On Saturday, Emma performed in her last show at Point Park before she graduates in three weeks. On Sunday, Ben finished his run in Mean Girls with two shows. Very proud of all my children but leave it to my twins to face large and yet different milestones on the same weekend.
Currently showing posts tagged Performance
Earlier this year, I took a series of photos to promote The Company Project, an annual show featuring Metropolitan School of the Arts' pre-professional groups as well as special guests. Titled "Unplugged," the performance features iMpulse and Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble. The focus is on a time before screens, scrolling and social media likes.
The show will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday at Ernst Community Cultural Center at the Northern Virginia Community College's Annandale Campus. A pre-show reception sponsored by Burtons Grill and Bar of Alexandria will be held at 5 p.m.
Tickets are available at www.metropolitanarts.org.
Eight students from the Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy’s advanced choir performed Wednesday at the Library of Congress as part of the Copyright Matters event series. The event, “The Public Domain: Celebrating the Lifecycle of Copyright,” focused on works that are entering the public domain this year. The MSA choir performed “Charleston” — one of the songs entering the public domain in 2019 — at the start of the event and then went on a brief tour of the library before returning to school.
As they were coming off stage at the Tony Awards, Ben photobombed Amy Schumer and Carey Mulligan with a "Hi, Mom" on our wedding anniversary. Surreal.
I am returning this week to Boston's Wheelock Family Theatre to shoot photos for "Stuart Little," my fifth show in 15 months. You can purchase photos and downloads from the other four shows — "Billy Elliot," "Charlotte's Web," "In the Heights," and "Beauty and the Beast" — by going to my SmugMug page here.
A portion of the proceeds will be returned to the theatre.
This is a beautiful performance by a lovely young man we are fortunate to know. Given everything from the past few days, take a moment to listen to DeMarius R. Copes cover this song by John Legend.
Waiting for a show to start — Alexandria, Va., June 2011
Highlights from Friday’s 2016 Fly performance, featuring MSA students performing more than 20 tap, hip hop, jazz and contemporary numbers at the end of the annual two-week summer camp. More than 90 attended this year’s dance intensive, which featured the work of 11 professional choreographers under the direction of Christie Sirota. Five performances also featured student choreography.
For more photos, visit my Facebook page here.
Conclusion: Being interviewed by an aspiring teenage photographer — the director’s cut. This section focuses on the “Art & Dance” series.
What led to the “Art & Dance” series?
My twins, Ben and Emma, are dancers (as was their sister, Kate, until she was in high school). So, as the family photographer, I found myself taking pictures of their recitals, just like I did with Nicholas and his theatre/music performances in high school and college. For a long time, I had to take hundreds of pictures just to get a few I liked.
And there are reasons for that.
First, I shot a lot of pictures indoors, and until I got a good camera body (Canon 5D-Mark III) that works well in low light as well as a number of F2.8 lenses (the expensive ones), I was working at a disadvantage, especially indoors.
Second, I usually shot performances, which meant that I sat in the same place and tried to capture things on a stage. That was both fun and boring at the same time, because I had to wait instead of create, and I had to rely on lighting that was completely out of my control.
In 2014, I was looking for a new creative challenge, one that was more conceptual and artistic. I was always told that I had more of a news eye than a conceptual one and, for a long time, I believed that, but I wanted to challenge myself because it was something I hadn’t done before.
That’s when I came up with the idea of taking pictures of dancers in natural light and in unusual settings. This is not a unique thing; you can find countless images all over the web. But it solved two concerns for me: 1) I wouldn’t have to worry about slow shutter speeds and sitting in the same place all the time. 2) I could see if my conceptual eye (the Art) could match the skills of the performer (the Dance).
What challenges did you find in doing this?
Unfortunately, at least at the beginning, I shot the “Art & Dance” pictures the same way as I did the performances. As someone who doesn’t dance, I didn’t understand the “peak” and missed it over and over, as my kids took pains to remind me constantly.
Things changed for me when I realized that I needed to try different angles. I do that in my other photography, but why not dance? Often when I sit I can capture peaks because my eye is at the same level as the dancer’s jump. And the more I practice, the better I get at it, both the photography and the art direction.
As a dancer, you have an advantage because you know that part. But you will still need to practice, practice, practice. Photography is a form of art just like dance is, and you can always find ways to improve.
Here are highlights from Metropolitan School of the Arts' recent production of "The Nutcracker," a holiday perennial performed Dec. 3-6 at the Ernst Cultural Center in Alexandria.
These photos are from the Thursday-Friday cast. Photos from the Saturday shows will be featured in a future album. For more, go to my Facebook album here.
More highlights from Metropolitan School of the Arts' recent production of "The Nutcracker," a holiday perennial performed Dec. 3-6 at the Ernst Cultural Center in Alexandria. These photos are from the Saturday shows. For more, go to my Facebook album here.
Photos from Act 1 of the Sunday cast performance of "Toy Stories," an ambitious undertaking that combined all three of the Disney films into one show for the annual Metropolitan School of the Arts production. For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
The final edition of Untapped Archives for 2015 features Acts 2 and 3 of the final show of Toy Stories, Metropolitan School of the Arts’ annual recital. Twenty-six galleries featuring the work of MSA during the year have been posted to my photo store (http://glenncookphoto.smugmug.com/) with prints starting as low as $2.
Over the past week, I have been taking a series of photos for The Company Project, a benefit performance for Metropolitan School of the Arts that will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Ernst Cultural Center in Alexandria.
The show will feature performances by MSA’s pre-professional dance companies. It will feature choreography by MSA faculty and guest artists Ginger Cox, Derek Mitchell and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. The program will celebrate many facets of “Inspiration” in art and dance from classical origins to modern urban styles.
Tickets are $35 for a single seat; $25 each when purchasing two or more. Donors who give an additional $5 or more can also be part of a pre-performance VIP reception at 5 p.m. For tickets, go to www.metropolitanarts.org.
Metropolitan School of the Arts presented "The Company Project," a showcase featuring performances from its four pre-professional companies (ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop), on Sunday at the Ernst Cultural Center in Alexandria. These are highlights from the show.
Over the past two weeks, I was fortunate to see (and shoot) rehearsals for the groups, both to promote the show and for a slide presentation that set the stage for the event. Our children have been involved with MSA for more than a decade, and I continue to be impressed by the professionalism, dedication, and growth of the students and staff.
Kudos to all... You should be very proud.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
The student-run Metropolitan Youth Theatre presents its second production this weekend — the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical "Rent."
Tickets are available at www.metroyoutharts.com for the show, which opened tonight and has three more performances — 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday — at 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Road, Suite LL, in McLean.
Jonathan Larson’s rock opera, which ran for 12 years on Broadway, is an ambitious undertaking for the student-run company, which was founded in 2014 by two Northern Virginia high school students. Its mission is to educate young actors and technicians about the challenges they will soon face in the professional world of theatre.
Students, most in high school, run all aspects of the company’s productions. Hayfield student Chad Vann is the artistic director and Lee student Sam Cornbrooks is the company’s producer. James Woods, who attends Metropolitan School of the Arts, is the musical director.
MYT is supported by Metropolitan School of the Arts and DC Metro Theater Arts. “Rent” is the second show produced by the group, which presented “The Last Five Years” in a sold-out run in late January.
You also can follow the company on Twitter (@MetroArtsYouth).
For more photos, see my album on Facebook.
Ben is a kid who doesn’t like to eat any food that hasn’t been processed at least twice, which turns every adventure with any natural product that is green in origin into a standup comedy routine. At 13, he’s getting better (or at least acknowledging) that eating fruit is good for you, but vegetables remain another story.
Between shows recently, he was bribed (or shamed, depending on how you look at it) into eating a piece of lettuce, a cucumber, and a tomato. Asked whether he wanted dressing (aka sauce) to go with it, he asked his friend Neil, “What is sauce?”
These pictures show my son performing his own version of dinner theater, And by the way, he ate 2 out of 3, but the chickpea-for-tomato trade went nowhere.
Now this is a way to start the new year. Here are Ben and Chris singing "Bad Romance" during a dinner break between shows, with a short cameo from Josh Walden. Enjoy...
MSA Academy students are in dress rehearsals for Sunday's end-of-year showcase revue at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial theatre. The 75-minute revue features dance, theatre, and music selections that show the progress the students have made in their studies this year. The performance will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 10.
On Wednesday, the cast of the first national tour of “Newsies” performed two numbers in a surprise appearance at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre following a screening of the 1992 cult film that gave the musical its start.
The cast, which had just completed a show at The Pantages several blocks away, took a bus down Hollywood Boulevard and performed “King of New York” and “Santa Fe” for a surprised crowd of 1,000 fans, stars from the film, and original director/choreographer Kenny Ortega.
For more of my photos from the performance, go to my Facebook page here. Click on the clip below to see a Disney-produced video clip from the performance.
You also can see video shot by a fan in the audience here.
Now in their second week in Los Angeles, the first national tour cast of Disney's "Newsies" performed a selection of numbers from the show Tuesday before a packed crowd of employees at Walt Disney Studios.
The special lunchtime performance of "Santa Fe," "Someone To Believe In" and "Carrying the Banner" was followed by a private tour of the studio.
The national tour casts of “Newsies” and “Cinderella” came together Monday night in Chicago for “Seize the Slipper,” a benefit for Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids. The event at the club Sidetracks raised more than $8,500 for the organization as the two casts, which are in Chicago until Jan. 4, performed almost 20 numbers during their regular Monday night off from the tours.
The best part of the evening was getting to see all four kids dressed up and together to support a worthy cause. And Kate even had a chance to meet and get her picture taken with a man dressed in drag — Mrs. Claus in fact. I didn't realize until recently that this was a lifelong goal of hers...
Postscript: This is by far the most popular album that I have posted to Facebook, with more than 550 "likes" in just a few days. Thanks to everyone for your support; if you'd like to see the rest of the pictures, go here.
Featuring all-new choreography this year, Metropolitan School of the Arts' annual "Frosty Follies" production started its run of shows with a final dress rehearsal on Friday before heading to the official opening at Reston Town Center. There, a large crowd of parents, friends and holiday shoppers watched the revised and updated holiday show.
My kids have performed in Frosty for years, and it is always a challenge, tradition, and ultimately a treat to see this first show come off successfully. Held the day after Thanksgiving, it means that participants must return from traveling or push the leftovers aside. Families returned from Pennsylvania, New York, and North Carolina, among other places, to take part in the event.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here. To purchase photos from the performance, go to the E-store link at the top of this page.
Frosty Follies made its first appearance before a giant crowd of holiday shoppers at the new Springfield Town Center on Saturday. The crowd was so large, in fact, that there was no good place to set up and shoot. So I took a different tack, walking around in a large circle and going up and down the escalators in an effort to capture the event. (And I still didn't exercise as much as the dancers...)
Frosty will conclude next Sunday, December 20 following two charity performances on Dec. 18 and Dec. 21 in Alexandria and Falls Church. The best place to catch this fun holiday revue will be at the Metropolitan School of the Arts Winter Concert. Four performances — at 10 a.m., 12:30, 3 and 5:30 p.m. — will be held at Woodson High School in Fairfax.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here. To purchase photos from the performance, go to the E-store link at the top of this page.
Shooting "The Nutcracker" this year was a different experience than I've previously had. For one, I know my camera and the theater much better. Second, this year's version seemed much brighter and more buoyant than in the past.
Also, it helped that Emma and Ben weren't in the show — even though I missed seeing them do it and hope they will again — because I was able to be much more objective and wasn't always trying to ensure I captured their work first.
Finally, I spotted something I hadn't in the past that informed my choices of where to go and where to shoot. Much of the action this year seemed to be generated from the sides, rather than center stage, and by moving around a little bit I could get some fun angles. Also, during the dress rehearsal, I went directly to the stage and shot from there to get a different perspective.
Here are three images from the shoot. I'll have more from the Sunday performance soon, where I was able to build on the lessons I learned from this performance.
Live performance: It's never the same twice...
Two new entries in the "Art & Dance" series — "Finding Art in Performance."
Today's Daily Photo is actually a set of three pictures from my "Finding Art in Performance" series focusing on "Art & Dance."
Here is the start of a new section in my ongoing "Art & Dance" series. I call this one "Finding art in performance." You can find more photos like this in my Visual Storytelling section.
Dancers (including my twins Emma and Ben) performing at the Intersections Art Festival — Washington, D.C., March 2014.
Metropolitan School of the Arts held its winter concert Saturday, with students performing in four shows at West Springfield High School. The above photo is from the Contemporary 6 class, which performed Tiffanie Carson’s choreography to “I’ll Keep You Safe” by the group Sleeping at Last. The class performed the number — one of the most beautiful I've seen in nearly a decade of watching Metropolitan dancers — during all four shows.
My photos from the performance are in an album on my Facebook page.
Here is a video as well.
With apologies for the video quality — it was shot on an iPhone from a considerable distance — I wanted to share this special moment. Here, Ben is performing a solo to "Awake My Soul," a Mumford and Sons song covered by my oldest son, Nicholas. The performance was during "Fly," an annual summer camp that all of my children have participated in at some point. Nicholas' vocal was recorded last summer at Elon. The choreography, which has some familiar elements to "Billy Elliot" fans, was by Ben.
In our house, we don’t do dinner. We do dinner theater. Rarely can any of our kids get through a meal without some sort of visual demonstration or performance.
For two weeks this summer, we heard snippets of Ben singing “I’m Not That Smart,” his musical theatre camp solo that's from “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” (And yes, he performed a section of it one night during dinner.)
Here is the performance from the final day of musical theatre camp. The video, shot on my phone, is not the greatest, but you can see our son’s comedic timing in full display. And BTW, the last notes of the song are supposed to be botched; Ben, ever the perfectionist, didn’t like that, however.