Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reading Performance Programs

As I have noted before, reading material is everywhere, not just in books and magazines. I have written, for example, about conference programs and, just yesterday, about greeting cards. Going to a wonderful, exciting performance of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival -- yet another reason I love living in the Bay Area -- the other day made me think about programs at concerts, plays, and other performances. Such programs have a utilitarian value, obviously, in providing information about performances, performers, order of performances, and so on. Beyond that, they often give informative notes and context. Some also have ads. Some are large and fancy; some are small and simple. Some are colorful; some are black and white. Some are booklets; some are one piece of paper folded in half. Some cover just the day’s performance; some serve for a whole series of performances. I liked the program for the Ethnic Dance Festival because it was colorful and gave substantial information about each of the eight dance groups performing that day, as well as about all the other dance groups performing throughout the festival. My one quibble was that the background to the print was mostly dark colors, making it harder to read the print. But the information and the splendid photographs of performers made up for it. It would be a great souvenir for those who save programs; I personally stopped doing so some years ago, for reasons of space, and of knowing that it was highly unlikely that I would go back and look through them. But I do appreciate a program that combines clearly presented information with a bit of flair. By the way, my favorite dance performance that day was one combining South Indian dance and Japanese taiko drumming and dancing. Wow!

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