male sport, rugby today is being transformed by women. Inspired by life stories, The Strategists captures the struggles, discipline, disappointments and triumphs of what it means to be a female rugby player.

“In the men’s game it’s about taking down the opponent. Our game is faster, more tactical… with women it’s more to do with thinking two steps ahead, to get the ball where in needs to be.”

The Strategists draws inspiration from leading figures in the story of women’s rugby. This hidden history is only now coming to light, as women’s rugby grows in popularity. One key figure recently to have been rediscovered is Emily Valentine. In 1887 Emily Valentine became the first female ever recorded to play rugby. Emily, who took to the pitch when her brother’s team was a ‘man down’, and scored a try during a match in Enniskillen, was just 10 years old at the time. Describing the event in her journal later, she recalled:

“I grasped the ball and ran dodging and darting, but I was so keen to score that try that I did not pass it, though perhaps I should. I still raced on, I could see the boy coming toward me. I dodged, yes I could, and breathless, with my heart pumping, my knees shaking, I ran. Yes, I had done it! One last spurt and I touched down, right on the line!”

The Strategists is a story of friendships and struggles, of women finding a mental, physical and emotional outlet though their shared passion for rugby. This show takes the audience on an emotional journey of highs and lows, sadness and laughter, pain and the beauty told though words, dance and live music.

The Strategists will premiere at The Civic in Barnsley on Thursday 15 March and Friday 16 March at 7:30pm. Tickets are £12 | £10 conc. For more information and to book visit or call the Box Office on 01226 327000.

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