The Unique Forms and Functions of Indigenous Ghanaian Performing and Verbal Arts

Performing arts are the arts that are played or performed which exists only in a stream of time. This form of arts is evident in every activity that the indigenous Ghanaian performs, from the washing of the face right from bed, through undertakings of his/her daily activities, to the time he/she retires to bed. Examples of the performing art forms practiced and used by the indigenous Ghanaians in their everyday life activities include music, dance, and drama.

On the other hand, verbal arts are those that are performed with the mouth with or without body gestures. They are usually spoken with the mouth. Indigenous Ghanaian verbal arts include folklores, tales, appellations, dirges, poetry etc.

Music

Music permeates and accompanies all the activities undertaken by the indigenous Ghanaians such as hunting, fishing, farming, trading etc. Music is played during festivals, rituals, marriage ceremonies, funeral ceremonies, puberty rites, naming and outdooring ceremonies, funeral rites etc. They played various roles such as entertainment, worship of deities, veneration and inviting of the ancestors, etc. Various musical instruments were used for the composing and playing of the music. They included stringed instruments (hites, lyres), wind instruments (flutes, horns), self-sounding instruments (drums, rattle) etc. Music was specially performed in the royal palaces, town squares, courtyards, parks, and streets. The lyrics of the music embody the religious and cultural beliefs of the indigenous Ghanaians, as well as their ideologies, norms, and values. They were purely educative and were used as a channel for moral instruction.

Dance

Dance, like music, plays a vibrant role in the lives of the indigenous Ghanaians. They ranged from graceful movements to very vigorous movements depending on the style of dance and the occasion and context within which the dance is performed. A dance was performing at naming ceremonies, funeral rites, festivals, religious activities, storytelling sessions etc. Some of the dance movements were symbolic and carried important messages. For instance, the dance performed at durbars, festivals, ritualistic performances and ceremonies of the ancestors by a traditional priest and his attendance were interpreted as messages from the ancestors to the people especially the king. Others were purely for entertainment to relieve stress and enjoy oneself.

Drama

Indigenous Ghanaian drama was evident at virtually all places such as the market and public squares, farms, chop bars, meeting places etc. It was performed at storytelling, initiation rites, and ceremonies of the ancestors to instruct the people concerning the laws, norms, taboos and beliefs of the people. They usually illustrated themes regarding the repercussions of not heeding to the laws and traditions handed down by the ancestors. Moral lessons on how to live a good life were enshrined in the drama performances.

Folklores

They are the unwritten or oral stories that portray the culture of a group or community. Indigenous Ghanaian folklores narrate the activities and events of our forefathers and the origin of our societal laws, values, and norms. They are mediums through which the young ones in the society familiarize themselves with their own cultural heritage. These stories are viewed as true and are taken with all seriousness.

Tales

They are stories narrated to entertain and educate people. They are usually fictitious with unreal characters. They are sometimes full of exaggerations and lies though they are used in highlighting the woes in breaking the laid down rules, customs and taboos of the ancestors in the indigenous Ghanaian communities.

Appellations

These are praises shouted on a god, ancestor, king or important personality recounting his achievements, character, and ego. They are shouted on kings and important personalities during important occasions such as durbars, festivals, and ceremonies before they take their seat at a function. During ceremonies where the ancestors ought to be invited, their appellations are sounded. It was believed by the indigenous Ghanaians that doing this would attract favor, goodwill, blessing and help from the ancestors.

Proverbs

They are short wise sayings that illustrate the bravery of the ancestors. They explain the laws, norms, and ideas of the indigenous Ghanaians. They were narrated at festivals, ceremonies and at storytelling times as a form of moral, cultural and social education for the people.

Dirges

They are words composed for the deceased. They are narrated to console and comfort the bereaved family and sympathizers during funeral ceremonies of their loved ones in the indigenous Ghanaian communities. They educate us on the brevity of our life and the wickedness attributed to death, and the hope that we have to live again. In most occasions, musical instruments accompany these dirges.

Choosing The Best Performing Arts Programs: Yale School of Drama

While you’ve probably heard of Yale University, how about the Yale School of Drama? In fact, it’s become one of the top Drama Schools in the entire world. The more you know about the program, the more likely you’ll be to become a part of it.

It all began in 1924. That’s when Yale University founded its Department of Drama within its School of Fine Arts. It was the result of a donation from Edward S. Harkness, who had earned a B.A. from Yale in 1897. The Department of Drama’s first class began taking classes in 1925. Later, Yale began offering a Masters of Fine Arts, in 1931. And in 1955, the Yale School f Drama became an individual professional school of Yale University. By this time, the school was offering both a Masters and Doctorate in Fine Arts.

Here are some of the biggest features of the Yale School of Drama

1. Repertory Theatre

This is certainly one of the drama school’s most prominent features. For decades, the theatre has featured the productions of both classic and original plays. Interestingly, it was one of the first resident theaters whose works were later transferred to the world of commercial theatre-including Broadway. This practice has made the Repertory Theatre one of the most innovative ones in the USA.

2. Faculty

Another forte of the Yale School of Drama is its outstanding faculty. Its most notable faculty members have trained their students in areas such as Design, Playwriting, Directing, and Acting. The School of Drama’s faculty members are the essence of the school, as they’re responsible for shaping future professionals in the industry.

3. Alumni

Several renowned professionals in the theater, TV, and movie industries have graduated from Yale University’s School of Drama. Some of the most notable alumni include:

Angela Bassett: Boyz n the Hood (1991), Malcolm X (1992)

Paul Newman: Hud (1963), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Sting (1973), Slap Shot (1977), The Color of Money(1986), Road to Perdition (2002)

Ed Norton: Primal Fear (1996), American History X (1998), Fight Club (1999)

Sigourney Weaver: Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Wall-E (2008), Avatar (2009)

Meryl Streep: Too many to list!!!!!

4. Tradition

Not only is the Yale School of Drama one of the top drama schools in the USA, but it also has the nation’s second-oldest theater association in colleges. In fact, the Yale Dramatic Association was founded over a century ago, in 1900. Afterwards, the association put on several productions, including both classic and original plays.

5. Structure

This is yet another of the main features of the Yale School of Drama. Students of the school spend their mornings taking classes. Then in the afternoons, the students prepare for productions of the School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre. The students also spend time watching productions of their colleagues. While the schedule is hectic, it helps to produce outstanding professionals in the industry.

Not only is Yale one of the oldest university’s in the USA, but it also boasts of one of the oldest and best Drama Schools as well.

Performing Arts and Its Branches

Dance, drama and music that are performed in front of many people or audiences are known to belong in performing arts. This type of art is different from plastic arts which only involve several artworks made from different type of materials like clay, paint, wood and metal. These artworks are often created by many artists and are displayed during exhibits but unlike performing arts, the presence of the artists is not required or is not necessary at all. When it comes to performing arts, the artists themselves together with their performances are the ones that the audiences are interested in. These people are then commonly known as performers.

This type of art is not new to the society because this has been around for so many years now. It actually started centuries ago. This type or art is even more common in schools all over the world and it often involves a number of people who all have the passion to please the crowd by showcasing their talents. By wearing a huge variety of costumes, wigs, masks, foot wears and other accessories, an artist becomes/transforms to a totally different person in front of the crowd and then performs.

As mentioned earlier, there are three branches of performing arts – the dance, drama and music. The first type of performing arts is dance which basically refers the movements of the human body using a particular rhythm. Performing a dance is not only intended to please the crowd but it is also a way to express the performer’s sentiments. It is also a way of showing the people different types of cultures or telling them about the history of a certain place. A dance can be in several forms like folk dance, ballet and many more.

Another branch of performing arts is the drama which is mainly about acting in front of the people. In a drama, the performers act out a particular story in order to entertain their audience. Aside from acting, music, dance, sound, speeches and other elements of performing arts are used for the best performance.

And the last branch of performing arts is music. Music does not only refer to the musical instruments or the sounds that they make, it also involves the people who play the instruments and the voices of the people singing. Music basically started several years ago and from then it became one of the most popular ways to entertain people. Usually, there are four things which make music complete – the pitch, rhythm, dynamic and the timbre.

Each of the branches of performing arts plays a very important role in the entertainment world. All these things make performing arts complete and very interesting. Not only because it is a very good way to entertain people but because this is also a way for other people to see the skills and talents of the performers. It is also a very good way to let the whole world know on what are the things that the performers can do and offer.