Monday, November 15, 2004

Enter: the Critic

In dance, what the audience sees often contradicts the actual physical feelings experienced by the dancer. “She makes turning look so effortless.” Perhaps similarly, in music, what the listener hears may differ greatly from what the performer, through gesture, conveys. “Flailing limbs, contorted mouth … that piece sure did look hard.” An interplay of oppositions, however, is not without purpose; the “great” artists know this and consider it another component of their technique. Imagine the incongruity a musician faces in their daily practice, developing internal muscle memories to serve one singular, external representation--the performance. Ultimately, only the performer can assess whether or not the statement on the stage delivers its full measure of conviction, authority … potency. Maybe an accurate critique of a performance relies on something the audience can never witness: the internal, known only to the performer and thus unquantifiable, and its intrinsic relationship to the external, or what is perceived (and often misinterpreted) by the audience. In music, dance, art and life, a qualitative judgement is really only one side of the coin, one person's story meant to captivate others.

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This is what we strive to learn and understand. It's what we practice for years and years, in class after class. The quality of our work is aesthetic, but it's an aesthetic that is, essentially, functional."

--Deborah Isaacson, teaching Sunday's ballet class

By Blogger Heather, at 2:39 PM  

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