Jump to content


Technique or Personality?


  • Please log in to reply
59 replies to this topic

Poll: Technique or Personality? (5 member(s) have cast votes)

Technique or Personality?

  1. technique (33 votes [31.73%])

    Percentage of vote: 31.73%

  2. personality (71 votes [68.27%])

    Percentage of vote: 68.27%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 Estelle

Estelle

    Platinum Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,706 posts

Posted 26 March 2002 - 04:42 PM

When thinking about it, I realize that sometimes making the distinction between technique and personality isn't so easy- especially as one's personality has quite an influence on the way one works and one displays one's technique... For example, I think the extremely clean and precise technique of Manuel Legris has some link with his gracious, modest stage personality- it's hard to know what I like most in all that!

#2 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 15 September 2002 - 05:28 AM

I've refrained so far from commenting or voting on this thread until I sorted out what I think!

Now, at least I know what I think - I think that technique is the indispensible item; that it is the means through which the personality of the dancer is conveyed, and neither one is an end in itself, but are both media through which a fully realized performance take place.

The nice part about opinion questions is that your answer is always absolutely correct, because that's what you think. The only way I used to tell my Jr. high Social Studies students that they could get a bad mark on an opinion question was to say nothing at all.;)

#3 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,238 posts

Posted 26 March 2002 - 10:15 PM

I'm surprised at the lopsidedness of this poll too -- I think we have a lot to learn about polls :)

I couldn't come up with a better word than "personality" but this was hard for me to answer, too, because I saw Ballerina A, cold as steel, churning out fouettes, and Ballerina B, skipping across the stage without doing any real steps, but blowing kisses and looking absolutely adorable. (Of course, there are the ones who do fouettes AND blow kisses, but that's another story.) So I guess I read the differences as "robot" and "not a robot" -- which may not be fair. :D

#4 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,238 posts

Posted 28 March 2002 - 03:52 PM

Something bhough said above rang a bell with me:

It seems as if much of this mystical "personality" comes from within the artist themselves, however, and it is a shame that they aren't hiring personality with the potential to improve technique (and I am speaking in terms of a high level of technique).


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!

#5 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,238 posts

Posted 28 March 2002 - 04:36 PM

Leigh's example would seem to be one of personality overriding a strong technique.

#6 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,238 posts

Posted 29 March 2002 - 04:02 PM

Originally posted by Cabriole
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 :)

#7 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,238 posts

Posted 12 July 2002 - 11:46 AM

This is more "technque versus art", but that's a close cousin. I was speaking with a friend last night who is an illustrator, and she described her training this way: "I had what is called 'an easy hand' -- but that has nothing to do with art."

I thought it interesting that the art world broke this down so easily. We've had discussions before about a dancer's "facility" (inborn talent), which would be the equivalent of "an easy hand" -- he's a natural jumper, a born turner -- and that doesn't have anything to do with whether the person will develop into an artist or not.

#8 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,238 posts

Posted 14 July 2002 - 08:59 AM

Well, ballet has traditionally been a decade or two behind the other art forms as far as trends go. When do you think the "contempt for technique" will filter down to balletland? :)

#9 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,238 posts

Posted 14 July 2002 - 04:31 PM

I thihk there have been extreme technique--moderate technique swings in the past. Late 18th century, extreme technique; early Romantic period, (Taglioni, Bournonville) moderate technique. Late 19th century, extreme technique (all those Italians with pointes of steel bounding off marble floors). Early 20th century -- Fokine, especially -- almost anti-technique. Don't get caught turning. And definitely technique subservient to artistic expression.

Ashton, always the middle man, loved virtuosity, but used it like a spice. Balanchine, once accused of being all technique, all the time, seems positively chaste today. Technique subservient to artistic expression in a different way than Fokine, but still primarily interested in artistic expression.

I think much contemporary ballet is exactly analagous to your punk/garage band description, dirac :)

#10 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,081 posts

Posted 28 March 2002 - 03:12 PM

Maybe in another era where abstract ballet was not so dominant, we might have seen the reverse of the results we have here; people might have been begging for more technicians and fewer actors in tights. I can't choose, really, but I'll plump for technique, because if someone doesn't have it I'm not going to be wildly interested in his personality.


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.

#11 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,081 posts

Posted 14 July 2002 - 04:23 PM

The negation of technique sometimes has a positive purpose, in a cleaning-the-Augean-stables sense. In art, it has often been the reaction to art that was "empty" technique -- all about perfection of draughtmanship and looking pretty and nothing else. If I may be allowed to haul rock music in from left field, the punk/garage band movement was in part a reaction against the guitar virtuosi of a previous generation who may have started out as innovators but lapsed into self-indulgence -- endless and aimless jam sessions that went on forever, songs that meandered for ten minutes and counting, etc.



We've seen that kind of thing in modern dance but not in ballet; the technique is so rarefied and demanding (I don't mean to say necessarily superior) that I think it gives the form a sort of inherent conservatism in that respect.

#12 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,081 posts

Posted 17 September 2002 - 11:14 AM

Yes, exactly. You could even argue that a dancer with flawed technique can't really express his personality, lacking the means to do so.

#13 Nanatchka

Nanatchka

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 374 posts

Posted 09 April 2002 - 03:24 PM

"You need technique to free your spirit."
Martha Graham

#14 Andrei

Andrei

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 175 posts

Posted 27 March 2002 - 08:55 AM

You know what? I voted for technique! My first impulse was, of course, to choose personality, but then more I was thinkinig about it then more I understand that on the stage in BALLET performance I'd like to see the first of all a DECENT technique, which can't go lower of the certain level or the perfofmance will be spoiled. After this I will look for a) acting abilities B) interpretation of the role and only c) personality of the dancer, who can be beautiful or ugly, smart or stupid, honest or fibber.
All people have personalities, but not all of them can be dancers and just few of them have the rights to dance, let say, Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty". :)

#15 E Johnson

E Johnson

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 187 posts

Posted 26 March 2002 - 10:00 AM

Thanks for this poll. It made me realize that I have often said "i don't like dancer X, she's too cold" but never really said "I don't like Dancer Y, her technique is bad" -- unless Y's personality was such that it couldn't distract me from techinical problems. Even though if asked why I like particular dancers, I know part of my answer would be "perfect technique." An epiphany, if a minor one.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):