I am extremely grateful that I was able to be in this class. I was able to reunite with my love for the arts in full force. It was amazing to have a performance to look forward to every single week and I am going to continue going to performances at Krannert more often because I have realized how healing it is to experience art and how much it has helped me deal with stress this semester. I was disappointed that I was not able to enjoy this class to its full capacity due to COVID-19…I was really looking forward to the remaining performances. However, I am still extremely happy with the experiences I took from the first half of the semester and I also really enjoyed the Digital performances and I am also happy that I now know that a website like that exists so I can enjoy more performances online this summer if I want to.
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.
On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 7:30 pm the Drum Tao group performed at the Tryon Festival Theater. A total of 14 performers showed off their drumming skills, acrobatic finesse, and other talents in their dazzling show.
On the evening of March 6th, 2020, Cabaret, a famous Broadway musical which includes smoke, haze, violence, nudity, and profanity was performed in Krannert Center for Performing Arts to celebrate Krannert Center’s 50-year partnership with School of Music, Illinois.
This musical is based on a book by Joe Masteroff and a play by John Van Druten. Stories are based on a novel Christopher Isherwood and the fascinating music come from John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb.
Laura Kabasomi Kakoma, better known as Somi, provides a striking combination of art and activism in her own brand of slinky, story-telling jazz that incorporates traditional African elements.
Somi interacted with each of her band members individually in the form of either a solo performance for the member or a duet between the two. Her frequent interactions with the band gave the performance an informal tone, open for a conversation between the artists and the audience. While the audience’s participation in this conversation was mostly metaphorical, Somi seized the opportunity to speak about herself, her beliefs, and issues facing the African and African-American community both conversationally and lyrically.
Somi performed a style of slower, story-telling jazz infused with traditional African nuances. In just one show, Somi was able to use her music to describe many issues facing African-Americans and women around the world. The story-telling element of her music allows her to capture the essence of the common person’s struggle and emotion. This connection elicits similar emotional responses in the audience, empathizing with those who share the strife portrayed in the music while simultaneously providing a lens of understanding for those who may never experience such confrontation.
Following Somi’s performance, the auditorium erupted in praise. After such a powerful performance, one can not help but to try to relive their favorite moment of it. For me, that moment was her song “Two Dollar Day” which follows the story of a widowed mother in Nigeria after the government protests over oil. This was such a tremendously powerful song because it reminded me of the struggle that single parents all around the world and in the U.S. face on a daily basis. “Two Dollar Day” is a beautiful tribute the countless sacrifices that single parents make.
Thanks for reading! Check back next week for a fresh blog on the performance of Anna Deavere Smith!
The performers of Step Afrika! gave an unforgettable performance that allowed the audience to reflect on the history of America through the cultural significance of the beat.
Written by Grace Chen
Step Afrika performed their new show Drumfolk on Friday, February 7th at the Colwell Playhouse in the Krannert Center of Performing Arts. The performers captured the attention of the audience with its exciting beats and eye-catching dance moves. They also told the history of black Americans and the fight for their rights.
The class has really allowed myself to explore my more creative side and really take a moment to more or less think about myself and devote time to myself where it has given me a sort of curiosity that hadn’t been there for some time.