Grey Lines features drawings of dance, emotion and life, created by Noella Roos together with a dance, and video-dance performance by Ida Ayu Indah Tejapratami.


4 February - 4 March, 2012 
Gaya Art Space, Jalan Raya Sayan, Ubud, Bali
Dance, video performance by Ida Ayu Indah Tejapratami 

Noella Roos (born 27 January, 1969) is a painter and drawer from The Netherlands. Born into a family of artists, her talent was nurtured from early childhood. In this artistic family environment, Noella was encouraged to fully develop her visual and artistic abilities. As a result her paintings and drawings reveal classical techniques and themes that are seldom seen in the current generation of artists. Since the 1970s the Dutch art academies have tended to focus on the personal development of the artist rather than mastery of technique. Contrary to the predominate trends in art education and artistic practices, Noella Roos chose her own path.

Her drawings are inspired by Michelangelo, Käthe Kollwitz, Andrea del Sarto and also Dooijenwaard.

Noella invites dancers into her studio in Bali, and then draws these dancers while they are in motion, with compressed chalk (charcoal) on white paper. She prefers chalk because it is an “honest” medium: the resulting drawing is either good or bad; you cannot change or erase the parts. Noella is inspired by the movement of the body. “Everyone has their own “language” when they dance, influenced and shaped by cultural backgrounds, but primarily it is an expression of their emotional involvement with the music”.

Her fascination for moving figures gradually led to the development of a technique in which she could convincingly capture the movement as quickly as the dancers dance. Her interest is focused on the muscle movements and on the light that reflects on the moving body. She continues drawing a dancing model until she can fully understand the movement of the model. That is why Noella prefers to work with only one dancer for a long period. In the end she and the model are as one person. While drawing and moving she follows the rhythm of the dance. Then, it is no longer a matter of hard work; thinking and doing merge together.

At this exhibition, drawings of modern dancers from Europe and drawings of a beautiful traditional Balinese dancer, Dayu Indah from Peliatan, will be shown. Dayu however, dances to modern music from Philip Glass and Arvo Pärt. Noella tells me how amazing it was to see a traditional Legong dancer dance to classical contemporary music as if she was a modern dancer from Europe. Great dancers can dance out of their feelings and emotional connection to the music, no matter where they are from. 

Noella is inspired by traditional Balinese dance because it uses many architectonic lines. Balinese dance uses a lot of Golden Mean ratios in its dances and customs, as well as in architecture. The Golden Mean, also called the Divine Proportion, is everywhere in the work of Noella Roos.  The Golden Mean is incorporated into all aspects of Balinese life - the way they measure their buildings and temples for example - and is also related to the measurements and proportions of the body.

Balinese dance is sometimes accused of being too “romantic”. However, most of the dances are strong and expressive. Also Noella likes to make drawings where she visualizes the expressions of the dance, and not necessarily the character or pose of one particular dancer. Noella draws dancers as dancing lines and does not draw the traditional costumes. This, she says, detracts from the emotions and expression of the dance itself.

Noella tells me that she tries to capture that one moment of sublime connection between the dancer, the artist and the music. Only that moment of connection can result in a good drawing. Her lines are free, open, grey, and not too black. Drawing for her is like dancing together with the dancer as well as a journey to a better understanding of the dance of Bali.

The artistic connections between Asia and Europe are as old as history. Noella Roos, with her respect for classical education and traditions, both of the West as well as of the East, manages to conceptualise traditional Asian dance in a modern way. Ida Ayu Indah Tejapratami (born 6 July 1988) is an Indonesian dancer and creates her own choreography through improvisation, emotion and her knowledge of traditional Balinese dance. She has danced in many different countries: Japan; Madrid, Spain; Beijing, China; and every week she dances with the Gunung Sari Gamelan group in Peliatan, Ubud, Bali. Ida Ayu Indah investigates the parallels between old and new and how to create a dialogue between the traditional and the modern through movement .  She has worked for several years to learn all the different forms of Legong from various teachers: basic classic Legong dance from professional dancer, Kadek Oli from Peliatan; Legong Lasem dance from dancer and choreographer, Anak Agung Gede Oka Dalem; Legong Lasem dance and Oleg Tamulilingan dance from Gusti Ayu Raka Rasmi, a dancer from Peliatan (the first Oleg Tamulilingan dancer was created by I Ketut Mario in 1952);  Kebiar Duduk dance from Ida Bagus Oka Wirjana (a gifted Balinese male dancer) and  Legong Jobog dance from Cok Rai Mantili, a dancer from Peliatan.