Technique or Personality?
Posted 27 March 2002 - 07:01 PM
Posted 27 March 2002 - 09:57 PM
That reminds me of the Lithuanian joke," A chicken is not a bird, and Poland is not a foreign country."
Ah yes, we need more wit onstage..... I've seen dancers at City Ballet for example who were so dull it was unbelievable -- soloists like the dreary Theresa R -- in Diamonds -- who couldn't do tombe pas de bourree pas de chat interestingly -- Diamonds has got a LOT of potentially deadly passages...
Think on the other hand of Stephanie Saland, who did not have a reliable cabriole (see the Bournonville Divertissements), and they had to drench the stage in Coca Cola, I'm told, to make it sticky enough for her to be presentable in the tours de fini without falling out of them at hte end of Western Symphony, but WHAT A WONDERFUL DANCER she was, in fact, she was a principal dancer, at New York City Ballet, no less, where technique is supposed to be all in all...... She had such feeling, and such style, and such line and musicality.... What a creature she was.... I didn't see her live much, but I'll never forget her at the end of Serenade, being borne offstage like she was entering into Paradise...
Posted 28 March 2002 - 05:07 AM
That's what I go to the ballet for.
Posted 28 March 2002 - 09:14 AM
After a dancer reaches a certain high level of proficiency, one looks for more than simply technique. Otherwise, they may as well be gymnast or athletes, not artists.
Obviously, having technique or personality to the exclusion of the other is not desirable. The brilliant dancer Erik Bruhn wrote a wonderful article, "Beyond Technique" (anyone know where to find it now?) that best describes the next level a dancer like himself would want to pursue for optimum artistic growth.
Posted 28 March 2002 - 03:12 PM
Emily Litella was also hard of hearing. I recall in particular her performance of "I Will Follow Him," which she rendered as "I love him/I love him/I love him/And where he goes I'll swallow, I'll swallow, I'll swallow/I will swallow him...." at which point she was corrected by a grim Jane Curtin.
Posted 28 March 2002 - 03:48 PM
I'll swallow, I'll swallow.."
Emily Litella, Emily Litella,
you SLAY me, you SLAY me, you SLAY me...............
Posted 28 March 2002 - 03:52 PM
A teacher at a comparatively small company without a large talent pool on which to draw told me once: "We take people and make them dancers. Other companies take dancers and try to make them people."
I can't believe I've gone along these many years without ever hearing about Emily Litella!
Posted 28 March 2002 - 04:13 PM
An Emily Litella Fairy is suddenly coalescing in my mind - the one who rushes into the Prologue of Sleeping Beauty to do, full out and with conviction, Moyna or Zulma's part from Giselle or Gamzatti's variation. Until someone (The Jane Curtin Fairy?) tugs the hem of her tutu and says. "This is Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty. Not Giselle."
"Oh! Never mind. . ."
Posted 28 March 2002 - 04:36 PM
Posted 29 March 2002 - 02:52 PM
Posted 29 March 2002 - 04:02 PM
Ah, but isn't the purpose of technique to support the personality?
Beautifully put, Cabriole. I'd say yes, and I'd vote for that one
Posted 30 March 2002 - 07:06 AM
For me, technique that is at a somewhat lower level, that is "merely" excellent, is not enough. Too many dancers today seem soul-less to me
(although that may in part be due to their having to dance the dreck that often passes for choreography lately).
What is also essential to my appreciation of a dancer is his or her recognition that there is an audience out there. It seems to me that acknowledging and seeking to engage the audience have become increasingly rare.
Posted 31 March 2002 - 05:48 AM
I'm not certain that I can say it's rare, although after last night maybe I can! However, I can say that it certainly makes a big difference! That connection is part of what a performance is all about...to me, anyway.
Last night we attended The Grigorovich Ballet's version of Swan Lake - it was convienent... Well, it was not very good. From my ballet dancing daughter's point of view, the technique was sorely lacking - the men didn't point their toes, the very young woman that played Odette/Odile was not well turned out - apparently only one side was somewhat...etc. From my point of view, which is more of a gut level response type, it just was missing "something"....Odette just didn't have the pathos needed for her role...she was better as Odile.... Only about one of the princesses showed that she was trying to attract the Prince! Without going any farther, my point is that I think that I am "spoiled" having seen NYCB and ABT's versions and this was just plain boring. Afraid to say that this production lost on both counts!
Posted 31 March 2002 - 09:45 AM
Please go on ,and say some more -- what did you think they were trying to do?
I haven't seen his company since it was the Bolshoi, back before the Fall of the Iron Curtain, when the Soviets poured all their resources into it.....
But even then, the Bolshoi was a turned-in company -- they never have turned out very much, and it was a shock to me to see the ballerina, Bessmertnova -- who was married to Grigorovich -- just barely turned out, doing all sort of things "Wrong," and yet just one of he most glorious, heartreaking, tragically beautiful things I'd ever seen........
THeir way of dancing was so heroic, their way of connecting with us was not to"acknowledge' us, that would be too much like a merely social gesture -- as if Artur Rubenstein had treated us as if we'd come over to borrow the lawnmower-- but like we were going to church, and this was going to be something where we left our personalities behind and paid attention to WHAT's REALLY GOING ON....... It meant there was a LOT of stylizing of hte ballets -- like in Romeo and Juliet, even hte DUke when he saw all the dead bodies in the marketplace did en dedans pirouettes (or something) to express his wrath.....
But in the course of a whole evening, it all added up to something.....
I don't know what kind of resources Grigorovich has got now -- he's been out of office at hte Bloshoi for quite a while -- financial, or even more important in terms of what artists are wanting to dance with... but I'll always think of him as a major talent
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