Making the Impossible Possible

For extreme filmmaker Bryan Smith, the line between going for it and going too far is often blurry—and you can experience it for yourself when Smith takes you on a journey to explore the Earth’s most remote environments on February 13 at The Lincoln Center. In this edge-of-your-seat presentation, Smith shows you what it means to adventure with purpose and why he believes the best expeditions are the ones with a healthy chance of failure.

In the span of just ten years, Smith went from a novice filmmaker, who bought his first camera at Wal-Mart, to one of the top adventure filmmakers in the world. His films have been shown at Banff and Telluride Mountain Film Festivals and are fan favorites on the National Geographic Channel. His passion for storytelling combined with his reputation for capturing the impossible makes for an unforgettable presentation.

But National Geographic Live: Capturing the Impossible is about more than photographing and filming extreme sports, it’s about sharing an experience that many won’t have the time or skills to see. “I think in a lot of ways,” says Smith, “we have an obligation to make sure we tell a better story than ‘Whoa, this was crazy’.” In this way, Smith’s films are a chance for people to see a different world; something outside of the box.

“When you travel specifically to take photos or film, you’re not on vacation. You’re fully immersed in an environment,” says Smith. “So if you go to South America, you’re not just hanging out on the beach, you’re living and breathing the culture and life of a place.” Even if you’re a well-seasoned traveler, it’s easy to get stuck in a bubble and not see what else there is. Smith is after that story that is beyond the bubble, and that is what he shows to audiences.

His search for a story has left him in difficult and interesting places. From suffering from frostbite during the first-ever ice climb of Niagara Falls to exploring the South Pacific’s deepest canyons, Smith will bring you behind the scenes and show you how he captured the impossible.

Although stressful and difficult, Smith says the hardest trips are the most memorable. “I have this theory about the types of fun. Type one fun is having a good time. Type two fun is the kind of thing you really don’t have fun doing in the moment, but it’s fun to talk about later. Type three is when you don’t have fun at all, but two or three years later, it makes a great story.”

Many of Smith’s stories are the second and third types of fun, which is why his stories are so memorable.

What makes Smith stand out as a filmmaker is that he uses his filmmaking craft to elevate important stories. He invigorates people to probe our limitations, entertain us in new ways, and do what National Geographic strives to do in all platforms—inspire us. “I want to bring forward this idea that we all have a little bit of the explorer in us and we all have the ability to do things on a daily basis that can massively impact our lives in terms of what we see around us,” says Smith.

“People look at imagery and think it’s extreme sports, it couldn’t be further from that,” continues Smith. “It’s about exploration and seeing places—not adrenaline. It’s about pushing yourself.”

Journey with Bryan Smith through all of his trials and successes in some of the most remote and inhospitable places on the planet during National Geographic Live: Capturing the Impossible on February 13 at The Lincoln Center. Seats from $15 at

Exploring Mexico Through Dance

Direct from Mexico, Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México will showcase its country’s finest music and dance on The Lincoln Center stage February 9.

Tasked with the dissemination, preservation and promotion of the culture of México, both at home and abroad, this joyous company will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of its artistic career in 2020, continuing the legacy of México’s leading researchers and practitioners of folklore, dance, music and costumes.

“I think it is very important to show the world the cultural wealth and traditions that Mexico has through its dances, music and colorful costumes,” says Esther Lozano, Vice Principal and Company Manager of Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México. “Mexico is a very beautiful country and I am very proud to be Mexican.”

With mesmerizing rhythms and swirling colors, the performance showcases an abundance of traditional folk dances such as the “Jarabe Tapatío” and “La Bamba.” From honoring the legends of the Aztecs to celebrating their Spanish and African influences, Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México transports audiences across the many and varied regions of Mexico and invites them to share in its rich culture.

“My favorite dance is the ‘Jarabe Tapatío’ (The Hat Dance) because of its costumes,” says Lozano. “They’re very colorful and elegant. The women’s costume has a colorful sequin skirt and the men’s Charro costume is beautiful.”

Beyond the colorful costumes and mariachi music many associate with Ballet Folclorico, audiences can expect to take a deeper look into the culture of Mexico, including solo musician performances and barefoot dances that tell the stories of the people.

“We have a profound respect for the traditional ways that the original people dance and perform their dances, the steps and the costumes,” says Lozano. “We enhance them so they can be more spectacular for the performances, but we take serious care of the authenticity.”

Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México has performed in over fifty countries and five continents, receiving numerous awards and prizes, as well as being designated an Ambassador of Mexican Culture.

Enjoy the beautiful sounds, exquisite costuming and lively dancing that will leave audiences ready to visit Mexico when Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México performs at The Lincoln Center on February 9. Seats from $15 at

Romance! Adventure! Gershwin!

Romance! Adventure! Gershwin! Who could ask for anything more when the Broadway musical An American in Paris comes to The Lincoln Center January 23–25?

The director of An American in Paris, Jeffrey B. Moss has directed touring shows of some of the most enduring musicals from The Sound of Music to Annie Get Your Gun. But for him, An American in Paris is something special. “Each show has its own personality. Its own needs. Its own ingredients. An American in Paris is the classic of the classics. After all, it’s George and Ira Gerswhin. That makes it special unto itself because those songs are so unforgettable.”

An American in Paris has a nearly a 90-year history from its beginnings as a simple song by George Gershwin in 1928. It was transformed into an Academy Award-winning musical film starring Gene Kelley about a young painter who comes to Paris just as it was liberated from Nazi occupation. At that time, Paris had just emerged from a dark time and had not found itself yet, making it the perfect setting for the artist. “What makes An American in Paris enduring is that it has a sense of positivity and joyousness in a place that hasn’t seen those things for some time,” says Moss. “It stands for something bigger.”

The musical pays homage to the cheerfulness of the film, but this new take will create a new experience for audiences. “It’s more realistic. The movie is a loving, wonderful, and sweet romance. The musical honors that, but tells a different story,” Moss says. “I feel it’s important that we remind the audience of where the setting is, the very moment of the liberation of Paris in 1944. There aren’t many around who remember that moment, and I want to remind them of that place of optimism.”

Some of this optimism comes from the dance, which won the Tony Award for Best Choreography. “Dance is the story being told,” says Moss. “You don’t sing in a musical unless the emotions are high. You dance when you can’t physically express something another way.” Rather than a bell and whistle, the choreography is a fundamental element to the musical. Add in classic songs like “‘S’wonderful’ and ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’, An American Paris is a playful experience that everyone will enjoy. 

“I think that this show celebrates so many things,” Moss concludes. “It celebrates the spirit of freedom. The music masterful, the story is romantic and fun. It’s hard to find a show with all of those elements in one place.”

Don’t miss An American in Paris at The Lincoln Center January 23–25. Seats from $20 at