Dance has always been my favourite way of expression.
Dancing freely in nature is one of my favourite things in life. Feeling connected, in the present moment, aligned with my essence. Pure joy to practice dancing intensively on a daily basis. Combining dancing and portrait photography is always a dream for me!
My documentary photography journey with dance artist, teacher & performer, Zola Dubnikova began in India as an official photographer, videographer and participant ....
A dream journey for the International Portrait & Retreat Photographer and dance lover inside of me!
PORTRAIT & RETREAT PHOTOGRAPHY
“A WOMAN SINGING, DANCING AND EXPRESSING HERSELF IS ONE OF THE MOST DIVINE ACTS WE CAN WITNESS AS A HUMANE RACE…”
Across worlds, hailing from Italy, Spain, Lebanon, Estonia, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, France, Algeria, USA, Israel, Poland, Slovakia, China, UK, Slovenia and Hungary, 32 beautiful and powerful women have gathered and shared a powerful, evolutionary, heart-opening dance journey in Goa, India under guidance of Zola Dubnikova.
I was absolutely thrilled when I received this unique invitation to capture on camera international holistic dance artist, teacher Zola and more than thirty female participants during her two-months Mystery School, Temple Arts & Sacred Dance Training in India.
Zola is a dance teacher trained extensively in contemporary dance forms as well as healing arts, Sufi tradition, Odissi Temple Dance, Mevlana whirling practices, Dances of the Silk Road, the gypsy trails and beyond.
This photography project came at the perfect moment as my love for documentary work was growing along with my close connection with holistic dancers, dance teachers and wellbeing events, festival and retreat organisers.
Our two-month, 270-hour intensive dance training in healing aspects, ritual sequences and advanced practices took place at the exquisite Samata Holistic Retreat Center, in the Heart of India, located in a peaceful village setting 3 km inland from Arambol in the Northern part of Goa. Featuring the most extensive healing center in the area, yoga studio, the largest organic permaculture gardens in the vicinity, as well as an exquisite salt water swimming pool to refresh and rejuvenate. Samata was a perfect haven for self-reflection and relaxation.
During our journey together, I witnessed beautiful sisterhood, tribe power, enhanced awareness, empowerment, healing, celebration, powerful expression, body communication and discovery of subtle energy through the Holistic Dance Lanuguage developed by Zola.
Daily practices included various meditations, earth practices, circle-work, breath-work, strong physical dance practices and improvisational exercises, always with room for the unknown to unfold. Zola is particularly devoted to using healing forms of dance to uplift women, heal their wounds, rand reconnect them with their divine source.
Every day we practiced meditation through movement, sacred dance arts and self-expression. We learned tools to increase awareness, empowerment, expression, body communication and energy. Through the work we accessed deep softness, grace and potent strength. We released blocked energy, and built inner power. We learned a unique vocabulary of movement, mudra and subtle energetic principles.
Very quickly, me and my camera blended in and in the most respectful, unobtrusive and subtle way I photographed and video recorded dance journey of all thirty women. We all shared a deep experience together. I have not only witnessed the transformational journey through my lens but also I took part of this journey.
There has been a deep focus on the art of un-doing, slowing down, cultivating inner stillness, and unplugging from everything that is not serving us.
It’s called the earth practices are very slow practices, which border on stillness and focus on the breath, dropping our weight into the ground and listening inside. The emphasis on these practices is in the “undoing,” rather than the “doing.” If we are to hear the inner voice and wish to feel guided, we first must slow down to listen more deeply within.
Combined with dietary awareness, sustainable lifestyle, and transformative spiritual discipline, each of us experienced profound shifts in our reality…. So, we could truly enjoy every minute of our life by being present and connected right here, right now!
What has been co-created was a recipe for deep release and evolution.
What an experience!
Peak experience in my life to date.
I had chance to portrait beautiful dancing goddesses, their authentic dance movements, reconnection with body, heart and soul, the strength of softness & pure expression. Not only that - I had a chance to create a deep and long-lasting connection with all of the participants, the most powerful loving sisterhood.
I am beyond grateful for each and every woman I met because they are inspirational. We connected and gained new friendships. May the authenticity, wisdom, inner knowledge, deep beauty keep deepening and spreading. Let’s stay connected and support each other.
“ONCE TOUCHED BY THE GRACE OF YOUR DIVINE BEAUTY A WOMAN WILL NEVER WALK, SEE, FEEL, BE THE SAME. YOU LEAD ME BACK HOME, BACK TO MY TRUTH, THE TRUTH OF OUR MOTHERS, OUR GRANDMOTHERS, AND ALL THE WOMEN BEFORE, THE TRUTH OF THE SACRED FEMININE.” LONETTA VIDA, (Romania)
It’s been three months since I’ve been back from India. I have never been so balanced, calm and happy in my life and let it be like that from now onwards! I feel much more empowered, much more re-connected with my body and back to a more feminine path journey.
So blessed to witness and be participant in deeply feminine sacred space. This was certainly a life changing journey: personally, and professionally.
Endless gratitude to Mama India and Zola for reconnecting my photography vision with dance and Mother Earth.
Not only that.
Big gratitude for enabling me to be part of the Orphanage event, allowing me to be part of the project and documenting our volunteering activities. The light in these 47 little girls eyes gave me inspiration for a lifetime. I will never forget these little girls, age 6-10…
I miss them already and can’t wait to reconnect with Orphanage Norma house next year.
Zola offers deeper trainings during her yearly training in India and travels often throughout the world to give seminars, offer workshops and guide experiences.