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Storytelling

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Storytelling

  1. 1. What is Storytelling? A statement by the National Storytelling Network defines Storytelling as an ancient art form and a valuable form of human expression. Because story is essential to so many art forms, however, the word “storytelling” is often used in many ways. As a result, the National Storytelling Network would like to explain the term as it is used by the growing and vibrant community of storytelling practitioners in the United States and Canada. Our hope is to call attention to storytelling as an art worth promoting, and to help those outside the storytelling community to distinguish storytelling from other, related forms of human expression. Here is what most of us mean by “storytelling”: Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination. 1. Storytelling is interactive. Storytelling involves a two-way interaction between a storyteller and one or more listeners. The responses of the listeners influence the telling of the story. In fact, storytelling emerges from the interaction and cooperative, coordinated efforts of teller and audience. In particular, storytelling does not create an imaginary barrier between the speaker and the listeners. This is part of what distinguishes storytelling from the forms of theatre that use an imaginary “fourth wall.” Different cultures and situations create different expectations for the exact roles of storyteller and listener—who speaks how often and when, for example—and therefore create different forms of interaction. The interactive nature of storytelling partially accounts for its immediacy and impact. At its best, storytelling can directly and tightly connect the teller and audience. 2. Storytelling uses words. Storytelling uses language, whether it be a spoken language or a manual language such as American Sign Language. The use of language distinguishes storytelling from most forms of dance and mime.
  2. 2. 3. Storytelling uses actions such as vocalization, physical movement and/or gesture. These actions are the parts of spoken or manual language other than words. Their use distinguishes storytelling from writing and text-based computer interactions. Not all nonverbal language behaviors need to be present in storytelling. Some storytellers use body movement extensively, for example, whereas others use little or none. 4. Storytelling presents a story. Storytelling always involves the presentation of a story—a narrative. Many other art forms also present story, but storytelling presents it with the other four components. Every culture has its own definition of story. What is recognized as a story in one situation may not be accepted as one in another. Some situations call for spontaneity and playful digression, for example; others call for near-exact repetition of a revered text. Art forms such as poetry recitation and stand-up comedy sometimes present stories and sometimes don’t. Since they generally involve the other four components, they can be regarded as forms of storytelling whenever they also present stories. 5. Storytelling encourages the active imagination of the listeners. In storytelling, the listener imagines the story. In most traditional theatre or in a typical dramatic film, on the other hand, the listener enjoys the illusion that the listener is actually witnessing the character or events described in the story. The storytelling listener’s role is to actively create the vivid, multi-sensory images, actions, characters, and events—the reality—of the story in his or her mind, based on the performance by the teller and on the listener’s own past experiences, beliefs, and understandings. The completed story happens in the mind of the listener, a unique and personalized individual. The listener becomes, therefore, a co-creator of the story as experienced. Storytelling can be combined with other art forms. The fruit born by the vital, contemporary storytelling movement includes the development of ways to combine storytelling with drama, music, dance, comedy, puppetry, and numerous other forms of expression. Yet, even as it blends imperceptibly into other arts, the essence of storytelling remains recognizable as the intersection of the five components included in the above definition. Storytelling happens in many situations, from kitchen-table conversation to religious ritual, from telling in the course of other work to performances for thousands of paying listeners. Some storytelling situations demand informality; others are highly formal. Some demand certain themes, attitudes, and artistic approaches. As noted above, the expectations about listener interaction and the nature of the story itself vary widely. There are many cultures on earth, each with rich traditions, customs and opportunities for storytelling. All these forms of storytelling are valuable. All are equal citizens in the diverse world of storytelling.
  3. 3. History Of Storytelling Today, stories are an intrinsic part of our societies and culture. Movies, books, music, news media, religions, architecture and painting, you name it, and the influence of storytelling is to be seen in all aspects of our life. Defining our values, desires, dreams and, as well as our prejudices and hatreds, don’t you want to know how it all began? Well, the history of Storytelling is the prime focus of this article. Traditionally, the oral stories have been handed over from generation to generation. Read on to know everything about the origins of storytelling. The storytelling history is quite ancient, lost in the mist of time. Nobody knows when the first story was actually told. Did it happen in the gloomy recess of a cave around a flickering fire told by a primitive hunter? Well, we may never know. But it is believed that origin of storytelling may have come across as an excuse for failure. Perhaps stories were used long time ago to calm the fears or doubts of a family. As families grouped with other families and formed clans, the storyteller, who was good at telling heroic events or other important events of the tribe began to reach position of respect and power. People found them interesting and began to listen to them. The priest, the judge and the ruler were perhaps the earliest to use this art effectively in the history of storytelling. Storytelling days were considered important. Before man learned to write, he had to rely on his memory to learn anything. For this he had to b a good listener. A good story teller was always respected. He could easily find an audience, eager to devour every exciting bit of information in their stories. These stories were also shared with others in far away lands, when people traveled. The stories traveled with them. And when they returned home, they brought with them exciting new tales of exotic places and people. The oldest surviving tale in the storytelling history is the epic, Gilgamesh, relating to the deeds of a famous Sumerian king. The earliest known record in the origin of storytelling can be found in the Egypt, when the sons of Cheops entertained their father with stories. The history of storytelling reveals that the stories came in all variety. Myths, legends of all kinds, fairy tales, trickster stories, fables, ghost tales, hero stories, and epic adventures, these stories were told, retold. Passing down from generations, these stories reflect the wisdom and knowledge of early people. There are stories often used to explain important but often confusing events and disasters in nature at those early times. For example - fire, storms, thunder, floods, tidal waves, lightening etc; It was common for people to believe in the stories of gods, which bound them to a common heritage and beliefs. In fact, it is believed by most historians and psychologists that storytelling is one of the many things that define and bind our humanity. Humans are perhaps the only animals that create and tell stories.
  4. 4. Oral Traditions In Storytelling In the 1930s, Lord Albert Bates studied oral storytelling from field transcripts of Yugoslav oral bards and the texts of classics such as the Odyssey and Beowulf. It was found by him that a big part of the stories consisted of text which had been made up during the oral process of telling the story. In this article, we will focus on the oral traditions in Storytelling. Lord Bates recognized two types of vocabulary used in oral storytelling. The first was called 'formulas' by him , for example: "the wine-dark sea," or the "rosy-fingered dawn,". He found that across many oral storytelling traditions, around 90% of an oral epic is gathered from lines repeated word for word. The phrases accumulated from a lifetime of oral storytelling traditions made the basis of these stories. The other type of story vocabulary found by him was the theme, which is a series of story actions that makeup a tale. The teller of oral stories proceeds from event-to-event using themes. One of the universal themes is repetition, of which there is plenty of evidence in Western folklore -the 'rule of three'. Some common well known examples are three attempts are made or three brothers set out etc; As part of oral traditions in Storytelling, a theme can be big enough to be a plot element. Although the theme may not belong to a particular story, but it may be present with slight deviations in many different stories. Themes may represent universal truths or they may be ritual-based on religious truths. Experts sometimes separate oral stories into two main groups: Märchen and Sagen, which are German terms. There are no exact English equivalents. Märchen, consisted of loosely translated “fairy tales" taking place in a kind of different "once-upon-a-time" world, pointing to nowhere- in-particular. They clearly indicate that they are not to be understood as true. People with rather flat characters, clearly defined incidents are the hallmarks of traditions in oral storytelling. Sagen, on the other hand, are supposed to have actually happened. These "legends", occurring at a particular time and place very often, draw much of their influence from this fact. Even with the intrusion of supernatural, it does so in an emotionally loaded manner. Ghost and lovers' leap stories, UFO-stories and stories of supernatural beings fall under these oral storytelling traditions.
  5. 5. A good and well-presented story is successful in reaching its objective and remembered long after over others. Reaching its listeners, holding the interest and crossing all age barriers is the impact of an effective storytelling. Knowing and applying the art of storytelling will not only strengthen your stories, but also develop the desired interest in the audience. In this article, you will get tips on improving your storytelling skills. Read on. The first step to develop the art of Storytelling is to find good stories. You will come across many kinds of stories, but it is suggested to start with simple tales with simple elements. The best source to find stories could be the libraries, where you can browse for all kind of stories whether fairy tales, trickster stories, folk tales, myths, legends, scary stories and hero tales etc from many countries and cultures. One should always start with simple stories, and later progress to the complex ones as your experience grows. Do not forget to give credit to sources. But how to know if the story you have chosen is a good one? Here area few pointers for the right storytelling art. A good story has single theme which is well defined with a good plot. With a dramatic appeal, it is faithful to source. It should bear good characterization and be appropriate for the listeners. Adapting to the audiences is very important for effective storytelling, for the audience has a very important role to play. A good storytelling involves deep interaction between teller and hearer. But with the attention spans getting shorter and more demanding, Storytelling has become more difficult. People are not good at visualizing things and imagine independently. So your storytelling skills should be strong and immaculate to lock the attention of the audience completely. The true Storytelling art aims at keeping the storyline brief and simple and taking the story as close as you can to your audience. Stimulate their senses so that they are able to use their imagination to feel, smell, touch and listen, visualizing vivid pictures. When telling story to an audience of mixed ages, you should aim the story at the younger ones. It is the contact between the storyteller and story listeners that make a story come to life. To improve on your storytelling skills, one should prepare beforehand. After settling down on a story, spend a considerable period of time on it. Read the story several times, with concentration.
  6. 6. Pay attention on its background and cultural meanings. Explore its appeal, the mood you want to create and the word pictures you would want your listeners to see, and the mood you wish to create. The characters and setting should become as real to you as people and places you know. Visualize it completely with sounds, tastes, scents, and colors. The art of Storytelling reflects the use of the story to paint word pictures, using the sound, rhythm and repetition of words. One should learn the story as a whole, always knowing the first and last lines by heart!. The beginning of the story should set the stage, introducing the characters and. It should be kept in mind to not to alter the essential story line while simplifying or adapting a story. One should not lose the original flavor and essence of the story. Even when narrating an old and well known story, one can use their imagination to make the story come across as fresh and alive, using your imagination.
  7. 7. Some Famous Storytellers Every country and culture across the world has had their favorite, famous storytellers. By telling their stories, they have only enhanced the richness in our lives, thus building compassion and understanding amongst people. Here are some of the well-known storytellers of the times gone by: Scheherazade Scheherazade was one of the many slaves of the Sultan Schahriah who they say that if he was displeased with anybody, he had his head removed. Scheherazade, in order to please the king and keep him interested, told him a story a night for 1001 nights to save her life. She entertained the Sultan with Persian, Arabian and Indian folk tales, handed down through generations. She was clever enough to stop at the most exciting part of the story and thus keep the Sultan interested and waiting until the next day to hear the rest of the story. The Sultan, was impressed with her abilities and granted Scheherazade her life. Her stories were passed down through centuries, were written down and are still read and told today. Remember Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad and Aladdin and his magic lamp? Grimm Brothers Grimm's Fairy Tales are full of wicked stepmothers, witches, demons, goblins and assorted monsters. Reflecting the hard and cruel life the people in Central Europe in 18th century, some of these stories collected mainly from Germany were so horrifying that religious leaders and educators forced the Grimm Brothers to modify the tales, removing the forbidden topics. Today most of the Grimm Brothers tales have been further altered to remove any violence and gore. Some all time favorites are "Cinderella," "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Snow White". Hans Christian Andersen Hans Christian Andersen of Denmark was said to have been an ugly child. As he had no friends, he was forced to play alone. His fantasy world and imagination was fueled by books, which revolved about famous men who had risen out of poverty to fortune and fame. After his father’s death, Hans moved to Copenhagen at the age of 14. While he traveled around the country, he acted in plays, and told stories to children. He still had not made it big even after turning 30. When he penned down the tales that he had told the children, this ugly ducking became a swan of the literary world at that time. Some of his famous stories are "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Princess and the Pea", which still delight children of all ages even today.
  8. 8. Charles Perrault's Charles Perrault's lived in France in the 17th century. He wrote children's fairy tales based on well-liked folk tales and was one of the first French authors who wrote mainly for children. Stories such as "Sleeping Beauty," "Tom Thumb," and "Puss in Boots" are world famous. Joel Chandler Harris Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus Tales from southern United States is still told today for their pure entertainment value. Though the tales have created substantial controversy about racism, they will always remain popular with masses. The above is only a small example of famous storytellers in history
  9. 9. About World Storytelling Day The purpose behind World Storytelling Day is to celebrate of the art of storytelling globally. The prime focus of this page is to offer information on World Storytelling Day. Read on. Every year, World Storytelling Day is observed on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and on the first day of autumn equinox in the southern. On this day, people from all over the world, come together to tell and listen to stories in many different languages, covering as many places as possible, during the same day and night. Members not only learn from each other, but also create international contacts. What is significant about World Storytelling Day is that it is the first global festival of storytelling of its kind. It helps to build links between storytellers working far away from each other. It has also been successful in attracting public and media attention to storytelling as an art form. Getting on with details on World Storytelling Day, its roots originate from Sweden, in 1991-2. During that time, an event was arranged in Sweden called "Alla berättares dag" on March 20. Although the Swedish national storytelling network didn’t remain active some time after, but the day remained alive. In 1997, storytellers in Perth, Western Australia organized a five-week long Celebration of Story. During the same time, in South American countries and Mexico and other, the National Day of Storytellers was already celebrated on March 20. Around 2001, the Scandinavian storytelling web-network, Ratatosk got started. The event eventually spread from Sweden to Norway, Denmark, Finland and Estonia in 2003. The idea soon caught on and spread to Canada and other countries. Today, the event has become known as World Storytelling Day internationally. In 2005, the World Storytelling Day had an impressive finale on Sunday March the 20th. With 25 countries on 5 continents participating, the program grew further. In 2007, a storytelling concert was held for the first time in Newfoundland, Canada. In 2008, the Netherlands participated in World Storytelling Day with a huge event called 'Vertellers in de Aanval' . Three thousand kids were happily surprised by the unexpected appearance of storytellers in their classrooms. The brief information on World Storytelling Day in this article would have surely shed light on the rising global popularity of the event.
  10. 10. Popular Themes In World Storytelling Day Storytelling has been around for as long as since very ancient times. People have always shown interest in listening to stories told by others. There is proof of these early stories in the form of cave paintings throughout the world. With the development of oral language, the stories as well as the art of storytelling too developed. Today, every year, the World Storytelling Day is observed to celebrate the spirit and joy of storytelling handed down the generations. On this page we will briefly look at the different themes in World Storytelling Day. Recent years have seen a number of useful projects using storytelling. Each year, many of the individual storytelling events that occur around the globe are linked and associated by common World Storytelling Day themes. Each year, the theme is acknowledged and agreed upon by storytellers from all across the world. Some of the popular themes in World Storytelling Day in the recent years are as follows: 2004 - Birds 2005 - Bridges 2006 - The Moon 2007 - The Wanderer 2008 - Dreams 2009 - Neighbours 2010 - Light and Shadow 2011 – Water World Storytelling day, 2010 celebrates the fascinating and ancient art of oral storytelling. This year's theme is "Light and shadow". The expression itself invokes images of listeners gathered round a campfire, listening to tales first told many centuries spell-bounded. They will watch their shadows dancing with the flames. People all over the world will gather and are encouraged to tell and listen to stories in different languages and at as many places as possible. First organized in Sweden in the early nineties, World Storytelling Day has since grown to be celebrated internationally. Today many events of storytelling take place in different countries. The World Storytelling Day theme for the next year -2011 is “Water”. It remains to be seen how the enthusiasts and participants of the World Storytelling Day 2011 will take full advantage of the theme as well as the event.
  11. 11. Introduction To Storytelling Storytelling is the art of conveying a series of events in words, images and sounds, which are often supported by creative thinking or an exaggeration. Stories have always been an integral pert of every culture as a means for entertaining, educating, besides preserving the culture. The main aim of this page is to offer you an introduction to storytelling day. The key elements of stories and storytelling include mainly the plot, characters and narrative point of view. The original forms of storytelling are believed to be primarily oral, while combining gestures and expressions. The ancient cultures reveal the story telling art in their times as elementary drawings scratched onto the walls of caves. Read on to know more about storytelling. Getting on with info on storytelling, the story, in the very early times was told using a mixture of oral narrative, music, rock art and dance. Sand, leaves and the carved trunks of living trees have also been used to document the stories in pictures or with writing. These were useful for the storyteller to remember the story. Storytelling conserves the oral language from previous cultures, while introducing it to the language of the present generation. The benefits of storytelling are many and varied. Presenting ideas and thoughts in a pleasurable way, it helps in bringing people together, making them part of a warm and personal shared experience. It also institutes a positive attitude towards stories and books. Children and students get motivated to read on their own after having a good session of storytelling. The rich and varied language patterns presented to the listener in a satisfying format, gives the opportunity for people of all ages to interact on a personal level. Storytelling encourages children to read. Opening the doors to the world of literature, it helps them to develop sequencing skills, oral language development and expanding language skills too. It also helps to increase attention spans and stimulates creativity and imagination among the listeners. Traditionally, oral stories, persistent in memory, have been passed from generation to generation. However, recent times, with the advent of new technology, written and televised media has largely exceeded this method of communicating. After this brief Storytelling intro, browse the place for other details on the subject of storytelling day..

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