Live drawing at the English National Ballet

The English National Ballet offers live drawing workshops in venues across the country. This gives the public a unique opportunity to observe and draw ballet dancers during their daily company class. Without the costumes, makeup, lights and scenery you get a very authentic, behind-the-scenes, view of the dancers. This fresh perspective helps you to appreciate the dedication, repetition and hard work that is required to produce the effortless-looking polished performance.

The workshop was held at the Coliseum in London and was led by artist Heidi Wigmore. The session began at 10am with an introduction and some basic warm up, observation exercises. At 11am we were taken into the stalls in the main auditorium and as we had the space to ourselves we had the luxury of sitting wherever we chose.

The company class was divided into two parts; a warm up session on the barre; and a more energetic and complex set of dance routines performed across the floor. The dancers arrived wearing furry boots, leggings and jumpers to keep their limbs warm, which were gradually removed as the dancers warmed up; ballet pointe shoes were only worn during the second half.

The company class finished at 12.30pm and we finished the session with a review of the work we had produced. These are a few of my drawings…

Simple blue line drawing
Simple blue line drawing

 

Female dancers
Female dancers

 

leaping dancers
Leaping dancers

 

Quick sketch from photo
Quick sketch from photo

 

Quick overlapping sketches
Quick overlapping sketches

 

Sketch using two pencils simultaneously
Sketch using two pencils simultaneously

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