Tonight was simple to decipher. The Italians have a word for it - sprezzatura. Virtually impossible to translate, but easy to spot - achievement without apparent effort and with natural ease (however much one has sweated and sworn in real life to get there). (Well of course it would be an Italian word - they are world champions at this subtle art - "Oh, this old thing...", upon being complimented on their agonisingly expensive new Armani suit, bought at the expense of months of dinners etc; and the nonchalant chucking of growly, flat red sports cars around suicidal bends at unbelievable speeds whilst chatting ten to the dozen and never failing to appreciate a beautiful woman en route...) Ah yes, this quality was definitely in evidence tonight, in a ridiculously talented German gypsy whose music never fails to leave me uplifted and full of positive energy. There's not a heck of a lot in common between his music and mine, but the spirit of what he is doing is catching, and thank goodness for that.
In similar vein, I was talking last night to a dancer colleague. Our conversation ranged interestingly across several disciplines, and we were in the middle of a discussion about Impressionism, when her expression went blank for a moment (I hurriedly reviewed what I had been saying for instant-boredom factor, and crossed my fingers...). Her eyes focused again, and what she said took me totally by surprise.
"This region on you," she said, indicating with an elegant sweep of the hand the collarbone/shoulder conjunction, "...so smooth and rounded; this is how I aspire to dance."
A view of the world which had never occurred to me!! Translating someone's physical attributes into a way of movement. Amazing! I immediately thought, well maybe we could work together to exchange views on, say, audition pieces - how would a dancer interpret my posture? And how interesting would it be to argue about a dancer's view of musical interpretation, and how much we might learn from that!
One thing we were definitely in agreement on. As an artist; as a human being: you learn or wither. Might not be the easiest thing to continue learning and admit that perfection is never within one's grasp, but damn it, it's a sight more interesting!