Okay, I'll admit it: I love all of the classic Broadway shows we put on here at the Renaissance. They're always fan favorites, thanks to their highly popularized soundtracks and storylines. (This season, we've got shows like Cabaret and Little Shop of Horrors in store, which is so exciting!) However, I do feel that musical theatre in its catchiness and pizzazz often steals the spotlight, and other forms of art may get overlooked, though they all boast their own type of pizzazz. That said, I'd like to take a moment to recognize other facets of the performing arts world, both at the Renaissance and in general.
It's more than a not-so-subtle plug for our Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestra, and Youth Strings, I promise! As a former violist, I know the discipline and attention to detail that goes into string playing. When you add in woodwinds, brass, and percussion, too, the music just comes alive. I wish more people acknowledged the beauty of orchestral music; it's also a great activity for kids to get involved in and really develop fine motor skills, regardless of the instrument. (If I've piqued your interest, check out MSO's season lineup!)
While yes, all choral art forms are worthy of recognition, I think opera gets a bad rap. I've heard it called "annoying" and "over-the-top" so many times. The history and tradition behind it is so rich— opera dates back to 1598 in Italy— and it's really a stylized version of musical theatre as we know it. (Our very own Renaissance Youth Opera Theatre, aka RYOT, often performs works like this one by Gilbert and Sullivan.) Plus, the physical control and power needed to sing opera in itself is worth applause. I also love how language is not a barrier for opera singers, as performers are usually trained to perfect the original Italian lyrics. Bravo!
3. Spoken Word
I'm treating this as a sort of broad category in order to mention a few art forms. Of course, there's spoken word poetry, which I think takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to share with the world, especially when it's based on personal experiences. As part of the QuaRENtine Creations series, our Set Designer & Facilities Manager, Jason Kaufman, performed his own beautiful spoken word poetry, which you can watch here.
But I also feel that shared spoken messages (think Ted Talks) are very valuable and educational, and that yes, they are absolutely an art form. Lastly, I'd like to acknowledge stand-up comedy! Some of my favorite YouTube videos to watch are of comics on Comedy Central's channel.
This is another category I created, but honestly, I hadn't even thought of these as art forms before sitting down to blog! Mime/pantomime, magic, and puppeteering can all be performing arts done for audiences. (Is puppeteering really a word? Well, you know what I mean: the manipulation of puppets and marionettes.) These are all such unique talents that make for engaging entertainment. Who doesn't love a good magic show? For all you Netflix lovers, I recommend Magic for Humans featuring Justin Willman.
This last one is another favorite of mine. Back in the day, I was on a girls' hip hop dance team...let's just say that didn't last long, but I did get back into choreography later in life. In high school, I joined color guard/winter guard, which is like dance mixed with flags and weaponry, all set to music. It was such a great, creative outlet for me. I wish I had given ballet a try when I was younger, too, because I appreciate the discipline, soul, and grace that it takes. From ballet to busking, dance as an art form is in a world of its own. Our upcoming production of Cabaret will feature a ton of great dancing, and it's all thanks to local choreographer Allie Carter, owner of Studio 65.
What's your favorite performing art?