The Celebration of Cabaret Festival and the BadAss Dance Festival was my first big venture setting up a studio and doing portraits onsight at an event on the Central Coast. If you have never been to a belly dance festival, let me describe it this way: the sounds of Middle Eastern or world fusion music envelop you constantly. Vendors surround a stage showcasing beautiful costumes, props, accessories, and jewelry - bling, feathers, flowers, glitter, chiffon, leather, etc. Beautiful women dancing solo or in troupes are at the center of it all throughout the day.
If you're a first-time visitor, walking around and getting mesmerized by the beautiful dancing is fun. However, if you are completely hooked on Belly Dancing, you're in sensory heaven and really focused because you will probably be performing. All the women walking around have worked for weeks prior, choreographing routines and practicing. Their fingers are sore due to all the sewing and gluing of the final details of their costume. Everyone looks "Hot!"
So much work end energy goes into one 5-10 minute performance… it's Unbelievable! These women have such an intense need to express themselves, and why do I know this? Well, I am one of them.
For this event, I decided to forgo my own need to express myself with dance and instead express myself with photography by capturing the moment, the hard work, the beauty, and the sexy and creative costumes of as many women as I could. Offering free photo sessions and allowing the dancers I shot to look at their photos the same day. Everyone was excited I was there, and I got some Bad Ass photographs!
I was a bit nervous about how many women I would photograph and how the workflow would pan out, but in general, it was a great success. I photographed a total of 34 women, learned a lot and met some beautiful and extremely talented women.
Here are just a few of my absolute favorite shots I took from both of these events.