Dancer, Singer, or Actor?
In Russia, there is no ballet dancer.
There are ballet actors.
There is no opera singer.
There are opera actors.
And drama players are called play actors.
Isn’t it so damn right?
A friend of mind in ballet society told me this and I was so impressed.
Of course, dancers are dancers, and singers are singers in their professions. But once they are in a story such as Swan Lake or Carmen, they must represent their characters. And once one takes on a character, s/he acts it. When the piece is a drama, the performer is an actor; not just a dancer or a singer. If not, the performer would be just a physical-skill-display (in this sense, dis-play is quite a proper word).
Artificial, Skills, or Artistry
The friend also told me that the most important thing in ballet is not physical skills nor musical senses, but artistry.
This is the very secret of any great stage arts.
Then we must discuss what is artistry and it would take several centuries. So for now, let’s say artists and performers all need to think about it all the time in making a piece of work. Then character-performers may come to think whether they are truly representing the characters’ minds and feelings or not.
In Japan, I have always been frustrated by the general attitude of opera “singers” and ballet “dancers” saying “We don’t need to learn how to act. We are singers or dancers, not actors.”
I, as once a teacher of drama-acting in the New National Theatre Ballet and Opera School, feel the need to tell them that acting or actor-training skill is tremendously useful for performing a character.
I am writing this in English because I need support from many artists who agree with this idea of using the words of ballet-actor and opera-actor rather than ballet-dancer and opera-singer.
In this blog, ELICA’s IKI, is to share the beauty of Japan and the world, but I myself is a performing artist and couldn’t help but write this, because I think it important for the general public, too.
There is a website of Live Interaction Internacional Institute
and I will put more articles about performing on stage.
Bye for now.