By: Veronica Y Gonzalez
I never thought that I would find a class as fun and enlightening as this one. I had taken a theater class my freshman year and absolutely hated it to the point where my love for theater had plummeted. This class helped resurrect it and brought it to twice the intensity. I got to feel the excitement of looking forward to the day of the shows. I realized I love the whole experience of being in a performing center. I got to see the beauty of the building itself, the passion the performers have, the shared emotions in the audience, and I got to learn more about different cultures as well!
This class taught me about elements of a performance and the importance of attending performances. I learned how simple things such as a light can change the entire meaning of a performance. I learned how you can make music out of anything. I learned how to read a story even when there are no words there. I learned how attending rather than watching a performance creates a completely different experience.
Ballet: Growing up, I always wanted to be a ballerina but couldn’t because of time conflicts and lack of resources. I would watch movies and tv shows about ballet but I never attended a performance. Thanks to this class, I got to attend the Shanghai Ballet‘s performance. This performance showed me how you can read a story when there are no words. I felt their emotions through their movements and through the music. Their dancing told the story of two lovers who couldn’t be together in one life but ended up together in another life as butterflies. Seeing this performance enforced my love for ballet but also taught me that there is so much more to it than just sparkly outfits and flexibility.
Step: I know that we have various step groups on campus but I have never been able to see them perform. I saw a movie about step and the performances were really cool. However, it didn’t show me the deeper meaning of step. I thought it was just a cool dance and I am embarrassed that I didn’t know the importance and the cause of step. Attending Step Afrika!‘s performance showed me how step started and how it has cultural significance behind it. I got to learn more about the culture, the struggles, the movement, and the empowerment tied to step.
Music: I’ve attended many concerts before, each with their own special memories, but this concert was one I will never forget. This performance was on Valentine’s Day and I was able to bring my boyfriend to it. It had already been an amazing day but this performance was the cherry on top! Seeing Somi perform was very emotional. Her being from Champaign gave me a sense of pride in knowing that I live where she calls home. She has such an amazing voice and she puts so much emotion into her songs. It really felt like she had taken her heart and showed it to us. We got to hear her experiences and feel her emotions through her performance. When she performed her love song, Ginger Me Slowly, I felt the room fill with love as if every person in there was thinking about the people they love. It is such a special memory for me because I was sitting with the person I love listening to a love song in a room full of loving emotions on the day of love.
Story: I don’t know exactly how to categorize Anna Deavere Smith‘s performance. She made us laugh, she impersonated people, she told us stories, and she made us feel like we were there with her in the stories. Her performance was kind of like stand-up comedy but not quite. She didn’t force her jokes or perform one joke after another. She just told us stories that happened to be funny. Unlike comedians, she told us stories that were important. She went out into the world and interviewed people. Then she wrote up her performance and presented it to us. Some of the topics she talked about where really serious but she added a light comedy over it. She was informing us of police brutality and racism but she did it in a way that kept our emotions stable. It is harder to think of solutions to these problems when we are upset and angered by them. By making it a comedy, she was able to tell us about injustices and we were able to keep a clear head and think of what we can do to fight these injustices.
There is a huge difference between attending a performance at Krannert and viewing a performance on Digital Theater. Going to the theater and seeing the performance in person creates a special connection and a special experience for me. I see the shared excitement before the performance starts. I can see all the other people who love watching performance like I do. I get to feel the emotions of the performers. It is all so special to me. It creates memories that I’ll always remember.
Watching a performance online doesn’t really create a memory for me. I’ll remember that I watched it but I won’t have the memories of how I felt making my way to the theater, how I felt after the performance, who I interacted with while I was there, or the memories of how everyone around me was feeling during the performance. I also, have distractions if I watch performances online such as my family needing something or neighbors making too much noise. Going to the theater creates a special place where we all have respect towards each other and we all have appreciation for the arts.
In conclusion, this class has shown me how to love and appreciate performances. I can pay attention to every detail because I know they all impact the meaning. I know that every performance is unique and that each one can teach us about different cultures, ideologies, events in history, and so much more. After this class, I will keep attending performances. We, as students, need to take advantage of the special pricing we are offered to attend all of these amazing performances. I have persuaded many of my friends to attend performances and they have also loved going to Krannert. I’m thankful for everyone who was part of this course and everyone who made watching the performances possible.