Sunday, November 3, 2019

Jehan -- MDTC's Special Guest Artist for Beyond the Image


Jehan... Dancer, choreographer, singer, composer, director, producer -- mega talent! Mosaic Dance Theater Company is delighted to collaborate with her for "Beyond the Image."


I don’t think there was ever a choice for me to be a dancer.  It was all that I ever wanted to be, so I must have been born like that.  I had a lot of energy as a child, and needed to channel that energy.  So, I was enrolled in dance classes in ballet and tap when I was 6, but I dreamed about being a belly dancer. 

Middle Eastern dance has always been a part of my life.  Being half-Iraqi, I was surrounded by the culture, seeing movies, hearing music, and loving the beauty and grace of Oriental dance.  My bedtime stories were the tales from the Arabian Nights. So, when I actually began my dance career many things felt familiar and natural, and the dance gave me so much confidence as a performer.  I knew instinctively that opportunities existed, as Middle Eastern dance is a very social and celebratory dance. I am fortunate to have performed all over the world, and often in very luxurious settings, but the dance brought me in contact with every level of society.  I was surprised by how many great people I met – customers (both men and women), other dancers, musicians.  Many people think of this dance form as a solo art, but another surprise is how well it works to build a community among dancers -- building relationships. 

The history of this dance enriches my artistic vision, helping me grow, not only as an artist, but as a person as well.  It surprised me how much I would like collaborating.  I love the potential of the human body.  Dance allows us to release our feelings and emotions.

As dance creators, it is our responsibility to translate and pass on the ancient dances and folkloric dance traditions.  Of the many diverse folkloric dance styles in the Middle East, Egyptian and Iraqi folklore are my favorites to perform.  And the Moroccan tray dance – I like prop balancing!

But then, there are the challenges: technical support to get the work out to the world; getting money to produce big shows, to produce one’s vision; scheduling dancers to rehearse at the same time; choosing certain projects over others, and then manifesting them on stage, with time to rehearse, time to develop, time to rest; constructing and storing the opulent sets, props, costumes for Arabian-themed shows.

Music has always been a part of my life.  I studied violin and piano, and loved singing as a child.  I began creating my own music -- a new kind of music to merge cultures and music, a fusion of East and West – because when I needed music it didn’t exist at the time.  I love the musicality of the language of oriental music.  To me, it merges heaven and earth, with the ethereal sounds mixed with the earthiness of drums. I try to create other worlds with my music, and make people feel. Muses of love and beauty inspire me. Music transports us, freeing us from what can be a very ugly world.  When I feel an impulse, I write – usually a lyric first, or a theme.  And when the composition is finished, I choreograph a dance. It is impossible to manifest everything.  “My body is a temple; dance is my prayer.  There are many rooms in my temple—enter and be loved a thousand and one ways.”

Sunday, October 6, 2019

A Dancer's Answers

Mosaic Dancers Answer Questions on the Hows, Whys, and Wherefores of Their Relationships to Their Art 

MDTC's upcoming production of "Behind the Image: Dancing Orientalist Art to Life" (December 7-8, 2019) features a cast of talented performers, and they shared their thoughts via a series of questions posed to all of them.

 ·      What inspired you to be a dancer?

 ·      What drew you to Middle Eastern Dance?

 ·      What surprised you most about learning Middle Eastern Dance?

 ·      What folklore of the Middle East are you most drawn to and why?

 ·      What are the challenges (for you) of being a performing artist?

 ·      How has your time with Mosaic changed or enhanced your experience as a dancer?

Andrea D'Arco

Andrea D'Arco will dance with Mosaic in the 2019 production of "Beyond the Image."



I started dancing when I was 3 years old, but ended up quitting because I didn’t want to wear a tutu.  I started again when I was 5. For some reason, at that age little dancers weren’t required to wear one. Thank heavens, because I wouldn’t have discovered my passion. As I grew older, I was always in dance recitals and school performances, but when I was 10 years old, I knew in my heart I was meant to be on stage. My family are season subscribers to the Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ) and during every show I was always watching the dancers and just wanted to be on stage with them.  My mom would tell me I could be up there.

I keep dancing because I can my express myself more as an actor by telling the story through my body. Dancers are the most powerful actors because we don’t have words to tell our story. We need to give everything to our performance or the audience won’t be on the journey with us. The best part about dancing is how happy it makes me to tell stories through dance with my body and emotions, stories that you wouldn't get to tell otherwise. But, the truly best part is taking the audience on that journey with you. You allow them to release themselves into your story and come along for the ride. There’s a moment on stage in which you are so invested that you almost blackout in a sense, then you finally come off stage.

I auditioned for Mosaic for the role of Pandora because I was so excited to have a piece where I could combine my dance, acting, and storytelling. Pandora goes through a journey where she is young, naïve, and mischievous, and later learns her lesson and needs to mature. While I was not chosen for Pandora, I was fortunate to have been selected for many different pieces that I love. I am learning new styles of dance, as well as learning how to understudy and partner.

I think what surprised me the most about Middle Eastern dance is the need to be very released. This dance is sensual, light, and beautiful, and if there is tension, or the movements are too sharp, it ruins the art in the choreography, and the story gets cut off. Also, counting/timing in the music can be difficult.

Challenges for me as a performer are not “getting in my head” or questioning my worth/talent. There was a period of time where every audition defeated me, until I changed my outlook. Now, I look at every audition as a chance to perform and have fun. It’s also remembering that if you aren’t selected it doesn’t necessarily have to do with your talent, but it could be your height, hair color, etc. There are a lot of reasons why someone might not get picked, and I made the conscious decision to stop wasting my mental energy on trying to figure them out.

My time with Mosaic Dance Theater Company has been wonderful. It has allowed me to grow and expand as a dancer/performer. I would have never learned these multiple styles of dance if it weren't for this company, and I appreciate them along with the culture/history that is embedded in them. I was also never an understudy before, and understudying all 4 Troubles in The Paradise of Children is definitely a difficult task. It is also very nice to work in a more ensemble setting. Our ideas are always welcomed if something isn’t working, or we will have conversations and work together when working on a piece.

Lauren Laschuk

Lauren Laschuk will perform in MDTC's 2019 production of "Beyond the Image."


Ever since, at the age of five, I began bugging my parents by jumping on the couch to the soundtrack of Sesame Street, they knew my energy needed to be let out in a more well-suited environment.  So, they signed me up for dance classes. This was where I was able to express myself freely and feel the most like myself. Everything in my life is blocked out, and right then and there, all that matters is dancing. I quickly went onto my passion of musical theater and acting, where I am able to fully express my creative side. I am consistently trying to expand my repertoire, and keep up my training as a dancer and as an actor. I am thankful everyday to have the support of my family, friends, and fellow artists who keep me doing what I have always loved to do.

I have always wanted to explore different styles of dance and go outside my comfort zone. Being trained specifically in ballet, jazz, and tap, I have always had an interest in learning about different cultures styles of movement and expression. Seeing Mosaic’s take on different places like the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and Greece, I was overwhelmed by my little knowledge of the dance styles of those countries. However, I saw this project as an amazing challenge for me.  Having had an interest in Greek mythology since I was little, The Paradise of Children (Pandora’s Box) piece spoke to me as if my inner child was bursting out. My audition felt like I was rehearsing and collaborating with the director, and I was supported throughout the entire process.
The technique of Middle Eastern Dance differs in ways to the technique learned in modern and classical dances (i.e ballet, jazz). I am used to holding my hips and other parts of my body differently than those who are well trained in this dance. Overcoming my “muscle memory” and habit of the posture I have developed is still an ongoing learning experience. Thanks to the help of the many insightful dancers and teachers in the company, I am learning something new everyday, and becoming a more well-rounded dancer because of them. And, because of the beautiful score we are blessed to dance to every day, I am constantly transported into the world of Middle Eastern dance and am able to full embody the expression of the music. 

There are so many reasons to get frustrated and abandon my work at times, whether it is comparing myself to other performers, feeling like I will never work another day, or simply seeing what I have created and accepting it without judgment.  It has taken me a long time to learn some lessons, and others I am still learning. Firstly, I don’t want to be close-minded to new ideas or opinions. I try not to view critiques as restrictions or obstacles, but as opportunities to express myself in new ways. Secondly, part of my mission is to continuously improve myself and my product. Inevitably I will find artists or works that are better than mine. But at the end of the day, every artist and their path of life is different. I am never competing in the same race with others. I am only in a race with myself to work to the best of my ability. Finally, It is very hard to create something, appreciate what it is I’ve created, and move on. By fretting over what could be changed, I could miss the next amazing thing that happens. Other people will see my work and have their own opinions. And that is fine. At the end of the day, I will be proud that I created it.

The supportive and welcoming atmosphere I walk into everyday at Mosaic rehearsals is truly a blessing. I am surrounded by immensely talented individuals, and I am always learning something new. I am becoming a better dancer because of the wonderful people I have the privilege to share the stage with. I love to be challenged in new and exciting ways, and Mosaic Dance Theater has definitely been an eyeopener to appreciating different dancers from around the globe, and introducing me to a style that I will continue to improve on and explore as I move forward in my career.

Nabila Nazem

Nabila Nazem will be dancing with MDTC in 2019's "Beyond the Image."


I have always been a mover. As a child, I loved to run and always heard my mom yell, “Don’t run in the house!” (Which never did any good, obviously.) Our house was filled with music too, and since my parents loved the arts, we went to the opera, the ballet, and to see the floor shows they had in fancy restaurants. Moving from the country to a small city, I noticed a dance studio en route to our new local grocery store. One day we stopped in. I still remember the exact instant: the sights, smells, and sounds ... it was glorious! Classical piano music, jazz, clattering shoes, thumping feet, a teacher’s voice from behind a door yelling out steps and counts, the smells of rosin, sweat, new dance slippers, and the sense of excitement -- a purposeful chaos. It felt familiar, and I wanted to be there more than anything.  I have kept dancing because it’s who I am. Being a dancer and performer is the essence of my being, and in one way or another, it’s going to manifest itself.

The best thing about Middle Eastern Dance is ... I can’t name just one best thing! I find the connection with the music  resonates deeply with me -- I get to be musician as well as dancer. Initially, one signs up for a few dance classes, but then, as studies progress, the musical aspect of the Dance opens up an entire additional universe to explore and learn about, informing the movement, and melding the dancer with the music. Ideally, the dancer is one of the instrumentalists of the musical ensemble, playing--no, being--an instrument that manifests itself visually rather than aurally.

Another aspect of Middle Eastern Dance that I like is that it is for everyone, everywhere! Because of its roots as social dance, almost everyone can do it, regardless of what age, size, or gender one may be. Whether done for concert performance or informally among friends, it truly is a dance of the people.

Although we lived in a rural area of Northern California, we traveled extensively, and my father commuted weekly for work in Sacramento. When I was quite young, I especially loved Zorba’s restaurant, and would beg to go there because I loved seeing the belly dancers. We’d get a stage-side table, and I would sit on my dad’s lap and give dollar bills to the dancers. One night, a dancer took off a jingly bracelet and put it on me. (I still have it, and it is one of my most treasured possessions.) Many years later, after cycling through Western dance styles, I discovered Middle Eastern Dance, and found it to be even richer and more fantastic in real life than it had ever been in my imagination.

The incredible number of variations that can be built on a relatively few basic movements took me by surprise. The same root steps can be done differently in ways that don’t resemble each other in the slightest. It’s deceptive though, because refining the movement takes as much application and discipline as any other dance form. Mastering the number of ways a single step can be done, the cultural and stylistic aspects of it, how it relates to the music, and the subtleties involved in all that can easily take a lifetime of study.

I tend to gravitate toward Turkish Roman, and a big part of my enthusiasm for it comes from the music, which often falls into 9/8 meter. It’s powerful and energetic. I also love Muwashahat, as that music is particularly appealing to me.

Scheduling is the biggest challenge for me as a performing artist. If you need a predictable routine with regular weekends and dinner at home every night, forget it. Like many of the performers here in NYC, I am a freelancer, a situation that features a few anchored appointments around which all other activities—jobs, meals, gigs, relationships, self-care, and so on—must flow. It's a demanding lifestyle with few compromises. Self-discipline, adaptability, time management, and organization are key, and staying focused and on top of all that can be wearing.

By being involved with Mosaic, I get to have more dance in my life, with high-level teachers and colleagues whom I get to work closely with. In contrast to more mainstream forms of dance, Middle Eastern Dance in a professional company setting is rare, and I love being here. Part of my responsibility as a Middle Eastern-style dancer is to be familiar with the various regional and cultural root sources of this art form.  With Mosaic, dancers have the opportunity to dive deeply into the nuances of the different folkloric styles, on an ongoing basis rather than the more common one-shot workshop experiences. The diverse stylistic repertoire of Mosaic puts my background in both Western and Oriental training to good use, which is wonderful.  It’s a win-win, as far as I’m concerned!

Danielle Hartman

Danielle Hartman, back for her second season with MDTC, performs in Raks al-Sai'id in 2018's 15th Anniversary concert.  (Photo by Gary Heller.)


My earliest childhood memories are of playing records and dancing in my living room, I can't really imagine what life would be like without dance! It really is a universal language.

I tried a Middle Eastern dance class when there was a schedule change at my regular studio, and I was immediately hooked. It is a completely different way of moving than Western dance forms, and it allows you to relate to your body in a more nuanced and internal way.

What surprised me most about this dance form is that I would love it so much! As I have been immersing myself in different dance forms over the years, I still keep coming back to Middle Eastern dance. There are many different folkloric styles within this dance form, and I am very interested in the dance rituals used as spiritual practices and for healing. But, time management is always a challenge between training, rehearsals, and a full time office job.

I was a fan of the company for several years before I was invited to join, so I'm very excited to be able to contribute to such professional performances. I also enjoy getting swept up in the theatricality of the storytelling pieces. The repertoire includes many styles of dance, which is great to be able to practice with such attention to detail.

Kaitlin Hines-Vargas


Kaitlin Hines-Vargas, in her second season with MDTC, performs Khaleegi dance from the Persian Gulf area. (Photo by Bob Greenwald)


I never could have predicted that I would become a dancer. I was focused on the quiet art form of writing until I felt the need to express myself without words. Dancing, to me, creates a place where you can live fully and deeply in the moment while uniting with music. To find and achieve that over and over again is a really wonderful goal, one that I never tire of. That, and the excitement of improv, keep me going. 


    I came to Middle Eastern Dance as a teenager, and at the time I was just eager to learn how to express myself through movement. What kept me connected was the intensely personal focus each dancer has in interpreting music. There are so many exciting choices in this rich vocabulary of dance, and so many evocative stories to tell -- I’m constantly surprised by what the dance has to offer! Over time, what has surprised me the most is how this long-standing form has been influenced by and evolved through exposure to other dance forms and dancers across the world, and still retains an earthy, communicative dynamism that is truly unique.  I enjoy most folklore but really enjoy the swing and groove of Khaleegi. 


   It’s a real challenge to balance daily life and needs with my desire to focus on dance, but that’s necessary.  It’s become mostly about managing my energy and trying to create a schedule for myself that values my creativity and health as a dancer while upholding other commitments as necessary. 


   Performing with Mosaic has been incredibly rewarding in the last year. I am grateful for the opportunity to get onstage so often at very different venues. Over and above that, I really love the mix of repertoire - it’s rewarding to perform folkloric material alongside classical oriental and modern fusion. You don’t get that variety very often!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A Night to Remember -- On Stage with Alabina! June 16, 2019

What It's Like to Be On Stage at a Rock Concert

On Sunday, June 16, the international world-fusion-pop sensation known as Alabina appeared live, in concert, at the grand United Palace Theatre in NYC, and MDTC was on stage with them, thanks to the invitation by Jehan Kamal to be a part of this much-anticipated concert.   Dancing to Samara's vibrant Flamenco / Arabic choreography to "Baila Maria," Mosaic dancers (Samara Adell, Morgiana Celeste Varricchio, Nina Brewton, Kaitlin Hines and Danielle Hartman) joined Alabina --  dynamic superstar Ishtar and the band Los Niños de Sara. (Learn more about Ishtar & Alabina.)  In addition, dressed as Egyptian goddesses wearing the stunning "wing of Isis" performed Jehan, MDTC welcomed the pop-fusion goddess Ishtar to the stage, before a wildly enthusiastic audience of 3,000.  


Rehearsing Jehan Kamal's choreography in the lobby of the fabulous United Palace Theatre -- in continual operation since 1927! (Mosaic's been in continual operation since 2003!)
All dressed up and ready to go!
CCW from bottom left:  Mosaic Dancers Kaitlin Hines, Nina Brewton, Morgiana Celeste Varricchio, Samara Adell, Danielle Hartman, and Emma of Jehan's Bellydance Raks Stars.
    
 
                                                           It's Showtime!

Ready to dance Samara's Flamenco/Arabic fusion for Alabina's mega-hit "Baila Maria."  L to R:  Danielle Hartman, Nina Brewton, Samara Adell, Morgiana Celeste Varricchio, Kaitlin Hines. 

                                                           
                                                              On Stage!
Samara and Morgiana pose with Ishtar, the Queen of World Music herself, at the cast party. A warm and gracious lady, and of course, a phenomenal superstar.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Backstage Passes: Bob Greenwald, MDTC's Tech Director & Operations Manager

An Interview with Bob Greenwald, MDTC's Tech Director, Stage Manager & Operations Manager



 When dancers in Mosaic Dance Theater Company hear the word “Places!” they know that all (!) they have to worry about are their dances and their costume changes. Someone else has to worry about all the other details:  are the dancers ready, music cues, light cues, sound levels, props on and off, and the list goes on.  That lucky someone is Bob Greenwald, MDTC’s TD, SM, and wearer of many hats.  To make things run as smoothly as they do, Bob is the guy who plans the travel route for a tour show, secures a parking spot, loads the cargo, drives the van, maintains the website, builds the props, etc. And now, here’s Bob!


How did you become involved in technical theater?


Bob Greenwald wearing one of his many hats

In high school and college I performed on stage and also worked back stage. After graduation and starting a full time job I did not have the blocks of free time needed to learn and perform a role. Also the local and community theaters always had trouble finding enough qualified people to handle the technical duties, so I got to try my hand at lots of different jobs, from running a follow-spot, to recording sound effects, to re-wiring lighting instruments, and more.

 
What drew you to making set pieces and props?


Traditionally, dance will have very little beyond the dancers, choreography, costumes, music, and lights. But Mosaic’s acclaimed story-theater presentations add a realm of narrative and fantasy. You never know if the next production will need a golden throne, an Egyptian Sarcophagus, or a pavilion for musicians to perform in. The larger pieces are very complicated to design. They need to be sturdy enough to be fully functional, yet light enough to move on stage, and be easy to dissemble and transport to a performance. The smaller props can be just as challenging. Whether it is a 5-foot golden harpoon, a headpiece for a canopic priestess, or a cooked chicken, it needs to look correct and detailed to an audience member who may be sitting 15 or 50 feet away. But, it also needs to be light enough, balanced, and comfortable to dance with. You never know what the next item needed will be. 

Clockwise from upper left: the golden throne (Ubar the Lost City of Brass); the sarcophagus (Land of the Pharaohs); the canopic goddesses (Land of The Pharaohs); the musicians' pavilion.  (Photos by Gary Heller; video capture by Bob Greenwald.)




Can you note any differences working with Dance Theater vs. theater?



Tech rehearsal.
In traditional theater the heart of the performance is the dialogue and interaction of the characters. In Dance Theater you do not have dialogue to explain things to the audience. You have to convey the message with motion and emotion. All the technical aspects including light and shadow, color, props, etc. can help the performers in that process. Atmosphere (and everything that contributes to it) has a much bigger role.  

  

Is there any piece in Mosaic’s repertory that has particular meaning for you, and why?
Land of The Pharaohs. (Photo by Gary Heller.)


I very much enjoy the story-theater pieces. The additional narrative, story, and plot added to the dance, costumes, music and lighting, creates a vastly richer and more complex presentation. I think my particular favorite piece is Land of The Pharaohs. Everyone is familiar with many of the iconic images that are thousands of years old, including King Tut and the pyramids. There are also many elements most people do not know about, such as the story of Isis and Osiris.  The paintings and temple reliefs provide a wealth of visual elements to build on.  

What are the challenges (for you) of working in technical theater?

Trying to figure out how to create and design the next set piece or prop. And then figure out how to construct it so it looks and functions correctly, but still is comfortable enough to dance with.

How has your time with Mosaic changed or enhanced your experience in technical theater?

It is always growing and developing. The company continues to explore additional dance styles and new stories from the lands around the Mediterranean. In the past few years we are doing more with projections which adds an additional dimension and atmosphere to the stage. It is also an entirely new technology to research and learn. 


from Enheduanna. (Video by Bob Greenwald.)
 


 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Backstage Passes: Gary Heller, Photographer Extraordinaire

An interview with Gary Heller, 

Production Photographer

for Mosaic Dance Theater Company

 

A live dance performance moves through air and vanishes in a breath.  Blink, and you can be sure to miss something.  But when a photographer captures one of those moments -- the suspension of the energy, focus, heartbeat, and passion -- the result is breathtaking.  Gary Heller is one of those photographers.  Exquisitely photographing MDTC's main stage concerts since 2008, Gary has provided the "face" of MDTC with his award-winning images.  
You can find Gary's galleries at: https://www.garyhellerphotography.com/ 
(All photos below by Gary Heller -- of course!)

How did you become involved in photography?

It was sometime in 2000 or 2001 that a friend of the family gave me some camera gear belonging to her late husband.  It was a Canon AE1 35mm film camera with some lenses and various accessories.  I had a mild interest in photography after dabbling on and off through the years with painting, and realizing that painting didn't come easily to me.  I had a cheap point-and-shoot digital camera that I played around with, and enjoyed catching scenes that interested me and composing them in ways that I thought were even more interesting.  I felt photography was something that I enjoyed.

Having the good quality camera given to me really lit the fire to my interest in it.  I soon upgraded to a more modern film camera and lenses, and would scan my negatives into hi-res digital files, which allowed me to then edit and catalogue my work on the computer.  Eventually, sometime in 2007 I purchased a full frame DSLR.
(Two distinctly different self portraits of Gary Heller.)


What drew you to dance photography?

Nina Brewton



When Nina Brewton and I met in 2005, she was performing with Mosaic Dance Theater Company.  She asked me if I would consider shooting the performances for the Company.  I had never thought about photographing anything other than the old barns, abandoned things and places and other various subjects of kind, so it sort of took me by surprise actually. I decided to give it a go.  I found it to be quite challenging, but at the same time it can be very rewarding when you look through the shots afterward and see the images that came out well.
Some of Gary's striking images.











Can you note any differences working with dance vs. other types of moving photography?

Shooting for MDTC makes up most of my experience when it comes to action/moving subjects.  I've assisted in a few weddings and some event photography, but it's nothing like dance.  What I can say is shooting dance performances in a theater would be just about as difficult and challenging as it gets, due to the low light conditions and the number of dancers constantly moving quickly about the stage.  Trying to catch a moment when all the subjects are in place and everything comes together can be daunting.

Is there any piece in Mosaic's repertory that has particular meaning for you, and why?

That's a tough one.  MDTC's repertory is quite vast, and there is so much that I like. I'll have to name at least three that come to mind right away.  Pandora's Box (The Paradise of Children), Ubar, the Lost City of Brass, and Fo(u)r Women.  I just simply feel they are great productions of exceptional stories.  They really shine for me.  I also have to mention the commedia dell'arte (La Lettera d'Isabella)!  That adds to my challenge of photographing the performance, as I often wind up trying not to move while shooting and laughing out loud. (Gary's faves shown clockwise from upper right.)

What are the challenges for you of working in dance and theatrical photography?

El Zar
 Well, the challenges really are the lighting, number of fast moving subjects on stage at any given time, and catching the right moment while it's all happening very quickly. 
  The camera gear has to be up to the task of being able to expose in a low light situation with enough shutter speed to freeze the action while maintaining adequate sharpness.  The camera also has to be able to focus quickly and accurately in low light.  Today's high-end DSLRs are mostly capable of all of this, and using fast glass (lenses) helps as well.  The challenge then becomes mine in setting up the camera for the task, trying to anticipate when to fire off a burst of shots in the hopes that one will have the right moment, exposure and sharpness.  It later goes into a workflow of sorting through the hundreds of images captured, and weeding out the poor shots from the good ones.  Then going through the good captures and tweaking exposure, cropping as needed, and preparing them to hand off to the Company.  The challenges are rewarding though, and I enjoy it very much.


How has your time with Mosaic changed or enhanced your experience in photography?

One of Gary's award-winning images - Fantasie Orientale
 Simply, my experience shooting the MDTC performances has forced me to learn a lot more about my gear that I would have if I just continued shooting barns and landscapes.  It has also required me to hone my skills so I can take full advantage of the capabilities of the gear I work with.  That has helped me in other areas of photography as well, and so I'd say I'm all the better for it.



I'm looking forward to the next performance.