This pose may already feel familiar to you because it’s been in our popular culture for so long now, having even been parodied on Saturday Night Live and other shows as well. It draws its inspiration from the iconic dance scene from the 1983 movie, Flashdance.
In this installment of Boudoir Pose Breakdown, we’re going to take a closer look at a pose I call Flashdance Bench Pose.
How This Pose Got Its Name
I like to name my poses because it helps me remember them and also reminds me that each pose is special and unique and serves a specific purpose in my shoots.
In coming up with a name for this pose I couldn’t help but think of that iconic scene in Flashdance where the main character is dancing in this club and at one point sits in a chair on stage with her head back, reaches up and pulls a chain that releases a deluge of water that drenches her.
She then proceeds to get up and finish her routine flinging water into the crowd in every direction with every whip of her wet head of hair.
What This Pose Is Showcasing
This pose showcases a woman’s body from head to toe in a full-length stylized profile shot.
The parts that get featured are the face (in profile), arms, chest, stomach, legs… and hair, if it’s long enough to drape behind her. (If you’re client has long flowing hair this is a great pose to show that off.)
What Is This Pose Saying?
One thing this pose does is that it links iconic Hollywood imagery with boudoir and thus, gives off the impression that this pose is a classic, or reminiscent of something that is classic.
What that “something” is we may not be certain of, but it sure feels like something special.
In a sense, this pose is saying, “I’m not your typical run-of-the-mill boudoir pose”. Its status is elevated in some way. It’s regal and majestic the way a ballet pose is.
This Pose Has A Relationship?
There’s a relationship happening with this pose. Can you guess with what?
It’s a combination of two things… the window and the light it allows through.
So, the relationship is between the woman and the window/light. If we didn’t have the window, we wouldn’t be sure of the light’s source, so it’s important we see it in the shot in order to establish that relationship.
By the way, this is not a real window. It’s a fake one I created with sheer white curtains, black fabric, a soft box and strobe, and a background frame that holds everything up.
I believe it’s this relationship between the woman and the window that makes the pose work so well. It may not have been obvious to you at first (it wasn’t to me), but after looking it for a while I noticed it.
If there was no window or light coming through, this pose wouldn’t have the same impact… and it’s the light, in a sense, that makes the window alive.
It’s this relationship, or exchange, between the woman and the light that elevates the image.
Where To Shoot Flashdance Bench Pose
If you want to include this “relationship” in your shot, have your subject face a window, open door, or some kind of light source that can be directed at her.
Be sure to include that source in your shot so viewers can see where the light is coming from.
Structure of the Pose
Like many effective boudoir poses, Flashdance Bench Pose forms numerous triangles but not a lot of S-curves, giving it a linear angular look. It’s overall shape is one big triangle with the bench forming one complete side.
This is a very stylized pose that holds a lot of energy in the form of tension, in the legs, arms, and chest.
You can play around with how far back you want the head tilted, but the main point is that it’s in profile.
Eyes closed. Trust me, it’s going to look weird if her eyes open. With eyes closed we get a sense that she’s savoring the moment. With eyes open she’ll look possessed.
Have her arch her back as much as possible. My subject here has back issues so she was only able to go so far, but with more back arch there will be more curvature.
Arms are stiff and hold a lot of energy (tension) as she supports her upper body at an incline.
My client is actually double-jointed so when she first got into the pose her elbows bent the opposite way they normally do and it looked really freaky so I had her bring them back to a normal looking position.
Something to keep an eye out for if your client is double-jointed.
One leg is bent while the other is extended straight down to the ground. I wish I had done a variation showing the back leg bent and the front one straight but I didn’t think of it at the time. It would be interesting to compare the two. Anyway, you can switch ‘em up and see which looks best.
As you can see, it’s critical the toes be pointed or it will lose its regal classic overtones.
If you’re doing this pose on a bench, it’s easy to grab the sides. However, if you’re trying to do this on another piece of furniture you’ll just have to find the best position.
Key Points To Flashdance Bench Pose
Take A Deep Breath
Before you take your shot instruct your subject to take a deep breath with mouth slightly open and have her hold it at its apex. This will lift the chest and help arch the back. It also infuses the pose with a buoyancy and creates this upward energy.
Make sure she’s creating that sloping plank with her body since it’s the main characteristic of this pose… and why that extended leg is so important.
(By the way, the Tamron 35mm 1.4 is a super sharp prime lens if you’re looking for excellent image quality. Be sure to get the one suitable for your camera brand. I rented this lens for a shoot once and loved it but ultimately had to get a 24-70 because my space was too shallow for the 35mm focal length.)
I don’t have a preference as to wardrobe here. Either a two-piece bra and bottom set or some kind of onesie will work just as well.
If the subject is self-conscious about her mid-section you may suggest a onesie or some type of silk kimono or robe.
I think this pose can look good with just about anything on… or nothing at all if you want to make it a party!
The only two variations I would try would be to switch the legs, so you do one shot with the front leg bent, back leg straight, then reverse it and see which one you like better.
You could also level her head with eyes open so she’s staring out the window.
Flashdance Bench Pose is a somewhat iconic looking pose because of its influence from the movie but what makes this pose special is the relationship it creates with the window.
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