When Ellie was really little I dragged her to tap and jazz classes for many, many years. Then life changed rather suddenly and dance classes were no longer in the budget for several years. Then we discovered an incredible dance program at the Tannery World Dance Center in Santa Cruz and my daughter was given a HUGE opportunity to start dancing again. This time she decided to delve into Contemporary Dance. She has yet to take a ballet class but she definitely has what I consider a natural affinity for it and I think we may have to explore that option at some point. For now, she is THRILLED beyond words with her Contemporary and Tap classes she takes at the Tannery. The teachers are AMAZING. The program is INCREDIBLE. My heart swells knowing that someone was willing to believe in her and give her this opportunity to explore a talent she didn't even know she really had until she was given the CHANCE to rise to the occasion. Dance has become her entire focus in life. When she 's at home she is constantly practicing moves, stretching, strengthening, twirling, leaping, boogieing and making very good use of the wide variety of music that is always playing in our home. This past year I started teaching Worldanz classes after a year long certification program and Ellie frequently comes with me to the dance classes I co-teach. Dance has become our little language of love. We are both completely immersed and passionate about dance and music. I sense that this will be a very strong bond for us as we navigate the teen years on the horizon and I'm holding onto that with great hope that it helps us weather the ups and downs that lie ahead. We eat, drink, breathe and LIVE dance. She is my enthusiastic date for every dance performance we can manage to go to. I realized today that I hadn't had a shoot in a while and have been VERY busy with all my (many) other jobs along with being back in college to finish my degree. I have missed being behind the camera creating art and I thought it was pretty darn silly that I wasn't taking advantage of my most favorite muse and so off we went to catch the last moments of sunlight - on a whim! I'm amazed at her athleticism and tough grittiness. She never complained once as her bare feet were pounding the hard ground, or when I asked her to do the same move over and over and over again until I was satisfied with achieving my vision for it. She has what it takes not because of her raw talent (which she has) but also because of her determination, tenacity and toughness. She is one fierce little girl. I know the long line of very strong women in my family did NOT skip a generation with this one.... Here's my girl doing her thing. I am INFINITELY proud of her.