Art Vs. Entertainment
January 19, 2013 § 4 Comments
- Art: the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
- Entertainment: the act of entertaining; agreeable occupation for the mind; diversion; amusement.
A question I hear often among belly dancers, especially in the Tribal community, is whether we consider ourselves artists or entertainers. People who ask this question seem to have a strong opinion about which is better (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not entertainment). There seems to be a strong “I do it for me, not them” mentality. There’s not anything wrong with that. In fact, I think the most important person to dance for is yourself. But when you perform, you have to do it for you and for the audience.
Art is an expression of the artist. If we identify with this expression, we will be inspired by this art. When art is created, it is best if it evokes some sort of reaction from a viewer. The most memorable art is interesting to the eye, evokes an emotion, or inspires introspection. Art makes statements that are meant to be communicated. It touches something in us and is a form of entertainment. Entertainment satisfies an audience. It takes the audience to another state of mind. It helps them forget themselves for awhile. If they identify with or are touched by your artistic expression, they will be entertained.
I don’t usually worry too much about art vs. entertainment when I perform. I think the two go hand in hand. I find art entertaining, and entertainment can be done artistically. As a dancer, art may be enough to fulfill the dancer’s desire to create and express. As a performer, entertainment is a definite goal. No one wants to get on stage and deeply and meaningfully bore their audience. I don’t believe it is necessary to choose sides.
I am an artist and an entertainer. An entertainment artist. An artistic entertainer. I am a belly dancer.