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Athleticism + Artistry

by Maxine Patronik

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One of the reasons I think dance is so interesting to do, or to watch, is because it is the blend of so many different elements: focus, control, mental strength, physical strength, technique, and expression. I could go on for days, since there are so many things that go into any dance form.

In particular, the two things that I think come together to form the perfect dancer are athleticism, or technique, and artistry. The athleticism and pure physicality that is seen in various different sports, from hockey to football, is extremely evident when just looking at a dancer’s body. Take one look at Misty Copeland, and you’ll know what I mean. Technique is especially important in ballet, including clean footwork, turnout, and more. But dancers don’t just have strong, fit bodies that can execute combinations. Artistry is what separates dance from just a sport; it transforms it into an art form.

The thing that is so important about these two elements: the technical, physical side and the artistic side, is that they must work together in your dancing. You cannot just have perfect form and technique, because that would be absolutely boring to watch. The audience doesn’t really care if you can whip out a quadruple pirouette if they can’t connect to you emotionally. It’s not all about the tricks. You need that additional element of artistry, where you show the audience why you’re dancing, not just what you’re doing physically. Artistry is where you make your own choices, where you connect, where you express, and for me, it’s one of the things that makes dancing most worthwhile.


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