Dance Calligraphy

I filled pages and pages of these scribbles at Modern Dance Performances I’ve been to in the last year. I am in the dark, I don’t see what I am drawing, I try and capture all the movement I see on stage with the pen never leaving the paper. I am usually surprised myself when they turn the lights back up and see what I drew. It feels like some sort of short hand dance calligraphy. When I took these photos another interesting element added itself, the out of focus lines turned dimensional, as if wire lifting from the page! Very strange … like it though. I am curious to hear your thoughts on these.





You can see a flickr gallery with ten of these photos here.

22 Responses to “Dance Calligraphy”

  1. cK Says:


    These drawings are incredible. It is high up there in the work that I have seen from you. Just amazing and very fluid.


  2. jenny Says:

    wowee. so cool. i love the way they come alive in the out of focus parts of the photos. neat-0 and i mean it!

  3. Clio Says:

    These are gorgeous! I’d really like to see them in a gallery setting. The photos give them a kind of surreal quality.

  4. amelia Says:

    That is awesome…it could be framed!

  5. Katie Says:

    These are beautiful. Were you using the page as sort of a stage or drawing the movements in a line back and forth across the page regardless of stage position? Just curious. Thanks.

  6. robin joseph Says:


    these are fantastic. the lines have a life of their own….remember the squiggle from ‘ the dot and the line’ ..oh man..i am equally excited seeing these pages…

    beautiful enrico.

    best regards

  7. alisa Says:

    Amazing sketches for being in the dark! The photos give them a really interesting quality too.

  8. strongmotion Says:

    sei un fottuto genio! darei un braccio per disegnare così!! quello che non tiene la penna ovvio…

    english translation: very very nice sketches!

  9. Enrico Says:

    cK, Jenny, Amelia, Robin joseph, Alisa – thanks so much! glad you like them.

    Clio- Thanks, I’ve been considering showing them at Nucleus … maybe some photos and some original pages … we’ll see if they make the cut … :)

    Katie- I mostly just fill lines … really as if I am writing calligraphy … trying to capture all the different things going on on the stage …

    Strongmotion- eh eh … grazie, “fottuto genio” e’ la prima volta che lo sento … I love the translation. ;)


  10. david Says:

    Fantastic! I’ve done this too – also with variations of the deuling artist (where you only look at your partner, no looking at paper) – but mine are nothing compared to yours!

  11. KTor Says:

    Very interesting, I like the ideea of drawing the movement on the stage and you’ve done a great job, the drawings are alive!

  12. Alina Says:

    NEATO!! These reminded me of Frank Gehry’s architecture concept art sketches!!

  13. chris fason Says:

    i’d love to see those pulled apart and filmed in sequence.

    great stuff all around.


  14. weno Says:

    great research! i always have the same thoughts when i try sketching people while they’re moving.
    and experimenting this with dance is amazing. :)

  15. ryan mcdougal Says:

    Really dig the style and the photos as well…even if the out of focus was a happy mistake :) , the combination of the free flowing lines and the blur make it feel like there is movement there. Keep it up.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    wow. beautiful and such a fun idea. i might try this sometime but I’m sure my result would never be this stunning.

  17. Karen Says:

    I really the dancers’ movement strung all together without breaks… just like in real life!

  18. Enrico Says:

    David, KTor, weno, ryan mcdougal, Anonymous, Karen- thanks so much for your comments, I appreciate you leaving feedback !

    Alina- I am gonna look them up, sounds interesting, I always love architect’s sketches.

    Chris fason- I’d like to do that one of these days, it would be interesting indeed.

    Just got back from NYC and did a bunch more of these at a couple of performances. It’s been fun …
    will post some more soon.


  19. Mr. Scribbles Says:

    As usual your work is amazing/inspiring. Great stuff Enrico.

  20. Felix Lim Says:

    These drawings are packed with feelings.
    I have been wondering for a long time about the possibility of connecting the act of drawing with a live performance art (concert/dance/orchestra).
    I think these drawings are quite successful in conveying an energy, but Im not sure if I would feel the same way if you hadn’t mentioned the context.
    Food for thought.

  21. laurent b Says:

    E, very nice, the depth added by the focus is a great find. I once applied exactly the same process of drawing by a warm wood fire, flames dancing… let’s say the result was experimental, at best :) yours at least look good!

  22. Enrico Says:

    Mr Scribbles- thanks!

    Felix Lim- thanks for your thoughts … good points … The photos certainly make them stand out to begin with … but you’re right, the context of how I do these makes it more interesting … would they strike us only as scribbles without context ? maybe …

    laurent b- thanks Laurent, glad you liked these … interesting that you did something similar … photos of drawing … there’s something there …