Saturday, October 19, 2013

Competitive Artistry?

I know I should stop talking about artistry, especially after last week's coded language posts. But I just came across this piece in The New Republic about ballet competitions and thought it applied to the gymternet's never-ending discussion of artistry.

Alice Robb's piece is called "Ballet Is In Crisis Because It's Turning Into A Sport." In it, she observes the detrimental impact that dance competitions are having on the art form. She writes:

“The curious thing about dance now, and ballet in particular," Jennifer Homans recently argued in The New Republic, "is that it has taken the form but left the feeling. Artists today seem more attached to form than perhaps ever before—wedded to concept, abstraction, gymnastic moves and external appearance.” This dearth of feeling might have something to do with the growth of competition culture, in which artistry is scored and treated as just another variable.

In essence, this is exactly what gymnastics has done or tried to do. "Artistry" is another component of the score (in this CoP a deduction that is supposed to be applied if it is judged to be absent). But artistry is far too complex to be assigned a simple numerical value, whether as reward or punishment. How do you measure feeling? Or connection?

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