Friday, November 04, 2011

Dancing and crying

I had a great day out in London earlier this week!  Six of us went off to the big metropolis and our first port of call was to see the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition, Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement.  The exhibition has 85 drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints along with work and early film by some of his contemporaries.

I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of Degas but ballet, ballerinas and the world of theatre is a fascinating subject to me.  I really enjoyed the earlier rooms with charcoal drawings as well as seeing the famous sculpture, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, I was struck by just how large the original is.  It's odd how you form a picture in your mind of the size of a piece of artwork and then, on coming face to face with it, it's so not how you expected it to be!  I had this experience at the Sir John Everett Millais exhibition at Tate Britain a few years ago when his painting, Mariana, turned out to be teeny in comparision to the version in my head!  ;oD  My friend, Neil, had the same experience with a piece of my work, The Internal Lexicon.  He arrived at my exhibition earlier this year expecting to be able to walk into the piece and in reality it's about 6" x 4"!  lol

The teeny weeny Internal Lexicon!
 I digress, back to Degas... the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen display also included all the many drawings Degas produced in preparation for the piece, I do so love to see process.  :o)  I also very much enjoyed the rooms showing early film of human movement and Etienne-Jules Marey's bronze, Flight of a Gull, depicting the stages of  bird wings in flight.  There were, of course, many Degas paintings to delight in and in one of the last rooms I was seized by the compulsion to draw (always a pleasure to be seized by a compulsion!) and inspired by The Red Ballet Skirts I set to and had a scribble.

My Degas dabble!
I really enjoyed the exhibition and highly recommend it.  It's on until 11th December so still time to bag yourself some tickets!  ;o)

On our way into the Degas exhibition, a lovely lady caught my eye and I snapped a couple of photos of her...




In the evening we went to see War Horse at the New London Theatre.  Over the summer I had listened to the audio book so I knew the plot and although the stage play doesn't mirror the book it was absolutely fantastic.  The puppetry of the horses is brilliant, every tiny movement and nuance of equine behaviour is portrayed beautifully and is totally believable even though you can always see the puppeteers.  The music is moving and powerful, the stage has an excellent back projection and the use of the auditorium by the cast is great.  The cast are solid as a rock, the scene changes are seamless, it's just such an excellent production!  Grab the chance to see it if you can BUT take plenty of tissues if you're anything like me, I cried for England!  ;oD

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