Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two Ways to Tango

Want to be an expert in your field? Well, it seems there are two ways of going about the process of perfecting your craft: Rigorous Study and Following the Muse.

Free-form dancer, Lil' Buck, and the multiple Grammy®-winning cellist, Yo-Yo Ma,  collaborate in this performance to show us the two methods side by side. Yo-Yo Ma started studying violin at four years old, and went on to earn degrees at Julliard and Harvard. (Rigorous Study example numero uno.) Lil' Buck is the stage name of Charles Riley, a twenty-two-year old L.A.-based street dancer who uses a Memphis-born style called jookin'. It reads like a cross between ballet and hip-hop, and is considered a form of self-expression that is a response to the harsh realities of inner city life. In other words, it may be choreographed, but the Muse is Leading the way in this form. These two artists approach their work from two very different angles, but their results are equally astounding.

Remember the scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Cameron is starring at a painting, and the camera moves in closer and closer until all you can see are dots of color? (If not, pause reading and watch immediately.) Well my friends, that painting is a perfect example of Pointillism, the original Rigorous Study champion of the visual art world.

Now contrast that with Paul Gauguin leaving the center of the art world for primitive Tahiti in order to make authentic art, unspoiled by cultured society -- total Following the Muse move. 

You see where I'm going here.

The interesting thing about these two potential paths two success though, is that they are not mutually exclusive. On the one hand, you need to know the rules in order to successfully break them. On the other, work that is all technique and no spontaneity is lifeless.

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