A semester filled with music, dance, performances, and laughter has finally come to an end.
Back in high school I was always interested in the arts and humanities, and I wanted to make sure that I continued to cultivate these passions of mine in college. Unfortunately, during registration day I found that the majority of courses that were interesting to me were already full. So, on a whim I decided to register for FAA 110, a course that not only completed one of my general education requirements but also was held just downstairs in my residential hall. Given only the description “Exploring Arts & Creativity”, I was unsure if I would enjoy this class mainly because I had no idea what it entailed. I had the premonition that FAA 110 would be another art history that was tolerable, but not particularly exciting; fortunately, I was incredibly mistaken.
When I found out that the main curriculum of FAA 110 required us to watch performances and write about them, I was pleasantly surprised. As a student who was involved in music and theater, I have always enjoyed watching live performances and was extremely eager to see these events on a larger scale. My excitement was not unwarranted; in general, almost every event I went to for FAA 110 was memorable in some shape or form. Certain snapshots of plays or songs by musicians will always be remembered in my mind, along with the emotion that it evoked within me. Here are just a few of these special moments:
Overall, this class gave me the opportunity to experience events that I would never even think of attending. It allowed me to expand my perception of the idea of performance and what constitutes as art. I loved each and every performance, and I can proudly say that through all the singing, dancing, and acting my passion in the arts has been revived. I will forever be grateful to have experienced all these memorable events especially with such a wonderful group of people.
The anticipation built for a production marketed as a ‘female team an exploring how sexual violence resonates across the centuries’, was high throughout the week. This musical had the opportunity to influence the discussion of gender inequalities through the reflection of power struggles throughout the centuries. In my opinion, the performance shied away from directly addressing the issue at hand and missed their opportunity to connect to today’s climate.
From the moment the bows of the violins and cello hit the the first notes of ‘first song title’, I was captivated by the fluidity of the group’s composition.
The performance was enthralling. All the more with accompaniment of Chungliang Al Huang, a playful surprise in the formal atmosphere. The Quartet’s initial demanding synchronicity was nothing compared to the disjointed composition that they were also able to deliver.
Applause was cut short as each detailed story played out in front of our eyes. Chungliang first danced in the center of the group. His motion began to set the tempo for the musicians and they also followed suit in how they handled their instruments. The light-hearted nature of his first dance with the quartet set the tone for the duality of the music.
The group took a bow after a particularly intense piece and then the stage cleared. But it was not over. Chungliang was not the only dancer throughout the show. The final dance was a refreshing piece that to me, paralleled the deliberate and fluid nature of the music played throughout the night. The male pair was the most intriguing symbol of the ebb and flow of support the quartet gave each other throughout the night. Each instrument is strong and takes the lead intermittently during a song, as did the tango dancers.
My expectations for the performance were happily met. The beautiful architecture of the auditorium set the caliber of the experience even higher as I awaited an enriching exposure to classical music. If I were the director of this show, I would have insisted on a more rehearsals from the dancers. If they would have been able to keep the synchronicity that the musicians did, the entire performance would have had a stronger effect on me and no doubt the rest of the packed audience as well. I would have had more developed choreography as well. I think Chunliang did a great job in directing the dancers the basic motions of his Tai Ji art, but I think more complex displays could have taken the performance to another level. My perception of a classical string ensemble was surely affected by this riveting performance from Champaign locals. The same duality that they had in their performance is one that I appreciate in all areas of art.