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Less than Great Dancers with Perfect Technique

Mel Johnson

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A neighboring thread asks about great dancers with less than perfect technique. The topic struck me as a ballet version of a contrapositive of theodicy: "If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, why is there evil in the world?" Sometimes this question is phrased as, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" or even more interestingly, "Why do good things happen to BAD people?"

Any nominees for the less-than-great, but perfectly technical dancer?

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Arne Bech :) He was a Danish dancer from the late '60s through early '80s. "He was a textbook," one current Danish principal told me. He always did the pas de six -- the role without the solo. He was technically perfect. And totally, absolutely, bland. Today he'd undoubtedly be a principal :)

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Gen Horiuchi had incredibly finely centered pirouettes -- you could see the thinnest of threads running through his plumb line -- and big, big jumps (especially for such a little guy). But so what?

I know this will raise a few hackles here, but I never enjoyed Merrill Ashley, whose overall technique was duly legendary, except when she was going 90 mph. I needed a more expressive upper body at moderate tempi, and she just never gave it to me.

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