I went to a rehearsal for the Swan Lake Tribute to the 75th birthday of the amazing ballerina Elaine Thomas. The Dance Theater of Tennessee, where Elaine teaches now, hosts the event at Harpeth Hall Auditorium, Nashville.
I was mesmerized by the grace and beauty the rehearsing dancers exhibited as they readied themselves for the evening gala performance. Still mostly in their warmup attire, they appeared weightless, like they could fly at will. But of course, they were also sitting around as in the picture above conserving their energy for the illusion of effortless the public would see.
The best performance art, whether dance, music, acting, singing... requires not only effort but ALL of the artist. One has to be
- Trained in the craft... form is everything and it must be so ingrained as to be intuitive.
- Prepared, physically and mentally... without preparation, the artist cannot reach the peak performance otherwise attainable. And the unprepared performing artist can get hurt!
- Balanced.... and yes, balance can be the supreme achievement for an artist.
- Wise in the choices made... performing arts all require instant choices. Hold the pose just so long... sing the lick or not... play with a certain touch... write THIS sentence instead of THAT one... turn the eyes just so in that scene, etc.
- Healthy. No brainer.