Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

Marc Brew Company. Fusional Fragments

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

28th August 2012

Wonderful day with choreographer Marc Brew and his company Marc Brew Company at Greenwich Dance, drawing during the rehearsal of Fusional Fragments. Fusional Fragments will be performed at Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of Unlimited Festival, on Friday with drummer Dame Evelyn Glennie playing live on stage. Lots of small pencil drawings and 1 large one on brown wrapping paper.

Marc Brew Company, Fusional Fragments

While I’ve been preparing for my exhibition I haven’t been able to spend time with the dance companies drawing and have been missing the live drawing, missing the dancers, missing the speed, energy and collaboration.

Rambert Dance Company

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

15 May 2012. Sadler’s Wells

It’s 2 weeks since I watched Rambert perform at Sadler’s Wells. Here are some small speedy sketches I made during the performance.

The first dance, SUB, choreographed by Itzik Galili, was in my opinion the most moving and powerful dance of the evening. Seven bare chested men wearing weird kilt-like baggy shorts danced with such strength, speed and dynamism it took my breath away. I live with teenagers and SUB seems to embrace the whole sense of being a teenager. I loved this dance.


Rambert 3

Rambert 3 Sub, choreographer Itzik Galili

The Art of Touch, followed, choreographed by Siobhan Davies. Inspired by observing the touch of the musician’s hand on the keyboard of the harpsichord and the creation of the sound as the plectrum makes contact with the strings. The Art of Touch is a great contrast to Sub, in this work the dancers feet hardly touched the ground. Rambert danced to a work for harpsichord by Matteo Fargion.

The Art of Touch. Rambert

The Art of Touch. Choreographer Siobhan Davies

L’Apres midi d’un faune

L’Apres midi d’un faune choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky in 1912 and recreated for Rambert by Ann Whitley

No sheets left in my sketch book by time the last dance of the evening, What Wild Ecstasy, was performed so sadly no drawings of this dance, choreographed by Ramberts’ Artistic Director Mark Baldwin to music by Gavin Higgins.

My next exhibition is a solo show at No Format Gallery, Mellish Industrial Estate, Warspite Road, London SE18 5N

13th September – 23rd September 2012

Part of ‘On Sublimity and Synaesthesia‘ I shall be exhibiting in conjunction with freelance writer Dr Stephen Baycroft.

2012 Olivier Awards

Friday, April 20th, 2012

17th April 2012. News

Desh by Akram Khan won Best New Dance Production. I would love the opportunity to draw Akram Khan Company while they are rehearsing. In 2010 I watched Confluence, a collaboration between Akram Khan and musician Nitin Sawhney and also Gnosis, both were fabulous.

Metamorphosis, Arthur Pita’s wonderful interpretation of Franz Kafkas’s dark novella of a traveling salesman who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect, was nominated but didn’t win. I drew this dance during the rehearsals, truly it is tragic and beautiful.

Outstanding Achievement in Dance was won by Edward Watson, for his performance in The Metamorphosis. (see above).

Polyphonia, Sweet Violets, Carbon Life

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Tuesday 10th April 2012

The Royal Ballet are performing a triple bill at The Royal Opera House until April 23rd. Polyphonia choreographed by Christopher WheeldonLiam Scarlett’s Sweet Violets and Carbon Life choreographed by Wayne McGregor.

Polyphonia (2001) to music by Gyorgy Ligetti opens the evening. I loved the clean abstract lines created in the dance. I drew in pencil in small sketch books, in the dark.

Polyphonia. copyright Sally McKay PolyphoniaPolyphonia Polyphonia, choreographer Christopher Wheeldon

In a total contrast the ballet that follows, Sweet Violets, is a narrative ballet exploring the British Impressionist painter Walter Sickert’s macarbe fascination with and possible link to Jack the Ripper, set to Rachmaninoff’s music of piano, violin and cello, played live and beautiful. Sweet Violets is confusing to say the least but interesting to draw.

Sweet Violets Sweet Violets

Sweet Violets 

Sickert founded the Camden Town Group of artists, his paintings were painted in a dark palette, sometimes quite seedy and often haunting. He used prostitutes as models which upset the public, apparently he wanted the nudes he painted to look ‘ordinary’ not in idealised poses. Some beautiful drawings by the Camden Town Group are on show at Tate Britain until May 7th.

Finally, Carbon Life by Wayne McGregor is a huge treat. Wonderful lighting by Lucy Carter, a band playing live at the back of the stage are joined by singers, Boy George, Alison Mosshart, Hero Fisher, Jonathon Pierce and rapper Black Cobain. Fashion designer Gareth Pugh has designed mad and gorgeous monochrome costumes, some of which restrict the dancing, as in Bauhaus. The dancing is fabulous, everything feels extreme, hyperextended arched backs, very high legs, almost impossible twists and turns, I smile from start to finish and love drawing this ballet – it’s so dark I can’t see the paper, I have no idea what I’ve drawn until I’m in the train home and take a look in my sketch book.

Carbon Life Carbon Life

above left: Rapper, Black Cobain joins the dancers

Carbon Life below: fabulous costumes by Gareth Pugh

Carbon Life Carbon Life

I’d like to take some of these drawings further, though I’m not sure which direction, certainly to sugar lift or soft-ground etchings, possibly a painting in oil on canvas. My ideal would be to make a full size wire sculpture showing the extraordinary moves and crazy gorgeous costumes in Carbon Life, unlikely as for the sculpture I only work to commission.

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance. Classic Cut

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

13th March

Shobana Jeyasingh Dance at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Covent Garden, performed Classic Cut, a double bill of Configurations and new work Dev Kahan Hai/Where Is Dev? This is the first project of their three year 25th anniversary celebration programme.

Configurations was choreographed by Shobana Jeyasingh in 1988 to music commissioned from Michael Nyman, String Quartet No. 2. Played live on stage at the Linbury adding to the visual and acoustic feast.

Shobana Jeyasingh. Configurations

Shobana Jeyasingh. Configurations


Shobana Jeyasingh says of Configurations, “It is a dance work that has shifted and changed, reflecting my own work as a choreographer.”

Shobana Jeyasingh. Dev Kahan Hai?/Where is Dev?

Dev Kahan Hai//Where Is Dev?

The web site says Shobana Jeyasingh’s vision for the company “is rooted in a vision of a Britain that is culturally coherent in new and unexpected ways…We see connections where others only see differences and we seek to make these connections through choreographic practice.”

The evening is a wonderful, exhilarating fusion of classical Asian dance – Bharata Natyam and contemporary dance, very fast, very sharp, very now and to me feels very London.

In May I am looking forward to joining the company to draw the dancers during rehearsal, keep an eye on my blog I will post some of the drawings on as I go. I hope to use the drawings to inform a painting and etchings which I will show in my solo exhibition in September.

Open Studio: 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 September 13th – 23rd, 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

More details on the exhibitions will follow soon

Contact for more information on exhibitions and sales

Ballet Black at The Linbury

Friday, March 9th, 2012

6 March

Ballet Black danced four new ballets at The Linbury, Covent Garden. Here are a few small drawings I made of two of the dances.

Together Alone. Ballet Black.copyright Sally McKay

Together Alone choreographer, Jonathon Watkins. Music Alex Baranowski

Storyville. Ballet Black. copyright Sally McKay

Storyville. Ballet Black. copyright Sally McKay

Storyville Left and above: Storyville, choreographer Christopher Hampson, music Kurt Weill

Also danced but not drawn: Running Silent, choreographer Jonathon Goddart and Captured with choreography by Martin Lawrence.

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.

Hofesh Shechter Company. The Art of Not Looking Back

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

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

Hofesh Shechter Dance Company. The Art of Not Looking Back

The third dance in the Triple Bill was Hofesh Shechter Company dancing The Art of Not Looking Back.

The Art of Not Looking Back. Hofesh Shechter

The Art of Not Looking Back. Hofesh Shechter

The Art of Not Looking Back. Hofesh Schecter

The Art of Not Looking Back was made for the women dancers of the Hofesh Shechter Company. Opens with Hofesh’s voice saying “My mother left me when I was two.” I wince at the thought then jump at the loud long cry of pain. From this moment until the end of the dance the theatre is alive with energy and pathos. The dancers move in the unique Hofesh style, both urban and earthy, vulnerable and strong, but always fluid, dynamic and completely synchronized with each other in complex rhythms.

These small pencil drawings were made during the performance. I have drawn Hofesh Shechter Company many times, the last time during a rehearsal of Political Mother: The Choreographers’ Cut in London last year. See my web site for painting In your rooms/Uprising: The Choreographer’s Cut and charcoal drawings of early rehearsals of Political Mother.

Some of the work is still available for sale, contact for further information.

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.