I've had the honor of working with and photographing the Khamamkar family for years and over time we have become close friends. Each time Mom Swati calls me, I know it's going to be a great project, full of fun, family and culture. I consider the entire family like friends and feel lucky to see each of the girls grow and mature into beautiful and smart young women. So when Swati called me recently about a studio shoot for her daughter Shivani, it was an easy yes to accept the job and make it happen.
Shivani is the middle of the 3 daughters of Rajeev and Swati. She has taken on her father's height, but is equally generous, grounded and put together. This is the common thread in the Khamamkar family, and one that I greatly admire. Like her older sister, Shivani has been taking Bharatnatyam lessons, a form of classical Indian dance. Her teacher flies from Phoenix once a week to teach classes here in Las Vegas, (she's been flying to Las Vegas for 17 years), and once the students have reached a particular level of mastery after years of training, they have an on-stage debut performance called an Arangetram. This event is a significant milestone and in essence is a form of graduation. It's a momentous event, equal to a wedding in planning, staging, and performace.
Shivani and her teacher
In preparation for Shivani's Arangetam later this year, we captured a series of images of Shivani in traditional Bharatnatyum poses and facial expressions. There were so many to choose from and each pose had it's own message. What an honor to witness the delicacies of her movements, the storytelling that goes into each pose, and of course the dedication it takes to reach this mastery. Congratulations Shivani, this is a great accomplishment for you, and I can't wait for your Arangetram later this year!