Color, flamboyance, sequins, movement, and Liah Mazz’s natural beauty were the elements that made these Middle-Eastern dance portraits.
Liah, who is Brazilian, is a poised and talented oriental dancer. Brazil’s rich history with dance certainly enriched Liah’s dance style. She said, “dance has always been present in my life. Dances in family gatherings are very common in Brazil. I have studied ballet, jazz, street dance, and ballroom dancing.” Liah started belly dancing in 2003. “It was love at first sight.” The link to Liah’s Instagram account is https://www.instagram.com/liahmazzbellydancer/
The portrait session was originally planned as a short mini-session in my studio in the Stutz Business Center in downtown Indianapolis. However, it was several hours until my next family portrait session, which allowed me to spend extra time with Liah. There were five costume changes during the dance portrait sitting (although there was no sitting still).
Oriental dance, also known as belly dance or Middle-Eastern dance, is an Arabic expression dance with its origins in Egypt. It is among the world’s oldest dance styles, with influences from various Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa traditions. The style and attire of this feminine dance have continued to evolve, just like other dance forms. And as our world grows smaller, Oriental dance is being influenced by other dance styles, including ballet, flamenco, Indian, fusion, to mention only some. “The dance comes from Egypt,” said Liah. “It is about tradition, expression, and culture.” Dancing is an Arabic art. It is considered “art” because it comes from Egyptian religious art. Middle-Eastern dance is an expression of their deepest understanding of the world. It is a representation of the knowledge of women in the world. Every dancer moves differently with their style.
Costume choice is also an art. The colorful costumes for this portrait session were all from Egypt. An abundance of rhinestone jewels and sequins adorned each outfit. The long flowing skirts worked nicely to portray the movement as they twirled. And the tighter apparel revealed curves and angles in Liah’s dance repertoire. Props included a veil, wings, a sword, and a cane. In one portrait, Liah fluttered a vibrant red and yellow fabric, giving the impression of an intense fire.
As Liah responded to the music by Nancy Ajram, the magic began to happen. The splendor of the costumes and Liah’s smooth, graceful poses set the stage. There was an infectious sense of energy. It is easy to be mesmerized by the dance aesthetics and beauty.
Liah’s dance could be characterized by elaborate and colorful costumes with the dynamic movement of her entire figure. “Belly dancing represents a very rich and diverse culture,” said Liah. “Belly dancing is a cultural universe filled with more than 150 rhythms and different folklore categories, classic or modern. A professional belly dancer needs to recognize the played rhythm and respond to it with specific movements in each dance; it is a great responsibility. It requires a lot of study to perform with respect and legitimacy.”
As we captured the portraits, I made frequent adjustments to the strobes during our session, so Liah was portrayed in the best light. With the dancer constantly moving, the strobe lighting is useful in capturing a split-second in time.
Capturing the image is only the start. Post-processing is just as important in achieving the portraits that Liah needed for her marketing portfolio. IN Dancing Light Photography is skilled at planning, creating, and editing the final images.
The images we captured celebrate Liah’s dance, who she is, and who she aspires to be. Below are just a few of the beautiful portrait images that were created. IN Dancing Light Photography can also provide portraits of you.