Performing arts refers to forms of art in which artists use their voices, bodies or inanimate objects to convey artistic expression. It is different from visual arts, which is when artists use paint, canvas or various materials to create physical or static art objects. Performing arts include a range of disciplines which are performed in front of a live audience.
Live performances before an audience are a form of entertainment. The development of audio and video recording has allowed for private consumption of the performing arts.
Theatre is the branch of performing arts; concerned with acting out stories in front of an audience, using a combination of speech, gesture, music, dance, sound and spectacle. Any one or more of these elements is performing arts. In addition to the standard narrative dialogue style of plays. Theater takes such forms as plays, musicals, opera, ballet, illusion, mime, classical Indian dance, kabuki, mummers' plays, improvisational theatre, stand-up comedy, pantomime, and non-conventional or contemporary forms like postmodern theatre, postdramatic theatre, or performance art.
Dance is a powerful impulse, but the art of dance is that impulse channeled by skillful performers into something that becomes intensely expressive and that may delight spectators who feel no wish to dance themselves. These two concepts of the art of dance-dance as a powerful impulse and dance as a skillfully choreographed art practiced largely by a professional few-are the two most important connecting ideas running through any consideration of the subject. In dance, the connection between the two concepts is stronger than in some other arts, and neither can exist without the other.
Music is an art form which combines pitch, rhythm, and dynamic in order to create sound. It can be performed using a variety of instruments and styles and is divided into genres such as folk, jazz, hip hop, pop, and rock, etc. As an art form, music can occur in live or recorded formats, and can be planned or improvised.
However, by the 6th century AD, Western performing arts had been largely ended, as the Dark Ages began. Between the 9th century and 14th century, performing art in the West was limited to religious historical enactments and morality plays, organized by the Church in celebration of holy days and other important events.
By the mid-16th century Commedia Dell'arte became popular in Europe, introducing the use of improvisation. This period also introduced the Elizabethan masque, featuring music, dance and elaborate costumes as well as professional theatrical companies in England. William Shakespeare's plays in the late 16th century developed from this new class of professional performance.
At the turn of the 19th century, Beethoven and the Romantic movement ushered in a new era that led first to the spectacles of grand opera and then to the musical dramas of Giuseppe Verdi and the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art) of the operas of Richard Wagner leading directly to the music of the 20th century.
The earliest recorded theatrical event dates back to 2000 BC with the passion plays of Ancient Egypt. This story of the god Osiris was performed annually at festivals throughout the civilization, marking the known beginning of a long relationship between theatre and religion.
The Ramayana and Mahabharata can be considered the first recognized plays that originated in India. These epics provided the inspiration to the earliest Indian dramatists and they do it even today. Indian dramatists such as Bhasa in the 2nd century BC wrote plays that were heavily inspired by the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
In Thailand, it has been a tradition from the Middle Ages to stage plays based on plots drawn from Indian epics. In particular, the theatrical version of Thailand's national epic Ramakien, a version of the Indian Ramayana, remains popular in Thailand even today.