The primary purpose of The Capitol is to be an education center for the performing arts. Exposure to theater and music is critical to a well-rounded education and social emotional intelligence. While children enjoy performing simply for the fun of spending time with friends and participating in creative play, the arts have an impact that lasts much longer than the performance.
Introducing the performing arts to children gives them the chance to develop priceless life skills. The abilities to express themselves, to feel confident, to play well with others, to shine in school, and to understand others will bring them to great heights in life. And all it takes is a little bit of song-and-dance. The following skills that children gain from performing arts will shape them into superstars on the stage of life.
Through the performing arts, children can examine and channel their emotions through narrative, music, and movement. Some people find certain feelings more difficult to express and participating in performing arts programs provides children the opportunity to express a range of emotions in a healthy, controlled environment. Learning how to express themselves through the arts will make it easy for them to creatively express themselves in other situations, be it in school, social gatherings, or future job interviews. The performing arts engage children’s imaginations and lead them to develop their own, distinct voices.
A performing arts education provides children the opportunity to practice stepping outside of their comfort zone in a safe setting. Even after weeks of rehearsal, it takes courage to go out on a limb and accept whatever response comes from being vulnerable on stage. However, once a child lets go of those inhibiting expectations of what is “right” or “wrong,” they’ll relax and let their inner joy shine—they’ll simply just “be.” The confidence that grows when children perform translates to every corner of their lives, from educational accomplishments to social ease. Putting yourself out there can be intimidating, but once you’ve been bold enough to sing, dance, and rock out on stage, small talk becomes a cake walk.
Embodying another person’s story through acting, voice, dance, and music allows children to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Especially when portraying a character dramatically different from themselves, children learn to understand and empathize with other people, respecting important differences but embracing similarities. Learning about people from different communities, countries, and cultures through the arts allows children to become an informed, global citizen. Seeing the world through the eyes of someone who is unlike them on the surface fosters kindness, thoughtfulness, and nonjudgmental attitudes, allowing them to form bonds with people from all walks of life.
Various studies have shown that performing arts curriculum has amazingly positive effects on a child’s academic performance. A 2019 article in the scholarly journal Trends in Neuroscience and Education states that arts-integrated education increased the retention of information and the overall subject comprehension of students struggling in language arts and science. It makes sense when you think about it—countless people grew up learning (and still remembering) how government works via Schoolhouse Rock songs, and many children today are learning about the Founding Fathers through Hamilton lyrics. Memorizing a script uses the same reading comprehension skills that children use in the classroom, and they practice core mathematical concepts as they learn to read music and understand music theory. Performing arts teaches children perseverance, creative problem-solving, and the ability to focus—all great skills that will lead to classroom success.
There are no winners or losers in a theater performance. The only “wins” are when everyone works together to create the best show possible. Performing arts curriculum pushes students to think not only about their individual contributions to the show, but how their own performance can enhance the performance of the show as an ensemble. Children also learn how to lead in a group, especially when they are given the responsibility of playing principal roles. Likewise, older children use their experience and leadership skills to assist younger children through their first performance. Ensembles teach kids that every person has special talents that they bring to the table, and that combining each person’s insight creates mutual success that is powerful and that fosters creative growth.
Located in the heart of downtown, the restored Burlington Capitol Theater recaptures an era when movies and live entertainment were enjoyed in beautiful and unique theaters.
This 1937 Art Deco jewel re-opened in 2012. The intimate 367–seat venue, along with its reception and gallery annex, hosts independent and classic films as well as local, regional, and national touring artists performing on a 1,500–square foot stage.
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