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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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#31 PK

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Posted 05 June 2002 - 07:33 AM

It's expected for a dancer in a top company to have great technique.But much more rare is the dancer with what you may refer to as personality-I call it musicality,soul,the extra quality I don't always see alongside that technique.

#32 Allegrovitch

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Posted 28 March 2002 - 09:14 AM

There have been times when attending a performance in which all the dancers were at a very high level technically, yet still left one asking, "Is that all there is?"

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.

#33 piccolo

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Posted 29 July 2002 - 01:11 PM

I am excited by brilliant technique. But I remember personality.

Great art -- in both the fine arts as well as performing arts -- is something you connect with emotionally. Technique can be stimulating but a great personality can reach inside of your core and make you feel deeply.

#34 casloan

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Posted 30 March 2002 - 07:06 AM

Truly incredible technique can be breathtaking. But technique at such an exalted level is rare.

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.

#35 Guest_pavlovadancer_*

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 01:38 AM

Originally posted by bhough
I am finding this discussion quite interesting, as I have been experiencing the mostly painful process of company auditions.  It seems almost impossible to demonstrate your "personality" at the typical audition, when bar work and combinations are what the auditioners are looking at.  That seems to be what gets you the initial acceptance into a company and then they work on personality.  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).  I would much rather watch an "artist" with some technical flaws  then a "technician" with artistic flaws.  After all, isn't this what dance, and ballet in particular, is all about?


I do agree with bhough, however, if you are all personality that certainly not appealing, as is all technique.

#36 BW

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Posted 28 March 2002 - 05:07 AM

Hey, Balletnut, the old Saturday Night Live was anintellectual and meaningful pursuit! However, it was your line about brilliancy that got me:

The ones that, after watching them, leave you breathless and tingly, and make you glad to be alive.  


That's what I go to the ballet for.:D

#37 BW

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Posted 26 March 2002 - 10:44 AM

I'm sure anyone could guess my vote: personality that catches my eye is what draws me to "love" a particular dancer...although I do appreciate what my eye sees as a high level of technique...granted my vision's not 20/20. :D

I hope this poll will get many, many votes cast and then perhaps you can publish it and send it off to various artistic directors and their money people!

#38 BW

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Posted 27 March 2002 - 04:25 AM

Thank you all so much for your posts - it really does help to hear your details. Since I am not that well versed in the ballet world, reading your descriptions of people (many of whom I have seen) really helps me clarify my own feelings, and I also think it will help me to look at the individual dancers differently... It would be great to see a performance with you all and then discuss it afterwards! :D

#39 BW

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Posted 27 March 2002 - 04:27 PM

You know I never even considered that side of this subject! Thanks for bringing this upbhough, and I hope that some others in the field will respond...I'm sure they will later on tonight.

#40 BW

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Posted 31 March 2002 - 05:48 AM

As Casloan wrote:

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.


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.:D Afraid to say that this production lost on both counts!

#41 BW

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Posted 31 March 2002 - 07:43 PM

Well, Paul, maybe it was just an off night for them or a "bad hair day" - the wigs that a number of the men wore were certainly horrible:rolleyes: yes, wigs! I think it was to give them a courtly look or something but they were stiff and obviously Wig-like. The odd thing was that other male dancers within the corps did not have wigs on - most had short hair except one or two with shoulder length hair that had it slicked back and held in place with bobby pins... OK, so I had my binoculars but I have never, ever been able to see bobby pins in anyone's hair - and I could see them in all the women's too! It kind of spoils the magic, if you know what I mean!

Now my comments are all going to be based on impressions - not their technique as I am not capable of seeing all the particulars of that. Their costumes were not very attractive either - no colors except black, white, a somber gold and maybe a brown... What happened to the Spanish dancer's red? Instead the dancer who had the lead in the Spanish Princess's dance had a white romantic tutu with black swirls placed strategically over each breast so that she reminded me either of some sort of Valkyrie or a stripper. It was very distracting to see these bulls eyes on her bodice!

In my opinion there not much "life" was shown by the dancers. I didn't detect any joy or electricity... I happen to like Swan Lake and this one just didn't have any drama that seemed believable in it...the "acting" was seriously lacking on Saturday night.

I also found it a bit presumptuous to read in the program that he was "considered the greatest living choreographer in the world today"!

As I said, maybe it was an off night Paul...I hope so.

#42 BW

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Posted 31 March 2002 - 08:20 PM

I believe you too Paul! And your point is well taken about everyone's claims as to their own choreographer being "the best". :D

#43 BW

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Posted 11 July 2002 - 04:39 AM

I was reading the Quotable Quotes this morning and thought this one quite apropos! I've taken an excerpt from the whole piece which Katharine Kanter so nicely posted.

Atylnai Assylmuratova, interview with M. Haegemann  

...The technique was present alright, but it was never there just for the sake of technique. The accent was first and foremost on emotion. However, now it's all about high legs. I consider that a serious problem. All we seem to think about today is how high the legs can go, but there is hardly any concern anymore about form, plastique, harmony, and about what's coming from inside, about soul....


To read more:
http://www.balletale...15&pagenumber=1

#44 ballet_shalom_forever

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Posted 22 June 2002 - 04:18 PM

did anyone say...Staurday night Live ?!?!?! hehe

anyways, I've noticed that soem dancers have SUCH great presence on stage that it's hard to say "her turn out is ony 176 dergees" because they radiate charme and confidence...I can't stand to watch dancers with blank faces, for me, it would just take the focus away from the technique.
b_s:)

#45 bhough

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Posted 27 March 2002 - 02:27 PM

I am finding this discussion quite interesting, as I have been experiencing the mostly painful process of company auditions. It seems almost impossible to demonstrate your "personality" at the typical audition, when bar work and combinations are what the auditioners are looking at. That seems to be what gets you the initial acceptance into a company and then they work on personality. 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). I would much rather watch an "artist" with some technical flaws then a "technician" with artistic flaws. After all, isn't this what dance, and ballet in particular, is all about?


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