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altongrimes

DRIVEN

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 I find it remarkable that as highly trained as dancers are, that they are also highly driven to perform. That in a very real sense, they without us, an actively participating and hopefully passionate audience, are not made complete. It is both humbling and exciting to realize that their superlative gift is, in fact, precisely that, a gift to us all and that they are therefore driven to bring that gift to us. In an interview, Diana Vishneva was candid to admit that she has sometimes felt like quiting her craft due to the rigors of the way but quickly recaptures her commitment to the art form upon experiencing the effusive and poignant reactions of her audience.

 

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vipa   

Interestingly I have known a few dancers who love class (the perfecting of technique) and rehearsal (the development of a piece) more than actual performing.  I think it's far from the majority, but there are dancers who see performing as the "price" they pay for getting to play in the studio.

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Quiggin   

In his new book Before Pictures, Douglas Crimp mentions that when his fellow art critic and ballet goer Craig Owens finally meets Suzanne Farrell, he excitedly tells her he's seen every one of her performances to which she replies, "oh, you're one of those."

 

So I wonder, along the lines of Vipa's comment, that there are dancers who are concerned mostly with the craft of what they're doing, like Farrell perhaps, perfecting that rather than "performing".

 

Also there are "in the box" ballets – like Liebeslieder & Ballet Imperial among the Balanchine ballets – where dancers are inward and are cut off from the audience and the audience doesn't matter, if anything is an intrusion. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux is done frontally for an audience, but Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Symphony in C have both inward and outward facing sections.

 

And in the end the relation of the audience may be only a marriage of convenience. They look past each other and have different needs and ways of apprehending each other.

 

Dancers face a sea of eyes, not individuals. It's an aural mirror that changes from night to night and one in which they listen for their reflections.

 

The audience looks at the ballet in a saccadic method, sampling bits of this and that, losing interest now, picking up different bits later, seeing different ballets every night. Half the audience wants no surprises, half the audience only surprises.

Edited by Quiggin
missing word

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18 hours ago, vipa said:

Interestingly I have known a few dancers who love class (the perfecting of technique) and rehearsal (the development of a piece) more than actual performing.  I think it's far from the majority, but there are dancers who see performing as the "price" they pay for getting to play in the studio.

 

There is a documentary about Marcia Haydée in which she talks about working in a studio with a choreographer on a new ballet as the most satisfying thing about being a dancer, and about the performance being almost an afterthought.

 

I also remember a clip in which Lauren Cuthbertson talked about how nerve-racking it was for her to go out on stage, and that if it weren't for the applause and the flowers, she "would so be at home watching Netflix."

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As I sit here allowing the audible version of Apollo's Angels to wash over my creative soul, I encountered the following quote attributable to Jerome Robbins: "You should never dance anything for the audience. It ruins it if you do. You should dance only to each other as if the audience wasn't there. It's very hard". This pronouncement is then in direct opposition to my initial premise that "performers are, in fact, driven to perform, and that they without us, an alert and actively participating audience, are not made complete". So much for my generalization. Even so, I remain intrigued by this notion and wonder at what percentage of the dance community has at it's core the drive to bring their gift to an audience. After all, I can't imagine that Marlon Brando's formidable gift was a treasure to be shared among only a select few. 

Edited by altongrimes
grammar

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