Humans have celebrated theater, dance, music and other performance arts for centuries. Despite its prevalence in society, it is curious that performance studies have only gained popularity in the last few decades. Its swift growth has granted performance arts students the opportunity to specialize in the field of their choice. Explore these areas with this guide to the main disciplines of performance studies.
THEATER AND ACTING
A key part of acting is to understand what goes into a successful production. Theater and acting programs include courses such as theater history, writing, direction, theatrical literature analysis and workshops. Making programs more viable today, increasing numbers of schools are adding commercial components like theater business, stage management and marketing. Niche options include courses that ultimately lead to backstage careers: lighting, stage or costume design and theatrical makeup.
- Technical Theater Terms: A comprehensive dictionary of technical theater phrases.
- How To Open A Community Theater Company: An explanation on managing a community theater.
- Theater Jobs: A list of theater job boards.
- Acting Industry Tips: Great ideas on choosing an acting school and finding gigs.
- Voice Expression Activities: Voice activities to help actors develop their speaking and projection.
Unlike conventional literature, dramatic literature is specifically written for theatrical performance. Studies in this area explore the history and works of prominent playwrights, as well as writing styles, structure, story development and writing for different mediums. It is common for such programs to feature workshops and final live performances of the students’ work. Since writing portfolios are usually part of the application process, students are advised to start practicing in advance.
- Resources for Playwrights: Playwright links, including legal advice, submission opportunities, reference materials and associations.
- The Playwriting Seminars: This must-read guide covers all aspects including finding work as a dramatic writer and business details.
- Publishing law: Articles on legal, digital, fair use and copyright pointers.
- Stage Terms: A dramatic literature glossary.
- Guide to Victorian Drama: Resources and information about dramatic literature from Victorian times.
- Dramaturgical Resources: Information for dramatic literature enthusiasts.
MODERN AND CLASSICAL DANCE
Classical dance is generally defined as well known dance forms devised until the beginning of the 20th century. Common examples include ballet, jazz, waltz and ballroom and also folk and cultural dances. By comparison, modern dance uses styles formed by newer music genres and are usually less strictly structured, like hip-hop, interpretive freestyle and fusion. Music studies programs combine theoretical and performance components.
- Resources for Dancers: A compilation of useful websites, dance companies and references.
- Ballet Terms: Dictionary of ballet terms from the American Ballet Theatre.
- Informational Dance Resources: Dance links that focus on the main topics.
- Guide to Dance Resources: Videos, photos, and articles about modern and classical dance.
- Modern Dance Library Resources: A great collection of links related to modern dance.
With the advent and innovations of film and technology inevitably came film studies. Film studies usually encompass the history of film, analysis and critique, screenwriting and film genres. It can also extend to television and pop culture. Film studies usually do not involve technical aspects such as production, instead leaning more towards the theoretical side.
- Top Ten U.S. Film Schools: The Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers’ top film school picks.
- Film Student Resources: Categorical collection of film studies information.
- Film History: A detailed history sorted by decade.
- Film Terms: A film jargon dictionary.
- U.S. Film Festivals: Detailed information on film festivals and submissions.
Like dance studies, music studies span a variety of genres and eras. Degrees can be in general music studies or alternately specialized, such as in jazz or popular music. Music studies usually involve music history, theory and sight-reading, styles and business. The performance aspect focuses on writing, performing, and recording.
- Music History: A collection of music history websites.
- Worldwide Internet Music Resources for Instruments: Extensive list of resources on many different instruments.
- Music Glossary: An explanation of technical music terminology.
- Music Schools: Schools and music departments around the world.
- Piano Pedagogy Resources: Piano studies information for teachers and students.
- Stringed Instrument Resource Guide: Resources dedicated to the violin, viola, cello, and other stringed instruments.
- Music Education Resources: Links and journals on music education.
- Careers in Music: A look at different music performance career opportunities.
- Music Law: A guide to licensing and copyrighting music correctly.
- Music Royalties: An explanation of how artist royalties are calculated (from ASCAP).
- The Music Industry Today: A report by the RIAA on the state of today’s music industry (published in January 2011). (PDF)