I am definitely the latter (pic via http://balletshoesandbobbypins.tumblr.com/)
As such, it's probably not much of a surprise that I prefer combinations and dances with fast tempos, attitude, and spunk (i.e. Don Quixote). However, over the past few months I've suddenly found a new appreciation and adoration for dances that are softer and more delicate.
The "a-ha!" moment of this change of preference came about because of the Les Sylphides variation I learned at my SI. It's not an adagio, but definitely not spunky; instead it uses a lot of port de bras, control, and has an overall softer feel (typical of the Romantic era, I think). I've been scouring the internet in search of the rest of the ballet (also known as Chopiniana if you also decide to search!) It is ridiculously pretty, with the dancers moving so gracefully, their romantic tutus swirling and floating around them. There are a few versions up on YouTube, and I'm having a hard time deciding which I like best (its sort of a toss-up between ABT and the Kirov right now).
Screen capture from American Ballet Theatre's 1984 production of Les Sylphides
The other day, I spotted a little article that listed various "types of ballerinas" and had the hardest time deciding which type I was (I forget where I originally saw this--I thought it was on another blog, but I haven't been able to track it back down!)
The article lists three different types:
- the "lyrical ballerina" who has "a dramatic air of wistful romanticism that casts grace on every step she takes";
- the "virtuosa ballerina" who is "vibrant, exuberant, and vivacious...danc[ing] every step with the spirit and fire of a Spanish maiden";
- and the "adagio ballerina" who " wows with her extensions and silky smooth port de bras."