CriticalDance Forum

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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:02 am ]
Post subject:  Virtuosity

In the Village Voice, Deborah Jowitt discusses whether audience enthusiasm for ever greater displays of virtuosity in performance is a positive a positive thing for the art form.

Village Voice

Author:  crandc [ Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Virtuosity

VERY belated reply.

I was sent the video from the Chinese National Circus where the woman balances on the man's head. I think it's worthwhile to remember this is the Chinese National Circus and not the Chinese National Ballet. In the circus, part of the show is superhuman balances and contortions. What would be inappropriate for ballet, and I agree this would be, is enirely appropriate for the circus. After all, we don't expect tightrope walkers or trapeze artists in ballet, either.

That being said, I think I approach the question of virtuosity with the idea of whether it is in context. Sort of like eroticism. A bunch of near-nude people gyrating for the sake of titillation is unsuitable for ballet but in context erotic dance is fine. Does the virtuosity add to the ballet? Or is it just "stick in as many really really hard moves as you can"?

Because, you know, for the vast majority of the audience, part of the joy of ballet is watching dancers do, with apparent ease, something we know we could not do in a million years!

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