Michael Parkin - Art of the Dance

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Grapevine Gallery, Norwich


Grapevine Gallery, Norwich

In dancing you can't keep both feet on the ground, and Michael Parkin's delightful exhibition evokes the magic of an art that generally captures the imagination only to slip away once the final curtain has fallen.

Fantasy is piled on pretty fantasy in Cecil Beaton's design in scarlet and ochre for Heil Cinderella in 1940, with a touch of 18th-century formality in its black silhouettes framing the stage.

Sophie Fedorovich's imaginative work for two productions is particularly well represented.

Kilts, boldly patterned trews and round bonnets topped with jaunty feathers are Philip Gough's light- hearted way of creating a particularly bonny Scotland. Natalia Gontcharova's costume sketches for a 1928 Paris production offer a different vision. The vivid fabrics are set off by the pale, slender dancers with blank faces and long legs.

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Working in pencil, Laura Knight conveys more sense of a flesh-and-blood character. She adds a sense of movement, too, when she draws a swirling skirt with impressive sureness and economy of line. In comparison, Ethel Gabain's 1916 lithograph of a dancer resting seems conventional. Light and shade and evening dress have their part to play in Francis Marshall's record of Karl Rankell conducting the orchestra at Covent Garden.

Charles Laborde adopts a different perspective. His etching of a Paris dance hall is given shape by a shaft of light over the jostling couples. He also depicts the sleazy world of taxi dancing in New York. Back views of men in crumpled suits tell us just what is going on.

The exhibition continues until April 9; further details at www.grapevinegallery.co.uk

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