Performing Arts: Concept, History, Types and Elements

We explain what the Performing Arts are and the history of these artistic representations. The types that exist and their elements.

Performing arts
Stage performances may or may not involve the public in their development.

What are the Performing Arts?

It is known as Performing Arts to all of which are intended for a stage performance, that is, to a staging, to a staging. Thus, all artistic forms of mass exhibition such as cinema, theater, dance, ballet, music, performance and all those that require a stage space.

Said staging can take place in constructions specially designed for it, such as theaters, auditoriums and multipurpose rooms, or can take advantage of urban or architectural spaces of a public nature, as occurs in street shows such as the circus or the comedy of art.

Even non-artistic forms such as parades, religious processions, popular festivals or carnivals have a very clear scenic dimension, and are often taken into account by the Performing Arts.

Stage performances, for their part, are ephemeral (they occur in real time) and may or may not involve the public in its development, especially in cases of street theater where there is no type of set design.

In any case, the Performing Arts usually adapt to the space occupied by the representation and do not usually require much more than the actors and the public, since the former use their own body on stage as the instrument by which to produce the desired aesthetic effect. , as is evident in the case of ballet or contemporary dance.

History of the Performing Arts

Performing Arts have important historical antecedents, ranging from the shamanic rituals of celebration of spring, to the Greek Tragedy and the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, or the Floral Games of the later Roman Empire and the Holy Christian Theater.

These types of representations have always been central in the cultural life of nations, since they have, especially the theater, an important political dimension.

It is assumed, based on cave images and other evidence, that music would have appeared first, later dance and finally theater as a complex form of the latter. Its most recent aspects are those close to the cinema, whose cinematography technique would not be invented until the 19th century.

Performing Arts Types

Performing arts
The dance consists of moving the body aesthetically to the rhythm of the background music.

The Performing Arts involve the following manifestations:

  • Theatrical art. The theater has been throughout the history of humanity one of the most cultivated and politically important Performing Arts, given its ability to convene masses and impart a message behind the staging of a story, real or fictional. In its staging there are usually loans from other performing arts (singing, dance) and also from literature (script).
  • Dance. Whether it is classical ballet, contemporary dance or even folk dances, it consists of the staging of the body that moves aesthetically to the rhythm of the background music. This artistic form is one of the most primitive of humanity and served outstanding ritual purposes.
  • Music. An autonomous art at the same time as a Scenic Art, it is one of the most complex and elevated aesthetic forms that exist, since it achieves, through sounds made with different instruments and orchestrated by a conductor, to produce symphonies of different complexity and length that evoke different feelings. and impressions.
  • Circus. The so-called circus arts include unconventional staging such as juggling, clowns, conjurers, etc. It is the legacy of the legendary Roman circus, to which much less aggressive and more aesthetically surprising elements have been incorporated, but it still has a certain character of risk and even associated magic.
  • Performances. The other more or less defined aspects can be considered performances, that is, improvisations or acts prepared to “happen” in the middle of the public or in a street or public place, such as the flashmobs (spontaneous dances organized in secret).

What are the elements of the Performing Arts?

The Performing Arts do not require too many elements, which can be three:

  • Actors. What is really indispensable for any representation are the actors or dancers, who use their bodies on stage to produce an aesthetic effect. It can be said that in the Performing Arts the spectacle of one or more artistically trained bodies is exhibited.
  • Public. Another indispensable factor, since a performance cannot take place without an audience that contemplates it, whatever type it may be.
  • Stage. As we said before, a stage can be a theater or a performance hall, or it can be the street, a makeshift stage or a public square.
  • Objects. Performing artists are often supported by objects, either as stage scenery or as participants in the performance, or simply as technical aid to produce the desired effect (such as stilts, coturn, etc.)