Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What a weekend!

Our rescheduled performances of TRADITION, MYTH, & FANTASY II (Mosaic & Jehan at MMAC Theater) happened this past Saturday & Sunday, Feb 16 & 17, 2013.  The show was a great success, with many compliments for all.  But, while we had clear (but bone-chilling) weather, the black cloud of superstorm Sandy, which shut us down for our original October date, still hovered.  Guest Artist Erin Pellecchia, dancing as one of the four Goddesses/Troubles in Mosaic's NY premiere of "The Paradise of Children," had the extreme misfortune of severely pulling a calf muscle at Friday night's tech rehearsal, to the point where she was on crutches and barely able to walk, let alone dance.  Everyone was devastated -- especially Erin, who had never missed a performance in her life!  We made sure that Erin was taken home safely, and then, Director Morgiana Celeste Varricchio and Choreographer Samara had the phone lines smoking with the many late-night phone calls and texts to find a solution.  In the end it was decided to re-stage "Paradise" for three dancers rather than trying to bring in a last-minute replacement.  With only one hour on Saturday to pull it all together, rehearsing in a hallway at MMAC, Samara and Morgiana re-staged what was necessary, and stage-smart Mosaic dancers Nina Brewton, Kendra Dushac and Mary Susan Sinclair-Kuenning executed the changes brilliantly.  The audience was completely unaware until an announcement was made at the end of the piece.  Thanks to all for rallying to save the day; special thanks to Nina, Kendra, and Mary Susan for their tremendous focus and concentration to keep all the changes in their heads; but most importantly, heartfelt get-well wishes to Erin for a speedy recovery.

The Four Goddesses of "The Paradise of Children"
L to R:  Erin, Kendra, Nina, Mary Susan.
Photo by Manza Mussa from September NJ premiere.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

January Journeys

January is thirty-one days long, but somehow it always seems longer.  Probably because the holiday decorations come down, and there is nothing to distract us from the shortened daylight hours, the cold winter weather, and the fact that government filings, whether they be corporate or individual, are due momentarily.  But, maybe because the month seems longer than normal, we are fooled into getting more things done.  No, this is not the start of a metaphysical discussion on the properties of time, but merely a lead-in to say that Mosaic kept busy during January! 

l to r: Mary Susan, Nina, Samara,
Morgiana, Kendra

l to r: Kendra, Morgiana, Samara,
Mary Susan, Nina
The month began with a pro-bono performance at Cedarbrook Nursing Home in Allentown, PA.   As a not-for-profit public benefit organization (sic. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity), Mosaic’s mission underscores the importance of the greater good.  So, on select occasions, the Company will present a program at no charge, as part of our outreach goals for the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), for “causes” we feel strongly about.  So, off we went to the Lehigh Valley on a clear and dry January 4.  Cedarbrook, a Lehigh County-run organization is quite large, so there was the added benefit of an auditorium with a stage.  Mosaic presented an hour-long travelogue of dance and story for the residents of the complex and their guests, performing favorites from the repertory representing Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Turkey and Oman.  An interactive music lesson and Q&A brought a personal touch to the afternoon.  (Photos from Dance of the Awallim by Bob Greenwald.)

One week later, the whirlwind conference of the touring show-biz world opened at the New York Hilton – APAP Conference 2013, which ran from January 11-15.  APAP is the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and its membership is open to many categories within the performing arts world.  Mosaic falls into the “Artist” slot.  This was an exciting year for our attendance at the conference, as Mosaic was to be a first-time exhibitor in the Expo Hall.  (A photo of our booth shown here.)  It’s a unique experience. And Mosaic attendees (Morgiana Celeste Varricchio and Bob Greenwald) took advantage of as many professional development sessions, artist showcases, and general conference activities as possible.  To sum up the experience, Mosaic established its own presence, connected with individuals who knew of us, and attracted the interest of those who were looking for what we offer.  Very positive, I’d say!  Let’s go, Conference 2014!

On January 24, (and we are thankful that once again the January sun smiled on us) we braved the pre-dawn deep freeze and departed NYC at 5:30 AM for Blue Bell, PA, for a 9:00 AM performance of Caravan to Cairo, our school assembly program, part of the Young Audiences of NJ & Southeastern PA (YANJ/PA).  Mosaic has been on YANJ/PA’s roster since 2008, and performing for school children is always rewarding – most especially during the Q&A.  Questions ranging from “I liked your show very much!” to “Where do you all come from?” to “Why do you dance?” keep us on our toes.  With arts courses being cut from normal school studies to keep school budgets manageable, YANJ/PA works hand-in-hand with educators to make sure that the mandate for arts programs is met with value and quality.

A great start to a brand new year!