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From about 1980 on, I was drawn to the dance studios of the Netherlands Dance Theater in The Hague and the inspired modern dance of choreographer Jirí Kylián. I made hundreds of sketches, often virtually abstract line drawings, just following the essential line of the movement. The evolution and rehearsal of new choreography inspired numerous watercolours (combined with oil pastels). Kylian’s talent for bringing together two or more figures into a group that resembled a beautiful calligraphic symbol, or maybe a knot, appealed to me. He worked like a calligrapher moving across space.

In 1987 the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra commissioned me to paint a seven-metre long “mural” for the Dance Theater. It would represent the relationship between the orchestra and conductor in the pit and the dancers on stage.  The eight irregular panels of the mural were constructed to “float” just free of the wall, suggesting a flowing rhythm across which the almost abstract dancers leapt. This acrylic painting is my biggest ever.

In 1989 I was given the opportunity to work with the choreographer Philip Taylor, to co-create a modern ballet for the opening of the Holland Dance Festival.
Rather than just projecting my live kinetic paintings on to a backdrop, I designed three huge white panels shaped in irregular curves that could hang above and behind the dancers. For each of the eight movements of Eight Inventions for Percussion by Miloslav Kabelač, these panels took on a different position and became my projection screens. The dancers, costumed in white, were bathed my projected colours.


co-created with choreographer Philip Taylor
Netherlands Dance Theatre I
opening of the 1989 Holland Dance Festival in Den Haag

Surprise and Delight – Something New in Dance

“This was one of the most amazingly novel stage spectacles of the writers’ experience, surprising the eye to a degree that can only have been paralleled in this century by the astonishment aroused by the decors of Bakst for Diaghilev when the Ballet Rousse first hit Europe…. This adds a complete extra dimension in ballet theatre.….an absolutely fascinating collaboration.”
Janet Sinclair and Leo Kersley, Dance and Dancers

“Norman Perryman treats his brushes and paint just like a choreographer…they move synchronous with the exciting percussion music of Miloslav Kabelač. This provides not only an exceptionally exciting interaction (with the dancers), but also dramatic effects that reinforce each other.”
Haagsche Courant

introduced a new era in choreography. With this earthshaking ensemble of dance, music and performance-painting, Taylor and the painter Perryman almost persuaded their public that the world was created not in six days but in eight (Kabelač’s Eight Inventions for Percussion). Three enormous panels served as the framework from which heaven and hell were revealed and in which the dancers survived the excesses of paint and light in a total happening.  After almost half an hour of existential dance, where man and gods appeared and disappeared as if by magic, in a no-man’s land of unconventional rhythms, tones and timbres, Taylor and Perryman “saw that it was good”. 
De Telegraaf

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Kaguyahime I (Kylian)
Kaguyahime II (Kylian)
Kaguyahime III (Kylian)
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Kaguyahime IV (Kylian)
Kaguyahime V (Kylian)
Overgrown Path
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Sinfonietta (Janacek/Kylian)

Soldiers' Mass (Kylian/Martinu)

study Overgrown Path (Kylian)

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Simone Clifford dancing

Arenal (Nacho Duato) 1989

Silent Cries (Kylian/Debussy)

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Nacho's Boléro

Painting live in ballet Invention
Nederlands Dans Theatre 1989

Painting live in ballet Invention
Nederlands Dans Theatre 1989

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Nothin' but the blues

Give me a rhythm

Sophisticated lady


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Dream on, lady
Dance to the rhythm 1    

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