A Ballerina in Portlandia

This shoot with 13 year old Gaby was my last portrait session before I left for Southeast Asia last November. I’d actually forgotten about these photos until I was in the midst of a little hard drive housekeeping.

With a background in dance myself, but having never really photographed the subject, I was stoked when Gaby’s mom found me on the interwebs and inquired about a shoot. I was even more excited when we started talking tutus on city streets.

I’d wanted to do something like this for a long time.

And I have to say, working with the two of them was fabuloso. There was none of the drama that can surround young dancers and their mothers (I hate to even mention it, but it’s true.)

In fact, on the day of the shoot, Gaby’s mom said hello, asked about how long we needed, and left the two of us to do our thing. No overbearing mama bear here!

When it came to choosing images a week later, they communicated wonderfully to choose a set that made them both walk away happy.

I don’t spend much time with moms and their teen daughters, but it left my heart warm and refreshed seeing these two interact.

I did ask Gaby about her feelings toward the dance world.

Having had to make a decision, when I was about her age, as to whether to continue on the dance path – ie. committing more time and becoming more competitive – or giving it up and being a teenager, I chose the latter.

In the following years I missed dancing a lot and wondered “what could have been” if I’d stuck it out. Fortunately I found my way into the music program in high school. I was actually thisclose to being a musical theater major at university.

Suffice to say, I’m glad things worked out the way they have. Anyway, I didn’t mean to hijack the spotlight from our girl here…

Gabi told me that she knows it’s a lot of work, but she loves dance. She’s in.

And it’s obvious when you see this girl move. She loves it and she’s good at it and she’s only going to progress.

So much luck and love to you, Gabi! You already shine bright in rainy, gray Portlandia.

Hair + makeup by the lovely and talented Coreene Collins.