• Anneliese Aeria

The Model Dance Project

The Model Dance Project stemmed from a casual conversation with a group of models back stage at a charity fashion show where Jacob was giving informal “street dance lessons”. He commented that he was largely self taught, and that he wished he had a bit more of my “classical”, “formal” training. Others chimed in and said, “you should dance together!...You could learn a lot from each other!” The next thing I knew, conversations about dance and movement ensued. The relevance of understanding “angles”, and the “human form” was debated relative to modeling. In this discussion, the idea of understanding one’s body seemed to carry a suddenly greater importance relative to communicating effectively in the fashion world.

From this simple sharing of ideas, this project evolved. Agent, Kate Wagner, who happened to be back stage to cheer a new young model on, overheard the chat, and gave the project momentum. In her usual sense of supportive vision she said, “Do something with this idea!”. Soon, local videographer/ photographer, Luis Martinez joined the project.

As a model/ musician himself, he could easily see a story unfolding. Light and dark, yen and yang, and opposites that were also the same. Roderick Pena, photographer/ videographer also quickly joined in to support the vision of the project. I was feeling cautiously excited, yet I knew I was not a freestyler like Jacob, and that my classical training led me to yearn for the structure and formality of well thought out choreography. My fleeting thoughts quickly envisioned the involvement of legendary dancer and choreographer of DIFFA fame, Densil Adams.

Jacob and I had been independently a part of Densil’s incredible and grand scale productions on a couple of occasions, yet none of us knew each other well at all. We were beyond thrilled when Densil embraced our evolving “Model Dance Project” and agreed to be a part of it. Soon with the help of Kate Wagner’s suggestions, talented Hair and Make up artist, Heather Michaels joined the project, as did wardrobe styling artist, Alex Cohen, to complete our “dream team”.

In less than 24 hours, what was a loose concept of combining classical ballet with street dance, our story came to life. I suffered bruised ribs from repetitive lifts, and Jacob’s chronic back issues flared, yet I think we realize that we all made art today. I’ve also pondered Densil’s words when we finished. He said, “I hope you are proud of what we did”. I don’t usually think about self-glory, but I am proud. I honestly cant believe we accomplished this...and for me this marks my first big project after an ankle surgery that has limited my dance prior to now. So, yes, I am proud.

Thank you Jacob, Kate, Luis, Roderick, Densil, Heather and Alex. We have brought the dance of two models together to beautifully celebrate movement and its relationship to fashion. I hope you are proud too.