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Force of nature or 99% perspiration?


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I've been thinking a lot about what a dancer has to start with in order to be a great ballet dancer. Does she have to begin as a force of nature or can she develop her talent through hard work and scrupulous training? Is it, in other words, about a certain kind of animal power that has to be, to use a cliche, "tamed" (Nureyev), or an inner artist emerging through pursuing her ambition with rigorous practice (Merrill Ashley)?

I know reality involves a combination of these features, and that there may be other ways to define these artistic "polarities," but which prevails in YOUR favorite dancers? Which do you enjoy watching more, and why?

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Korbes would have been nowhere without the work and, being injury-prone, the emotional fortitude to come back after many injuries, but when Peter Boal saw her and danced with her in Apollo when she was 14, he knew and convinced her parents to allow her to move to NYC as a young teen not speaking English.

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