Monday, November 08, 2010

"Gorgeous, Sexy Goddesses
in the Woods"
Photo Shoot with Karen Custer Thurston's Middle Eastern Dance and Drumming Troupe
"Al Rakasaat"

"Dance is the hidden language of the soul."
~Martha Graham

I was born a dancer to a mother who was born to a dancer who was also born to a dancer. As far as we can see, the love of music and dance--that's as natural to us as being women--goes back to at least my great grandmother Ruth who was a hard-working farmer and saved up $ from selling butter and eggs during the Depression to put my grandmother and great uncle through dance classes and training to become performers.

It's not something that my Mother and I were ever told we needed to do. It's something that we find we have to do. It brings me such joy, such bliss to dance and to have music in my life. My Mother has been one of my greatest inspirations in the world of dance. As I've followed my dancing path here in Santa Barbara, she continues to expand as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer in Flagstaff. Her dance troupe "Al Rakasaat" is composed of a beautiful group of women who have studied with her over the years as they've all grown together in their dance and their friendships through their shared love of dance.

Flagstaff is like a second home to me (along with Indiana!) and it's been a dream of mine for years to have the opportunity to photograph her with her dance group. Many of the members have become friends of mine over the years and it's been a joy to watch them perform on my visits out to Flagstaff.

For anyone who has music and dance in their life, we are blessed! I cannot imagine a life without dance anymore than I can imagine a life without air, water, and good friendship.

To my Mama I say, "Thankyou for being an amazing mentor to me in my own pursuit of happiness through music and dance! And thankyou for always being such a solid foundation of support for me through thick and thin." And to these women I say, "I hope that you continue to have music and dance in your lives for many, many years to come and that your friendships continue to deepen and expand~"

Thankyou for giving me the opportunity to photograph you all~

Dance on!
all my love, Rachel

These photos feature Turkish Egyptian Dancer/Choreographer/Teacher Karen Custer Thurston and the current Dancer and Drumming Members of "Al Rakasaat": Crystal Drumheller, Cintamani Ellsworth, Sandra Gomez, Meredith Rankin, Nicky Sanders, Sarah Vrba, and Janet Wilson.

*Visit my Fanpage on Facebook as well at r.s.thurston photography~

Enjoy the Slideshow!
r.s.thurston photography
*Make sure to turn up the volume for the music. If the music doesn't come on, refresh the page and play slideshow again.