Let The Show Begin…

Chinese New Year Performance-2

“She sang as if she knew me in all my dark despair, and then she looked right through me as if I wasn’t there…”

The eyes, resting on you and only you…and as much as you try to convince yourself you are dreaming, slowly you are drawn into the spectacle taking place before you.

Chinese New Year Performance-4

To be drawn into a spectacle…into a dream, that is the incredible beauty of watching a live performance.  The music, dancing and theatre are all devices that can whisk us away from the humdrum days of the week and place us where we deserve to be: in the front row seat of our dreams.

What we could be, should be and what we are.

Chinese New Year Performance-12

Whether it is spinning around on a stage in dance and song, fingers flying over piano keys or the rhythm of a ball bouncing on the court, sailing in the air then caught in stride… All places where dreams originate, for both young and old, should be treasured.

Watching those with such gifts and talent, the inspiration is mesmerizing.

Chinese New Year Performance-1

These shots from a Chinese New Year celebration contain everything an escape from reality should hold for the audience:

  • A showcase of beauty for the human spirit and body
  • A celebration of culture, inviting the audience into a dream
  • Flowing music and movements to fuel the soul long after the show ends

Chinese New Year Performance-6

Perhaps the best part of any performance is watching the audience, especially those who are grateful for being able to revisit dreams of their past as they relish the present, and the youth of the present able to experience a bit of the past.

Chinese New Year Performance-7

Music plays such a rich role in defining moments in life.  To celebrate the sensations of a live show, music creates a path where the young and old are able to connect and share.

A live performance connects us to true talent that nothing on a screen can come close to matching, expanding our idea of what may be possible when it comes our turn to take the stage.

Chinese New Year Performance-8

The movement and sounds…the sense that everything around you is a blur except for what your eyes want to see and your ears want to hear.

It is an escape into potential.  The potential of anything your mind can dream.  This is the magic of a live performance.

Chinese New Year Performance-5

Potential.  There will come a time, whether on a stage, on a field or in an office when opportunity strikes and your inspiration and talent will take all this potential and create a dream which you then turn into reality.

We are the lucky ones.  Do not waste a moment of what we’ve been given.

Chinese New Year Performance-9

When the lights fade and the echo of the final applause dissipates, alone sits the dreamer; motionless once again.  Looking out into the night full of imagination and desire.

So much hope in the air, the mind can hardly remain clear with all the excitement at what tomorrow may bring…

Hong Kong Chinese New Year-1

♫♪♬   “And she just kept on singing…  Singing clear and strong…” ♫♪♬

Chinese New Year Performance-11

NOTE: thanks to Roberta Flack and her incredible song “Killing Me Softly with His Song” for the inspiration of the opening & closing quote.

101 Comments on “Let The Show Begin…

  1. Yes Randy, live performances are electrifying. There is nothing quite like it. It’s the mixture of the excitement and actually watching events unfold, right before your very eyes. I remember my very first one, I must have been about 9, it was at the National Theatre back in Nigeria,during our national festival of FESTAC ’77, IPI TOMBI DANCERS from south AFRICA. Lets just say I’ll never forget that day as long as I live 🙂
    Just take a look at the faces here, both the performance and the audience, there is a connection that one can not quite define with words.
    Amazing colors, absolutely captivating photographs, and as always Randy, your words seal it all rather nicely.

    “When the lights fade and the echo of the final applause finally dissipates, alone sits the dreamer; motionless once again. Looking out into the night full of imagination and desire.” This right here, gives hope, and yet so final.
    We must truly live life well 🙂

    • Dotta, I can imagine the feeling of your 1st live show, mine too will stick with me forever. That connection between audience and the performers is genuine…and it only happens live. I’m enjoying live performances now more than ever, not sure whether it is my appreciation for talent has increased or I am tired of seeing ‘talent’ on the screen.

    • Thanks Rakhi, since you have performed before, I think you have understood the connection on both sides…must be extremely uplifting. Cheers!

  2. This is so heart warming, Randall, just as beautiful as you had promised. And the write-up compliments the pictures perfectly! Great post. Great photos!
    Thank you for making us a part of something so rich in culture, love and magnificence.

    • Very nice comment Meghna, and it was such a great natural high to see everything unfold in front of me…just like it did centuries ago, and on every part of Earth in some shape or form. Full appreciation and admiration for everyone, and such a positive feeling shared and taken away when it is over. 🙂

  3. Absolutely gorgeous photos, Randall. So colourful, vibrant and you’ve captured the celebratory spirit of the Chinese-Lunar New Year celebrations very well. Any live show, performance and theatre program with music is always mesmerising and enchanting, isn’t it? Maybe we’re drawn to these spectacles because we don’t see them too often; maybe because we see talent or hard work; maybe because we see the beauty in humanity. And I so agree that we get lost in these moments and dream of what’s possible for us personally. Tomorrow everything can change.

    I personally love watching any kind of show, say a cultural performance or a random band playing on the streets. I have this habit of looking around me during shows, looking at the crowd and seeing their happy faces. I don’t know if anyone else does this 🙂

    • Thank you Mabel, and I think you say it well: live performances are becoming more rare, which is too bad because these performances shine light on the great pieces of humanity we have…making it so easy to be mesmerized and think ‘everything is possible.’

      Much of the fun is taking it all in, especially seeing those around you so happy & free. I love that part of shows!

      • Yeah. Less of us get to see live performances these days because they are getting less and less. But I think it’s also due to the fact that you have to pay an admission or ticket fee of some sort to see them, be it a cultural performance in an enclosed festival or a music concert. And a lot of us need to put our money elsewhere.

        ‘Everything is possible’. Such a positive thought and you know what? That phrase is so true. Anything is possible. We just need to keep believing, keep working and hope the stars align our way 🙂

      • Really agree with this thought Mabel, it is worth it just to continue the dreaming and putting in the time: if we think it, then some day…who knows 🙂

  4. Wonderful pictures Randall. You’ve really nailed the moment. I particularly enjoyed the pictures of the audience. Brilliant stuff.

    • Thank you Adrian, agree with you. The audience is where much of the joy is found…they can turn a good show into a great one.

  5. Excellent post, as always. Great colors. I am fascinated by Chinese culture; if I can ever talk Tammy into it, I very much want to visit one day…

    • Vance, if you get the chance to venture over to Asia ~ you would wonder at the different cultures and I think you’d feel very much at home. RT ticket would make a good V-day surprise to Tammy I’ sure.

    • Thanks Navi, the number of talented people in this world is extraordinary…I feel lucky being able to be inspired by all those around me.

    • Thank you Sreejith, shot everything around ISO 1600 ~ 2000, allowing me to shoot at my “goal” of f/2.8 with shutter speed between 1/100 to 1/500. It was exciting to get swept up in performances, made me more sensitive to do get these shots as crisp as possible. Cheers.

  6. Yes, you are so right, there is something magical about the energy of live music and dance performances where you can just feel potential your becoming and if you can stay with and cultivate that feeling once the show is over, that potential comes true! I have had such experiences more than few times. Both for myself and when working with others. It’s like an alternative state of conscousness (which music and rhythm have been used for since the beginning of times 🙂
    Your photography is so smazing as always, full of life and color. Loving it! xox

    • It is funny you mention this… I think almost every live performance I see, I have this great, strong feeling of wanting to join in ~ I feel so great, like the whole world is right in front of me. Makes life a bit more meaningful and adds color to everything. Your insight on music and consciousness is spot on. Cheers!

  7. Well done. Such rich, saturated colors. Beautifully described – you let the romantic in you come out! You are so right; we only get one chance at each day.

    • It is strange how a live performance can turn a relative introvert, there to shoot the scene, into a person dreaming of becoming a performer because of the greatness he is watching in front of him. Watching sports as a kid had the exact same affect on me…the romantic side we all have inside. Thank you.

  8. There are few things more captivating to me then the Asian culture, the traditions and colors are candy for the eye and you once again hold the key to the candy store. Thanks for sharing.

  9. You’ve made such beautiful photos that you captured in so much clarity (during so much movement) and colour, love it. It made me remember of the times I’ve been in Asia in Chinese New Year, but this seems such a more amazing spectacle. I agree that watching the audiences’ faces and how they react with joy is wonderful. By the way, have you ever considered yourself a poet?

    • Seeing the joy of the people is what I like best about Christmas/Chinese New Year/any celebration or performance, mainly because it usually mirrors my happiness. I agree, Asia for the New Year is something. This group I photographed were amazing, made my shooting so much easier. As for being a poet, no. While I like dreaming of the idea of being a musician/poet, my talent reminds me that I should just sit back and enjoy. There is a certain freedom knowing I can just take in & appreciate all the talent around me. Thanks Sofia, cheers!

  10. You captured the frisson of energy in live performance! Between your vivid writing and riveting photographs, felt as though I was experiencing New Years in-person. Thank you!

  11. This was, as usual, stunning, Randall. I completely relate to the experience of being at a live performance. Whether it is music, a cultural dance, a concert, a play, whatever it is… It transports us miles away to “what could be.” I particularly loved the line you put as the caption of the first picture. “She sang as if she knew me in all my dark despair, and then she looked right through me as if I wasn’t there…” I think we’ve all felt that way a few times… I know often when I leave a performance I am filled both with inspiration but also with a twinge of sadness. My own life never seems to add up to the glory of stage or other performances, and, in reality, it never will. It can’t. Reality is cruel that way. But there is always hope, and there is reason to fight for something more, something better than what we have. I love your focus on the faces of the audience, too. The contrast between young and old, learning and remembering. Your images are breath-taking.

    • Figured you would get a special kick out of this one…both the China theme as well as the dream of ‘what can be’… Yes, I think seeing greatness & talent is both awe-inspiring but with a twinge of sadness. Roberta Flack’s song is one of my favorites, so the first line of this seemed to sum things up. For me, there is nothing better than being there to experience greatness (two of my best memories: Magic Johnson coming to Portland to play ball, and simply being out-of-this-world, and Paul McCartney in Seattle (’90) expecting a short show, and got 3+ hrs of love/enthusiasm). Reality may be harsh, but more times than not we walk away understanding possibilities that we never before had imagined. 🙂

      Thank you Jess, wish you a great week.

  12. Beautiful post Randall – you really brought the performance to live, and your comments are spot on. I agree wholeheartedly there is NOTHING that compares to a live performance, and the performers are always so grateful to those who come out to observe and appreciate their work. Great job!!

    • Thank you Tina, it was fun thinking back on all the performances I’ve seen in my life (even as a child) and my feeling every time was “I want to do that…”, as I just admired the performers for their talents. Agree, nothing can compare. Cheers.

    • What a beautiful description “visual optimism” ~ that perfectly describes the photo, and there is not a better description of a person I think that ‘not just a beautiful face’ but something with substance.

      Agree with the take on FeiFei Sun, so much more behind that great smile. Thank you very much Luana, wish you a great week ahead 🙂

      • Slimane’s recent photographic work has my full attention as he creates pure magic…always. A bit like you do!
        Thank you for the wishes… and have a nice evening.

  13. Many thoughts/feelings; I’ll share three: 1) I am struck by the contract between images in this post and those shared in A Vortex of Inspiration in the Depths of Winter. It’s as if the colors captured in these performances are meant to warm nature’s cold and starkness in your previous post. 2) I have always thought myself a visual learner yet when I read your words, I become captivated by the depth of your succinctness. 3) An escape into potential – I might have to borrow this expression for a future post theme. 🙂 The progression you reference from potential through dreams and into reality is well worth the priceless admission to your blog. Simply beautiful, Randall.

    • An escape into potential, it is yours! I think that is part of the beauty of writing/photography/sharing ~ it gets us to re-evaluate life a bit and we get a bit better understanding of our potential. So much out there. It is a pretty beautiful world. Thanks Eric!

    • Thanks Dedy, that is a great description of how performances hit me, it is almost hypnotic. Cheers!

  14. Incredible photo-reportage.
    And striking as it could seem, that’s exactly what still moves me, human beauty, exotic cultures, and dance –that unique and vital expression. They are the hidden language of my soul. Thank you!

    • Thanks, such moments are what to live for, and makes reality all that much better. Your quote is a perfect fit here as well, “don’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened.”

  15. Really gorgeous images. Randall. You have captured so much energy and live action in these photo – and beautiful colours.

    • Thanks Otto, it was incredible how the performers brought everyone together into the show. Their talent moved everyone up a level that night.

  16. Pingback: Let The Show Begin… | happy girls are the prettiest ♡

  17. Randall, gorgeous pictures as usual. Anything that takes us out of ourselves, even for a few minutes, is valuable, but only live performances provide the visceral human interaction that comes closest to mimicking reality or what reality might actually look like. Electronic media tries to compensate with special effects but they are a poor substitute for body chemistry.

    • Very well said Malcolm, thank you. The interaction between the audience/performers, chemistry of the body and spirit, brings out the emotions and dreams and makes them real. As you say, electronic media (as wonderful as it is) is a poor substitute. Cheers.

  18. gorgeous photos, the colors, the expression on performers faces, the thrill of the audience.. you have captured everything so well… and you write as beautifully as you take photographs… 🙂
    I rarely venture taking pics at such light conditions, my camera can never pick up focus this well and even if it does I then can’t edit the noise from iso 2000… gorgeous work, once again…!!

    • Thank you Alexandra, it was a great time shooting this troupe…the lighting was poor but had a couple of fast lens which made it possible. Really a great and unexpected compliment on my writing, thanks again. Cheers 🙂

  19. You have captured great mood in this photos. I love the colors and the composition also. Very beautiful.

  20. Stunning photos. You captured these: emotions, thoughts, happiness, joy, laughter and many more. All to the delight of the reader. You are in a class of your own. Awesome take. You are fulfilling my passion and it gives me great joy. I hope one day to follow your steps (ie becoming a successful travel writer) cos you are doing a marvelous job.

    Fantastic job!

    • Cheers, this was a fun shoot…I really got swept up with both the audience and performers. Such rich emotions, smiles and colors. Thank you Thandiubani for your nice words. When I get a chance to travel, I take it without much thoughts (both good & bad with that!). Cheers.

  21. Reblogged this on closetoeighty and commented:
    My wife and I are busy preparing for a move back to New York and enjoying gorgeous days in Hollywood, Florida.
    However, I told you before that I keep in reserve wonderful posts of fellow bloggers just for such occasions. I hope you’ll enjoy this post.
    Thank you, Dalo!

    • That was the charm of the night…the audience was just electric, everyone enjoying the night. Thanks!

      • Thank you, just listened to this song again and it takes me back to great music & performances… Wish you a great, brilliant week 🙂

  22. The first picture convey what you just described. Her eyes were on you and only you, they made you feel special.

  23. These are wonderful photos. The colour and imagery is so vivid. All that is missing is the sound, but I’m pretty certain what that sounded like.

    • It is great to review these photos again, and from them I can still hear and envision the night in my mind… Thanks Lignum!

  24. Beautiful photos and great story to weave them together. Dance and music stir my soul and your photos capture some of their magic. Thanks, Brad

    • This performance was incredible…then again, like you, I find just about all music & dance performed by people who love what they do pretty awe inspiring. Soul stirring indeed. Thanks Brad!

  25. I had to re-visit this post again after reading “Positive Envy.” Once again, so amazing. Not just the dancers/performance, but the expressions of the people in the audience are priceless! As cliche as it sounds, a photo can truly express more than a thousand words… 🙂

    • I too think that a good photo can contain things that words cannot even begin to explain 🙂 I had to place this in my Positive Envy post, because after every live show I see ~ I really walk away inspired and also wishing that I had the talent to live such a life. Thank you Takami.

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