The Art of Dance

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Artist and sculpture

Emma putting the final touches to The Dancer. She is adding some gold leaf to the Liverpool skyline which runs across the front of the work.

I once harbored great dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. My mum took me to local classes as a child and over 20 years on I can still remember the excitement of pulling on my little ballet slippers, packing my special ballet bag and endless recitals of "good toes, naughty toes".

Sadly my career was short-lived. My mum had always been uneasy about the rather dour teacher who would not allow parents in the room during the class and put a piece of paper in the window to prevent curious parents from looking in. Being tiny I thought it was perfectly normal for ballet teachers to crack the floor with a cane and bellow at small children. I realised how wrong I was when I happened to mention some of her teaching methods to my mum and as a consequence never set foot in the place again.

Keen to find me another hobby mum encouraged me to join Kirkby Jiu Jitsu Academy. Maybe she felt after my brush with the megalomaniac dance teacher I could do with learning some skills in self-defence? Jiu Jitsu was great and I stuck with it till black belt but seeing Emma Rodger's sculpture The Dancer at the Walker Art Gallery this week has made me wonder what might have been.

Captured mid-performance the sculpture strikes a dramatic pose. With arms reaching to the sky, she balances on one foot, with the other kicking backwards in a way that seems impossible to mere mortals. She is simply stunning and at around 8ft tall a real feat of engineering too.

The accompanying display, Emma Rodgers: From Sketch to Sculpture, reveals the journey from the artist's imagination to reality. It includes preparatory sketches and photographs taken by Rodgers as visual aids. There is also a photograph of the maquette, which Rodgers employed to test her ideas out in 3D and replicas of a foot of the sculpture at various stages in the casting process, revealing the method known as the"lost wax process".

There is a special launch for visitors to the gallery this Saturday. Emma will be there and there will be actvities for all the family. I’ll be taking my little girl along to see what she makes of The Dancer and if she has any interest in fulfilling her mum’s missed opportunity!

Events on Saturday 1 May:

Centre Stage 11.30am - 1.30pm
Create and decorate your own stage for Emma's sculpture The Dancer in this fun family workshop.
Drop in session- no ticket required
Suitable for 5yrs +
Emma Rodgers in Conversation 12-12:30pm
Curator Laura MacCulloch finds out more about Emma's inspiration, motivation, working process and future plans through an informal conversation with the artist.
Drop in session- no ticket required
Suitable for all

For more information on Emma’s work check out the video in The Rise of Women Artist exhibition pages. Emma’s work is included in the exhibition, on at the Walker Art Gallery until 1 August.