photographing this south florida dancer and performer made my head spin!

You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.
— Merce Cunningham

Immersed into setting up my flash while mumbling out loud about what I am doing, as I often do before and during photoshoots, I get slowly pulled back into this world by a sweet aroma of some essential oil. I glance over at my model, an exotic looking slender Gita, whom I met through an acquaintance, and I see her rubbing the shiny oil onto her legs. "I have a bunch of good luck rituals," she says with a huge grin. 

As she confessed to me later, even the day of the week that we chose for our photo session, a Tuesday, was no coincidence.

She says Tuesdays are her lucky days.

The word "auspicious" comes to mind, which immediately makes me think of Eat, Pray, Love. - the book in which Liz, the heroine, raised money for a construction of a house for a family, which then kept putting off building the house for a ridiculous period of time because they were waiting for the "auspicious moment". English not being my native language, after reading that book the definition of this word was forever ingrained in my lexicon. 

And speaking of raising money for a cause, when Gita and I were exchanging text messages over a span of few days in preparation for the shoot, she told me that she would like to do a photoshoot while also raising money for a charity close to her heart - Food for Life Global. As I read that message, I thought to myself, "crazy lady. How can you model and raise money at the same time?" I am glad we talked about it and both agreed that we might join forces to raise money for this charity on a different occasion. 

Photographing Gita was effortless and joyful. Watching her spin in her 23-meter-of-fabric Flamenco skirt in front of a green live wall on Worth Avenue or watching her wave a soft delicate scarf against the backdrop of the bluest sky in South Florida (while also balancing and trying not to fall into the fountain in the center of Mizner Park) was like having a private show just for myself. Those passing by must have also felt the same way because they stopped and stared. And smiled. (Some took pictures with their phones, and one guy insisted we take a picture and send it to his friend Larry Jones in Beverly Hills). Random people told her how beautiful she was.

And everyone who laid eyes on her walked away with more sparkle in their eye, taking with them a tiny bit of her brilliant smile and radiant joy. 

Her name is Devi, which in Sanskrit means "goddess", another auspicious coincidence, since photographing goddesses is one of my passions. 

Her passion is, clearly, dancing.

As the epigraph to this article so accurately remarks, there is noting there for the ego to display once the dance is over (ok, you can record a video and can show THAT off), as opposed to my craft, in which I get to brag about the beautiful images I create (which leads me to this ongoing debate as to whether I am feeding my EGO or my SOUL by doing this, which brings me oh so much joy, my photography) I came across this quote, which, I suppose, is what dancers must feel:

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful... This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.
— Agnes de Mille

As I was editing pictures from my very first photoshoot with Gita, and the first photoshoot of this year, in the very last picture from our session (when I saw a "are you coming soon?" from my husband and told Gita that I had to run back home to my babies, and when she threw her hair up into a high pony tail which gave her a playful look), I noticed a small rooster, perched on a single tile above the passage where we shot. And just before I started editing, when I was frantically searching for a New Year's card to post on my Facebook profile (which I didn't do anyway) did I find out that this year 2017 is the year of the rooster according to Chinese horoscope. I believe in signs. And I took this rooster as a sign that it will bring me good luck this year. 

Later I found out that Gita was born in the year of a rooster, which means I have a double rooster in this photo, in the very beginning of the year of the rooster!!!

This is as auspicious as it gets.