Technique vs. Feeling

2008 November 27

Violinist from MC Rai - 2 BW by my hovercraft is full of eels, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by  my hovercraft is full of eels

Which one is most important? Technique or dancing with feeling? I sometimes get the impression that tango dancers are divided in two camps, the technique camp and the feelings camp. The first emphasizes the technical matters of the dance, the latter paying solely attention to the feeling. As long as we can hug each other, all is well 😉 Both seemingly ignoring the other point of view completely. As a matter of fact, I used to get a little annoyed by people who dismissed technique and just wanted to be in the embrace, feeeeeling.

By what interests me nowadays, I can easily be mistaken for belonging in the feelings camp. I find the technical extravaganzas of many performances quite boring at times, as they convey no emotional content whatsoever (to me, that is). So have I moved to the other camp?

Not really, I would rather say I belong in the both are necessary camp. I just heard an interview on the radio with a conductor visiting one of the major symphony orchestras here, and he made the following statement about the two leading violinists in the orchestra (quoted as I remember it):

They have very good technique, which allows them to express their musicality.

And this is at the heart of the matter. You need good technique. You need it to express your musicality through your dance. You should work hard to improve it, but technique alone will not do. It is a necessary condition, but hardly sufficient.

And just as the music critics rather discuss the interpretation of an orchestra or musician, I think the artistic interpretation is more interesting to discuss than the technical points. Technique is simple, really: all you need is good teachers and a lot of practice…

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