Drawing and Dance Workshop

We had a joint workshop today with the BA Theatre Design students, facilitated by their course leader, Lucy Algar, and ours, Tania Kovats.

Most of the floor of the theatre at UAL Wimbledon was covered with (bright green) paper, leaving a space in the centre for the three dancers who provided our subject: Krill Burlov, and his colleagues Oksana and ? Aaron. Theatre technicians helped with sound and light – so the pink cast in that photo on the right below shows how much difference lighting made to the atmosphere (it’s not my lousy photography). Everyone did a warm up together, mobilising our joints and muscles, and reminding me how easy it is to stiffen up.

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We drew on the green paper, side by side, and sometimes overlapping. It was interesting to note that the MA Drawing students threw themselves immediately into this and covered the paper with marks responding to movement and reflecting their own bodily movements, adding ink marks before we could be stopped, somewhat to Lucy’s consternation. That was what you would expect. The BA Theatre Design students, on the other hand, were more tentative, and tended at first to work on a smaller scale. Some of them seemed to want to draw the dancers in poses, which is nigh impossible given that they were in constant and free-form motion.

We drew in our own sketchbooks too, while the dancers moved sometimes in response to key words suggested by Lucy or by students

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2 dancers in a ‘push me pull you’ sequence

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the dancers responding to the keyword ‘three’

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Finally we drew in groups of three, on the same sheet of paper. One of the dancers took home our drawing in response to ‘rubber joints in space’!

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In discussion afterwards, Tania Kovats talked about drawing as tracking and as a movement in itself. The music helped to pace both dancing and drawing, with the artist’s physicality paralleling that of the dancers (at a somewhat lower intensity!). One of the students noted that because the drawings captured continuous movement, they created shapes that the dancers didn’t actually make. All of this is visible in my drawings.