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This is one of two drawings made by Roberts for an oil painting of the same title. In this work he reduces a group of dancing figures to a vigorous pattern of hard-edged forms. The picture achieves a high degree of abstraction, yet retains a visible subject, distilled by the artist from the modern world. The Vorticists favoured dancing subjects and Roberts was no exception: 'At the Fox-Trot Ball', 'The Dancers', 'The Dance Club' and 'The Toe Dancer', for example, were all subjects in his work between 1913 and 1921. Although often suspicious of Wyndham Lewis's militant attitudes, pictures such as 'Two Step' show that Roberts shared the Vorticist aim to embrance the essence of modern urban life.

September 2004