Ballet Photography: North Carolina Dance Theatre's Nutcracker

There are so many great traditions at this time of year and one favorite is North Carolina Dance Theatre's annual performance of the Nutcracker.

While so many things in the ballet remain the same, it was fun to see some new faces giving wonderful performances in the classic roles.

We are blessed to have NCDT in Charlotte so get out to see a performance if you get a chance. There are a variety of performances running through Dec. 22nd.

We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!

Sarah Hayes Watson as the Sugar Plum Fairy

Sarah Hayes Watson as the Sugar Plum Fairy

Tug of war

Tug of war

Dancing with Drosselmeyer

Dancing with Drosselmeyer

Josh Hall jumps

Josh Hall jumps

Clara

Clara

Mice prepare

Mice prepare

Mouse attack

Mouse attack

Dancing in the snow

Dancing in the snow

Chelsea Dumas and Jordan Leeper

Chelsea Dumas and Jordan Leeper

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Jordan Leeper takes to the the air

Jordan Leeper takes to the the air

Chelsea Dumas

Chelsea Dumas

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Jordan Leeper and Chelsea Dumas

Jordan Leeper and Chelsea Dumas

The Mouse King (A rodent of unusual size)

The Mouse King (A rodent of unusual size)

Beautiful costumes

Beautiful costumes

Chelsea Dumas and Josh Hall

Chelsea Dumas and Josh Hall

A soaring Chelsea Dumas

A soaring Chelsea Dumas

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Gregory DeArmond

Gregory DeArmond

An athletic Gregory DeArmond (Side note: don't try this at home)

An athletic Gregory DeArmond (Side note: don't try this at home)

Amanda Smith and La'szlo' Major

Amanda Smith and Ben Ingel

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Sarah Hayes Watson

Sarah Hayes Watson

Sarah Hayes Watson and David Morse

Sarah Hayes Watson and David Morse





Ballet Photography: NCDT's Carmen

Photographing North Carolina Dance Theatre for the better part of two decades has given me the opportunity to see many amazing performers, and dancer Sasha Janes was one of them.

But Janes appears to be on track to exceed his on-stage career as he continues transition to his new role as a choreographer. His latest work, an updated version of Carmen that incorporates local history and themes, is another triumph.

Another dancer I've photographed over the past few years, Melissa Anduiza, steps up to the challenge and makes a star turn as the lead character of Carmen. Also turning in wonderful performances are the men vying for her attention, Naseeb Culpepper and Pete Walker, and Anna Gerberich.

As a bonus, this performance opens with George Balanchine's Western Symphony, set by associate artistic director and former Balanchine muse, Patricia McBride (unfortunately I didn't get a chance to photograph this piece).

The show gives a sultry start to NCDT's season.

Pete Walker and Melissa Anduiza in Carmen

Pete Walker and Melissa Anduiza in Carmen

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Anna Gerberich in her 1930's costume

Anna Gerberich in her 1930's costume

Pete Walker warms up

Pete Walker warms up

Melissa Anduiza and Jordan Leeper share a light moment

Melissa Anduiza and Jordan Leeper share a light moment

Naseeb Culpepper and the guardsmen

Naseeb Culpepper and the guardsmen

Anna Gerberich and Naseeb Culpepper

Anna Gerberich and Naseeb Culpepper

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Carmen leads a revolt by the mill workers

Carmen leads a revolt by the mill workers

Melissa Anduisa works her charms on Jordan Leeper

Melissa Anduisa works her charms on Jordan Leeper

Carmen has a powerful effect on men

Carmen has a powerful effect on men

Gregory Taylor, Melissa Anduiza and Sarah Hayes Watson

Gregory Taylor, Melissa Anduiza and Sarah Hayes Watson

Janes added some contemporary moves to the piece

Janes added some contemporary moves to the piece

Amazing seduction sequence as Anduiza's Carmen, hands tied behind her back, works her magic on Naseeb Culpepper

Amazing seduction sequence as Anduiza's Carmen, hands tied behind her back, works her magic on Naseeb Culpepper

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Melissa Anduiza and Naseeb Culpepper

Melissa Anduiza and Naseeb Culpepper

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A high-flying Sarah Hayes Watson

A high-flying Sarah Hayes Watson

Pete Walker looking dapper

Pete Walker looking dapper

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Jordan Leeper, right, and friends take flight

Jordan Leeper, right, and friends take flight

Pete Walker

Pete Walker

Culpepper and Anduiza

Culpepper and Anduiza

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Angry Carmen

Angry Carmen

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Baseball players, led by a shirless Pete Walker, add another local dimension to the story

Baseball players, led by Pete Walker, add another local dimension to the story

Carmen struts

Carmen struts

Melissa Anduiza and Pete Walker

Melissa Anduiza and Pete Walker

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Tender moment

Tender moment

Anna Gerberich and Naseeb Culpepper

Anna Gerberich and Naseeb Culpepper

Carmen collapses

Carmen collapses

Conclusion

Conclusion

Take a bow

Take a bow





North Carolina Mountains Wedding Photography: Anne Marie and Joey

I always welcome a trip to the North Carolina mountains in the fall and Anne Marie and Joey's wedding was a perfect reason to travel to the Banner Elk Winery on a spectacular fall afternoon.

I had the pleasure of working with this attractive, athletic couple during their engagement session at Jetton Park in June.

We had ample opportunities for photography in the beautiful surroundings from the unique ceremony setting to the amazing views of the upper vineyards.

Many thanks to the incredibly organized Cortenay Munn Matters of Carolina Wedding Design, who along with her colleague Elle Allen had everything running like a well-oiled machine. Lingky Sugg of Flowers by Lingky created the beautiful florals and the staff at Banner Elk Winery was a pleasure to work with.

Company photographer Laura Mueller made the trek up the mountain as well and she helped capture all of the wonderful moments throughout the day.

Congratulations to Anne Marie, Joey and their families!

Anne Marie and Joey

Anne Marie and Joey

Spectacular day at the beautiful Banner Elk Winery

Spectacular day at the Banner Elk Winery

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Yellow was the color of the day

Anne Marie's mother Virgina helps with dress

Anne Marie's mother Virginia helps with the dress

The dress

The dress

The lovely bride

The lovely bride

The ladies

The ladies

Keeping an eye out for Joey before the first look

Keeping an eye out for Joey before the first look

Anne Marie decided to see each other before the ceremony

Anne Marie and Joey decided to see each other before the ceremony

Waiting to see his bride

Waiting to see his bride

Sharing a happy moment

Sharing a happy moment

Anne Marie is overcome with emotion

Anne Marie is overcome with emotion

Joey is greeted by Anne Marie's father Chan

Joey is greeted by Anne Marie's father Chan

Beautiful details

Elegant details

Bridesmaids gather for group photos

Laura captured the bridesmaids gathering for group photos

Anne Marie and Joey with the flower girls

Anne Marie and Joey with the flower girls

Incredible setting at Banner Elk Winery's upper vineyard

Incredible setting at Banner Elk Winery's upper vineyard

Flower girls on the move

Laura captured the flower girls on the move

Beautiful afternoon at the upper vineyard

Stunning views at the upper vineyard

Anne Marie and Joey share a quiet moment before the cermony

A quiet walk before the ceremony

All eyes on the flower girl

All eyes on the flower girl

The bride arrives

The bride arrives

Beautiful entrance

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Entrance

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Unique setting at Banner Elk Winery

Unique setting

The vows from Laura's angle

The vows from Laura's angle

Anne Marie's parents during the ceremony

Anne Marie's parents during the ceremony

Married

Married

Leaving the ceremony

Happy exit

A moment alone

Just after the ceremony

Time to party

Time to party

This flower girl was worn out

This flower girl was worn out

An outdoor fire helped fight a hint of autumn in the mountain air

An outdoor fire helped fight a hint of autumn in the mountain air

Shrimp and grits

Shrimp and grits

Joey proposed to one of singer/songwriter Aaron Burdett's songs, and he came to Banner Elk to play it for the first dance

Joey proposed to one of singer/songwriter Aaron Burdett's songs, and Burdett came to Banner Elk to play it for the first dance

Arriving at the reception

Arriving at the reception

First dance

First dance

Joey dances with his mother

Joey dances with his mother

Virginia celebrates the couple who had been married the longest

Virginia celebrates the couple who had been married the longest

And the party went on into the night

And the party went on into the night





Charlotte Wedding Photography: Mirra and Matthew

Mirra and Matthew were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony followed by a dance-filled reception at the Ballantyne Country Club.

Mirra is a talented ballroom dancer and the couple's choreographed first dance was one of the highlights of the day.

Mirra dances at Metropolitan Ballroom in Charlotte where I've photographed some of their dance instructors, including bridesmaid Tatiana and her husband Clement.

Thanks to my friend and former colleague at The Charlotte Observer, photographer Todd Sumlin, who helped document the day.

Congratulations to Mirra, Matthew and their families!

Mirra and Matthew

Mirra and Matthew

Getting some help with the dress

Getting some help with the dress

Mirra gets a hug from bridesmaid Tatiana

Mirra gets a hug from bridesmaid Tatiana

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

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The ladies

The ladies

Mirra and Tatiana

Mirra and Tatiana

Mirra with flower girl Alissa

Mirra with flower girl Alissa

Stunning bride

Stunning bride

Beautiful

Beautiful

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Heading to the ceremony

Heading to the ceremony

Fun entrance

Fun entrance

Mirra escorted by her brother

Mirra escorted by her brother

Mirra hugs her mother

Mirra hugs her mother

Married

Married

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Todd captured the ring bearer as we took group photos

Todd captured the ring bearer as we took group photos

Alissa watches the action

Alissa watches the action

Mirra and Matthew

The bride and groom

Practicing the first dance

Practicing the first dance

The first dance as seen from Todd's angle

The first dance as seen from Todd's angle

Mirra is a talented ballroom dancer, which was evident in their first dance

Mirra is a ballroom dancer and their first dance was amazing

Some fun during the reception

Some fun during the reception

And they danced into the night

And they danced into the night





Charlotte Wedding Photography: Katie and Chris

I first met Katie at her sister Sarah's wedding to Ben seven years ago.

I've seen Ben and Sarah at many weddings over the years and it was a great pleasure and privilege getting a chance to work with their family again.

Katie and Chris were married at a beautiful ceremony at Myers Park United Methodist Church and then moved to a fun-filled reception at Carmel Country Club.

Thanks as always to our company photographer Laura Mueller for her excellent work.

Congratulations to Katie, Chris and their families!

Katie and Chris

Katie and Chris

Katie gets ready

Katie gets ready

Checking the dress

Checking the dress

Reading a note from Chris

Reading a note from Chris

Happy moment

Happy moment

A tribute to sister Anne Marie

A tribute to sister Anne Marie

Lovely ladies - Katie, Sarah and Liz

Lovely ladies - Katie, Sarah and Liz

Liz and Sarah fix the veil

Liz and Sarah fix the veil

Final check

Final check

A hug from neice Ellie

A hug from niece Ellie

The ladies

The ladies

Laura captured Chris leading the men in front of Myers Park Methodist

Laura captured Chris leading the men in front of Myers Park Methodist

No sweat - Chris gets a little help from his friends

No sweat - Chris gets a little help from his friends

Heading to the ceremony

Heading to the ceremony

Katie peeks around the corner as the ceremony begins

Katie peeks around the corner as the ceremony begins

Entrance

Entrance, from Laura's angle in the balcony

Married

Married

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Celebrating

Celebrating

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Liz enjoys the moment as she exits with husband Carl and son-in-law Ben

Liz enjoys the moment as she exits with husband Carl and son-in-law Ben

Checking the ring

Checking the ring

Bagpipper, an image from Laura

Bagpiper

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The happy couple on a beautiful evening at Carmel Country Club

The happy couple on a beautiful evening at Carmel Country Club

Katie and Chris

Katie and Chris

Beautiful night for portraits, in an image from Laura

Laura captured me at work

Spectucular setting

Spectacular setting

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Heading to the reception

First dance

First dance

Katie's father Carl welcomes the guests

Katie's father Carl welcomes the guests

Katie and Sarah sing with the band

Katie and Sarah sing with the band

Dancing

Dancing

Enjoying the party

Enjoying the party

Chris has some fun

Chris has some fun

Liz dances with her daughters

Liz dances with her daughters

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I first met Katie at Sarah and Ben's wedding

I first met Katie at Sarah and Ben's wedding

Great party

Great party

Exit

Exit

Katie hugs her family

Katie hugs her family





Ballet Photography: Studio Session with Anna Gerberich and Pete Walker

Anna Gerberich and Pete Walker are a dynamic duo.

Both are incredibly talented dancers with the North Carolina Dance Theatre and they are also a couple off the stage.

Anna has been a rising star, dancing numerous principal roles, since first turning professional at 16. Since joining NCDT in 2010, Pete won the 2011 Princess Grace Fellowship for extremely gifted artists in the areas of theater, dance, choreography and film. He was also one of  Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch"  for 2013.

It's fun to collaborate with such amazing artists who are also phenomenal athletes. And thank you again to Teresa and Kevin Chelko for giving us the chance to work in their wonderful studio.

Anna Gerberich and Pete Walker

Anna Gerberich and Pete Walker

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Ballet Photography: Studio Session with NCDT's Jamie Dee

As part of my ongoing project doing studio photography with ballet dancers, I had the pleasure or working with the lovely and talented Jamie Dee of North Carolina Dance Theatre.

I've been fortunate to photograph Jamie in performance numerous times in the past few years and it was great to get this chance to work with her.

Thank you again to friends Teresa and Kevin Chelko for their hospitality in giving me the chance to work in their amazing studio space.

Jamie Dee

Jamie Dee

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We did a few portraits

We did a few portraits

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Charlotte Wedding Photography: Betsy and Joseph

Betsy and Joseph live in Charlotte, but both of their families and many of the guests traveled from Houston for their elegant event.

The monsoon-like weather we've been experiencing in Charlotte had everyone looking to the skies, but we made it though the day with just a few brief showers.

Christ Episcopal Church hosted the wedding and Charlotte Country Club served as the setting for the reception. It's always great to work with the talented team from Dina Berg Blazek Events and Erin Stroup and the top-notch staff at Charlotte Country Club.

Haines Barksdale of For Goodness Cakes created a fun cake that resembled a bee hive, a nod to the 'B' nickname Betsy's mother Laura affectionately gave her daughter. Our company photographer Laura Mueller did an excellent job working with the guys before the ceremony and then helping to document the look and feel of the wedding and fun reception.

Congratulations to Betsy, Joseph and their families!

Betsy and Joseph

Betsy and Joseph

Betsy and her mother Laura arrive at Christ Episcopal Church

Betsy and her mother Laura arrive at Christ Episcopal Church

Betsy's father James talks with Joseph before the service

Betsy's father James talks with his soon-to-be son-in-law

The fathers looking sharp before the service

The fathers looking sharp before the service

Betsy helps flower girl Sarah gets ready

Betsy helps flower girl Sarah gets ready

Maid of honor Amy helps her sister get ready

Maid of honor Amy helps her sister get ready

Everyone needs someone to lean on, and Laura was there as Betsy got her dress on as planner Dina Berg Blazek kept on eye on the proceedings

Betsy leans on her mother for support as planner Dina Berg Blazek looks on

Gathering for a word of prayer

Gathering for a word of prayer

The lovely bride

The lovely bride

Beautiful

Beautiful

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Betsy and her mother Laura

Betsy and her mother Laura

The ladies

The ladies

The men inside Christ Episcopal

The men inside Christ Episcopal

Joseph, with his parents and brothers, watches guests arrive

Joseph, with his parents and brothers, watches guests arrive

Maid of honor Amy glances back at her sister as she prepares to enter the church

Maid of honor Amy glances back at her sister as she prepares to enter the church

Making her entrance

Making her entrance

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A funny moment during the ceremony

A funny moment during the ceremony

Married

Married

Joyful moment

Joyful moment

Brother William hugs the bride

Brother William hugs the bride

The couple celebrates wiht their mothers

The couple celebrates with their mothers

Flower girl Sarah glances the bride and groom

Flower girl Sarah glances the bride and groom

Arriving at Charlotte Country Club

Arriving at Charlotte Country Club

The cocktail hour

The cocktail hour

Beautifl setting at Charlotte Country Club

Wonderful evening at Charlotte Country Club

Sarah checks out the fairytale setting at the reception

Sarah admires the fairy tale setting at the reception

Amazing setting in a beautiful image from Laura

Elegant

Laura called her daughter 'b', which led to the creative cake design by Haines Barksdale

Laura calls her daughter 'B', which led to the creative cake design by Haines Barksdale

Great detail shot from Laura

Great detail shot from Laura

Enjoying a quiet moment alone just before the reception

Enjoying a quiet moment alone just before the reception

Time to dance

Time to dance

Big finish

Big finish

Enjoying the night

Enjoying the night

Betsy's father gets the party rolling

Betsy's father gets the party rolling

Father and daughter dance

Father and daughter dance

It makes you want to shout

It makes you want to shout

Making their exit

Making their exit

Leaving in style

Leaving in style





Lake Norman Engagement Photography: Anne Marie and Joey

Persistence often pays off, and such was the case with Anne Marie and Joey's engagement photography session.

The attractive, athletic couple had wanted to do the shoot near Joey's native Mooresville.

Two previous shoots at Carrigan Farms were rained out. And between the packed calendar at Carrigan, and all of our busy schedules, it seemed almost impossible to set up.

A big thank you to Cortenay Matters of Carolina Wedding Design for her hard work scheduling all of the photo sessions. We finally went to Plan B and shifted to Jetton Park along Lake Norman in Cornelius, and we were rewarded with a spectacular evening with some amazing light. Thanks too to Casey Nelson of Dollface Skin & Makeup Lounge for her excellent work.

The shoot was so much fun and I'm really looking forward to working with Anne Marie and Joey again in September at their wedding in Banner Elk.

Anne Marie and Joey

Anne Marie and Joey

A walk in the woods

A walk in the woods

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Quick kiss

Quick kiss

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Amazing setting along Lake Norman

Beautiful setting along Lake Norman

Fun moment

Fun moment

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Amazing light near the lake

Early evening illumination

Hitching a ride

Hitching a ride

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Beautiful light

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Setting sun





Charlotte Wedding Photography: Sarah Dorsett and Trainor

Sarah Dorsett and Trainor are world travelers with strong family roots.

Their wedding included guests from far and wide and many family members took part in all of the activities. It was a huge celebration from the beautiful ceremony at Myers Park Presbyterian Church to the raucous party at Charlotte Country Club.

They had a top-notch team assembled including planners Kelly Gulbranson Randazzo from Walton Event Design and Charlotte Country Club planner Erin Stroup and some amazing florals from The Blossom Shop. Charlotte band Sol fusion rocked the house and had everyone dancing. Thanks as always to our company photographer Laura Mueller who always does a great job making sure all of the angles are covered.

It was a pleasure working with both families and best of luck to Sarah Dorsett and Trainor as they soon head out for some more adventures in Brazil!

Sarah Dorsett and Trainor at Charlotte Country Club

Sarah Dorsett and Trainor at Charlotte Country Club

The men arrive at Myers Park Presbyterian Church

The men arrive at Myers Park Presbyterian Church

Best man and brother of the groom Gordon gets an assist from Trainor and Sarah Dorsett's brother Kenneth

Best man and brother of the groom Gordon gets an assist from Trainor and Sarah Dorsett's brother Kenneth

Trainor waits at the church with Sarah Dorsett's brother John

Trainor waits at the church with Sarah Dorsett's brother John

The groom relaxes

The groom relaxes

Bridesmaids Blakely and Anna have some fun signing for the bride

Bridesmaids Blakely and Anna have some fun singing for the bride

Getting ready

Getting ready

Sarah Dorsett's father Ken gets a glimpse of the bride as her mother Rush looks on

Sarah Dorsett's father Ken gets a glimpse of the bride as her mother Rush looks on

Relaxing a bit before the ceremony

Relaxing a bit before the ceremony

The bridesmaids get ready

The bridesmaids get ready

Sarah Dorsett with her bridesmaids

Sarah Dorsett with her bridesmaids

The lovely bride

The lovely bride

Sarah Dorsett

Sarah Dorsett

Sarah Dorsett's father Ken wanted to make sure to get a picture with his beloved dog Snickers

Sarah Dorsett's father Ken wanted to make sure to get a picture with his beloved dog Snickers

A kiss for the bride

A kiss for the bride

The church entrance

The church entrance

Guests arrive

Guests arrive

Ken and Sarah Dorsett prepare for their big entrance

Ken and Sarah Dorsett prepare for their big entrance

Quick pat from a friend

Quick pat from a friend

Kiss

Kiss

Exit from Laura's angle

Exit from Laura's angle

Newly married

Newly married

Trainor's mother celebrates with her new daughter-in-law

Trainor's mother celebrates with her new daughter-in-law

Trainor hugs his father

Trainor hugs his father

Sarah Dorsett's brother John with their grandmother

Sarah Dorsett's brother John with their grandmother

Beautiful evening at Charlotte Country Club

Beautiful evening at Charlotte Country Club

Elegant setting inside Charlotte Country Club

Elegant setting inside Charlotte Country Club

Gorgeous flowers from The Blossom Shop

Gorgeous flowers from The Blossom Shop

Thirst relief

Thirst relief

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First dance

First dance

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Enjoying the evening

Enjoying the evening

Sarah Dorsett and Trainor

Sarah Dorsett and Trainor

Laura caught me in action

Laura caught me in action

Heading back to the party

Heading back to the party

Time to dance

Time to dance

The bride dances with her mother Rush

The bride dances with her mother Rush

Sol fusion - fun band

Sol fusion - fun band

Rush dances with her mother

Rush dances with her mother

Enjoying the party

Enjoying the party

More dancing

More dancing

How low can you go

How low can you go

Sarah Dorsett and Trainor join the band on stage

Sarah Dorsett and Trainor join Sol fusion on stage

Exit

Exit