Chapter 3

Historical Background on the Performing Arts Disciplines

Each performing art form has a historical and cultural lineage that continues to affect the business today. While social and technological changes have thoroughly transformed other industries, such as transportation and agriculture, the performing arts display striking continuity. A time-traveling actor or musician from one or two centuries ago might have to adjust to modern stage lighting and sound, but the essence of the work and working environment would be quite familiar. Understanding the industry’s current challenges requires understanding its past.

In this chapter, we review the essential features of each major ­discipline—theater, orchestral music, opera, and dance—and ...

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