About the Performing Arts and Why They Are Important

Direct Knowlege Contributor Taylor Bauer
  • By Taylor Bauer, Technical Writer & Digital Marketing Expert
  • Taylor is a writer and SEO manager with a B.S. in Political Communication from Illinois State University. He also received his M.S. in Communications from Illinois State. His background comes from journalism, working at an NPR member station for three years before transitioning to blogging and search engine marketing. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards.

About Performing Arts

From pop culture to academic research, the performing arts bring out the best in human creativity and innovation. If you enjoy music, dance, theater, or other forms of the subject, then you likely feel moved by its performance. I think many overlook the fact that performances for fun or artistic purposes date back to 3100 B.C., making this one of humanity’s longest-running methods of self-expression. Through the various types and characteristics of performing arts, the practice provides numerous benefits and holds much importance universally across all cultures.

Performing arts are the use of a person’s body or voice to express one’s self. The subject can include the use of inanimate objects but focuses solely on a person’s movements and impressions to send a message. Performing arts are also a common element of human culture across the world and over most of history.

Live performances of these art forms are some of the most popular types of entertainment. As an expression of love, passion, and emotion, performers communicate stories to audiences. Many artists and audiences consider the interaction of attending a live performance of the arts as transcendent. The various types of performing arts make a real impact on those who study the subject, and those who enjoy it as patrons.

What Are the Different Types?

The main types of performing arts include music, drama, and dance. Each specific form of art contains unique characteristics. Overall, all three feature people acting either individually or in groups. I think it’s easy to think of each as an individual study, but they often include elements of one another. For example, theater performers often use dance and music when performing musicals.

Music, drama, and dance all hold their importance in popular culture. An academic study of these arts is also a collective undertaking at colleges and universities. Most major universities and colleges host an entire department or program strictly for the performing arts.

All three are different types of expression but can include objects to enhance performance. For example, singers only use their voice, but some musicians play instruments. Likewise, dancers utilize things like scarves or hoops with which to interact while performing. Despite unique details and differences, all types of these art forms share a set of characteristics.

Characteristics of Performing Arts

As opposed to the visual arts, one of the main features of performing arts is human interaction. Whether someone has an object or not, the performer is using their body, voice, or being to express a message or emotion. An important distinction to make is performing arts utilize both the presence and absence of the body to make a statement. For example, a melody in a musical piece uses “rests,” or pauses from playing, to create a tune.

The practice is also a vital element of these art forms. Professionals in music, dance, or drama spend hours working on their craft. In doing so, they develop mastery over nuances that separate novices from those who perform for a living. While a college degree in the performing arts is not required, many do study their subject formally.

Another aspect of performing arts is the balance between scripting and improvising. Most music, dance, and drama follow a planned structure. In some environments, however, improvisation is allowed and even celebrated. For example, some jazz music consists of loose structures with periods of improvised solos from each performing musician. Each art form contains a balance, which performers challenge as a means of artistic expression.

Importance of Performing Arts

The importance of performing arts is for humans to interact and tell stories. Humans are the only known species using a technique to convey meaning and emotion. The practice is vital to our ability to understand one another. I also know how often someone I meet asks me about my favorite music or movie. Art forms like these connect us.

One of the most exciting parts of human interaction is storytelling. Performances allow us to tell a story, whether it be fiction or based in reality. A lot of stories we share are about feelings, and the performing arts provide a vehicle with which to share that emotion.

Contributions to society from the performing arts go beyond entertainment and stories. Many forms of these arts effectively help those that have trouble communicating. Likewise, children first begin to perform in their infancy. These forms of interaction are natural to us and help develop our sense of belonging and community.

Benefits

The study of the performing arts offers numerous benefits. A lot of critical skills for personal and professional development are intertwined with the practice and focus it takes to become masterful in these subjects. Firstly, despite some performers working solo, the opportunity to learn from others and share skills and ideas foster quite a bit of collaboration and creativity.

Working together while practicing, learning, or performing provides a comradery between artists. The joint effort of budding performers also helps to contribute nicely to their communication skills. Communicating with your body or an instrument increases the ability to convey meaning effectively.

Lastly, performing artists develop critical reflection skills in their work and the work of others. These characteristics of performing arts are what make mastery possible through hard work and practice. While utilizing solitude to work on their craft, I see many also learn to effectively and meaningfully critique others. Fixing mistakes, adjusting decisions in a split-second, and separating actions from their environment prove helpful in and outside of the arts. The benefits of the performing arts transcend into all parts of life.

Performing Arts FAQ

If you want to increase your understanding of performing arts, then I suggest looking into some frequently asked questions. These questions help explain the core elements of this subject.

What are some of the types of performing arts?

The types of performing arts are music, dance, and drama. The classes of implementing these techniques overlap with one another in some instances and can include elements of each type. The different types of performing arts include a few things in common, such as rigorous practice routines and technical skills.

What are the characteristics of the performing arts?

The characteristics of performing arts are human interaction, practice, and scripting or improvising. These elements require the artist to focus and require preparation before becoming remarkable. The characteristics of performing arts often make professionals in the subject experts in their craft.

What is the importance of performing arts?

The importance of performing arts is to tell stories, enhance human interaction, and communicate in creative ways. The usefulness of the performing arts is the captivating nature of these arts. It’s essential in the performing arts to make human connections with an audience and communicate a story or emotion to them, sometimes without using words.

What are the benefits of performing arts education?

The benefits of a performing arts education include developing a strong work ethic, building collaboration and communication skills, and increasing critical reflection. The satisfaction of performing arts education applies to both the practice and performance of these skills. The benefits are also impactful in other aspects of life. Arts education provides many benefits that can make someone a more well-rounded person and professional.