Enter the name for this tabbed section: Same Same…But Different
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About the project
‘Same Same...But Different’ is a new family show, mixing Kathak and contemporary dance, live music and physical storytelling, to create a playful and colourful world, exploring our curiosities and fears, the times we feel different and when we belong.
Inspired by the well-known Anglo-Asian phrase ‘same, same...but different’, meaning "Yes, something kind of similar, but not the exact same thing”, our 3 dancer-musicians conjure a magical atmosphere where we celebrate our individuality, diversity and the bonds which connect us all.
‘Same Same...But Different’ has been made working in collaboration with a number of primary schools in Birmingham and London and the children’s creative ideas and lived experiences of being different and belonging have been brought into the show.

The project brings together two leading British female artists: Sonia Sabri, Artistic Director of Sonia Sabri Company (SSCo), and Sue Buckmaster, Artistic Director of Theatre Rites, showcasing a powerhouse of dance theatre for all the family.

On tour now.
Click here for the tour dates. Age guidance: children aged 5+ and their adults.

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Background to the project
'Same Same...But Different' will creatively question how Kathak, contemporary dance and physical storytelling can be used to explore themes of identity, difference and belonging. The final show will tour from February 2019 on the small to mid-scale and will be aimed at children aged 5+ and their adults. We will make a flexible work, which will sit equally well in theatres, arts centres, schools, community centres and village halls.
Sonia and Sue will use ingredients including live music, touch, body percussion, spoken word, dance and physical theatre, to bring this innovative touring production together. The approach will be inclusive and celebrate diversity in its broadest sense; a project led by 2 British women of different heritages, showcasing a powerhouse of dance theatre to represent leading UK practice nationally and internationally. For SSCo in particular, this will be a new venture, allowing the Company to broaden its audiences by creating a full length dance theatre show for young children for the first time.

'Same Same...But Different' will be a subtle, political work of children's dance theatre. Using choreography, live music and humour we will explore our human curiosity around difference. Starting creative questions will be: 'how do you explain difference to a child?' and 'when and how do children notice difference?'. We are in a world and time where there is 'fear of the different' e.g. as expressed through Brexit or conflicts between faiths, but that is learnt behaviour, rather than something we are born with. How and when does this happen in our society?

SSCo prides itself on developing the language of Kathak and evolving the practise through 'dialogue' (as opposed to fusion) with other artistic genres. We are ambitious to make work that changes the cultural landscape that we inhabit, offering unique cultural experiences to audiences and participants.
'Same Same...But Different' will not only build on Sue Buckmaster and Theatre Rites' strong and established legacy of creating extraordinary work for young audiences, but will also continue SSCo's interest in developing children's work, following on from our project 'CLASP' with Community Libraries in Birmingham in 2015-16. This libraries' project demonstrated a clear gap in provision for culturally diverse, high quality work, using South Asian music and dance, and aimed at children.
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With this project we intend to actively build new audiences and broaden the range of those experiencing SSCo’s work. ‘Same Same...But Different’ will reach audiences that have not been reached before and we are purposefully responding to the identified gap in South Asian inspired contemporary work for children. We strive to offer a positive and inclusive experience and are actively involving children and young people in the process of artistic creation. We want to work with our co-producing venues to set up participatory sessions with both inner city and rural primary schools, community groups, clubs and libraries during the research and making phases of ‘Same Same...But Different’, inviting them to to input into the creation of the work. Our wider portfolio of work enables us to make connections with members of the protected characteristic groups (by cultural diversity and gender) including Bangladeshi, Pakistani Mirpuri, Multani, Sindhi and Balochi communities, who would not normally engage with the arts, and who we also intend to engage with Same Same But Different.

“Sonia Sabri Company is consistently creating work that is set in new contexts and new spaces, thereby building new audiences and attracting people who may not have seen South Asian dance before.” Anita Srivastava, Producer of Navadisha 2016
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Team
Sonia Sabri - choreographer
Sonia Sabri is amongst the brightest and most inspirational of British born dancer-choreographers working in the twenty-first century. Creating work that spans from the presentation of classical roots of Kathak to explorations of contemporary approaches, her productions reflect an appreciation of Western and Eastern cultures. She has created a fresh, unique style of Kathak by reinventing it from within, by pushing boundaries and generating work that is original in concept and exciting and relevant to today’s audiences. As a dance artist, she is acclaimed for her enchanting stage presence, grace and musicality that enthral audiences both nationally and globally. Some of her recent concerts include WOMAD, Latitude Festival, Edinburgh Festival, British Dance Edition, South Bank Centre, Rasa Festival, Italy; Sonika Festival, Spain; to mention a few. She has secured an international reputation for collaboration across dance styles and art forms including work with pioneers Richard Alston, Lea Anderson, Shobana Jeyasingh, Nitin Sawhney, Rose English, Jonzi D, Tigerstyle, and many others.

Sue Buckmaster - dramaturge
Sue Buckmaster is the Artistic Director of Theatre-Rites and the fourth generation of theatre practitioners in her family. Sue has many years of experience as a director, puppetry specialist and teacher, and has worked with a wide variety of companies including the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Young Vic, Sadler's Wells and Complicite. In 2015 she collaborated with Akram Khan, directing Chotto Desh; a version of his award-winning production Desh for a young audience, before creating Beasty Baby; a co-production between Polka Theatre and Theatre-Rites which ran from October 2015 to January 2016. In spring 2016 she co-directed The Broke 'N' Beat Collective with Keith Saha from 20 Stories High.

Sarvar Sabri - Music

Kate Unwin - set & Costume

Dance Artists
Aakansksha Rawat
Katie Albon
Michael Kelland
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Reviews
Reviews from Previous performances

“Expressive grace...switches effortlessly from romantic, courtly purity to an effervescent explosion of speed and flashing eyes” Dancing Times

“A dynamic performer with her own spin on the Indian classical tradition...makes you live it in the here & now” Metro

“Such an incredible musicality, it was impossible not to gaze in wonder and adoration.. An uplifting crescendo of music and dance” Dance Europe

“ Fine, intense, and intelligent..” The Times

Promoter’s comments

“Sonia Sabri is a breath of fresh air in the South Asian dance world... She is an artist who is forging an individual path...Sonia is an absolute joy to behold. Her technique and lines are faultless, her delivery focussed and passionate. She is every inch an artist, brave, committed, edgy.” Sanjeevini Dutta, Artistic Director, Kadam, UK

 “Sonia Sabri is a virtuoso, charismatic performer – she is part of the new generation of South Asian dancers making their mark on the dance scene.” Assis Carreiro, Artistic Director, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Belgium.

Audience comments

"I didn’t want to blink, the performance was spectacular!"

"It was sophisticated and highly professional, Sonia’s performance was untouchable"

"I haven’t seen Indian Dance before and this is a fantastic introduction"

“It was mysterious and different from anything I’ve seen before”

“Sonia’s shows are full of good rhythm and energy”

“Such grace and beauty, superb musicians”

“Fine, beautiful and mesmerising”

“Beautiful performance, quite transporting and culturally exciting”
Enter the name for this tabbed section: Images
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