Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A paean to the arts.

paean -noun: any song of praise, joy, or triumph

I haven't been posting on here much lately. For a while I was just too busy with POTO, but now I have way more time than I know what to do with and just nothing to say. (Except for: I MISS PHANTOM!!! It's been nearly two weeks since it ended, but there is still a hole in my life. *sigh*) So many things have been changing lately, mostly my plans for the future. Being a part of Phantom of the Opera really made up my mind on something that has always been floating in the back of my psyche. I decided that the performing arts is really something I want to be a part of for the long term. I haven't decided yet on the specifics, but it will be something related to music and dance and the theater! The more I think about it, I realize that the performing arts have really always been a part of me. When I was very young - about five - I sang constantly and fearlessly and would give concerts for my family. When I was a little bit older - around nine or ten - my sister and I would spend hours rehearsing interpretive dances to music such as Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" and then give performances for our parents. A few years later, my friends and I staged several plays together. During high school, I've spent countless hours in class, rehearsal, and onstage in ballets. And throughout the years, I've never stopped singing. Seeing performances inspired me from an early age as well. When I was about six years old, my family was at a high school for a craft show, and my dad and I decided to take a walk around the hallways. In our wanderings, we came across a rehearsal of "The Miracle Worker" in the auditorium and watched for a while from the back. I can remember thinking, "Wow. That looks amazing. I am going to do that someday!" And of course there was that wonderful, magical two hours in the February of 2005 when a wide-eyed 11-year-old saw "Les Miserables", was awestruck to the point of completely losing her voice, and wrote in her journal that night, "I think I have found my calling." I've never forgotten that night, and I've never lost what it inspired. My love for the performing arts has waxed and waned over the years, but lately it's been growing stronger and stronger. There are so many things that I love about it.

I love telling stories. That's why I also love writing, but writing is such a solitary pursuit. I could never stop writing, but when you tell a story through the performing arts, you're using your whole body to tell it directly to the audience. It has the potential to be so...powerful.

I love music. That's actually way too calm of a statement to accurately describe how I feel about it. Music is incredible. Nothing else holds such sway over the emotions, can so deeply inspire one to thoughts of beauty or thoughts of despair, can so subtly but effectively build one up or tear one down. And to feel like you are a part of beautiful music, to feel one with it, is one of the best feelings in the world.

One of the ways I feel this is through singing. All my life, I've been singing, and slowly but surely, my voice is becoming stronger and better. In the past few months it's actually become mine...not this voice that will sometimes do what I want it to but more often sounds pathetically weak, but a reliable instrument that I hope holds promise. I try! Here is an example of what I've achieved so far.

The other way I feel it most strongly is through dance. When you dance, you become the music visualized...it becomes a part of you and you become a part of it. And with this comes such a feeling of being alive.

That's another thing I love about the performing arts. Whether I'm dancing, or singing, or doing anything on stage, or just messing around the piano, I feel alive. It's such a hard thing to describe...that quickening of the pulse, that rush of adrenaline, that feeling that this is what you are meant to do, that electric current that connects you to the audience.

Ah, the audience! Audiences are seriously one of my favorite parts of performing. The knowledge that you are bringing joy to people, making them laugh and cry and thrill and feel, that you have given them a wonderful memory that will remain with them, that you have brought beauty into our torn and troubled world, makes me feel so happy and grateful and blessed. There is almost nothing in this world that makes me happier than hearing how much someone enjoyed a performance I was a part of.

And while we're on the topic of people, I absolutely love theater and music people. They are some of the nicest, most creative, most talented, most interesting, most alive people you are ever going to meet. And most of them love giving hugs! :)

I really think that musicians and dancers and actors and all other performers have a unique calling - to bring beauty and truth to the world. Beauty can be found in so many places and ways. Truth speaks directly to our souls. "This world is so full of ugliness, but all of you have brough so much joy and beauty to so many people in the past few days," the cast of POTO was told by a very wise man. It remembered me so much of a quote I've loved for years, ever since I read it in the book White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry when I was about eight years old. Colonel Podhajsky was speaking of the Lippazaners and the Spanish Court Riding School, but his words could apply every bit as well to anyone who has dedicated their life to any of the arts. "Our Reitschule is a tiny candle in the big world. Our duty, our privilege is to keep it burning. Surely, if we can send out one beam of splendor, of glory, of elegance into this torn and troubled world...that would be worth a man's lifetime, no?" ♥

So yes. I believe that it is in the arts that my future lies. I'm not yet sure of the specifics, but I'm sure it will all be revealed in due time! In the past year, so many people have told me "Oh, you must stay in the arts!" after seeing me in various shows, and to them I would like to say thank you so, SO much. You've given me hope that I do indeed have a chance! :) However, this is of course means that my college plans have changed. Christendom is an absolutely wonderful place and I wish with all my heart that I had several lives to live so I could use one to fully immerse myself there, but as things stand now it probably does not lie in my future. I'm just not going to say anything definite about college at this point though, because at this point nothing is definite, and in any event I won't be going anywhere this coming fall. What will be happening in my life this coming fall still hasn't been decided absolutely for certain (I'd say I'm about 97% sure of what I'll be doing), but I want to wait a while before I reveal what exactly that is. :) And FYI: I changed up the sidebar a bit. All of the pictures now lead somewhere. :) EDIT: Whoohoo, this is so much fun! I'll definitely be adding more pictures...keep your eyes open...

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