Career FAQs: Performing Arts

What is meant by performing arts?
Performing arts are those forms of arts where the artist uses his/her voice or body movement to convey emotions and expressions,like acting, singing and dancing. The other form of arts is visual arts where static artistic objects are created by the artist, like painting and photography. The three main types of performing arts are:
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • What are the skills required to do well in this career?
    A career in performing arts demands expression and creativity. Additionally, the skill set varies on the kind of performing art you want to specialize in – dance, music or theatre. Dancing requires alignment with a particular dance from, perseverance, physical fitness, motivation & discipline; music requires an understanding of musical scales, self-management, complete familiarity with the chosen musical instrument; theatre demands stage management, ability to role play, read audience etc.
    What are the various professional paths in this career?
    A degree in performing arts can serve as a career pedestal for being anactor, dancercommunity arts worker, drama therapist, music therapist, theatre director, arts teacher etc.
    What is the course I need to pursue for a career in performing arts?
    Bachelors in Performing Arts(BPA) course is for students who have a flair for dance, music and drama and are need structured intervention at the UG level. Course duration is typically four years. The course combines creative talent with practical aspects of self-promotion and arts management.It gives a robust platform to nurture the passion for arts, sharpen artistic skills and broaden theoretical foundation. While the focus is predominantly within the parameters of dance, music and drama, other art forms act as subsidiaries under this three-dimensional approach.The primary aim of the programme is to introduce students to the possibilities within art and to help them get an integrated sense of art. Students generally supplement their training, generate opportunities and enhance their creative knowledge through work experience and by participating in voluntary projects.Basic eligibility for the programme is a pass at the +2 level in any stream (Humanities, Social Sciences, Commerce &Management, Sciences) from any recognised Board. Admission to the program is generally on the basis of academic merit in 10th and 10+2, and an entrance test in certain cases.
    What are the professional paths open to me after a formal qualification in performing arts?
    A qualification in performing arts opens vast avenues in the areas of dance, music and theatre. Following are some of the lucrative career options in this field:
    If you have the desire to perform, determination to succeed and the ability to handle criticism, an acting career will offer you limitless possibilities. An actor communicates a character or situations to an audience through speech, body language and movement. This usually involves interpreting the work of a writer under the instruction and support of a director, although some work may require the actor to devise a character or improvise the reactions of a character to a situation.Work varies enormously, from live stage performances of the classics and community theatre, to soap operas, radio work, television advertising and film parts.

    Community arts worker
    If you're artistic and want to use your skills to help people in your local community, being a community arts worker could be ideal for you. As a community arts worker, you'll promote artistic activities to local groups and individuals to support their development and improve their quality of life.You'll mainly work in areas where there are social, cultural or environmental issues and will use a range of art forms to engage with these different community groups.

    To succeed as a dancer you will need talent, determination and the ability to promote yourself and your skill to as many people as possible. Dancers use movement, gesture and body language to portray a character, story, situation or abstract concept to an audience, usually to the accompaniment of music. This usually involves interpreting the work of a choreographer, although it may sometimes require improvisation.As a dancer you can work in a variety of genres including classical ballet, modern stage dance, contemporary dance, street dance and African or Asian dance. You may perform to a live audience or take part in a recorded performance for television, film or music video.Many dancers follow portfolio careers, combining performance with teaching, choreography or administrative work in a dance company.

    Drama therapist
    Drama therapists are patient, understanding and highly trained individuals who thrive on helping others with their feelings and emotions.Drama therapists create channels of communication through theatre, story-telling and performance arts. As a drama therapist you'll use these performance arts to provide a safe environment to help people explore, address and deal with a range of personal and social difficulties.Working either on a one-to-one basis or with groups of clients, you'll use a range of interventions, including stories, puppetry, masks, role play, drama and movement, to allow them to explore their experiences and express themselves in a way that might be easier than directly talking about it.

    Theatre director
    Theatre directors have responsibility for the practical and creative interpretation of a dramatic script or musical score.You'll be involved in the whole process, from the design and pre-production stages, right through to the final performance.You'll work closely with creative and production teams, performers and the producer to create a performance which connects with the audience. You'll therefore need to be able to coordinate effectively across a range of disciplines and with artistic vision.Most directors are usually employed on a freelance or fixed-term contract basis as artistic or resident directors in repertory companies.Some directors are also writers, designers and performers and may write, devise, design and act in their own work.
    Which are some of the good institutes for pursuing a Bachelors in Performing Arts?
  • Christ University, Bengaluru
  • LPU (Lovely Professional University), Jalandhar
  • Andhra University, Vishakhapatnam
  • Apeejay College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar
  • Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Bangalore University, Bengaluru
  • Bhabha Institute of Management Studies, Alwar
  • DeendayalUpadhaya Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur
  • Goa University, North Goa
  • Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
  • JG College of Performing Arts, Ahmedabad
  • NIMS University, Jaipur
  • Sarvajanik College of Performing Arts, Surat
  • University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
  • What are the prospects in this career?
    Students can specialize in various performing arts and become singers, music composers, dancers, musicians - vocal or instrument or drama artists.However, it doesn’t stop there, and graduates don’t always fall into the main occupations. Other careers include: broadcast presenters, teaching – whether further education or school – scriptwriting and theatre stage management.The majority of professionals in the industry work within the context of short-term or freelance contracts moving between different jobs and different fields. Due to the way the industry works, many opportunities come from word of mouth rather than job advertisements. Jobs can be found through networking, attending auditions, collaborating with other artists or even putting on your own shows.

    The most common employers of performing arts graduates includelocal government, arts organisations, education institutions, leisure companies, voluntary organisations etc. Performing arts is about how you present yourself. It's important to network at every opportunity and keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. There may be an opportunity for employment in the most unusual places, and by keeping open-minded you will be able to make the most of your individual talents.