By Layla Taj

June 29, 2015

I have been an artist my entire life. Be it a composer, musician, singer, designer, painter and dancer. God has created me in such a way that ideas and creativity run through my blood as water runs through the faucet. Art for me is " the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination". Typically it's presented in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Entertainment however, is the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment. Many performers such as oriental dancers claim to be dance artists when in fact the creative skill and imagination of their performance is undetectable. Art is that which makes beauty manifest and beauty is that which pleases without exciting desire. But there is no tangible explanation of why one thing pleases one man and displeases another. Scientists cannot work out the laws of art and the everyday common man or woman have issues with the distinction as well.

Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship with the artist, some with great effort try to imagine exactly what the artist is trying to say. If this task seems impossible, then a somewhat narcissistic trait steps in and the receiver forms an opinion based upon his or her personal life. Just as words transmit thoughts, so art transmits feelings. Art evokes a feeling that one has once experienced, and then transmits that feeling to others through forms, colors, sounds and movements. Art is not always pleasurable for the eye of the beholder but a means of unity among people, joining them together in the same feeling. A sculptor might piece together 4 pieces of metal and call it a magnificent creation and a spectacular piece of art. Another might see it as a piece of junk only to be appreciated in the junk yard. Therefore I gather, that art in my opinion entails a personal signature of style and whether people find that signature offensive or beautiful is yet to be seen. But if art is offensive and it catches ones attention and keeps them wanting more and more, than offensive might enter into entertaining and amusing.

Many performers engaged in the training process usually adopt the identity of their master teachers or their inspirations, so much so that they have lost their chance to originate, instead they become only clones or a carbon copy of that which they admire but they are not artists. They are however, great imitators. They are unable to create their own signature style, yet they perceive themselves as artists. I refer to them them as imposters. All in all, my assessment is that the work of a true artist cannot be imitated by mere dexterity, art is an activity of the soul, constrained to work out of its own wealth, and to bring before the mind's eye a wholly other and far richer content; a unique creation. Some onlookers can be fooled and even impressed but the educated eye or the astute enthusiast knows better. That in my opinion is why not everyone can be a star. This status is only reserved for a select few, the few that create and connect with their audience.

Entertainment on the other hand is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It grabs our attention and keeps us wanting more. The experience of being entertained has come to be strongly associated with amusement so that one common understanding of the idea is fun and laughter. A shining personality or a charismatic character is always present when we are entertained. A clown can entertain us, a baby taking it's first steps can entertain us as well. I found that when I perform entertainment is full force during the audience participation segment of my show. It's when I invite guests up to dance with me. The uncoordinated way the honored guest dancing with me portrays to their friends is extremely entertaining and many break out into laughter. They are amused and entertained to their full capacity. No introspective thinking is required.

To sum this up, during the beginning stages of my show my audience is feeling many emotions, some which leave them mesmerized and spellbound. Am I provoking them to think and feel in such a way that it transforms them ? Perhaps ..yes. They are observing and they are not laughing . Then there are moments where I incorporate both art and entertainment and others which are purely entertaining and so my conclusion is that there is a definite distinction. Some threads of similarities might be noticeable but there is definitely a thread separating the two no matter how thin that thread might be. As an Egyptian dancer I always present both art and entertainment in my showcases. It just comes naturally to me and I find that art earns me their respect and entertainment earns me their love.

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