This week I did my first life model class where, unlike the extreme stillness I have to adopt at work, I had to move! I’d heard of this type of class before – I knew other models that had done a fair share of their own movement classes – but it always seemed to pass me by.
Working with Julian Le Bas at The Hillcrest Centre is a new class I started after getting back to in-real-life classes post Lockdown. The class is held in a community centre in Newhaven, which is a bit of a trek from home, but I love the class; the tutor and artists, the banter, the chat, the atmosphere, the home-made quiches in the cafe at break-time. It’s a wonderfully relaxed class with a calming yet joyous energy.
I was originally booked to do the class a few weeks back, and when it was changed to the OG life model formatting, I was a bit gutted. Luckily, it was just postponed, so I had a little time to mentally process and practice how I might approach the class.
On my long journey to work in the morning, I went through my music and made a playlist with melodies I felt would help influence my movements. The sun scorched me through the acrylic bus windows as we coursed along the coastline, picking up just enough breeze to enjoy the ride as I listened and watched the bright blue sea lapping along the shore.
As I arrived, no one was there yet, I double checked what time I was booked and that the location hadn’t changed, or class cancelled all together, No alerts, so I sat and waited with the flask of coffee I made for the journey. Julian arrived a few minutes later with the usual big grin and beaming energy.
Now like most classes, I got changed into my dressing gown and got the sarong out I carry to sit my naked backside on. The usual faces starting to come in and greetings were shared. We started the class with 8x2minute poses as a warm up for both myself and the artists. Julian then kind of demonstrated what was expected of me, I got my speaker out – more nervous to share my music then be nude for 2 hours – and got myself ready for 5 minutes of movement. As I moved, I did so slowly, stopping at new, exaggerated poses and holding them for up to a minute, leaving that pose to then move slowly in preparation to go into my next! It was so much FUN! We did this for about half an hour before our break, Quiche time! – todays was mushroom.
Getting back to class, I continued to model whilst moving, it’s such an interesting feeling, to almost dance, but not quite, in a setting that is work but with a job that gives a level of freedom but that doesn’t quite match the freedom you would usually feel when “dancing”. You are so much more aware of the way you move, more than you do, say, when you’re dancing on a night out surrounded with your friends. it’s a different type of dancing but, you’re just very aware of the way in which you move.
I was told before the class that no-one yet had opted to listen to music whilst moving, the class really enjoyed my playlist and think it might have even influenced/helped in the way they drew and what they produced.
Overall it was a fantastic experience, it was a workout in itself which was great and I created some completely new poses!
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All art above is by Duncan