I had a near death experience this past fall – I auditioned for theater for the first time. This was not just any theater, but the Durango Arts Center’s Broadway classic hit “Cabaret.”
I enjoy dancing and thought the experience was worth trying, so I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and rallied some friends to do the same. And then I found out that I had to sing in front of the directors – sing … by myself, in front of people! I lost some sleep, dropped some water weight from nervous sweat and left my body for a short time, but somehow, I did it. I ended up being relieved to not have made the cut and experience “Cabaret” as a relaxed, entertained and enthused audience patron instead.
Surveys about our fears commonly show fear of public speaking at the top of the list. Our fear of standing up in front of a group and talking is so great that we fear it more than death, in surveys at least. Theater seems to take that to the next level – after all, you’re not just speaking, but also taking on a whole other character, singing and dancing as well.
As a novice theater enthusiast working at DAC, I’m continually amazed by the talent gracing the DAC stage – from our DAC Applause! Wee Glee thespians aged 3 to 5, to the amazingly brave teenagers who sing and dance in our Mondays on Main program every Monday at Cold Stone Creamery, to the multitude of community actors at all stages of life and acting. As a bystander, I see something so potent and transformational about what performing arts do for people and the inter-generational diversity it helps build in our community.
DAC offers performing arts experiences for all ages; with classes and camps for ages 3 to 16 and community theater opportunities in productions like “Cabaret,” our 10-Minute Play Festival and our summer show “Pippin.”
What’s so great to see at DAC is there are so many kids and young adults involved in performing arts education in our community. DAC alone sees more than 60 students each month involved in its Applause! program.
Numerous studies show a correlation between drama involvement and academic achievement. For example: students involved in performing arts education outscored nonarts students on the 2005 SAT by an average of 65 points in the verbal component and 34 points in the math component, according to the College Entrance Examination Board.
And as for us adults, the more interest we develop in performing arts and the arts in general, the more we find a “temperamental factor of openness, which, in turn, is inﬂuenced by dopamine-related genes” according to a report from The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition.
These points are why DAC theater exists with a mission “to join the forces of creativity, collaboration and community” – a mission that can only exist with community involved and part of the process – part of the art!
So we invite you to get involved in the arts at DAC by learning more about our summer youth arts camps, stopping by to catch a Mondays on Main performance, seeing our summer theater circus-influenced production, “Pippin,” opening June 27, and marking your calendar for our annual 10-Minute Play Festival in September that is becoming so loved, we’ve added an extra day.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Elsa Jagniecki is the marketing coordinator for the Durango Arts Center.