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Alberta's Arts Heritage
Performing Arts
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The Daedelus Quartet.The performing arts cover a wide range of artistic expressions. From magic tricks to dramatic theatre productions, blues jam sessions to symphony orchestras, every actor, composer and dancer contributes to the richness of the arts in Alberta. Those profiled in this section are broadly defined as performers, their festivals and associations structured to accommodate the unique business of presenting art to a live audience. Yet for all their fundamental similarities, the differences are numerous enough to require the three distinctive disciplines of music, theatre and dance.

Brian Macdonald's 'Breaks'.Alberta's musical repertoire has curious beginnings. At the turn of the 20th century, audiences gathered in halls, parks and hotels to hear minstrels perform songs originating from the plantations of the southern United States. Since then, Albertans have embraced every genre of music. Jazz, blues, classical, country, rock and folk have each found their niche in a sprawling and massive music community. Artists have found both dedicated local fan bases and international recognition for their work, as well as a staying power resulting from an audience loyal to homegrown talent.

There are two major arts centres in the province, both supporting a close-knit and widely active theatre district. World renowned events such as the fringe festivals in Edmonton and Calgary attract local and international acts, creating an accessible forum for audiences to experience a wide gamut of theatrical productions. From the days of vaudeville to the growing popularity of sketch comedy and improvisation, Albertans continue to create award-winning productions, maintaining one of the most thriving and dynamic theatre scenes in Canada.

Forbidden Shakespeare.Canada's multicultural roots have fostered a large traditional and contemporary dancing community in Alberta. The ambitions of amateurs and professional dancers are nurtured by hundreds of cultural associations across the province. World class facilities are home to companies such as Alberta Ballet and Calgary's Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, each having garnered international acclaim for their performance pieces.

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Artist Peter Lewis discusses what it means to be an artist.Listen Now

While music, theatre and dance are separate industries, they easily weave into a single community, combining the talents of singers, playwrights and choreographers to maintain Alberta's solid reputation for performance arts.

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