Tag Archives: Dance

Cassandra: Portraits

Last year at the Carnaval parade, I saw a girl with a beautiful smile dressed in colorful clothes dancing with a joyous abandon.

This year, she has been crowned San Francisco Carnaval’s teen queen with an electrifying performance in the junior king and queen contest as I mentioned in the previous post. After the event, she and her family graciously gave photographers like me some time for portraits. Showing a patience and grace beyond her years, Cassandra posed with a cheerful smile on her face.


The way she had danced like a trained ballerina, it was a surprise for me to learn from her that she does not have any formal ballet training. She is in eighth grade and I really wish one of the numerous dance companies in San Francisco Bay area would take her under their wing. There was this slogan on the mural in Everett Middle school lobby – “Follow your dreams”.

Follow your dreams Cassandra! I wish you all the luck.

April 25, 2008 An Update
(courtesy Colleen Tiffenson from Mas Makers, a leading Carnival group of SF bay area ):
Cassandra is a long time student of noted Bay Area Choreographer Linda Johnson and attends the Oakland School of Performing Arts. She is scheduled to be part of two dance camps this summer at UC Berkeley and Alvin Ailey in NY. As a member of Mas Makers performing cast, her talent is recognized and she is receiving guidance in the pursuit of her dreams.

‘Bhoomi Jathre’ (An Earth Journey) 2005: ‘Tale of a Tree’ by Shiri Dance Company

I was perusing some old photos today and came across photographs from Bhoomi Jathre held at Fireflies Ashram near Bangalore, India. This was a fantastic event held from dusk to dawn and with only word-of-mouth publicity. I went with Dada on the Yamaha RX-135 that Sukesh had lent me. Thanks to Sukesh, I was able to enjoy this event. Dada and I, both had a nice time enjoying quite a wide spectrum of music and dance performances. Looking at these photos that I have been hoarding for so long, I think I should share some photos from the evening.

These photos are from a dance performance called “Tale of a Tree” performed by the talented dancers from Shiri Dance Company.  I love the theatrical lighting on the dancers. All these photos are shot handheld without flash.

(“Dilemma” featuring Kriti Achia of Shiri Dance Company)

(“Love Dance” featuring Preeti Sunderajan of Shiri Dance company)

SF Carnaval Portraits

Drum beats and colorful dancers. Add a gorgeous day to the mix and this would sum up the San Francisco Carnaval parade this year. I chose to drive and got to the parade bright and early and walked to where the participants were warming up, getting ready for the parade. Along the way, met a photographer friend and we walked some ways together, ready for a long day taking pictures.

I always want to shoot portraits but then, I am also interested in action portraits of the beautiful people dancing. Ofcourse, it’s another story that I end up liking the posed portraits much more. Maybe, next year, if I am around to photograph the parade, I’ll shoot more portraits instead of action. Or maybe not. I am too fickle, maybe too moody.

I met the three musketeers warming up next to the gray wall.

Yuyi, my friend, is an accomplished artist. You can see some of her illustration work on Yuyi’s site.

I met Nina with her friends at the Carnaval wall in Mission district. This was her first time participating in the parade.

Monique is the reigning queen of SF Carnaval 2006. Dressed in bright fluorescent green feathers, apparently her creation, flashes me her brilliant smile.

Christy has a beautiful smile with dimples. Dancing with her contingent, Mara Reggae, she stopped briefly, to allow me to compose the picture.

Kim Anderson sashayed down the Mission street with the Mara Reggae troupe. She has has an infectious personality with a ready smile, makes you want to take a picture of her.

Throughout the day, my senses have an overload of visual and auditory stimulations. And, I keep on shooting. At the end of the day, after I am back home, I feel dehydrated, sunburnt, yet happy with a long day’s shoot. It energizes my spirits. Does photography energize you too?