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My photographic journey with dance artist Zola Dubnikova

Somewhere close to the end of last year I received an amazing  invitation to join the annual 6-week Temple Arts & Sacred Dance Training in India with dance artist,  Zola Dubnikova, as a photographer.

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The offer came at the perfect moment because my interest in documentary photography was growing, as was my love for working with dancers, which I have been doing for some time now.

Zola Dubnikova is an international dance teacher and performer, trained extensively in contemporary dance forms and healing arts as well as Sufi tradition, Odissi Temple Dance Tradition, Mevlana whirling practices, Dances of the Silk Road, the gypsy trails and beyond.

I was thrilled to visit India – it was my first international booking and longest project. I was very excited because just a few months before I had come across one video about Zola and her work – I was hypnotized by her teachings, grace and beauty. I remember that in the same moment I thought to myself, ‘wow, this is a woman I would love to photograph.” – and somehow the dream came true!

A few weeks later, I packed my daughter, husband and second baby (my beloved Nikon camera, all of my lenses and, well, almost all of the equipment I own!). In the blink of an eye, (and with very heavy hand luggage), we found ourselves under the hot Indian sun!

…And yes – it was love at first sight!

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Soon after my arrival, the chaos of Indian streets was replaced by the peace and serenity of the Temple where the training took place. Hidden in the shade of a big tamarind tree and filled with a soft natural light was our sanctuary within the international bohemian hub of Arambol, Goa.

25 beautiful women from all around of the world gathered to share in the unique practices of the Holistic Dance Language, a unique method developed by Zola after years of traveling, seeing, being and studying herself with masters across the globe.

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In the next weeks we passed rigorous trainings, shared in many “life” practices, exchanged moments of deep meditation, re-defined what connection to the earth means from a physical perspective, and opened deeply the channels of our bodies & hearts…
We shared in passionate dance improvisations, talking circles, vocal practices, ritual choreography, and awareness exercises.
We learned a unique vocabulary of movement and a new way of being. We got to know each other in ways we don’t even necessarily know our closest friends.

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Moments of fire
Moments of peace
Moments of divine grace
Moments of sweetness
Moments of truth

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I had chance to portrait dancing goddesses, authentic movements & Zola’s unique ritual creative process of teaching.
I captured the strength of softness.
Pure expression.

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A dream for a photographer and the dance lover inside of me.

Thank you 🙂


More information about Zola Dubnikova, her work and workshops around the globe you can find on her website: www.zoladubnikova.com

 

 

5 comments

  1. I love looking at these. SO beautiful. I see love, and sisterhood and surrender. It’s my hope to get to India for this work with Zola in the next year or two.

  2. Beautiful pictures! Must have been a wonderful time in a magical environment…

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