Saturday, June 11, 2011

'80s Perfoming Arts Awesomeness

"You've got big dreams? You want fame?
Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying ... in sweat."
- instructor Lydia Grant, Fame

The 1980s are sometimes (wrongly) derided as a time of Wall Street greed and Alex Keatonesque selfishness, but this is simply wrong. The '80s, as is the case with any decade, has its faults, but there was so much more to the '80s than just that materialistic stereotype. Take, for example, what a remarkable era the '80s was for the performing arts, and those of us who love the performing arts.

The '80s was the decade of Fame, a wonderful program that followed the ambitions and dreams of aspiring artists at a school for the performing arts. As a former drama kid during the '80s, I drew inspiration from the characters on this show: creative young people out to show the world their talent. In the '80s, didn't we all think we were talented and creative?

And the '80s was the decade of Cats (1981). An unusual musical based on a T.S. Eliot poem, Cats was an example of the quirky creativity of the '80s, and showed a sensibility that was at time in awe of life and the world, at times melancholy and aware of life's sadness, and at time quite uplifting. In the '80s, didn't we all have a more wonderous awe of life possibilities?

The '80s was also the era of Flashdance (1983), a movie about a dancer, and her hopes and dreams. Of course, its always easier to dream that to actually make reality conform to your desires, and perhaps one of the faults of the '80s is that it was all too easy to dream amidst such hopeful pop culture. But what a wonderful set of dreams they were while they lasted.