Inspiration from MJ Willis

Ballet Cymru invited me to write a few words about four pictures inspired by works by the company’s resident choreographer Marcus J Willis, which made me realise I really ought to have said something here on the subject before now. Here's what I wrote:


Marcus’s pieces - which often involve passages of very precise, almost minimalist, gestures performed by dancers positioned widely across the stage - present some interesting challenges for the artist. Painting on very wide panels, I responded to Isolated Pulses by trying to capture something of the array of movements and poses the dancers played out, as well as the spaces and dynamic relationships between them. Hoping to present more than simple ‘snapshots’, the pictures became experiments in depicting multiple moments that occurred within short periods of time, bringing them together as though simultaneous. With Marcus’s following production, Terms and Conditions, I was interested to focus in on narrower areas, looking more at the choreography of individuals and pairs of dancers. Pictures include this portrait of Kotone and Jacob in oil on canvas, and this sequence of charcoal drawings responding to a solo by Sam. Marcus’s work with the company, and his whole creative process, is extraordinary and inspiring. I'm excited to see what he does next!


Please find further information about Marcus's work here


March 6, 2023
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