About Sally and the Performing Arts Lab

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Where Artistic Expression Meets Hard Work
Sally the Director on Stage

Welcome to Sally’s Performing Arts Lab (aka SallyPAL) I’m your host, Sally Adams. 

There is room for everyone at the table when it comes to the performing arts. I love the old chestnuts (shows that are popular and often performed on local stages). It’s really fun to find fresh ways to interpret these shows. But with this blog and podcast I intend to encourage the creation of new work for the stage. YOU could be the person to provide that new work (pretty exciting, huh?). I invite you to listen as I interview longtime creators like Jana Hunter of TV’s “The Middle”, as well as published poets, produced playwrights and choreographers, musicians, and well-regarded educators. But I also interview people who are stepping off the beaten path for the first time to talk about hurdles, funny moments, and to share some fresh wisdom. I invite you to listen, read, ask questions, and become part of this amazing community.

Original work isn’t solely about artistic expression. It’s about community, collaboration, sharing ideas, and so much more. I’ve been teaching, directing, and performing new works for over 30 years. These trips into unknown territory are very exciting experiences.

Expanding Artistic Expression
Albert Einstein said it best when he declared, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Yet another great thinker, Sir Ken Robinson in his famous TEDtalk, makes the point that we educate imagination out of students. We show them how to “do” artistic expression. But this is not a skill that needs to be taught. Although, there are some really cool tools artists can use to expand their expression. In addition to imagination, the most important tool in the world of performing arts is collaboration. Even solo artists must eventually collaborate with an audience in a live performance.

The Collaborative Process Through Failure
Artistic expression is a messy business. It calls for confidence and humility, perseverance and surrender, chaos and tranquility. Experimentation, curiosity, exploration, frustration, and even sadness can fuel honest art. The collaborative process also generates bursts of inspiration. Everyone involved in the construction of a single work of art participates. Happily, rehearsing resembles experimenting in a laboratory. The “failures” experienced by scientists are not called failures. They are called experiments. It’s much the same in rehearsal. We often try things that don’t work. But the failed experiments lead to a new way of approaching stories. This artistic synthesis can only happen when artists embrace failure.

Experiment Your Way to the Truth
If you won’t allow for or expect failure, the work will never fulfill its potential. When an idea fails, you can rebuild the concept! You can even scrap an idea and take a bigger risk. Take a leap of faith with your team (we’ll talk a lot about team building). It will lead to a quantum leap in artistic expression. A performing artist’s working environment is a laboratory, not a museum. And like Einstein, artists experiment their way to the truth.


5 Replies to “About Sally and the Performing Arts Lab”

  1. Well said! There is certainly a shift in how we evaluate human potential, worth, and the value of things. You are that teacher than changes lives. Keep up the amazing/creative work/art!

  2. Wish there were more teachers out there like you. My kids (11 and 9) attend one of the “country’s most acclaimed public school district” but if not for great teachers who genuinely care, that phrase is little more than marketing fluff. Hooray for you!

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