As I searched for a last course to fill my general education requirement, I wanted the course to be special. I wanted a course that I gave me a hands on experience outside of the typical engineering courses that I took. A close friend of mine suggested FAA 110 as such a course, and I am so glad that she did. FAA 110 became the favorite class that I took at University of Illinois. I had very little knowledge nor experience in arts and I was able to enjoy the amazing performances and museums that were held at our university.
When I was picking my classes for Spring 2020 my advisor suggested that FAA 110 would be a fun class to take. However, what I didn’t know was that FAA 110 would become my favorite class I’ve ever taken in my college career. When the semester first started, I realized that class would be meeting on Wednesday mornings and also be meeting on the scheduled event days. When I found that out I wanted to drop the class because I thought it would interfere with my social life, I’m so grateful that I didn’t!
FAA 110 provided me so much more than free performances, I truly believe it gave me a new pair of eyes for art. I have never been the type of person to attend performances or visit museums during my free time and that is simply because I just never gave art the opportunity to be appreciated. This course allowed me to have a better insight on the amazing opportunities the University provides students with that are often not taken advantage of. I truly enjoyed this course because whenever I attended class and the events, it felt like academics wasn’t the one thing constantly on my mind but instead my own feelings. I’ll never forget when Professor Collins said this in class, “Your voice is important. Never allow your voice to be stifield…Not only in this class but in everything!” This really has stuck with me and will continue to, because no professors in my college career ever made me feel like my opinion truly mattered enough to make a change. I’m so glad that FAA 110 taught me about the beauty of art but also that there is power within myself.
I’ll never forget the first performance I attended, Shanghai Ballet. What a masterpiece, I never thought I would be able to appreciate a performance without any words being spoken. However, I learned that art doesn’t have to say much, you just have to allow art to speak to you. I’ll always remember this performance as the first performance that brought me to tears. I wish more people were able to see this performance through my perspective.
Step Afrika!: Drumfolk was the second performance I attended in the Krannert Art Performance Center. As a history major that specifically loves African American history I can honestly say, I wish this performance never ended. This performance tells the story of how African Americans were stripped away from their culture and have had to continue to fight for till this day. There were so many different elements that overall made the performance unforgettable!
The third performance I attended was Jonathan Swensen’s cello performance. I never thought I would have truly enjoyed a cello performance, but I also never thought it would bring me to tears. Jonathan Swensen’s performance allowed me to reflect on my thoughts and let all my little broken pieces in me feel like they were put back together just by simply listening.
The fourth performance that I attended was Micheal Barenboin and the West Eastern Divan Ensemble. I was fortunate enough to be seated in the front row, this allowed me to get a view that I felt like no one else in the room had. The orchestra players were unbelievably talented and anyone could tell that these performances have played their instruments their whole life. This performance was truly unforgettable.
Cabaret, a true masterpiece full of meticulous details that truly made the show shine! This musical not only made you feel like you could connect with the characters such as Sally, Clifford, Fraulein Schneider or even Herr Schultz but it made you feel like you were part of the show!
Virgo – Man Dem: While watching this performance, I must admit that I was a little lost. I didn’t quite understand why the dancers were making weird movements that didn’t go along with the music. I think that’s the beauty of art. Sometimes no one understands because it’s not always for the audience, sometimes it’s for the artist himself. What I learned through this performance is that I as an audience member would not be doing my job if I were to not make the effort to at least understand. Sometimes you’ve got to be able to listen to yourself and be okay with no one else understanding.
Drum Tao: Out of all the performances I have gotten the opportunity to attend, Drum Tao is by far one of my favorite performances for multiple reasons. It was a performance that showed me that art has the ability to completely ease your mind away from your problems even if it’s just for a while.
The Container: This was the first and last performance I viewed through the online database. This production showed me how refugees seeking refuge have to endure. This really touched me because it made me think of the difficulties a lot of my family members had to go through in order to provide me and siblings a better life.
FAA 110 provided me so much more that what I could’ve learned in a classroom. I promise to always to try to convince friends to take this course because it truly has been one of my favorite courses I have ever taken. I just want to thank Dr.Collins and Dr. Robinson for making the course so exciting and enjoyable!
I decided to end my college career exploring what only the University of Illinois could provide: an experience exploring the culture and arts of the University’s feature facilities like the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Spurlock Museum. I lamented being cut short of the fun times I was having, but I am happy I got to take part. Dr. Collins and Dr. Robinson provided a course that broadened my horizons, taking me to performances I may not have otherwise. This stayed true into the pandemic as I was directed to online performances to compliment my education. My classmates were friendly and fun. My brief encounters with them are ones I treasure immensely and some of what I miss the most in this isolation we all suffer through today.
The Shanghai Ballet: The Butterfly Lovers was held at the Tryon Festival Theatre at the Kranner Art Center for the Performing Arts on January 29.
By Aejin Shin
Shanghai Ballet is one of the most famous ballet companies in the world organized in 1979. They present Chinese dance on the international stage. During their 40 years of history, they showed off many ballet productions. One of them is ‘The Butterfly Lovers’. This is true love story in which the main characters sacrifice themselves for each other.
Since the ballet I’ve seen has mostly been Western-style ballet that is from Russia, this Shanghai ballet performance felt quite different from what I know. What was especially interesting was that the music and composition were completely different from Western ballet. Usually, in Russian-style ballet, the song with lyrics is rarely used. Instead, Western ballet uses classical music that is just instrumental. But the Shanghai ballet’s use of Chinese lyrics as background music was different. This gave the performance more like a play.
Also, the synopsis of the performance was impressive. I read the synopsis from the booklet they gave me before the performance started. Although the main characters did not make love in this life, it was interesting that they ended up being butterflies and making eternal love in other worlds. I thought this was similar to the story of Eros and Psyche in Greek and Roman mythology. But it would have been difficult to grasp the content without reading the synopsis because the dancers only expressed their emotions through languageless gestures. Details can be found on the website of Shanghai Ballet. (http://www.shanghaiballet.com/shblwt/n49/index.html)
The most eye-catching thing was the ballet
costumes. The morning before the performance, I went to the Center and watched
the process of preparing for the performance. At that time, I saw the costume
making one by one, and it was very touching. That night, when I watched the
Shanghai ballet, not only the main characters but also the supporting actors’
costumes, hair decorations, and every little prop was made up of many colors,
and the glittering details caught my eye. It was like magic. Everything came
together and I was so impressed by acting, composition, music, and the whole
performance of the Shanghai ballet.
An ancient tale from the East collides with the dancing form originated from the West. The Butterfly Lovers tells a love story between Zhu and Liang that happened in ancient China when it was a Patriarchal society.
The Shanghai Ballet Company is the state ballet company for Shanghai. They perform a blend of traditional and Western dance styles. The Shanghai Ballet presented The Butterfly Lovers on January 29, 2020 at The Krannert Center For Performing Arts. This is a story about two lovers that have to overcome obstacles to be together.
I attended The Butterfly Lovers performed by the Shanghai Ballet Company. I had never gone to a ballet performance before so I was very excited entering the theater. This performance exceeded all my expectations so I am glad that this was my first ballet experience. My favorite element was the beautiful costumes. In the second image above you can see some pieces that the performers wore. In the top right corner you can vaguely see the green butterfly costumes. My favorite costume from this performance had to be the purple butterflies in the final act. The costumes were a vibrant shade of purple and covered in glitter. Purple is my favorite color and I love glitter so obviously these costumes caught my eye automatically.
The mesmerizingballet, “The Butterfly Lovers ” brought about a unique form of story telling through dance. A brilliant performance taken place in the Tryon Festival Theater of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts on January 29, 2020.
The butterfly costumes introduced at the beginning of the ballet were my favorite because butterflies are my favorite insect. The butterfly costumes the ballerinas wore really caught my attention as they all scattered across the stage to show off their beautiful colors. As the lights went out and the curtain came upthe performance began with a dance introducing the theme of the ballet.
Throughout the middle of the play, this issue seems to be the fact that Zhu is in love with Liang but he does not know because Zhu is dressed as a boy since back then girls were not able to have an education. This can be very noticeable in the ballet since all classmates in the first act were all boys. I was able to relate this to the movie Mulan when she ran away and dressed up as a boy soldier in place of her father only soon to fall in love with the general’s son. They too get close but he fails to recognize her true identity.
Act Three of the Ballet illustrated heartbreak along with reality. The heartbreak here being that Zhu could not be together with Liang given the situation she was put in by her father, an arranged marriage with Ma Wencai. Arranged marriages are the reality that many people had to go through in Chinese traditions along with other cultures.
By this part of the Ballet, the butterfly lovers have fallen in love with each other only to be torn apart by an arranged marriage. A truly saddening moment for two lovers, and a very realistic one as well, not being able to be together given financial differences. This part of the story could be noticeable as Zhu kept running back to her father, begging to not force her into the marriage. The movement of Zhou’s constant tugging at her father indicate that torment she felt at having to be forced into an arranged marriage.
Liang could not have let go of his love without a fight and in that duel for that love he lost his life. The pain and suffering that comes along with losing a loved one affects people in different ways. The pain was too great for Zhu that she ended up taking her own life as well. A creative take on Romeo and Juliet in my opinion, turning to death in order to be with the one you love. For this reason, the fourth act had to be my favorite given the tragic yet heartfelt element it incorporated at the very end, lovers dying to be with each other in the afterlife.
Overall, the ballet was a wonderful experience filled with humor, drama, love, death, and happiness. At the very end of the show the crowd clapped loudly for minutes as the performers took their bows. They even got standing ovations from people in the audience which proves that the ballet is a worthwhile event to take the time to watch with family, friends, or even oneself.
On January 29, 2020 The Shanghai Ballet performed “The Butterfly Lovers” at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Written By Zackarya Faci
The Shanghai Ballet brought a beautiful blend of choreography and story-telling to the stage Wednesday night. Through a magnificent dance routine, they were able to tell the story of two star-crossed lovers without ever uttering a single word. The movements of each character played a crucial role in portraying their emotion at the time. From the slow, gentle movements in a solemn scene, to the sharp, jarring movements in a tense one, the audience was always left knowing the exact emotions being felt on stage.
Shanghai Ballet the
Butterfly Lovers: The new Romeo and Juliet with a Chinese butterfly twist.
I must admit that I am not one to voluntarily attend artistic events such as The Shanghai Ballet: The Butterfly Lovers. However, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was in the middle of a monarch butterfly sanctuary throughout the whole show. I did not have the slightest clue on what the show would entail besides ballerinas however, I was received with the story of two damned lovers, astonishing choreography, heavy Chinese culture, and an unforgettable experience that one must take the time to experience.
The Shanghai Ballet, “The Butterfly Lovers” in the Tryon Festival Theater of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts. Performed January 29, 2020.
Written by Jacob M. Rominger
On January 29, 2020, I was welcomed to a performance of The Butterfly Lovers by the Shanghai Ballet. As one not well-acquainted with ballet, I found myself enjoying fully the experience offered without hint of confusion.