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The Benefits of Performing Arts (Part 3 of 6: Innovation)

Six Benefits of Performing Arts

For anyone who has ever experienced performing arts of any kind in an educational setting or as an extracurricular activity, there is no denying that it shapes people’s lives. I see lives changing for the better every day in our classes and on our stage at Wonderland Performing Arts. Performing arts education aids in the development of social skills, self-expression, and confidence. Theatre, dance, music, singing—these disciplines require a person to put themselves “out there” in ways that can be scary at first, but will ultimately help students grow into the people they are meant to be. We can reach one another in rare, meaningful ways by using the connections performing arts provides. Join me over the next few weeks where I explore and highlight six major benefits of Performing Arts:  

  1. Meaningful Performance

  2. Expression

  3. Innovation

  4. Creativity

  5. Empowerment

  6. Acceptance

Part 3: Innovation

I’m standing backstage with a very limited sight line to the back of Chloe’s head. I hear her speak words that I don’t think belong in the scene of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever we are currently performing. My heart stops. OH NO! She’s in a different scene! She’s NOT IN THIS SCENE!!!

You see, Chloe had the difficult job of not only being a character in the story, but also the narrator. She would break the fourth wall (stop talking to her fellow cast mates to have an aside and talk directly to the audience) periodically throughout the show. The show has 4 settings: The House, The Church, The Hospital, and The School. We were in the house and she jumped to the church (or some combination of places) and without missing a BEAT the cast went along with her! They did the entire church scene with her, realized they skipped something, changed the set to go to the house, did the scene that was skipped, then TOGETHER jumped BACK to the scene AFTER the church scene they’d already done and kept going until the end of the show! HOW?!?! As much as, I would love to take credit and say it was my brilliant direction, improv classes, and/or incomparable teaching abilities that instill the connection we all seek in life on stage and off-I can’t. I cannot describe it as anything but pure magic. On that day, these children (let’s be real and just call them what were in that moment- young professional performers) were instinctively united and innovative. They did not stop the show to figure it out. They trusted each other and kept going. If that isn’t a life skill we don’t all want to put in our pocket and take with us everywhere we go, I don’t know what is! 


Students are often tied to a desk in traditional classrooms, being expected to memorize facts to pass tests. While it is good to have common knowledge among peers, it is also powerful for students to have the ability to think for themselves and effectively solve problems. Being innovative is not something that can be learned by memorizing facts. Teaching young people how to be innovative starts with allowing creative and critical thinking to happen organically. Discovery, trial, and error are essential to this process. 

Performing arts encourages innovative thinking. Creative problem solving is crucial when rehearsing and performing. Anything can go wrong in a live performance, and innovative thinkers can quickly solve problems in real time! For example, if two people are doing a scene and one of them forgets their line, rather than falling apart, stopping, or quitting the scene, their scene partner may find a creative way to feed their line to them without breaking character. If the line should be, “Henry, you look sick! Are you alright?!” The scene partner could say something like “I feel sick… I may not be alright…” and the scene can continue. 

Improvisation classes are a terrific way to keep these skills sharp and fresh. Practicing this type of adaptive thinking helps shape us into better people who are ready for anything that comes our way in real life! You never know when you may have a “Chloe Moment” and need to fall back on the skills you’ve developed. They come in quite handy!

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