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Paul Giamatti as Hamlet in Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of 2013. Photo by Joan Marcus

Essay/
Dance and theatre
Phantasia

Imagination is a powerful tool, a sixth sense, a weapon. We must be careful how we use it, in life as on stage or screen

Paul Giamatti & Stephen T Asma

Sehnsucht (‘Longing’) by the Nederlands Dans Theater at Sadler’s Wells, London, in 2014. Photo by Leo Mason/Popperfoto/Getty

Essay/
Dance and theatre
To the core

A devastating loss can shatter the façade we put up for others, exposing our deepest, rawest self. A work of art can do the same

Julia F Christensen

Evel Knievel in action. San Francisco, California, 1974. Photo by Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated/Getty

Essay/
Subcultures
Touching the sky

At their best, daredevils rival philosophers and mystics in their exploration of human mortality and spirit

Lary Wallace

The Spanish National Dance Company perform during rehearsals for Don Quixote. Photo by Quim Llenas/Getty

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
Against flow

In the myth of flow, the performer soars when the music starts. But it’s grit and self-analysis until the very last bar

Barbara Gail Montero

In the Highlands of New Guinea, 1970. Photo by Burt Glinn/Magnum

Essay/
Rituals and celebrations
Possessed by a mask

Every human culture has used masks for ritual disinhibition, shaming and play. Is being online the ultimate masquerade?

Sandra Newman

American comedian Lenny Bruce performs on stage, late 1950s. Photo by Julian Wasser/Pix Inc./LIFE /Getty.

Essay/
Dance and theatre
The comic’s quandary

Does heckling let the real comedian stand up and shine, or does it trample a punchline and mangle a routine?

Lary Wallace

Vitor Pordeus as Hamlet. Photo by Antonio Franco

Essay/
Dance and theatre
Method and madness

Theatre provides stimulus for psychotic, schizophrenic and depressed patients, but can it improve their mental health?

Beth McLoughlin

Photo by Winfield Parks/National Geographic

Essay/
Dance and theatre
The music in you

You might not be a virtuoso, but you have remarkable music abilities. You just don’t know about them yet

Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis