Balconies, Long Center

Balconies, Long Center - Austin, Texas

Balconies, Long Center – Austin, Texas

I’ve been to the Long Center many times, to shoot its curvy architecture as well as the skyline from its hilltop vista. But I’ve never been inside, until tonight. The whole family and some friends went to see the Christmas favorite, The Nutcracker. I was pleasantly surprised that, not only did my boys not fall asleep, they actually liked it. The interior is first-rate, it’s the premiere performance and music venue in Austin. We weren’t allowed to shoot any photos during the performance but I shot the modern and rich interior before the show.

I enjoyed the performances, as well as the music, by Ballet Austin and the Austin Symphony Orchestra. As I took it in, two things came to mind. The power of a pure analog, live performance and the amount of practice required to perform at this level.

Unlike our, all to familiar, high-tech digital world, tonight’s performance of The Nutcracker is pure analog. The music is played by the orchestra without any amplification or speakers. The dancing, of course, is on stage along with physical sets which are changed by moving panels. We aren’t just talking about 4K video, it’s infinite K. Real and in front of your face. The way its been for hundreds of years.

Even more impressive is the amount of dedication it takes to achieve this level, both for the dancers as well as the musicians. One of our friends has a daughter in the performance. She’s in high school and has been studying ballet since she was 2 years old. What I didn’t know is that there is a formal pecking order to students who perform in The Nutcracker. The youngest students play the mice. Years later, they play the Bon Bons. Our friend’s daughter, after 12 years of study, became one of the Chinese Dancers. And these are just the student performers. I’m sure the Professional dancers have put in more than two decades of practice. Likewise for the musicians.

In today’s fast paced world of quick notoriety and even quicker disregard, it’s worth appreciating the craft and dedication required to achieve something of true merit. It takes a lot of work to be an artist and usually with very little fame or recognition.

Moving this conversation back to photography, I’ve only been shooting as a serious amateur for 10 years. There’s so much more that I need to learn and infinite possibilities for creative expression. Watching and listening to accomplished artists is certainly enriching to the creative soul.

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