FAA 110 was one of the most interesting classes I’ve taken in my time at college. Since my time here at university is ending soon, I appreciated the opportunity to get a better idea of the artistic capabilities this campus has. I enjoyed the ability to learn more about our facilities at the art museum and performance centers. I hadn’t been to the art museum or most of the theaters of the performance center before, so it was nice to explore and learn about the people and resources that makes them function. We also watched many diverse live performances this semester, from joyful ballets to intense plays. It is incredible to see how different productions make use of the same stage for their own purposes.
The Shanghai Ballet’s performance of The Butterfly Lovers was the first ballet I’ve witnessed, and I was more impressed that I predicted. The dancers moved elegantly across the stage, perfectly in rhythm to the music and each other’s actions. Although it was at times difficult to understand the story they were trying to tell, their athleticism and humor kept me entertained.
Step Afrika!’s performance of Drumfolk was my favorite performance this semester. The high energy music and dancing paired with the cultural and historical significance really spoke to me. The performers did their best to include the audience in some of their musical acts as well, further raising the energy in the room.
This musical performance by Laura Kabasomi, or Somi, was our first production focused on the story of a single person. Although Somi was accompanied by her band, the stories she told and songs she sang spoke mostly of her own experiences with race and her African heritage. Her performance was filled with emotion that was clearly straight from her heart.
Getting through the Dayby Anna Deveare Smith was the first performance this semester that did not have a musical focus, but instead relied on impersonations and spoken stories. Anna’s ability to capture the essence of characters both known and unknown to the audience was incredible, and the way she wove humor and more serious tones into her performance was impressive as well.
The Cabaret was one of the more humorous performances I have seen so far. The characters were relatable and engaging, and no opportunity for a joke was missed throughout the play. I was especially impressed by the narrator, who had an amazing sense of stage presence.
Metamorphosis was a bizarre, radical shift from what we had seen so far in this class. The humor was scarce, and the characters were faced with impossible ethical dilemmas throughout. Nonetheless, Mirai Moriyama’s performance as Gregor was the best display of acting I had seen in any performance this semester. He was able to conjure a visceral feeling in me with only his body and its movements, needing no help from prosthetics or costume changes.
The most impressive feat of Virago-Man Dem was its masterful use of vibrant colors. During this performance, the cast changed between costumes that varied greatly in appearance, and the screen behind them displayed colorful murals and silhouettes that helped tell the mood and story behind the play. Visually, this was one of my favorite spectacles this semester.
The Container was undoubtedly the most bold and intense production I have seen this semester. The plot was based on real situations people still struggle through today, and it didn’t hold back in showing the seriousness and dangers of immigration. The most interesting part of this performance for me was the stage: having the audience mere inches from the cast, trapped inside the dark container with them makes this quite an uncomfortable play to sit through.
In conclusion, this class has helped me gain appreciation for various types of performances. Without FAA 110, I may have never seen a live ballet or spoken word performance. After being exposed to these different styles, I am happy to say that I enjoyed them much more than I predicted. Although my time here on campus is soon ending, I plan on attending live performances more often when I have the opportunity to. I’m thankful to the teachers and students who have led the discussions on these topics, and helped me learn more about the history and efforts of the people who make these productions possible.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 risqué, 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 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 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.
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.
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! 🙂
Despite my lack of experience with the performing arts, I decided to take this class to step out of my comfort zone and I’m glad I did. I had a grand time watching these performances and trying to form my own opinions about the message of each show and their purpose. Through this course, I’ve found the type of performances I like the most and I definitely want to be visiting the Krannert Center and local performing arts theatres in the future.
FAA 110 is one of the most inspiring classes I have ever taken. It lets me experience different types of arts and allows me to explore the possibilities of artworks and exhibitions. I still remembered that we took a tour in Krannert Center, and that’s the first time that I actually realize how amazing Krannert Center is. I learned how much preparation work needs to be done before a show is presented on the stage. And I also learned the different purposes and design concepts in each performance hall, and the story behind the establishments of Krannert Center. So many performances are happening each day here. It is a bridge that connects the artists and people who love arts from all around the world to share their thoughts of arts. 😊
The first performance we watched together this semester is the Ballet dance from Shanghai that tells an ancient love tragedy in China. It was absolutely a fantastic experience since I know this story when I was only a child. I was amazed by how they used their body movements to express their feelings and tell the story to the audience who are not familiar with the story. The ending scene: the transfer from human to butterflies was imposing and a little bit romanticism.
This is the first time for me to watch a performance that used body percussions as the beats. When the performers and dancers show the audience how to clap and make the moves with them, the audience could also be involved in this show. What impressed me the most in this performance is the passion conveyed by the dancer’s body movements. The dancing crew has incredible cooperation, and their moves are synchronizing. The sound they generate is their beats, and the drum in the show is a symbol of freedom.
Somi was born and raised in Champaign, Illinois. After she becomes an outstanding artist and musician, she comes back to her hometown, and share her thoughts and philosophies of life with people. Her music is unique, and her arts could inspire people. She unites her own stories and feelings in her music, and her art not only relaxes the audience but also brings inspiration to the audience. I really appreciate the thoughts she shared. I remembered that it was a hard school day for me, but the voice and music of Somi really made me feel relaxed and relived.
I had an exam that day, so I went to the Talk with Anna Deavere Smith and Julia Wolfe. Anna Deavere Smith said she’s been caring about the hunger problems of children, and she believes that more attention should be given to the children and the new generations. She shared her experience of how she entered the media business and how she dealt with the challenges she met in her career. It was absolutely an inspiration from her about how young artists should face the rapid changes in the current world, and how they could impact the world positively by using the strength of art. As an experienced artist in media, she encourages young artists to express their opinions about politics, and she says, “every significant change starts with a small step.”
Due to the impact of COVID-19, all university classes have transformed into online sessions. Though many of the events got canceled, it is lucky that we could still enjoy high quality shows from home on the University’s media library. The reason I chose Romeo and Juliet as my first virtual performance is that we watched the Butterfly Lovers at the beginning of the semester, and some may say that it is the eastern world version of “Romeo and Juliet.” This version that I chose is also quite different from the classic version of Romeo and Juliet: it is modified to happen in the current society. The transition from traditional to modern is exciting. Some designs are made on the costumes of the characters to show their personalities. The surprise of this show is that the modern version adds a little humor in this play.
This event brings me a new understanding of how shows could be made. Everything happens in one scene: a container. All the background and stories are conveyed to the audience by the talks among characters. At the end of the show, I realized that the audience, photographers, and actors are all in this container. The audience could watch the actors’ performances in person, and I couldn’t help thinking about how cool that could be!
Adapted from Franz Kafka’s novella, the story tells the tale of how a salesman is transformed into an insect, and how his families change their attitudes towards him before and after the transform. One word I could use to describe this show is delicate. There are only a few simple props and scene sets on the stage, and it is tough to show the transition from a man to an insect. However, the excellent Japanese actors used their exaggerated facial expressions and body movements to convince the audience and bring the audience into this story. The man who played the salesman is really a great artist.
I’ve watched several versions of The Nutcracker, but the one presented by the Royal ballet from the British is the best one I’ve seen. I love how fancy the scenes are set, and each detail of the props and the costumes are perfect. The skills of the ballet dancers are startling. My favorite scene is when the prince takes Marie to the Candy Kingdom, all the toys start dancing to welcome them. All these toys are alive, and many of them are exotic. Chinese tea, hot chocolate, coffee from Arabia, candy canes and mother ginger, and etc. The solos and duets are definitely eye-catching. As this is the last event of this semester, I chose the same types of art as the first event of the semester to make a sweet end.
This semester was one to remember for sure. What started out as just a normal semester took a quick turn as schools nationwide started closing down their campuses due to COVID-19. Here, I will share my experiences from the semester and being a part of FAA 110.
Thank you once again for visiting my blog! Sadly, this will be the final iteration in what has been quite the saga of entertainment. Over the semester, I had the privilege to view eight completely unique performances that have broadened my perspectives on not only art, but also how to approach novel cultures.
Although I had an incredible experience over this past semester, I am incredibly disappointed that it was brutally cut short by our current pandemic. Thankfully, we were able to get a solid start to the semester with such incredible performances as Somi and Anna Deavere Smith. Both performances gave such incredible insights into emotions, thoughts, and experiences of cultures all over the world. In closing the in person semester, my favorite performance, was the fantastic Cabaret. I have always been a fan of musicals and cabaret is the first that I actually got to see in person, so it will always carry meaning to me.
The heart wrenching end of the in-person semester destroyed just about every normalcy in our lives, but, thanks to Digital Theatre+, I could at least continue my genre-hopping expedition from home. The first performance, The Container, highlights the struggles faced by refugees headed toward England in a gripping, single-set performance. Another single-set performance, Metamorphosis, challenges traditional asian values in which the parents completely depend on their eldest son. This is all changed when the poor young man transforms into a human-sized dung beetle. The final event of the semester was Macbeth. Shakespeare’s timeless classic was incredible, even online. Macbeth hosted some of the best acting I have ever seen.
I had such a great time this semester, and I want to thank my two professors for making this all possible. Dr. Collins and Professor Robinson have been nothing short of amazing throughout this whole journey. I want to deeply thank them and anyone else taking their time to read my posts for being such incredibles guides and partners in this experience.
I had a very fruitful semester with Dr. Collins, Dr. Robinson, and my fellow classmates. This class gave me a lot of great opportunities to see a wide range of performances and artists in Krannert Center and Spurlock Museum. It made me widen my horizons and stimulate my curiosity and creativity in modern society with different forms of arts.
The semester of 2020 Spring is a pretty strange semester — because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the courses of this semester have to be taken online or implemented through a different approach. Such a situation reminds me of how important the back-up plans shall be, like what we have learned in the course of jour 445.
In the class, Prof.Collins reminded us to have plans A, B, and C for any situations we have encountered, in order to make sure we can produce the videos. I have never expected that what we have learned in the course could be applied in my life so quickly — I am stuck in my home and it has been impossible to produce any work or do anything outside, only trying to produce works inside the room. Such a moment requires creativity, independence, but also a sense of crisis, which means we should always be prepared for the worst.
But still, it is impossible to imagine that the coronavirus could cause such a horrible influence in the U.S., especially in the first quarter of the year, China has provided quite enough experiences and information we need. Even Trump was racketing his nonsense, there has been proof that we could have done better than the situation we are encountering now. But that’s not only his problem, also the journalism industry, because we have failed to inform the public of the upcoming crisis. The media follows to slow, just like the package I have done about the test, too slow. That’s a combination of different packages.
Since the shelter-in-place regulation affected, I have been stuck at home for a long time. Here are some moments for me in the home.
The self-quarantine provided me the most different experience compared with normal days — when people cannot go on streets for stories, the only way they could conduct news stories is through the internet. I surf online news channels every day to keep up with where we are now in the pandemic and also learning the stories of ordinary people. A crisis is a crisis, but one can turn the worst situation into opportunities. It is a great chance for me to learn how to pick information and reorganize them into a story with a more complete format. Besides that, I also have to conduct stories about my roommates or my girlfriend — although it is not quite journalism, only a special method for contingency.
I think the most enjoyable part of this course shall be producing newscasts in a dynamic environment. Like the first show we have done for this semester, nobody would predict the result of the impeachment release. This is a great opportunity to experience a tight working pace in a real TV newsroom.
And the journey we come through this semester, which I believe is quite the same as what other students and ordinary citizens are experiencing now. We are all in self-quarantine in our apartments in a country shut down for the pandemic, while also suffering from the same solitude, pain, and anxiety. Students are suffering from learning knowledge virtually, which actually is impossible, especially for some majors like the design. So do we. We can never conduct news in a small room without real talks to people. Citizens in this nation are suffering from anxiety of losing their jobs and shorts in their pockets — so do we. We, journalism students, are facing a terrible job-hunting season this year because of the great hit on the economy, and also have to stay in apartments without any jobs to get paid. Personally I have lost a couple of hundreds of dollars because the coronavirus has caused cancellations of several part-time working invitations — I’m a part-time photographer.
But to different people, it can be different things. I have interviewed several people for their thoughts on how the coronavirus could impact their life. One of the people, who is my roommate, actually feels not that bad of virtual courses.
I think technology plays a vital role in my journey. Without the pieces of equipment like cameras, mics, and sound recorders, I would never be able to finish my videos. And technology plays an even more important role in my current journey: for working remotely in my apartment, all I could do is relying on my laptop and network. Through my chrome, I reach to the corners of this world. And that’s how I explore the world of journalism in such a difficult time.
And technology also helps me to conduct some videos. I still remembered the hardship I encountered for shooting the drag queen show. It was in Canopy, a local club. It was pretty dark there, and if I used my own camera for that video, that would be a disaster. But thanks to the camera from the College of Media, I could conduct a decent video and capture the highlights of the drag queens’ performances.
I heard about the virus pretty early — since it first broke out in China, I have got plenty of information before it got the outbreak in N.Y.C. At the early stage in China, I was terribly nervous, and I called my parents every day to check if they were ok and followed the necessary self-protection guidance. It was a very horrible disease and I felt very worried about my parents’ safety. But at that time, I have never expected that there could be such a terrible outbreak in the U.S., because since during the two months’ struggle, China has shown the world how we could effectively stop the spread of the disease and how we could stop the disease in a limited scale. Even because of the difference between the two nations’ political system, the U.S. could at least control the disease, but not let it spread like such a terrible condition.
But when I look back at the end of this semester, I felt that something has changed. I would not be so panic about the dynamic reality I’m encountering, and it has been easier for me to stay cool for urgent situations or breaking news. It has also been a great opportunity for me to practice viewing the events in a professional journalism view — for example, like the humanitarian disasters caused by the coronavirus, I could stay calm down and try to cover it in a professional way — I have tried in writing some practice stories of them. Also, I found that I could review the information I got in a more efficient way, like looking for different angles to cover them.
There have been many things playing a role in leading me to success for my assignments. Individually, I believe the key element is the skills to catch the opportunity — for example, when I was shooting a story of the author corner in the bookstore. There was a lecture done by guest speakers. I happened to catch a chance for shooting a video of the authors — there were plenty of people and hard to find a position to set up my camera. The other example would be the experience of shooting the story of tax assistance. In the beginning, I thought it might be just a VO, but when I got there I felt that there could be a chance to turn it into a package– only if I can catch subjects for interviewing as quickly as possible. And finally, as you can see, that was a good package.
Self-confidence also plays a vital role at such a moment. We need to persuade our subjects for interviewing that we could offer them the best opportunity to tell the public their stories and endeavors. This request a great self-confidence that we believe what we have done is correct, is helpful and is worthful. For so many times I thought that maybe skills and talents are the most important characters we have, but after times and times that I was cast into challenging situations, I found that self-confidence is the last threshold I have to keep moving on and achieve something I want. And that helps me to finish the project about the Spring Festival Gala. The cancelation of the Spring Festival gala was pretty distressful for the Chinese student community. It was good news, but there happened to be many difficulties to finish that story, including tech issues. However, thanks to the self-confidence, I had a sharp and clear mind and finished that project.
I would bring what I have learned from this class to my future professional practice in journalism, including the confidence of our works, the vigilance of unexpected situations, and what’s more, the belief in the cooperations. All that we have learned in the journey to the end would enrich me in understanding the dynamic society, also provide necessary skills and faith in overcoming challenges upon the road.
In the end, I would say I’m pretty proud of the works we have done for the class. It is the crystal of our cooperation, endeavor, and sacrifice. The proudest part for this semester would be the team we have, that we have come through many unpredictable situations, handled breaking news, together walked through a hard time of coronavirus, and finally achieved to the end of our undergraduate life. I would remember all the people I have met in the class, all the moments we worked together, and I will bring what I have been guaranteed in this class to the future.
FAA is the best class I have ever taken! I really enjoy our in-class discussion and wonderful performances at Krannert Center. By taking this class, my understanding of art is deepened and this class opens my eyes that I experienced different cultures through those fantastic performances. Although we canceled 2 performances due to the COVID-19, the online performances provide a good experience to me and it is no exaggeration to say those performances are the lighthouse for me during the bored self-isolation at home.
This has been an extremely fun semester and I am so happy I worked my way into this class.
This was my favorite class this year. I enjoyed the conversation we had within this class about the arts and how they connect with our past and our present. However, there are some works that represent our future because it shows where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we’re going. I was able to see a diverse group of projects for this class and I want to continue to view projects my entire tenure here as a student at UIUC. I really had to fight to get this class into my schedule and just the difficulty of being a freshman and an undeclared freshman at that made it kind of rough. I am happy it worked for my good.