DANCING WITH DEGAS
Over time, especially since The Sleeping Beauty, I’ve come to realise how much the choreographer or Ballet Masters influence my work too. It’s the ‘entire’ experience of being in the dance studios that inspires me.
Watching David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, share his story with his dancers, and encourage their movements and performance, engaged me in their facial expressions. The costumes were vibrant, lush and fresh. I really wanted to capture the feelings and visual sensations that I was experiencing. That meant creating artwork (monotypes) in a way that I hadn’t before, with more detail and more colour.
With influence from Degas, I have then added pastel over some of the ghosts (or cognates) of the monotypes. Although with ballet images Degas seems to cover his monotypes completely, I have left a lot of the fresh monotype marks showing through as well.
The Sleeping Beauty, David McAllister’s first full-length production since joining The Australian Ballet as Artistic Director in 2001, has rightly received ebullient praise for its playfulness, majesty and brilliance. It is a testament to Debra Luccio’s own artistic skill and sensibility that she has successfully captured the essence and power of the performance upon which her monotypes are based. In a year where the National Gallery of Victoria is featuring Edgar Degas’ iconic images of dancers, showing until Sep 18th, this is a perfect opportunity to see a great Australian talent approach the subject with originality, acuity and great emotional depth.