of Live Entertainment
When we think
of live entertainment, our minds automatically go to the present
with such performances as music concerts, sporting events, or
Broadway shows. Yet, the history of live entertainment goes back
quite a long way.
In the Medieval times, the kings and queens thrived on live
entertainment and involved such showings as tournaments, jousts, and
mystery plays. The poor of the region also had their share of live
entertainment and was found in the form of traveling minstrel shows,
jugglers, and plays.
The popular entertainers of this time period included such
individuals as jesters, who were considered the fools or clowns at
medieval courts; mummers, who were costumed dancers at festivals;
minstrels and troubadours, who were traveling musicians singing of
legends and love; traveling actors, and jugglers.
civilizations had a love for competition and sports. Often, they
would hold jousting tournaments, which were matches between the
knights. They were lively spectators of contests such as wrestling,
bowling, and archery as well as animal fighting, which included dog
and cock fighting or bull baiting.
The early Egyptians had live entertainment in the form of wrestling
and gymnastics. Dancing and singing was considered a spectator sport
and was performed for individuals in their own homes or the palace.
The Egyptian artwork shows many details of the many forms of live
entertainment they participated in.
The Romans had live entertainment unlike any other race. They
enjoyed such shows as chariot races and gladiator fights, all seen
in an amphitheatre setting. Gladiators were such people as slaves or
criminals who were highly trained in fighting and were required
fight to the death. Aside from gladiator fights, there were also
animal fights and man vs. animal fights using bears, lions, or
The ancient Mayans enjoyed watching a ball game in which the game
was played in a ball court. This type of ball court was seen in all
Mayan cities. This was one type of entertainment in which the loser
would lose his life.
The early Chinese played a spectator game similar to soccer called
Cuju, which was played in celebration at court feasts. It could
comprise of two teams playing against each other or just two players
against each other. The Lion dance was also a live performance,
which dates back to the Han Dynasty of 205 B.C. The performers
portray a lion and the dance is performed to represent happiness.
Early live entertainment of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
includes such things as theater, magic shows, ballparks, and circus
performances. Minstrel shows, vaudeville, burlesque, and comedy
shows were also quite popular. During periods of war in the United
States, spectators were know to actually sit and watch the fighting
taking place as a source of entertainment!
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