Archive for January, 2012

Shir at The Vortex Jazz Club

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

18th January

Ronen Kozokaro, is a very versatile and talented musician, I first heard him play at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where he is an accompanist, where I sometimes draw. Together with dance tutor/dancer Susan Sentler, we have had several very successful collaborations, involving dancers, music and my paintings & sculpture. Ronen is the percussionist for Jewish music group Shir.

Sketches of Shir drawn while they played to a very appreciative happy crowd at The Vortex:Shir


Shir means “song, poem” in Hebrew. Shir is Maurjice Chernick on clarinet, Ivor Goldberg plays guitar and sings, Piotr Jordan plays violin, Steve Rose plays double bass and Ronen Kozokaro is the percussionist.

Russell Maliphant rehearse at Lilian Baylis

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

17th – 20th January

The last few days with Russell Maliphant Company rehearsing The Rodin Project before they leave for Paris to perform at Theatre National de Chaillot 31st January – 10 February, rehearsing at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, next door to Sadler’s Wells where the company will perform on 5th February.

Each day begins with a warm up led by Russell. I find it fascinating, he directs the dancers while discussing anatomy with them, which muscles are flexing, which bones are moving what the dancers feel in their core as they get deeper into the movement. Gentle flowing movement growing to a massive crescendo in dynamics, pace and energy.

Russell Maliphant. The Rodin Project. 15

Russell Maliphant Company. The Rodin Project. 18Tommy Franzen, Jenny White, Dickson Mbi, Ella Mesma, Carys Staton and Thom Gulgec warm up before the rehearsal

To describe Michael Hulls as the lighting designer of The Rodin Project feels like it falls short in the description of what he creates on the stage. The dancers bodies shimmer where the molten gold light falls on them, deep shadows are cast by their moving limbs, it all feels very sensual.

Russell Maliphant Company, The Rodin Project. 25 Russell Maliphant Company, The Rodin Project. 35Carys, Ella and Jenny

Russell Maliphant Company, The Rodin Project. 23 Russell Maliphant Company. The Rodin ProjectDickson 

Immersed in darkness, I rapidly work soft pastels on black paper that I can’t see, hoping that I will somehow convey the burning glimmers and flashes of life in front of me.

It is clear being in the same room as Russell Maliphant and Michael Hulls that they have a deep respect for each other’s work and trust each other with an intensity that can only come from sharing a long and creative history. Both remain calm and generous throughout the week.

Russell Maliphant Company, The Rodin Project. 31Thom and Tommy

The dancers too, are calm in the breaks, but when dancing, the energy is so high it feels as if the roof might lift.

Russell Maliphant Company, The Rodin Project. 16

These are just a few of the many drawings I made of Russell Maliphant Company rehearsing The Rodin Project. Such a stunning work on so many levels. Thank you to Russell, Dana, Michael, Tommy, Jenny, Dickson, Ella, Carys and Thom for welcoming me in to your rehearsal space.

In September I am having a London solo exhibition where I will show paintings inspired by The Rodin Project and other dance works, more details will follow shortly.

To see past blog posts of Russell Maliphant rehearsing The Rodin Project see

and Russell Maliphant’s After Light danced by Daniel Proietto. (More drawings of After Light Part 1 coming soon)


A Weekend in Paris

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

7 – 9th January

Three days in Paris and three brilliant exhibitions, what better way to start 2012? Saturday, we visited Centre Pompidou to see Danser sa vie (on until 2nd April) and Yayoi Kusama (ended now but opens at Tate Modern 9th February). Sketches of Danser sa vie will follow soon, not yet photographed.

Sunday, a stroll to Musee d’Orsay, we saw Beauty, Morals and Voluptuousness in the England of Oscar Wilde (also ended). Would have liked to see Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso… The Stein family’s adventure in art at the Grand Palais, but arrived too late, a 4 hour queue would have allowed us in as the Museum closed (also finished).

Paris  mmm…  macaroons 

Paris  For the best views of Paris take a ride on La Grande Roue (Ferris Wheel), La Place de la Concorde, in place until 19th February and of course the escalators on the outside of Centre Pompidou.

Visit Merci, 111 Blvd. Beaumarchais, 75003, for breakfast and stylish shopping where a percentage of everything sold goes to to charity.


Thanks to Camilla for my wonderful birthday trip to Paris and thanks Ben and Roger for the Danser sa Vie catalogues, giving us the idea.

Russell Maliphant Company. The Rodin Project

Friday, January 13th, 2012

I’m with the Russell Maliphant Company, drawing during rehearsals for The Rodin Project at his studio in north London. When I was last here there were 4 dancers, now all 6 are here (see November 14th).

Standing together, eyes closed, breathing deeply in yogic unison, I am aware of the energy gathering, the dancers softly move to the floor in high arched bridges that seem impossible.

Russell Maliphant Company. The Rodin Project  The pace is quickening and their muscular bodies begin to fly through the air as if they have internal springs that are suddenly and without warning uncoiling at tremendous speed.

The Rodin Project. copyright Sally McKay

The Rodin Project. copyright Sally McKay The Rodin Project. copyright Sally McKayResting dancer.copyright Sally McKay  For the next 2 days I draw movement inspired by breakdance, contemporary dance and popping, and it is just stunning. These are a few of my drawings.

Russell Maliphant Company. The Rodin Project

Wonderful to be drawing the Russell Maliphant Company again. I am loving seeing sculpture that has inspired me over the years come to life in the body of dancer, Dickson. To have the opportunity to capture the choreographed movement in my drawings which in turn will form the resource for my painting, etching and who knows? possibly sculpture too.

Russell Maliphant Company perform The Rodin Project at Sadler’s Wells 5th February as part of British Dance Edition London 2012, and return to Sadler’s Wells with The Rodin Project in October.

Morgan Szymanski Portrait

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

A few months ago classical guitarist Morgan Szymanski asked me to make a painting in response to his music, he told me the art work would be projected behind him as he played as part of  The Sketches of Mexico  Project. I agreed only after going to a concert and hearing the music, it was very atmospheric, very beautiful, surely, I thought, I can do something.

A CD of him playing arrived in the post but when I listened to it I knew that I couldn’t work in this way. I work with live performance, I need to feel the energy of the performer and performance. So I joined Morgan in his sitting room and drew him for 3 hours while he practiced. I also turned up at a performance with a small sketch book and secretly drew while he played. (see December 3rd

Using these drawings I felt able to paint. This is the result.

Morgan Szymanski

Mexican Classical Guitarist Morgan Szymanski

To read Morgan and I in conversation about The Sketches of Mexico Project scroll down to December 5th