National English Ballet.

The opportunity to draw and observe the pre show warm up of the English national ballet core was perhaps my favourite life drawing experience to date. Not only was the subject unique from your usual still pose models but also captivating to peek behind the scenes of one of (if not, the) most physically strenuous disciplines in the world. Although we have had dealings with drawing a moving model in the past, this was a far more engaging practice. I loved this experience, and I believe it shows in my results. Comparing these figures to previous life drawing sessions  – a very obvious difference in style, line and energy is within the designs.


These first few drawings are of images that we had a few moments to memorise and try record what we remember in order to prepare for very fast pace observation – the dancers aren’t there for us, we were to silently watch and take what we could. Perhaps the visual rhythm was aided by the live music keeping the dancers in their state of absolute concentrated focus.

Its easy to see the recurring shapes that the dancers push most of all. that being arcs; similar to that of a convincing action.

Its interesting to note that dancers and animators/artists ultimately have the same goal of achieving ‘their perfect line’. The dancers aim to defy gravity – we try to closely mimic it.



We where given an hour to experiment with line and tone in as many studies as we could. Though I found myself just watching some of the routines – performers at the peak of physical fitness doing things that defy what is possible for the human form. There is no better match for referencing when it comes to animation which is the over articulation of the physical.

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