Dancing and Posing

I did some life modelling the other day. It’s something I’ve done for a little while, although usually in a traditional art classroom set-up. This time it was in a “salon” set-up, with a bar, and really nice friendly atmosphere. I actually got to see the pieces that everyone produced! Normally the easels are facing away from me and then the art is whisked away and no-one speaks to the model. But seeing people’s art on their knees or the floor as they worked and then chatting afterwards was really lovely.

I was thinking about how dance training helps me whilst I was holding my poses – my core strength has improved so much and really helps to keep as still as possible for the long poses. I pretended I was in the corps de ballet and had to hold my beautiful pose on stage, ha! I’ve also got a much better understanding of my own strength – at one point I was holding a very heavy (real) horse’s skull, and I had to figure out just for how long and what extension I could hold it. I even attempted a bit of a cambré back for one pose! A few artists asked if I was a dancer, as apparently I was holding my feet in demi-pointe an awful lot.

Here’s a particularly lovely piece produced with ink – you can also see some more pics on my twitter feed.  Do click around on twitter, and definitely follow @ArtMacabreLDN for more gothic fantasy life-drawing – and come along to a salon if you’re in the area!






On the Guardian website today – a beautiful photo gallery of Ingrid Bugge’s new work The Essence of Ballet. You can also read Judith Mackrell’s article on Bugge and how she works, particular using digital technology.

To me, the images seem to capture something about the ephemerality of performance. The delicacy of the images seems to acknowledge that they are fleeting, that the photographer has captured something magical and evanescent.

Some words of encouragement.

Some simple, practical and warmly comforting words from A Quiet Week in the House:

When you feel your worst, create. Grab a marker and some stickers. Rip open envelopes and decorate them. Stamp butterflies on an old map. Bake. Sew. Organize. Do something, anything. You will be released. Even an overwhelming, disappointing day can be a success.

When I feel my worst it can seem almost unthinkable to dance. But hauling myself to class has really been a lifesaver for me in many ways. Dance is creation. I’m doing some sewing today and that’s creation too. These small acts are miraculous.