How to draw a jazz dancer

Richard Macdonald - Jazz Dancer Bronze Sculpture Signed Contemporary Art - for sale

Richard Macdonald - Jazz Dancer Bronze Sculpture Signed Contemporary Art - for sale | modernartifact


Artist: Richard MacDonald
Title: Jazz Dancer
Medium: Bronze sculpture
Size: 24" x 19" x 10"
Inscription: Signed
Edition: X/175
Condition: Museum quality
Documentation: Includes Gallery Certificate of Authenticity

Richard MacDonald's ability to capture the nuances of bodies in motion is second to none. His sculptures respect both the strength and artistry of movement; creating beautiful, powerful art. The use of bronze along with MacDonald's neo-classical, realist style make "Jazz Dancer" a timeless work. "Jazz Dancer" is signed by Richard MacDoanld and comes with a Gallery Certificate of authenticity.

Richard MacDonald is often regarded as the world’s leading figurative sculptor today. This ingenious aesthete has been creating bronze sculptures with a relentless enthusiasm for over thirty years. Often described as Realism, his work is a part of the neo-figurative movement and it is greatly inspired by motion and the art of dance.

Originally, Richard MacDonald was classically trained as a painter, having graduated Cum laude from the Art Center College of Design in 1971. His career began in the world of illustration, where the artist was frequently required to illustrate sporting events, including the Olympics. After a decade in illustration, he wanted to pursue another medium and his fascination with human body brought him to sculpture.

In 1983, MacDonald officially retired as an illustrator and immersed himself into a three-dimensional creative universe. His talent helped accelerate his career as a sculptor, as the artist quickly rose to international prominence. Celebrated for its dynamism, refinement and superb quality, sculptures by Richard MacDonald were greatly sought after, while numerous prestigious commissions followed. Simultaneously, he never ceased to explore the stunning physicality and aesthetics of the human body, regularly working with live models in his studio.

Ballet was hardly a novel subject in art and Richard MacDonald does follow the footsteps of Degas and even Rodin. Still, the works of the contemporary sculptor are different, meticulously made and anatomically correct to the slightest detail, testifying to the artist’s unparalleled perfectionism. Still, they are not a literal translation of a dancer’s body, but a true artistic portrayal of an paradigmatic character or a scene, imbued with personal traits and a vast emotive spectrum radiating from every inch of the piece. MacDonald's statues are idealized images of harmony, with masterly balanced compositions, depicted the impossible postures and appearing to barely touch the ground.

As a renowned artist, Richard MacDonald worked with some of the most prominent dancers and performers in the world, notably with members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and most recently - Cirque du Soleil. A devout philanthropist, he was honored and awarded by great international organizations, including the United States Olympic Committee.

In the manner and with the commitment of the greatest sculptors from the history of art, Richard MacDonald continues to create sculptures impregnated with passion and energy, celebrating the supreme qualities of both the spiritual and the material body. His works are admired by connoisseurs and aficionados alike, as some of the most coveted collectibles in the world of contemporary sculpture.

Richard MacDonald was born in Pasadena, California in 1946. He keeps a studio in Monterey, California, where he is based.

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DANCE OR DRAW - Mel_Simpson_Dance


Online format: Learn a fully choreographed Dance with Mel - or Draw her/ her movements!! These sessions are accessible for people of all ages and levels. All you need is passion and a good sense of humour!


"It's like a speedy life-drawing or mark-making session, but the dancer is in full costume, with lights, music and set design!" - Sean, Artist

An entirely new, innovative format for life drawing, where artists are invited to observe a dance workshop in realtime, finding new inspiration for gestural and expressive work.


To see stunning images from our sessions so far, click here: 

--- Join the Facebook Page here... or join our creative community here ---

During Lockdown 1.0, after seeing the impact Lockdown and the stress of Covid was having on people, I founded 'DANCE OR DRAW' a global online adult community to help people of any age to have some mindful, creative fun, to boost their physical and mental wellbeing.

A safe, welcoming space online, where art and dance enthusiasts can come together and collaborate directly, challenging and inspiring each other's creative boundaries. Many adults join purely for some human connection and active uplifting fun!

Haven't done any art since school? No problem! Two left feet? That's ok too! 

These online sessions are non-judgemental and accessible to all - whatever level you are working at - we are here to provide you with some joy and inspiration during what has been a very trying year for us all. 

If you have young people at home - they can of course join in too! As long as you are able to supervise them in their safety at home.  

I conceptualise, choreograph and host these live practical Zooms *every first, and last Saturday* of each month. Dressing up is not required, but is highly encouraged!! 

Check our current schedule here...


  • 1920's Charleston
  • West Side Story
  • Aladdin Bellydance-Bollywood
  • Romantic Ballet
  • Kandinsky to Stravinsky
  • Kate Bush Wuthering Heights
  • 1970's TOTP Space Disco - Starship Trooper / Spacer! 
  • Madonna VOGUE & La Isla Bonita 
  • Georgia O'Keefe
  • Bob Fosse
  • Fred Astaire - Steppin Out (Easter Parade) 
  • Ann Miller - Shakin' the Blues Away
  • 1960's POP ART - BATGIRL! 
  • Dreamboats & Petticoats Henti Matisse 
  • The Nutcracker 
  • Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon (Witchy Woman Halloween) 
  • Audrey Hepburn - Funny Face
  • Mary Poppins 

    As a choreographer I am finding SO much inspiration from all of these wonderful collaborations with my dance and art community - each session inspires the next!! I also love it when someone joins to try a bit of dancing AND a bit of drawing! 

    I love finding the concept for each Zoom, designing costume, set design, considering lighting design. .. Sometimes it comes mainly from the styles of the artists joinig - from a film I have seen recently - or a beautiful piece of music that has come bsack into my ether... It's not always just about the aesthetic - it's about what the theme evokes - how it makes us feel!

    Beyonce? Sure. Pop Art? Of course. The Jazz Era? Absolutely! Delibes? Definitely. Marylin Monroe? Why not! Bridget Riley? Bring it on. Futurism? 100%. The Russian Revolution? No problem! Marcel Marceau? Oh yes! CREATIVITY IS ENDLESS! 


    To see more stunning images from the Zoom Sessions so far, click here: 

    Introducing DANCE OR DRAW for Group Bookings / Colleges / Schools / Universities:
    If you would like to book a DANCE OR DRAW session for your art group / students who are stdying Dance or Art... for Staff Wellbeing - or as an entirely unique Birthday Zoom experience - please email Mel directly here: [email protected] **

    **Mel has a current valid DBS, is a fully qualified teacher (QTS), and holds a BA hons Degree in Dance & Theatre Perfromance 
    A new innovative format for Life Drawing.
    .. Speed Drawing - or "Capturing Movement"... figurative, expressive, dynamic drawing... is a more accurate description. Perfect if you need to cater for Art Students, Dance Students - or BOTH GROUPS SIMULTANEOUSLY in different studios! All is possible via the internet. 


    All booked attendees are 'admitted' into the private zoom meeting. 

    If some participants are joining to dance, I will always lead a short warm up, to prepare the body and mind, then launch into teaching the tailor-made, requested dance. Participants / classes who are joining as artists are encouraged to begin drawing / painting the movement even during the warm up. Artists can work in any medium, e.g. chalk, pastels, pencil, charcoal, collage, sculpture etc. 

    I am mindful that constant movement provides a large challenge for artists / art students / art enthusiasts when trying to capture the essence - therefore, at various intervals throughout the sessions, I do still poses for two/three/five minutes at a time.  
    At the end of the session there is always a fun and optional sharing of the artworks that have been created throughout the hour - and a chance for any dancers in costume to give us a twirl or strike their favourite pose! 


    DURATION: 1 hour


    DESCRIPTION: This is an energetic live (online) workshop, suitabe for all ages, provided young people are being supervised. Fully choreographed, with music, costume and set design!! 


    ATMOSPHERE: Freindly, safe, welcoming, encouraging, yet also artistically and creatively challeging 


    Email directly here: [email protected] or use the Contact form on this website. 


    Jazz (principles, terms)

    ARCH [arch] - arch, back deflection of the torso.
    ALLONGE, ARRONDIE [alonge, arondi] - the position of a rounded or elongated arm.
    ASSEMBLE [assembly] - a jump from one leg to two is performed with the legs abducted in a given direction and collecting the legs during the jump together.
    BODY ROLL [body roll] - a group of torso tilts associated with the alternate movement of the center of the body in the lateral or frontal plane (synonymous with 'wave').
    BOUNCE [bounce] - springboard swaying up and down, mainly occurs either due to flexion and extension of the knees, or pulsating tilts of the torso.
    BATTEMENT TENDU [batman tandu] - the movement of the leg, which is retracted to the toe forward, backward or to the side with a sliding motion. In modern jazz dance, it is also performed in parallel positions.
    BRUCH [brush] - sliding or smearing the whole foot on the floor before opening the leg into the air or when closing into position.

    CONTRACTION [contraction] - compression, reduction of the volume of the body and rounding of the spine, begins in the center of the pelvis, gradually capturing the entire spine, performed on exhalation.
    CORKSCREW TURN - 'corkscrew' turns, in which the performer raises or lowers the level of rotation.
    COUPE [coupe] - a quick substitution of one leg for another, serving as an impetus for a jump or other movement.
    CURVE [curf] - bending the upper part of the spine (up to the 'solar plexus') forward or to the side.

    DEEP BODY BEND [deep body band] - lean the torso forward below 90°, keeping the straight line of the torso and arms.
    DEEP CONTRACTION [deep contraction] - a strong compression in the center of the body, in which all joints participate, i.e. this movement includes arms, legs and head.
    DEGAGE [degage] - transferring the weight of the body from one leg to another in the second position (right, left) and in the fourth position of the legs (forward, backward), can be performed both with demi-plie and with outstretched legs. Synonym for shift.
    DEMI-PLIE [demi-plie] - semi-squatting, in which the heels do not come off the floor.
    DEMIROND [demi rond] - a semicircle with the toe of the foot on the floor forward and to the side, or back and to the side.
    DROP [drop] - falling of a relaxed torso forward or to the side.
    EN DEDANS [an dedan] - the direction of movement or turn towards oneself, inward.
    EN DEHORS [an deor] - the direction of movement or turn from oneself or outward.
    ECARTE [ekarte] - a pose of classical dance (a la seconde), turned diagonally forward or backward, the body is slightly deviated from the raised leg.
    EPAULMENT [epolman] - the position of the dancer turned in 3/4 in bar 8 or bar 2; differs epaulement croise (closed) and epaulement efface (erased, open)

    FLAT BACK [flat back] - tilt of the torso forward, to the side (by 90 °), back with a straight back, without bending the torso.
    FLAT STEP [flat step] - a step in which the entire foot is simultaneously placed on the floor.
    FLEX [flex] - reduced foot, hand or knees.
    FLIK [flick] - a foot stroke on the floor to the supporting leg.
    FOUETTE [fuette] - a turn technique in which the performer's body turns to a leg fixed in a certain position (on the floor or in the air).
    FROG-POSITION [frog-position] - a sitting position in which the legs bent at the knees touch each other with the feet, the knees should be maximally opened to the sides,

    GLISSADE [glissade] - ground sliding jump without leaving the floor moving right-left or forward-backward.
    GRAND BATTEMENT [grand batman] - throwing a leg 90 ° and higher forward, backward or to the side.
    GRAND JETE [grand jet] - jump from one foot to the other moving forward, backward or sideways. The legs open up to the maximum and take the position of 'split' in the air.
    GRAND PLIE [gran plie] - full squat.

    HIGH RELEASE [high release] - high expansion, a movement consisting of lifting the chest with a slight backward bend.
    HINGE [hinch] - the position of the dancer, in which the straight, without bends, the torso leans back to the maximum distance, the knees are bent, the feet are on half-toes,
    HIP LIFT [hip lift] - lifting the hip up.
    NOR [hop] - step-jump, 'working' leg is usually in the 'knee' position.

    JACK KNIFE [jack knife] - body position in which the torso leans forward, the back is straight, resting on the hands, knees extended, legs in the second parallel position, heels do not come off the floor.
    JAZZ HAND [jazz hand] - the position of the hand, in which the fingers are tense and spread apart.
    JELLY ROLL [jelly roll] - a movement of the pelvis, consisting of a small contraction of the muscles with a simultaneous slight turn of the pelvis to the right and left (synonymous with the pelvis shake.) are retracted behind the chest, the forearms are parallel to the floor.
    JUMP [jump] - jump on two legs.

    KICK [kick] - throw the leg forward or to the side by 45 ° or 90 ° through the developpe take-out,
    LAY OUT [lay out] - a position in which the leg is open at 90° to the side or back, and the torso form one straight line.
    LEAP [liip] - jump from one foot to another moving forward or sideways.
    LOCOMOTOR [locomotor] - a circular movement of arms bent at the elbows along the torso.
    LOW BACK [low back] - rounding of the spine in the lumbar-thoracic region.

    Pas balance It is performed with the advancement from side to side, less often - back and forth.
    PAS CHASSE [pa chasse] - an auxiliary jump with advancement in all directions, during which one leg 'catches up' with the other at the highest point of the jump.
    PAS DE BOURREE [pas de bourree] - an auxiliary dance step, consisting of alternating steps from one foot to the other, ending in demi-plle. Synonym for step pas de bourree. In modern jazz dance, the position of sur le cou-de-pied is not fixed during pas de bourree.
    PAS DE CHAT [pas de sha] - a jump, a cat's limiting jump. Legs bent at the knees are thrown back.
    PAS FAILLJ [pa fail] - a connecting step, consisting of passing the free leg through the passing demlplie in I position forward or backward, then the weight of the body is transferred to the leg with some deviation from the vertical axis.
    PASSE [passe] - a passing movement, which is a link when moving the leg from one position to another, can be performed in the first position on the floor (passepar terre), or at 45 ° or 90 °.
    PIQUE [peak] - a light injection with the fingertips of the 'working' leg on the floor and lifting the leg to a given height.
    PIROUTTE [pirouette] - rotation of the performer on one leg en dehors or en dedans, the second leg in the position sur le cou-de-pied.
    PLIE RELEVE [plie releve] - the position of the legs on half-toes with bent knees.
    POINT [point] - the extended position of the foot.
    PRANCE [price] - movement for the development of foot mobility, consisting of a quick change of position 'half-lalse' and point.
    PREPARATION [preparation] - a preparatory movement performed before the start of the exercise.
    PRESS-POSITION [press position] - the position of the hands, in which the arms bent at the elbows with the palms touch the hips in front or side.

    RELEASE [release] - expansion of the volume of the body, which occurs on inspiration.
    RELEVE [relevé] - lifting on half-fingers.
    RENVERSE [ranverse] - a sharp bending of the body, mainly from the pose of atitude croise, accompanied by pas de bouree en tournant.
    ROLL DOWN [roll down] - a spiral downward-forward tilt, starting from the head.
    ROLL UP [roll an] - a reverse movement associated with a gradual unwinding and straightening of the torso to its original position.
    ROND DE JAM BE PAR TERRE [ron de jamb par terre] - a circle with an outstretched leg, touching the floor with your fingers.
    ROVD DE JAM BE EN L 'AIR [ron de jamb anler] - circular movement of the lower leg (ankle) with a fixed hip, set aside to a height of 45 ° or 90°.

    SAUTE [saute] - classical dance jump from two legs to two legs in I, II, IV and V positions.
    SHIMMI [shimmy] - a spiral, twisting movement of the pelvis to the right and left,
    SIDE STRETCH [side stretch] - lateral stretching of the torso, tilting the torso to the right or left.
    SISSON OUVERTE [sisson overt] - a jump with flying forward, backward or to the side, upon landing one leg remains open in the air at a given height or in a given position.
    SOUTENU EN TQURNANT [sutenu en turnan] - turn on two legs, starting with retracting the 'working* leg into the fifth position.
    SQUARE [square] - four steps in a square: forward-to-side-back-to-side.
    STEP BALL CHANGE [step ball change] - a connecting step, consisting of a step to the side or forward and two steps on the half-toes (a synonym for step pa de hour of its
    SUNDARI [zundari] - head movement, which consists in shifting the cervical vertebrae to the right and left and
    SURLE COU-DE-PIED [sur le cou-de-pied] - the position of the extended foot of the 'working' leg on the ankle of the supporting leg in front or behind
    SWING - swinging with any part of the body (arm, leg, head, torso) in a special jazz rhythm.

    THRUST [frast] - a sharp jerk of the chest or pelvis forward, sideways or backward.
    TILT [tilt] - an angle, a pose at which the torso deviates to the side or forward from the vertical position, the 'working' leg can be open in the opposite direction by 90 ° and more.
    TOMBE [tombe] - fall, transfer of the weight of the body to the open leg forward, to the side or back on the demi-plie,
    TOUCH - side step or step on the half-toes without transferring the weight of the body.
    TOUR CHANES [tour shenet] - performed on two legs diagonally or in a circle on high half-toes following one after another half-turns, in modern jazz dance can be performed on a full foot and in demi-plie.
    TWIST - twisting and unwinding of a body part with "arrival" at the end point.
    SPIRAL - the process of twisting and guiding the body through 45 degrees, or continuing twisting.

    Dance Art and Sports Center "Dance-Time"

    Jazz dance is, first of all, the embodiment of the dancer's emotions, it is a dance of sensations, not forms or ideas. This dance has gone from everyday, folklore through stage, theatrical, gradually becoming a special dance direction.

    It is believed that jazz dance was created by Americans and African Americans, and the technique is based on Negro folklore mixed with dances of other emigrants living in the United States.

    The principles of jazz dance were laid outside the musical direction of jazz, so it is necessary to separate jazz as a musical direction and as a dance technique. But the basic principles of jazz dance are similar to the principles of jazz in music. This, perhaps, was the reason for the common name.

    So, basic principles : improvisation, isolation, polyrhythm, animation, polycentry, coordination, collapse (reset), impulse, wave.

    Improvisation comes from the very nature of African dance. Modern jazz dance offers unlimited possibilities, requiring creativity and individuality from the performers. Someone wants to have fun, someone seeks to convey the mysterious, incomprehensible vicissitudes of life, others are fascinated by pure movement, composition, rhythm . ..

    Among the technical principles of jazz dance, idea isolation is the main one. It implies that each part of the body moves independently of the other part and allows the jazz dancer to completely free the body, to make it an instrument of dance. This task is quite difficult for a beginner dancer, since according to the anatomical features of our body, all centers are closely interconnected, and the movement, for example, of the head, naturally causes tension in the shoulder girdle or in the chest. However, isolation is the main technique that begins teaching jazz dance.

    In jazz dance centers, different parts of the body, can move not only in different spatial directions, but also in different rhythmic patterns, metrically independent of each other. This movement principle in jazz dance is called polyrhythm and is closely related to music in which each of the percussion instruments leads its own rhythm.

    Animation is also closely related to rhythm. This concept means that a single movement is decomposed into its component parts, phased, several accents are made in the musical measure in the intervals between the main beats of the measure. Multiplied movements may be unequal in time and irregular. They can occupy the entire measure, but they can only occupy any part of it. So, for example, a step is not only a movement associated with moving in space, but also the transfer of body weight from one leg to another. With animation, several movements are performed in the interval between steps, but only one is associated with the transfer of body weight.

    Polycentric provides for the occurrence of movement in different parts of the body. Movement can come from the head, shoulder, knee, very often through impulse. The body is used here as a metronome: it beats the rhythms given by musical instruments.

    Coordination is used when moving two or more centers. It is carried out in two ways: by an impulse, in which two or more centers are set in motion simultaneously, or the principle of control is applied, that is, the centers are set into motion sequentially. The movements of the centers can be performed in one direction, and then we speak of parallelism, but they can move in opposite directions, and then we speak of opposition.

    What is collapse in jazz dance? We are talking about a kind of holding the body, when there is no tension and elongation upwards. The body is free and relaxed, its curves are slightly exaggerated, the knees are bent, the torso is slightly tilted forward. If in classical ballet the spine is the axis of the whole body, the axis of rotation and jump, and there is even a special term “put the back”, then in jazz dance everything is diametrically opposite - the spine is soft and relaxed. With tension, it is impossible to move individual centers, for example, the hip or chest, while with sufficient relaxation, such movements are possible.

    In jazz dance there is a concept, at first glance, contrary to isolation, when one center activates another center, as if controlling it, but when controlled, a time gap between movements is noticeable. Initially, one center begins to move, then after a certain period of time - another, third, etc. When the center is activated, we expend a certain muscular effort, which is called impulse .

    The main task of the teacher at the first stage of training is to achieve sufficient freedom of the spine to make movements of its various parts. At the same time, the body must be tense enough (but not tight) so that the movements are energetic. The distribution of tension and relaxation (relaxation) is the basis of jazz dance technique.

    Jazz is very diverse. Some are attracted by primitive African technique, others combine modern with ethnic dance, others use tap-dance and so on. To excel in jazz dance, the dancer must also practice classical ballet techniques, which allow excellent control of his body, give strength to the muscles, improve balance (balance), and combine parallel leg positions with turnouts, as in classical dance.

    Basic styles of jazz dance .

    CLASSICAL borrowed the discipline of movements, positions of arms and legs from classical dance. The founder of classical jazz Matt Matox.

    BLUES is the slowest of jazz dances, incredibly stylish and very simple dance. It is pleasant to learn and is increasingly seen at various dance parties and even as a wedding dance. Initially, the blues was danced exclusively to blues music, however, then any non-fast music of a certain tempo began to be used for the dance, in particular, rock and R&B music.

    LYRICAL is a dance style created from the fusion of ballet and contemporary jazz. It is distinguished by a large number of different movements per unit of pace, performed very gently, without visible tension.

    HOT - this style is full of high expressive steps and exciting movements, in this style of jazz dance there are many elements of the step, because. the rhythm is too fast, the poses may allow for a stooped back, raised shoulders and swaying hips, most often this style is performed in television, commercial shows and musicals.

    BROADWAY . Musicals, which became popular in the 20-30s of the twentieth century, demanded ever stronger choreography, understandable and incendiary for the viewer. This is where the style of Broadway jazz appeared, taking its name from the New York street Broadway, where the famous theater is located.

    AFRO . Afro-jazz is an opportunity to combine modern jazz technique with its original ancestor - African ethnic dances. Afro-jazz, which has absorbed a voluminous layer of native culture, immerses in the appropriate mood of unity with nature, the world and oneself. The dance is not classical, but ethnic, which adds to its simplicity. Ethnic music and its arrangements are used as musical accompaniment.

    JAZZ-MODERN is an energetic and expressive dance, a figurative dance that takes all the best from jazz choreography and modern.

    JAZZ-POP is a jazz dance that has evolved under the influence of modern culture, incorporating elements of vogue, waacking, street-dance, disco. It is devoid of hip-hop bounce and is distinguished by the predominance of mannerism over technique, restraint over swagger.

    LATINO-JAZZ is a dance that combines jazz elements with samba and salsa. It is performed to Latin American rhythms and is distinguished by the emancipation of the torso.

    We have considered only a part of jazz dance styles that are considered to be the main ones. There is also a huge number of sub-styles of jazz dance. There are a great many of them. In recent years, the theory has been practiced that each choreographer creates his own unique style of any direction, different from others. This, in turn, is both a positive and a negative moment in development. The downside of this is that there are a lot of young as well as experienced choreographers, and even with a great desire it is impossible to comprehend all forms of dance. And a huge plus is that the school of jazz dance, which is different from classical dance, offers the choreographer an unlimited number of expressions of his individuality, his uniqueness.

    Learn more