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The Final Blog: A Semester in Review

Written By: Zackarya Faci

Let me start off by saying this has been the most enjoyable course I have taken in all my four years here at the university. I was able to explore the arts and earn a new appreciation for them–something engineering students don’t often find themselves doing. I looked forward to coming to class, since we were always either doing a cool activity or taking an interesting tour, and spend my evenings in the Krannert Center. Sadly, we were not able to spend the entire semester together due to COVID-19, but I was still able to explore beautiful performances online through Digital Theatre+. Here’s a recap of the performances seen throughout the semester:

The Butterfly Lovers

The first performance we saw as a class was The Shanghai Ballet performing “The Butterfly Lovers” at the start of the Chinese New Year. I had never seen a ballet prior and was half-expecting to be bored by the event. However, that was definitely not the case. I was enamored by how well they were able to tell a story without ever saying a single word. The skillful movements and intentional lighting were enough to convey the exact emotions felt onstage.

Drumfolk

The next performance, by Step Afrika!, I enjoyed even more. They brought history to life with the their percussive talents. With a simple stage and intriguing costume design, it was easy to focus on what the performers wanted us to see.

Somi

Somi is a Jazz musician who performed some songs from her recent album. I never really listened to Jazz music before, so I am glad I attended this performance. Somi’s songs were so soothing yet powerful all at the same time. She also sang about some issues that were important to me.

Anna Deavere Smith

Seeing Smith perform was a bit of a curve ball to me. I was not sure what to expect when heading to this performance. It was not like any of the other performances we have seen; this was a one-woman show. She recreated interviews she conducted and did so with a lot of emotion. While being funny, yet serious, her impersonations of her interviewees sold the show.

Cabaret

The night of Unofficial the class attended Cabaret–which was very fitting. Cabaret was a comedic, scandalous musical set in 1930s Germany. Many scenes were risquĂ©, but honestly it was refreshing to see a performance that was more adult-oriented. This was also the first performance I’ve seen that had subtitles above the stage–something I found very interesting.

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice was the first performance I viewed online after in-person classes were postponed. It was a witty comedy that touched upon some serious topics. I read the play in high school so it was nice to revisit it and see how the performance compared to simply reading the play.

The Container

The Container was a very unique performance. Being performed in a shipping container with low light really set the mood for the entire performance. The choice to perform in a shipping container was ingenious, and I wish I could have been there to see it performed live. The story was already compelling and sincere as is, but being there in person would have been a whole new level of immersion.

Metamorphosis

The final performance I viewed this semester was Metamorphosis. This was definitely a wacky one. The movements by the performers were flamboyant and exaggerated–fitting with the peculiar story. The performance was also in Japanese, so I had to follow along with subtitles. Metamorphosis opened my mind to watch other forms of media that may not be in a language I understand.

Closing Thoughts

A sincere thank you goes out to Dr. Collins and Prof. Robinson. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this class, but I took away more than I could have ever asked for. They always had so much energy and never failed to brighten up my day. They also helped us explore the arts in ways a typical class could never. Thank you for helping me explore performances I probably would have never seen on my own. Thank you for making my final semester a great one! 🙂

The Butterfly Lovers— An elegant yet tragic Chinese love story performed by the amazing Shanghai Ballet

“The Butterfly Lovers” which is a beautiful yet tragic Chinese love story, comparable to “Romeo and Juliet” in the West, was performed by the amazing Shanghai Ballet in the Tryon Festival Theater of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts this January 29, 2020.

https://krannertcenter.com/events/shanghai-ballet-butterfly-lovers

-Written by Weon Taek Na

A large audience forms a line to enter the Tryon Festival Theater to watch The Shanghai Ballet perform The Butterfly Lovers
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Shanghai Ballet Performs: The Butterfly Lovers

“The Butterfly Lovers” was performed by The Shanghai Ballet in the Tryon Festival Theater of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts.
-Written by Daniel Holley

A sizable audience files into the Tryon Festival Theater, eager for the show to begin.
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A Ballet Worth The Hype: The Shanghai Ballet’s Production of Butterfly Lovers

The world renowned Shanghai Ballet performs their production of the 2001 Chinese Ballet “Butterfly Lovers” in the Tryon Festival Theatre at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

By Elena Grantcharski

Ticket stub for the Wednesday performance of Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly Lovers was a very emotive ballet with a romance story that attacked my hopeless romantic heart. The fact that this story was in the format of a ballet is very significant because the dancers did a very good job of showing how ballet is a very powerful and emotive dance form. Throughout the ballet, they show the yearning they have for each other and you can feel the strong emotional tension between them through the types of dance moves. There is a lot of push and pull in their dancing which perfectly describes the unfortunate circumstance of their relationship. They always try to pull each other together but always get pushed apart by society and by the other people in their lives.

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