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Technique or Personality?


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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%

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#16 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 26 March 2002 - 09:43 AM

What the heck - I thought I'd post this as a poll as well as a discussion. My longer, non-poll answer? I like technique, and definitely have a minimum cut-off for it, but that bar is at "reliable", not "virtuoso". But at the end of the day, I'm more interested in personality. Of course, give me a technician with personality and I'm a really happy balletgoer.

#17 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 26 March 2002 - 04:50 PM

I think you're quite right Estelle. Sometimes, technique is personality - or at least a part or a reflection of it. Legris is a good example of this, too.

I think we're a little lopsided on this issue, though. Those of you who adore brilliant technicians - SPEAK UP!

#18 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 26 March 2002 - 11:04 PM

It is complex, for something that seems simple, isn't it?

There are plenty of technicians out there I've adored (Merrill Ashley, Miranda Weese, now Jennie Somogyi and Ashley Bouder coming up) - but it was their personalities I loved. Ashley's bravery, Weese's wit, Somogyi's avidity, Bouder's heroism. . .technique is essential to these qualities in them - they couldn't be who they were without it. But it's what's above the technique that I love.

#19 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 28 March 2002 - 04:13 PM

What's all this fuss I hear about conserving our natural racehorses???

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. . ."

#20 BryMar1995

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Posted 01 May 2002 - 06:43 AM

Somehow I feel that "personality" isn't quite the right word. I feel as if that implies that a performer is or should be trying to draw attention to him or herself by smiling at the audience, being artificially coy, flirting or showing off. (When a dancers asks me, "Should I be smiling at the audience here? I always lose it, and have to count to 10. My weakness). "Persona" works better for me. To me that means how an artist is present in the dance. Technique, or maybe pyrotechnique, is certainly a component, as a dancer needs ability and confidence to wrap their artistry around a given role. Physical beauty is a plus but not always. Musicality, timeing and phrasing, spontanaeity, abandon, introspection, mystery, sensitivity, joy, openess, generousity, honesty and humility are traits that draw me to a dancer. Some of these traits can and should be taught in technique class. Some other traits we can support and encourage when training or coaching dancers. Some of these traits are simply (or maybe not so simply) part of what makes an individual unique and interesting as an artist. But if a dancer is trying to make the dance serve them by trying too hard to make the audience notice them, I usually hide behind my program - can't watch it. If they are overindulgent with physical ability or artificial expression, I am turned right off. On the other hand, if the dancer is serving the dance with skill, focus, joy, honesty, and generousity, I am more compelled. They reach me by drawing me in to them. I am no longer simply watching a dancer, I connect to a very special person. I am filled up with their dancing, and am grateful for their gift to me. That is artistry.

I often felt that the directive "Don't act! Just do the steps!" (Paraphrased here, I'm sure, and usually given for abstract ballets that are about, among other things, music and structure) is misleading or misunderstood (my opinion, of course, and not intended to offend). It means for me rather "Cut the histrionics! Listen to the music. Dance how you feel, and with everything you've got. But most of all, be yourself when you dance - as honestly and as openly as you can!"

Rick

#21 BryMar1995

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Posted 19 July 2002 - 06:59 PM

I think there's plenty of "technique" involved in a Fokine ballet (like Petrouchka, for example). It's just more subtle and less obvious than high legs, big jumps and multiple turns. Virtuoso techinique is only part of the palette a dance artist has to choose from in order to fulfill a role and move an audience.
Rick

#22 sarez

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Posted 23 June 2002 - 09:17 AM

Yes I agree... I had this teacher who had the most amazing technique, but when she danced there was no emotion on her face, it was like staring at a wall. Even though it is essential to have a certain emount of good technique, dancers also have the convey the story or emotion of what they're dancing.

#23 LaFilleMalGardee

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 08:05 AM

I didn't vote. I think that Technique and Personality should go together. A dancer with just personality you might look at and think ick! And then a dancer with just technique would be really boring.

#24 BalletNut

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Posted 26 March 2002 - 08:46 PM

I prefer personality too, but I admit it: I adore brilliant technicians. Not adequate ones, mind you, but brilliant! The ones that, after watching them, leave you breathless and tingly, and make you glad to be alive.

Wait a minute, I think I just described a brilliant personality. In the immortal words of Emily Litella, "Never mind." :D

#25 BalletNut

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Posted 27 March 2002 - 06:49 PM

Originally posted by Paul Parish
wHOEVER EMILY LITELLA IS, THAT'S A GREAT LINE TO BE FAMOUS FOR.


Paul, Emily Litella was a character from Saturday Night live in the late 1970s, played by the lovely, talented, and hiccup-inducing Gilda Radner. This character would be called upon to provide commentaries for Weekend Update, the evening news parody, on topics like Soviet Jewry, violence on television, and making Puerto Rico a state. Being a bit scatterbrained, she would then deliver commentaries on Soviet jewelry, violins on television, and--my favorite--making Puerto Rico a steak. ["If you make Puerto Rico a steak, the next thing they'll want is a baked potato!"] :P When the anchor corrected her she'd say, in her characteristic high pitched voice, "Oh, that's different. Never mind," and give a little smile.

Yes, ladies and gents, it's true: I don't spend my whole life immersed in intellectual and meaningful pursuits. :D

#26 BalletNut

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Posted 28 March 2002 - 04:32 PM

:D :D :P :D :P :D :P :D :P :D !!!!!

#27 beckster

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Posted 29 May 2002 - 04:26 AM

I voted for technique. The one thing I do love is seeing a perfect corps de ballet, where every single person is absolutely the same as everyone else. I think this is probably the hardest thing to do and I admire it. And I hate seeing a sloppy corps de ballet with legs and arms all at different angles. I wonder if I am unusual in seeing the big picture on the stage rather than the big names. I almost prefer the corps de ballet to the principals, if they are good.

#28 leibling

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Posted 01 April 2002 - 11:21 AM

I voted for personality- interpreting the poll to be asking for the difference between personality or amazing technique. What is interesting- someone mentioned this above, is that technique does enhance the personality. I don't mean the technique of thirty two double fouettes on a dime- I mean the "simple" technique of how to move the body.

#29 vrsfanatic

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Posted 27 March 2002 - 07:01 PM

Indeed, interesting results in this poll. For me, one must have technique even to be able to watch the personality. I have seen too many bad dancers with no technique and only personality. Yes, of course, also lots of technique and no personality also is a bore, but at least I can go off into a world of being mystified by the work ethic! There can always be hope with someone who has technique, but without that ...oh my goodness ballet is another thing!:rolleyes:

#30 Cabriole

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Posted 29 March 2002 - 02:52 PM

Ah, but isn't the purpose of technique to support the personality? Personality with a minimal technique means usually means a minimal range of expression. I will tease my students with: "Which would you prefer, the box of 8 crayons or the box with 64? Even if you never use, or rarely some of the colors, you want them should you need them." As with any artist, a dancer wants the largest 'palette' to choose from. The more supportive one's technique, the clearer the possibilities for articulate expression.


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