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The Literary and Performing Arts in German

A few lessons ago, we started learning about different kinds of Visual Art in German: architecture, ceramics, conceptual art, drawing, painting, and sculpture. Let's continue today with the Literary Arts (die Literatur) and the Performing Arts (die darstellende Kunst).

 

Literature (die Literatur) as a creative field does not usually include news journalism or technical writing, but usually includes poetry (die Dichtung or die Poesie), drama (die Dramatik or das Drama), and fictional and non-fictional prose (die Prosa). A person who creates literature is usually called an author (der Autor / die Autorin), a dramatist or playwright (der Dramatiker / die Dramatikerin), a poet (der Dichter, die Dichterin), or simply a writer (der Schriftsteller, die Schriftstellerin).

 

Man hat einen tollen Schauspieler gesehen, aber auch einen großen Freund der Literatur.

You have seen a great actor, but also a great friend of literature.

Captions 50-51, Rheinmain im Blick: Klaus Maria Brandauer liest Goethe

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Und ich habe gedacht, dem Autor fällt etwas Besseres ein.

And I thought the author would come up with something better.

Caption 9, Nicos Weg: Essen gehen

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The next category is the Performing Arts, which includes dance, drama, or music—all of which are performed in front of an audience.

 

Dance (der Tanz) as an art form, simply defined as "the art of dancing," is usually referring to contemporary dance (der zeitgenössische Tanz) and ballet (das Ballett), but may include figure skating (der Eiskunstlauf), synchronized swimming (das Synchronschwimmen or das Kunstschwimmen), and some forms of gymnastics (das Turnen or die Gymnastik). A person who designs a dance performance is called a choreographer (der Choreograf / die Choreografin).

 

Mit ihrem anderen Hobby, Ballett, hat sie deshalb aufgehört.

That's why she quit her other hobby, ballet.

Caption 25, Spiegel-TV-Magazin: Skaterin Lilly Stoephasius: Mit dem Skateboard nach Tokio

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Die Tänzer in den Videos brauchten bestimmt nicht so viel Zeit.

The dancers in the videos definitely didn't need that much time.

Caption 41, Konjugation: Das Verb „brauchen“

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A person who performs music (die Musik) is a musician (der Musikerdie Musikerin), or named after the instrument they play. A person who writes music is called a composer (der Komponist / die Komponistin) or songwriter (der Songwriter / die Songwriterin)—alternatively der Liedermacher or die Liedermacherin.

 

„Beethoven, dessen Musik weltbekannt ist, war am Ende seines Lebens taub.“

"Beethoven, whose music is world famous, was deaf at the end of his life."

Caption 38, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Der Relativsatz

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Ein bekannter Komponist aus dieser Stadt hat dort gelebt.

A famous composer from this city lived there.

Caption 20, Nicos Weg: Ein Bürger dieser Stadt

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The last form of the performing arts is theater (das Theater). Clearly this extends beyond works performed in theaters to all forms of acting (das Schauspiel), which may also include any of the other Performing Arts of dance and music. Although theater and film production encompass hundreds of types of jobs, the main performing artist is called an actor (der Schauspieler / die Schauspielerin).

 

Ich werde am St. Pauli Theater arbeiten als Assistent für Kostümdesign.

I'll work at the St. Pauli Theater as an assistant for costume design.

Caption 4, Drei Leute: beim Kofferpacken

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Daniel Brühl gilt mittlerweile als einer der erfolgreichsten deutschen Schauspieler.

Daniel Brühl is now regarded as one of the most successful German actors.

Caption 9, Jahresrückblick 2013: Deutsche Promis

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and watch the videos above relating to art forms and professions. Find a tandem partner in your class and make up some sentences in German using these art words, then compare what you both came up with.

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