Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Richard Alston Dance Company

Friday, March 9th, 2012

29th February

Richard Alston Dance Company performed 3 works at Sadler’s Wells 29th February and 1st March. Richard Alston Dance Company is part of The Place, also the home of a fabulous dance Theatre and London Contemporary Dance School.

I drew the Richard Alston Dance Company when they performed in the Saatchi Gallery last year.


Roughcut choreographed by Richard Alston, music by Steve Reich

Lie of The Land. Richard Alston

Lie of The Land choreographed by Martin Lawrence, responding to Ned Rorem’s String Quartet No. 4

A Ceremony of Carols. Richard Alston

A Ceremony of Carols, choreography Richard Alston, Music Benjamin Britten, sung by Canterbury Cathedral Choir

Three dances all entirely different. New company dancer, James Pett, modelled for a life size sculpture commission I had early last year, wonderful to watch him dancing in Sadler’s Wells in the Richard Alston Company. Alston says of Roughcut “a dance about vitality” which is exactly how it feels to watch it. I felt very tired, almost didn’t get to the theatre, only down to my sensible lovely daughter telling me to go and that I would feel better to draw dance and watch. So right – by the end of Roughcut I was smiling and energized.

Even more so in Martin Lawrence’s work Lie of the Land, fabulous.

The final dance A Ceremony of Carols, accompanied by by Canterbury Cathedral Choristers with their angelic treble voices and Camilla Pay on the harp felt mystical and powerful.

ENO presents The Death of Klinghoffer

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

28th February

On the 10th February I spent a wonderful day at 3 Mills Studios drawing an ENO rehearsal for The Death of Klinghoffer. On the 28th February I watched the performance at The London Coliseum. These are a few small drawings I made from my seat high up in the balcony.

The Death of Klinghoffer

The Death of Klinghoffer

The Death of Klinghoffer

The Death of Klinghoffer  During the rehearsal I concentrated on drawing the dancers, choreographed by Arthur Pita and drawing conductor Baldur Brönnimann. At the performance the conductor was out of my view and the dancers felt distanced. I loved the long shadows cast across the stage giving a sense of heat and sunlight. This week I start an oil painting inspired by my drawings.

The Death of Klinghoffer at The London Coliseum

Monday, February 20th, 2012

February 10th

Choreographer Arthur Pita is rehearsing The Death of Klinghoffer with the English National Opera opening at the London Coliseum 25th February. I joined them for a day to draw during the rehearsal.

The Death of Klinghoffer is American composer John Adams controversial ‘docu-opera’ about the killing of a Jewish American tourist during the hijacking of a Mediterranean cruise liner by Palestinian militants.

The Death of Klinghoffer. copyright Sally McKay

Conductor Baldur Bronnimann 

The Death of Klinghoffer. copyright Sally McKay The Death of Klinghoffer. copyright Sally McKay

A cast of 12 dancers, including Bettina Carpi and Joe Walkling who danced in Arthur Pita‘s wonderful production Metamorphosis, which I was privileged to draw in 2011

The Death of Klinghoffer. copyright Sally McKay

The Death of Klinghoffer. copyright Sally McKay

Libretto written by Alice Goodman. Directed by Tom Morris (War Horse co-director).

These drawings are work in progress, the starting point of a painting in oils and acrylic which I will show at my forthcoming exhibitions in 2012.

Open Studio May 2012: Thursday May 17th 5pm – 9pm. Saturday 19th May 11am – 6pm. Sunday 20th May 11am – 6pm. Studio 17, Unit 0, Second Floor Studios, Mellish Industrial Estate, Warspite Road, London SE18 5NR

Solo exhibition: A Trace of Movement. Paul McPherson Gallery 14th – 26th May, 77 Lassell Street, Greenwich, London SE10 9PJ

Solo exhibition: Dancing as Music Made Visible part of ‘On Sublimity and Synaesthesia‘ exhibiting in conjunction with freelance writer Dr Stephen Baycroft. No Format Gallery, Second Floor Studios, Mellish Industrial Estate, Warspite Road, London SE18 5NR. 13th September – 23rd September

More details on the exhibitions will follow

Contact for more information on exhibitions and sales

Russell Maliphant Company. The Rodin Project

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

5th February.

Russell Maliphant Company at Sadler’s Wells. Part of British Dance Edition

Full house for the performance of The Rodin Project at Sadler’s Wells. Always feels a treat to be part of an audience and see the dancers who I’ve been with during rehearsals perform.

The Rodin Project performance

The Rodin Project performance  The Rodin Project performance

The Rodin Project performance

Just gorgeous.

The Rodin Project premiered in Paris at Theatre National de Chaillot on 31st January. Russell Maliphant Company perform The Rodin Project at Huddersfield 27th February and Nottingham 6th March.

See my blog posts of rehearsal drawings: Russell Maliphant Company. Rearsals November 14th; Russell Maliphant Company. The Rodin Project January 13th;   Russell Maliphant Rehearse at Lilian Baylis January 25th

Set and Reset/Reset. Candoco

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

3rd February. Triple Bill at Sadler’s Wells. Part of British Dance Edition

Candoco Dance Company. Set and Reset/Reset 

An interval followed Wayne McGregor|Random Dance after which Candoco Dance Company performed Set and Reset/Reset.

Candoco. Set and Reset

American postmodern choreographer Trisha Brown choreographed her signature work Set and Reset in 1983, it has been re-staged as part of Candoco’s celebrations to mark turning 20. Former Trisha Brown Dance Company member Abigail Yager taught the dancers of Candoco Dance Company sequences from the original abstract choreography and then led them in improvisation with the same instuctions that Trisha Brown gave in the 1983 version. “Keep it simple, act on instinct, stay on the edge, work with visibility and invisibility, and get in line.”

Candoco. Set and Reset

Candoco. Set and Reset  Set and Reset/Reset

The work was danced to the original music “Long Time No See” by Laurie Anderson. The costumes designed by Celeste Dandeker-Arnold OBE and set designed by David Locke were inspired by the originals by Robert Rauschenburg.

Wayne McGregor|Random Dance

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

3rd February. Triple Bill at Sadler’s Wells. Part of British Dance Edition

Wayne McGregor|Random Dance. 

Wayne McGregor|Random Dance opened the evening with a cast of 10 dancers an extract of their powerful evocative dance Far 

Wayne McGregor|Random.Far 

Wayne McGregor|Random.Far

Behind the dancers is a huge panel of white lights which is an extraordinary work in it’s own right, designed by Lucy Carter. The lights create intricate patterns as they come on and off in complex sequences, creating linear shadows on the panel and deep shadows on the floor from the dancers moving bodies.

Wayne McGregor|Random.Far

I also watched, drew and wrote about Wayne McGregor|Random Dance dancing Far in December 2010.

Without Warning at The Old Vic Tunnels

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

1st February

Without Warning is a work bringing together light, sound and movement, it is based upon responses of choreographer Lizzie Kew Ross to Brian Keenan‘s autobiographical book An Evil Cradling, about his 4 years in captivity as a hostage in Beirut in the late 1980’s. Performed by four dancers and four musicians in the wonderfully atmospheric Old Vic Tunnels under Waterloo Station.

without warning  A cellist and double bassist play haunting chords. A promenade performance, the audience walk through the tunnels following the movement of the dancers. The rumble of the trains above adds to the uneasy atmosphere.

without warning 5b

A shadowy person runs through the spectators’ group, very fast. Two figures cling to each other, then as if claw at each other in the dim light.

without warning

without warning  The power of the human touch: tender and harsh, fragile and strong, agonising and healing.

without warning

Against all the odds the human spirit is shown to somehow survive, but it is clear that not all will come through.

without warning

I drew at the dress rehearsal, I thought it was so good I took my 3 kids a couple of nights later and drew again.

Performers: David Leahy, Natasha Lohan, Laura Moody, Sonia Rafferty, Megan Saunders, Lauren Potter, Simon Wehrli and Dario Dugandzic. Lighting Design: Faye Patterson. Dramaturg: Mary Ann Hushlak

Also see Darkroom, portrait photographer Peter Anderson‘s exploration of containment and confinement with his silver gelatin, hand printed photographs of the rehearsals inside a replica of his darkroom.

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)


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