Cabaret Art is Healing for Performers

I love the art of cabaret.

What is cabaret you ask? It’s not an easy art form to pin down with a definition, as it defies having a genre. Cabaret started in the 1800’s as a kind of nightlife that flourished in Europe. It was meant to provoke and challenge cultural norms. These individually crafted shows can have any theme, any song, any number of performers, and may include other art forms like dance, storytelling, burlesque, or drama.

I recently attended a local performance put on by Music Notes Experience in the historic brick-walled 2nd story banquet room at Bella Notte in Downtown Jackson. As I sat in the room, taking on the atmosphere and lighting, I felt transported to a dimly lit, big city, cabaret bar. 

The art form of cabaret includes patter throughout the show. The patter weaves a story or sets up a song in the show. Patter could be considered the most important part – because it guides the audience on the shows journey.

Patter is often personal, but we are often warned about being TOO personal in our patter:

  • Don’t overshare.
  • Don’t make it awkward.
  • Don’t be too indulgent.

I was struck by something different while absorbing the material in the show. This cabaret performance was full of sharing and possibly even a little bit in the over-sharing category. The sentiment behind the sharing however, was overwhelmingly healing. The shows patter brought me to tears multiple times because it felt validating as someone in the audience. Similarly to the space I’m feeling called to heal. Clearly many of the performers on stage are needing that too!

I was grateful that this #NoFilter2 Adult themed cabaret was not just swear words, dirty songs, and limit pushing. To be clear – it still was – but it was also adult themed in showcasing things that are hard to say as an adult, but necessary to hear as an adult. So, thank you to Andrea and cast for a cabaret show that I didn’t know I needed. That maybe you didn’t even know you created. It was lovely, funny, real, healing, and of course – FULL of amazing local talent!

I hope that the performers felt that they achieved some kind of self-healing through the shows process.

Music is healing.

People most often sing because they LOVE to sing. I had never thought about how in a cabaret show, performers may want to shout something authentic from the rooftops, just to get it off their chest.

  • To be heard.
  • To feel seen.
  • To be authentic.

This show was one of a kind with only one performance – sorry if you missed it! I’m grateful that I was able to witness performer friends standing up on stage, bearing their hearts to the room, in the art of patter for the songs that they picked. Many performers even prefaced their patter with, “I hate the patter requirement…” Only to follow that statement up with patter that allowed them an authentic space for sharing and healing. Sharing stories that were real and relatable.