A contrast between a highly-skilled, perfectionist virtuoso and a less-skilled, but more inventive and original, artist. This is a plot common to stories that focus on the arts (such as painting or writing), or sports that require mixing physical ability with creativity (such as dancing or skating).
Say two people have the same hobby. One is our heroine Alice, the other is The Rival, Betty. Betty has been dancing for years. She's highly thought of in her field, her mentors find her a dream to teach, and all the male students are desperate to be her partner. She's up at the crack of dawn, spending hours in front of the mirror going over every single move, ironing out every tiny imperfection. She's so devoted to her art that she has little time for anything else - sometimes extending to issues with her family, such as a domineering parent/coach who's trying to live vicariously through their child. Her dancing may be flawless but she may have a love-hate relationship with her art; secretly resenting the long hours of practice, for example, or angry that she had to give up a romantic interest because her teachers were worried that he'd distract her from dancing, or maybe she wants to be perfect, but can't meet her own standards.
Alice isn't as capable. She sleeps in. Her daydreaming drives the teacher up the wall. No matter how hard she tries, there is always one move that she can never quite pull off. Nevertheless she loves to dance, and her passion comes out in every performance. Even if she lands flat on her tail, she leaves the audience smiling. Unlike Betty, she probably has a close group of friends, a solid family background, and an optimistic outlook on life. If her pastime stops being fun, she'll stop doing it.
As long as they're competing for marks, Betty will win every time. Put the pair in front of an audience, however, and it's a different story.
The audience doesn't know what to make of Betty. They're pretty sure she's good, but she spent the whole performance with a face like a wet weekend. She may not even have her own personal style: instead, she mimics the technique of other more successful artists. Alice is much more interesting. She turned a pratfall into a quirky dance move, made faces at the kid in the front row and laughed her way through the final act. Betty will likely spend most of the next episode wondering what Alice did to get a standing ovation, while all she got was a polite smattering of applause.
Betty's "mistake" is usually that she dances for an impersonal ideal that others expect of her, while Alice dances for the sheer joy of the art. Some people watching won't realize exactly what a "perfect performance" is, but they know when the cast are enjoying themselves...and even those in the audience who do know what perfection is would rather see originality and entertainment.
Red Oni, Blue Oni rivalries where the two are rivals in the same field often feature this with the blue oni as the Technician and the red as the Performer. Since blue types are often loners or social misfits who put a lot of importance on their one extraordinary ability, having their red counterpart outperform them (even if only in the mind of the audience) can lead to some nasty results or a breakdown.
If they can reconcile, Defeat Means Friendship will take hold, and the girls will each learn from each other: Betty will learn to loosen up and rediscover the joy of her art, and Alice will try and emulate Betty's dedication and practice.
Obviously, the form that Alice's "originality" manifests itself in will depend on the art/sport she's involved in. She might be an imaginative writer who can't spell, or a painter of simplistic, cheerful paintings in an art school full of students obsessed with complexity. She may be the ice skater who zooms around the ice happily, but can't quite pull off that tricky spin, or a musician that finds sheet music boring and likes to jazz them up with their own variations (with varying degrees of success). Whatever the scenario, the individuality that makes her "imperfect" is the same individuality that endears her to anyone watching.
Generally, the narrative will be in favour of the enthusiastic performer (who sometimes has The Gift, but not always) rather than the diligent technician. This can be seen as a Family-Unfriendly Aesop, since it means undermining the hours of practice the technician has put in to get to that level. At its best, the trope sings the praises of enjoying yourself and being unique; at its worst, it implies that superior skill hamstrings individuality.
Differs slightly from (but is related to) Hard Work Hardly Works. In this trope, there is no denying that the Technician is usually better at what they do, but the Performer is more fun to watch, while Hard Work Hardly Works adds insult to injury by giving a cheerful slacker superior skill than those around them who actually practice. Also similar to Weak, but Skilled; similar in that there is a better trained performer against a stronger or more talented rival, but different in that the one with the best training wins, usually through cleverness and skill. If paired with Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training, then the Family-Unfriendly Aesop can get worse as it implies not only is hard work foolish, but harmful.
Contrast the Villainy-Free Villain and Opposing Sports Team.
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Anime & Manga
Battle Angel Alita: Discussed when Alita plays motorball; she's a skilled fighter and wins a lot of races, but (she is told) she doesn't belong with the true motorballers, who value causing spectacle and drawing in audiences above winning or even surviving.
Dragon Ball Z: In a way Vegeta is the Technician to Goku's performer. Vegeta trains and fights to be the strongest fighter in the universe, he also never spars, pushes himself waaaay too hard and his pride won't allow him to ask for help. Goku trains and fights because he loves it and is willing to learn from and train with others. In the end Goku is the better fighter despite not taking his training as seriously as Vegeta.
The best example, however, has to be Tien. Serious, introducing new and effective techniques every time he gets to fight, and, despite becoming unable to catch up in the arc following his introduction, he just doesn't stop training. When a mere human manages to hold Cell in place, or deflect one of Super Buu's attacks, you know his technique just doesn't compare.
Kaleido Star: Sora is the Performer; Leon and May are mainly Technicians. Layla, however, has both traits despite her Defrosting Ice Queen persona. Marion lampshades this when she comments on Sora's incompetence as part of the reason she's such a crowd pleaser: knowing that she might screw up keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Unlike Leon (too racked with guilt and angst to enjoy what he does) and May (too intent on winning to care about the audience), Sora loves her job and plays to the crowd... and sometimes too hard.
Heavily lampshaded later, when Katie chewed Leon and May out during the Romeo and Juliet rehearsals. She basically tells them "A selfish Romeo who only cares about his own splendor? A cowardly Juliet who seems scared and diminished? Don't make me laugh you guys, you epically SUCK!"
Of note: a good part of May's Character Development comes from her training to become more of a Performer, dropping the flaws that her Technician side brings her. This offers parallels with her going from a self-absorbed Jerk Ass to a more selfless but still Hot-BloodedTsundere.
Don't forget Rosetta versus Sora early in season one. Rosetta starts as a stellar technician whose act looks like a "Diavolo machine". According to Kalos, she looks so cold and mechanical when performing, that the audience gets bored despite all the skill she develops; therefore, he teams her up with Sora so Rosetta can learn how to enjoy herself more so she'll win the audience's love. When she does becomes more of a performer thanks to Sora's help, he lampshades this by saying "Rosetta has finally become a performer".
Mazinger Z and its sequel, Great Mazinger: Koji Kabuto and Tetsuya Tsurugi have distinct ways to pilot their respective Humongous Mecha. Kouji is the Technician, who uses his weapons in a normal way -such as Mazinger's Photon-powered Eye Beam as a long range weapon-, combining them with pure brute force and Combat Pragmatism. Tetsuya is the performer who combines his own Combat Pragmatism by using Great's wide arsenal of weapons in an unorthodox way -such as shooting Thunder Break with both weapons or using it to turning his swords into Lightning rods, his surprisingly weird way of handling swords, or covering Great with Breast Burn heat energy (a movement which later would be adapted in Super Robot Wars Alpha and turned into Mazinkaisers Kaiser Nova).
Duck, in Princess Tutu, is so inherently clumsy that not even her passion for ballet can land her a leading role, but her performance does inspire a melancholy yet brilliant ballerina to find her own style rather than mimicking others.
Briefly mentioned in Fullmetal Alchemist, where Winry and Cheska debate over whether cooking is a science or an art.
The Swan manga takes a different approach to this - heroine Masumi's originality and enthusiasm take her a long way, true...but it doesn't always triumph against her rivals, who often have superior skill on top of originality.
Played in Skip Beat! with Kyoko and Kanae. While in the beginning it seemed that both were going to develop a Performer/Technician rivalry, soon it's revealed that Kanae, while more of a Technician actress than Kyoko, is able to pull Performer-like stunts when needed... and for a while, is Kanae who loves more her selected career (Kyoko was there more for the fame-making potential she needed for her revenge, until she grows). Besides, both girls are in the Love Me team, a division for people who, while very talented, still lacks a certain quality who drives the public to likes them.
Nodame Cantabile initially seems to set up this kind of conflict between uptight perfectionist Chiaki and quirky free spirit Nodame, particularly when their mentor Stresemann criticizes Chiaki's performance of Rachmanioff for lacking "sexiness." The conflict never materializes, however; Chiaki, despite his more technician-like approach to his art, regularly stuns audiences with the quality of his performances, and his technical skill is accompanied by a genuine love of and passion for music. Meanwhile, although Nodame also loves music and has a natural talent which Chiaki recognizes immediately, the fact that she takes it much less seriously and lacks Chiaki's drive proves to be a problem which hinders her performances.
The trope is deconstructed in Nodame Cantabile, in that neither pure technician nor pure performer is right or better for classical music. A classical musician should have the mix of both. It is also implied that there is no right mix either. Chiaki and Kuroki are more towards the technician part, while Nodame and Jean Donnadieu are more towards the performer part. All of them are celebrated, but just in different ways, and it's difficult to say who is better.
Luffy and Zoro from One Piece qualify. Luffy (the Performer) does next to no training for his techniques, and has an impressive fighting sense gained from training with his grandfather and brothers at an early age. It's even stated in-series that his only trained move his his Gomu Gomu no Pistol, everything else he just creates on the spot. Zoro (the Technician) however is seen doing training most of the time he's at sea (when he's not sleeping or being antagonized by Nami). His techniques weren't thought up as quickly, as he takes time to create them and polish them to make them stronger (though usually it's off screen when he does) and techniques like Oni Giri were made from his efforts, it also helps that he uses a fictional style that he made of his own volition. Comparatively, they are almost equal in terms of strength and combat ability with Luffy being slightly stronger than Zoro.
This trope is brought up in the Battle Royale Manga, when the character Toshinori Oda remembers the time that he and the protaganist, Shuya, performed music for the class; Oda's reserved violin recital received only polite applause, while Shuya's over the top guitar playing had the whole class cheering for him. Oda sees this as proof that his classmates are "uncultured"; Kazuo later thinks to himself (after killing Oda) that it was because Oda was too arrogant and "put himself between the listener and the music".
Also when Kazuo fights against Hiroki. Hiroki is fighting with passion to save a girl, while Kazuo simply fights with pure skill with no motivation, or drive.
Used beautifully in BECK: In the "Grateful Sound" arc, the band breaks up thanks to internal tensions set off by Ryuske's Deal with the Devil. The rival band, Bell Ame, is set to totally eclipse BECK's set. Refusing to back down, Koyuki, followed by Saku on drums, grabs a acoustic and plays a stunning and spirited cover of the Beatles's "I've Got a Feeling" in-universe band The Dying Breed's song "Fifty Cent Wisdom". The result? The factory-produced sugar-pop rival's set actually bleeds off its audience!
Belle Ame aren't helped by the fact that their special guest, the bishounensoup star (and love rival of Kouyuki) they have performing with them can't actually sing.
Iron Wok Jan twists this trope with Kiriko Gobancho and Jan Akiyama. Jan, the Jerk AssAnti-Hero, is an inverted Performer in that he cooks to deliberately earn the hatred and disgust of the audience — to make the victory of his cuisine all the sweeter. And yet he admits that he cooks mostly because it's all that his grandfather taught him how to do before dying, and mostly seems to feel a professional pride about what he went through hell to learn. Kiriko's ideals are that "cooking is about heart"; although she's the Heir to the Dojo, she only became a cook because she wanted to, she taught herself most of what she knows, and she always tries to keep the customers and their desires in mind when she cooks. However, she is definitely a much more deliberate, no-nonsense chef than Jan. The two are both portrayed as equals in skill — if only because Kiriko is the only thing keeping Jan from being aJerk Sue.
Inverted in Captain Tsubasa, Hyuga Koujirou is a Performer who uses raw power and hot blood as he plays, whereas Ohzora Tsubasa is a devoted Technician who focuses on his skills. They clash as a result, but later Hyuga finds himself landing in trouble when he plays abroads and sees that his Performer traits are a hindrance on his playing style...
It could be argued that Hyuga is the technician and Tsubasa the performer in the sense that Hyuga only plays to be the best, to get noticed so to land a contract in a major club to provide his family with money, and spends countless hours in training from hell while Tsubasa plays mainly for fun, is enthusiastic and charismatic enough to have everyone behind him and seems innately gifted.
Tsubasa as a performer (albeit a very talented one) pit against technicians happens on a regular basis. It starts with Wakabayashi in their first encounter (thus beating the best goal keeper of all Japan for whom soccer was serious business), Misugi, Hyuga and later Santana.
For example, we have Tsubasa and Carlos Santana in Brazil, with Tsubasa being the performer and Santana the technician. The latter is called the "Socccer God's son" but also the "Soccer Cyborg", playing soccer at perfection but with no soul anymore due to his Training from Hell involving a huge dose of Break the Cutie. On the other hand there is Tsubasa, who always considered the soccer ball as his friend and is playing for fun. Even though Santana is clearly superior to Tsubasa, being able to even reproduce perfectly and actually improve on the way Tsubasa just scored a goal to try to humiliate him, in the end it's Tsubasa who wins the duel note (matches in the show usually relay mainly on two men with the rest of the team being near to useless unless the plot requires it) through his creativity and "I'll never quit" attitude, because it is too much fun to give one's best 'til the end for him. When they meet again much later, Santana'semotional damage has begun to mend, and thus while he's still mostly a technician, he has dropped a part of his arrogance and plays both to enjoying himself and to win.
Glass Mask has heroine Maya Kitajima as a Performer who pours her soul and spirit when she acts, with her rival Ayumi Himekawa as a practically perfect Technician. Lampshaded when Maya says she envies Ayumi's technical skills and grace, but Ayumi thinks Maya can reach emotional depths that she simply never will equal.
The many many episodes ofPokémon did this a few times, once with two rival restaurants, one where the chef was a Mr. Mime and the other where the chef was a Sneasel. The Mr. Mime cook put a lot of flash into his cooking, turning even the cooking itself into a performance of sorts with his psychic abilities, and the presentation of the meal could not have been nicer...but the food itself was virtually inedible, as the flavor was nightmarish. The Sneasel, by comparison, was an unimpressive minimalist, cooking in the backroom and bringing out extremely ordinary-looking, even ugly-looking dishes...that turned out to be mouthgasmically delicious. After a Cooking Duel, the two rival restaurants teamed up, with Mr. Mime teaching Sneasel about presentation and Sneasel teaching Mr. Mime about how to make food your patrons can actually eat.
This also happens a lot with Ash in Pokemon battles. Ash is a Performer whose Pokemon are ultimate because of the Power of Love, and often gets paired up with Technician opponents who go for type advantages and such and aren't as inspiring to their Pokemon.
Ash does have a certain amount of Technician, especially in Sinnoh (taking Dawn's Spin Dodge and Ice Aqua Jet ideas, meant for contests, and turning them into valid Battle techniques, for example), though how much strategy he'll get to use varies Depending on the Writer.
One other episode features a Hitmontop trainer who relies too much on being a Performer and has to tone it down and balance it with being a Technician. Yes, Hitmontop is one of several mons that can have Technician as an ability.
Being a Co-ordinator requires a higher amount of Performer than being a regular Trainer, as points are lost if either your performance isn't flashy enough or your opponent's performance is flashier.
Yusei Fudo and Jack Atlas of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds fit this trope perfectly. Whilst Yusei is a master of gadgetry and engineering and calm and calculated as a result, Jack on the other hand appears to have no technical skill but is a hugely talented entertainer, and arguably a better duelist than Yusei with his only two loses capable of being chalked up to overconfidence in the first case and an obsessive desire to defeat Yusei by conquering the card combo he lost to in their last match during their rematch.
Not necessarily. Those were losses in his professional career. And Jack's specialty, akin to Kaiba in the original, is that he favors beatdown. Yusei counters this with strategies often centered around weaker monsters with protective abilities.
And take into account the definition of 'technician' in the Yugiverse:For example: Yusei's combos for summoning Stardust Dragon, his level 8 Ace Monster, are truly numerous, with some marvels as Junk Warrior(5)+Junk Synchron(3), Debris Dragon(4)+Bolt Hedgehog(2)+Speed Warrior(2), and Junk Synchron+Bolt Hedgehog+Speed Warrior+Tuning Supporter(1). As for Jack and his Monster of equal level, Red Demon's Dragon, his usual is a Vice Dragon(5)+ Dark Resonator(3), and very few times does he deviate. In terms of combo and strategy creation, Yusei is the Performer and Jack is the Technician, because the former uses every card's effect to its fullest in near unheard of ways whilst he latter uses mainly tried and tested methods which tends to bore the audience, Truth in Television when looking at the "Stop Having Fun" Guys who look down on those not using Top-Tier Decks. Can be an Irony judging by the metagame. Yusei's flashy, interesting and complex combo is the basis on one of the most sucessful deck at the time, yet while decks that uses simpler tried and tested combo while sucessful(such example being Six Samurai and Dragunity) never manage to be as sucessful as the former.
Bakuman。 has an interesting version of this, making the Technician(s) the protagonist, yet also putting both sides on equal ground. The main characters, Takagi and Mashiro, are clearly the technicians, being praised for their calculating intelligence and technical skill at writing manga together, yet get bogged when trying to write something mainstream because they can't come up with an exceptionally interesting premise. Their main rival, Niizuma Eiji is presented as a natural genius who simply draws whatever he feels like and cranks out hits, yet is also criticized for the lack of depth in his work. Then it turns out that the Performer is a totally fanboy of the Technicians' work, and later on both parties end up improving from the influence of the other.
The trope is still mostly played straight, since Eiji's work (especially Crow) consistently outperforms every other named character's manga, including the main pair's. But they're much closer to Eiji's level than most instances of this trope.
Lately in manga Eiji also came closer to Technician side, especially with his new series, "Zombie Gun", that is far more plotted than previous.
One episode of Fushigi Boshi No Futago Hime illustrates this trope using Altezza, who practiced hard before each Princess Party, but had yet to win one, thanks to interference from the main characters' Magical Girl powers. When the twins found out how hard she worked, they got depressed about their own laid-back, "just have fun" approach to the parties and being princesses in general. Bright, Altezza's older brother, tells the girls that they have something Altezza doesn't, but is cut off before he can tell them what it is.
This is oddly inverted in The Cherry Project, a pre-Sailor MoonNaoko Takeuchi manga. The protagonist and newcomer figure skater Chieri learns everything she knows by copying others' technical moves, but doesn't have the "artistic grace" that semi-pro Canty has.
Piano No Mori exemplifies this trope in the relation between friends and competing pianists Shuhei (the technician) and Kai (the performer).
Played with in Hikaru no Go, with Hikaru (Performer) and Akira (Technician). The twist is that while Akira thinks Hikaru is good enough to play at his level from the start, that's actually not true, and it takes Hikaru years to reach a level where he can compete with him. Even then Akira is always seen as the better Go player, and Hikaru never beats him, though he comes close.
Future GPX Cyber Formula has Hayato Kazami (performer) and Naoki Shinjyo (technician). While Hayato races with the help of an AI computer, Shinjyo has been racing for years. In the latter half of the TV series, Randoll plays the technician to Hayato's performer. Asuka lampshades this when she has a conversation with him.
Macross Plus features a literal chart graphing the performances of test pilots Guld (the Technician) and Isamu (the Performer), with Isamu's wildly inconstant numbers nonetheless surpassing (most of) Guld's steady and even progression.
Samurai Champloo features Mugen the performer, and Jin the technician. Mugen's style is entirely self-taught, and relies on creativity and unpredictability, while Jin's style is disciplined, relying on traditional moves. Played with a bit as Mugen and Jin both learn from each other. Most evident in their respective final fights.
Mugen, after easily being defeated by Kariya for "relying on his instincts too much", logically works out how to beat Umanosuke's unique weapon, overcoming his weakness of never really thinking about how to fight an opponent.
Likewise, Jin overcomes Kariya (who had, at this point, easily beaten Mugen and Jin in a 2-on-1 battle) by abandoning the orthodox style Kariya was better at, and using a highly unorthodox (suicidal) technique to fell him.
Mahou Sensei Negima! has the Negi and Kotaro. Negi is the technician, Kotaro is the performer. Several of Negi's teachers try to show him the value of being a performer.
Barnaby and Kotetsu in Tiger & Bunny. Barnaby is the Technician who calculates his actions to win him the most points and garner the most fame. Kotetsu is the Performer who just goes by his instincts and puts his all into being a Hero because he wants to help people.In the second half of the series, Barnaby admits that he admires Kotetsu's sincerity and dedication to the job, though he wouldn't necessarily adopt Kotetsu's methods as his own.
The partnership between Eiji Kikumaru and Shuuichiro Oishi in The Prince of Tennis is this through and through. Eiji is the Performer: crowd-pleasing, flashy, acrobatic, charismatic. Meanwhile, Oishi is the Technician: reliable, methodic, rational, with Nerves of Steel. Lampshaded in the manga where, in their first year, Eiji challenged Oishi to a duel since he thought he was a boring player... and was curb stomped thrice, thus deciding to become his partner instead. It's also seen the Hyoutei matches: when Eiji has to team up with Momoshirou due to Oishi being injured, he's in such an emotional turmoil since they've never played without each other that it takes him a while to recover his spirits and be able to synch better with Momoshirou.
Actually, almost all partnerships have elements of this (though the Golden Pair is the most blatant example). Sanada and Atobe are good examples as well: Sanada is the Technician through and through, Atobe is both Performer and Technician, and it takes them a while to work well together.
Discussed in Candy Candy's Hospital arc. Candy, Frannie and the other prospect nurses are discussing nursing techniques and behavior towards patients: Candy shows Performer traits as she believes that you gotta approach the patients and help them feel good, while Frannie goes Technician and points out that the most popular nurse isn't automatically the best one and that they must be pragmatic as well.
Rei Ryugazaki from Free! has the demeanor of a Technician, but has an appreciation for the aesthetic values of a Performer, which he wishes to incorporate into his style. He joins the swim club primarily because he sees just how much of the Performer is in them (especially Haruka), and hopes he can learn from them.
Drumline. Played with, as the only reason the main character and The Rival manage to work together is through a compromise of styles.
Center Stage: Maureen is the technician, Jodie the performer. The movie also adds a third element with Eva, who has The Gift like Jodie but also the technical potential of Maureen, but is hampered by her rebellious attitude. Eva is the only one of the three main girls to find success in the American Ballet Company—Maureen realizes she's destroying herself and quits, Jodie goes to a new company that values her performance skills over her ability to technically conform.
High School Musical has Ryan and Sharpay as the Technicians versus Troy and Gabriella as the Performers. Ryan and Sharpay have been singing for years, view star roles as status symbols and audition with professionally choreographed routines, expensive costumes and back up musicians. Troy and Gabriella just want to sing because it makes them happy, start by secretly singing to each other, and audition in their sports uniform and lab coat respectively, winning the crowds because of their commitment to the music. note Interestingly with their other interests (basketball and science), they come across as Technicians and are shown to train and study extremely hard. Singing is portrayed as an outlet for them and so allows them to be Performers in that situation.
In The Prestige, Angier is the showman in love with the audience and Borden is the technician in love with the gadgets needed to perform a trick. This is also apparent in their stage names: "The Great Danton" and "The Professor", respectively. Unique in that in this case, both the technician and the performer have their sympathetic moments. The Borden twins follow along this line as well in a more subtle way: the one who dies is a performer and the one who lives is a technician. Trope is subverted in that Angier's illusion relies on technology but Borden's is pure performance.
The film Strictly Ballroom is all about the conflict between highly technical rulesy dancing and "crowd-pleasing" moves. Differs somewhat from the pure form of the trope in that it hints that the technical rules are don't really represent dancing skill but rather a conspiracy to keep the person who makes the rules in the money and also in that the main character is excellent at the technical style but choses to do "crowd pleasing" because he likes it.
Stick It, about gymnastics, deals with the dichotomy of focusing on perfection and "sticking" everything versus going all out and "flooring it" and doing things that are more impressive even if you can't guarantee you'll nail the technical elements perfectly. The end message seems to be that it's not about what you know, but who you know, so if you don't know the right people you may as well say screw the rules and have fun with it.
Sister Act 2 has Sister Mary Clarence's Ragtag Bunch of Misfits (perfomer) against a choir that's won the championship for 3 years running (technician). To illustrate the effect, both choirs sing "Joyful Joyful". The other choir sings it with military precision, while the misfit class puts in raps and riffs on Janet Jackson. One guess as to which choir wins.
In Top Gun, Iceman and Maverick. Iceman takes the trophy at Top Gun, but when it comes down to the wire Maverick is the one who saves the day.
(on Iceman) "It's the way he flies. Ice cold, no mistakes. He wears you out 'til you do something stupid, then he's got you."
(on Maverick) "You are dangerous. I don't like you because every time you fly you're unsafe." (later) "You are still dangerous. (Beat) You can be my wingman anytime."
Deconstructed in Black Swan, which asserts that the White Swan character must be a technician, while the Black Swan must be a performer. The director wants to cast the same dancer in both roles. The main character is a technician, and struggles greatly to embody the easy confidance of a performer while playing the Black Swan. Her rival is a performer, whose dancing is not flawless, but who displays natural confidence in her dancing and in life.
Referenced and played out somewhat in Inception while making the actual inception plan. Arthur is the technician and Eames is the performer.
In The Legend Of Bagger Vance, the two rival golfers competing with the main character are portrayed as a technician and a performer.
Bethany Hamilton is definitely a performer in Soul Surfer. Her rival's technician qualities are not made explicit, but she does carry that vibe.
Cool Runnings has the plucky, performer Jamaican team and the crypto-Nazi East German technicians.
Warrior shows both of its protagonist MMA fighters work their asses off in training, but still has a notable difference between the naturally talented Tommy who overwhelms his opponents with pure, devastating power and Brendan, his more patient and methodical brother who wins by enduring his opponent's punishment until he can implement his extensive knowledge of submission holds, which he knows because he spent much of his early life trying to teach himself to be as good as Tommy in order to impress their father. It is worth noting that before he started MMA fighting to support his family, Brendan was a physics teacher, which is about as technical as you can get. The eventual victor of their confrontation is Brendan, but only because he is enough of a Determinator to survive Tommy's initial onslaught, and because Tommy himself had been cracking up under the strain of his own conflicted feelings and had devolved from Tranquil Fury at the start of the tournament to a pure Berserker by the end.
In Monsters University, Mike is the Technician to Sulley's Performer. Mike is incredibly knowledgeable about scare tactics but doesn't have the appearance to be a good scarer. Sulley's natural abilities impress the teachers and others at first but he barely studies and lacks the technical aspects of scaring children.
In Pitch Perfect you've got Aubrey vs. Beca. Aubrey is very uptight and inflexible, insisting on only singing traditional songs and is The Perfectionist. Beca prefers to sing for fun and likes remixing songs.
He is the worlds greatest actor who wants to become a movie star. You are the worlds greatest movie star who wants to become an actor. And this movie isn't going to help either of you.
In Rush, this is combined with elements of All Work vs. All Play. Niki Lauda is almost clinical in his approach to driving, a master at setting up a race car and one of the first drivers to put in long hours studying the tracks. James Hunt is instinctive, able to simply hop in a car and set blistering times. Unusually for this trope, both approaches work equally well.
In The LEGO Movie, this is the main conflict between Finn and his father. Finn is an imaginative child who simply wants to have fun building LEGOs and making up stories while his father is a serious hobbyist who believes in building sets as stated by their instructions and keeping them as such. As such, the film's plot is focused on the conflict between the Master Builders who wish to build whatever they want as they please and Lord Business, a Control Freakbased off of Finn's dad. Eventually, Finn and his father come to a middle ground after the latter learns that his son made him a villain in his personal story.
In The Color of Money, Eddie and Vincent are this trope in regards to both pool and hustling — Eddie is methodical and businesslike, while Vincent is flamboyant and seeks attention.
In Piers Anthony's Blue Adept this is played straight in Stile's harmonica duel with Clef where they will be judged by the Computer on their technical skills and the audience on their performance. Clef is by far superior on a technical basis, allowing him to easily win the Computer vote, while Stile wins the audience with a superior performance.
As a tie-breaker the two play a duet to be judged by a panel of musicians. After a little coaching from Stile, Clef quickly picks up Stile's tricks and also begins drawing in the audience, resulting in him winning the vote of the Computer and audience... but Stile wins the panel's vote and thus the contest. Clef's improvement was solely thanks to Stile, which the panel saw as proof that Stile was the better musician. The two become life-long friends.
Played with a bit in Ballet Shoes, where it's mentioned at one point that the sister who hates dancing ends up being one of the most technically proficient dancers in the school because she hates dancing, so she ends up taking basic classes year after year and gets all the core moves completely ground into her mind. But her performer sisters are the ones who always get major roles in ballets and plays, while she's always (gladly) stuck in the background. Although in this case her sisters aren't bad at technique they just never learn it by rote the way she does (and when one of them does end up stuck in that same situation, her performer side comes out more strongly than it does at any other time in the book).
Dulcie (Technician) and Hilary (Performer) in Dancing Shoes play out the above description almost to the letter.
In White Boots (known as Skating Shoes in the US), Lalla is the Performer, Harriet is the Technician. Slight subversion in that it's Harriet, the newcomer to ice skating, who's the more precise skater (usually, the Performer is the rookie) and that the book comes out on her side - Lalla is sympathetic and charming, but also a bit of a spoiled brat, while Harriet is modest and loyal.
Discworld stories involving the Witch Trials: Granny Weatherwax is the Technician and she always wins but Nanny Ogg is the Performer, and people buy her drinks and say "It was a good try". Both of them are happy with this.
At the end of Snuff, Lord Vetinari is a bit put-out to realize that, after decades of his own painstaking, methodical, brilliant and technically-elegant social engineering have brought Ankh-Morpork to a state of prosperity and eminence, a naive young goblin girl with a harp has drastically elevated the social standing of her people on an international scale with one song. And with only a little help from a children's author and Lady Sybil's address book.
In Pride and Prejudice, both protagonist Elizabeth and her bookish younger sister Mary play the piano and sing. Mary is a technically accomplished musician (with a terrible singing voice) who practices hard and works for accomplishments. Elizabeth isn't as skilled technically and often makes mistakes in her playing, but her performances are cheerful and pleasing, and on the whole people much prefer to listen to her.
Kristy and Abby in The Baby-Sitters Club, with sports. In Kristy's own words, she's a sportsperson, while Abby is a natural athlete.
In Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez, Grammy-winning Child Prodigy violinist Carmen is the technician while her opponent in the Guarneri competition, Jeremy, is the performer. Jeremy does an act in his performances, whereas Carmen just plays. Carmen is envious of how comfortable he is, while she relies on drugs to keep from getting nervous before concerts. It's played with since Jeremy has his own problems.
Song at Dawn: Maracuba is the Technican and Dragonetz is the Performer. The former has a rigid singing style and his ballads are sermons in lyrical form. Furthermore, Estela reluctantly admits he has greater skill than Dragonetz. On the other hand Dragonetz's goal is entertaining and he has a much wider range of pitches and actions. For instance, he'll sing a women's part in a duet using a falsetto tone and act out the role.
Bertolt Brecht wrote a short story about two Chinese guys who wanted to become actors. One of them went to the best teachers and trained until late at night, while the other one went to the market places where he would juggle, make fun of the bigwigs and other jokes. Then the day came where both of them had to show off what they had learned: The performer did his usual tricks and received some applause; the technician was struck by stage fear and immediately fainted. With a subversion: The people commented that he played it well, although the play was a bit short.
Live Action TV
Show examples, The Wire is the technician, removed, objective, and uninflected. The Shield is the performer immediate, subjective, and emotional.
Tends to show up in Strictly Come Dancing and similar series - some of the competitors will be technically skilled, but not really able to sell a dance and perform - they tend to sail through the early stages. Others will struggle on technical skill early on, but be able to perform really well - as their technical skill increases through practice, they start to provide serious challenges to the technical dancers, whose skill has plateaued, and who still can't act.
Chris Hollins compared with Ali Bastian.
John Sergeant in the 2008 series of Strictly was a Performer who eventually left the show because his popularity wasn't fair on the Technicians.
Sergeant: There now exists a real possibility I might win. Even for me, that would be a joke too far.
Subverted with Jason Donovan on Series 9, who certainly looked like a Performer on stage but put in the long hours of hard work of a Technician. This was because he had no natural talent whatsoever; he had to put in that much work just to get his ability to "bluff your way through on charm" level.
Rodney McKay describes the difference between himself and Samantha Carter as this, bemoaning the fact that his technical approach to things earns him second place to the less rigidly formal.
Apparently this has affected him his whole life. He once mentioned that as a child he wanted to be a pianist, but his teacher told him to quit because, while he was a good technical player, he had no sense of the art.
Glee makes Vocal Adrenaline out to be the "technically-perfect team with no soul" whereas New Directions are the plucky underdogs who make up for their lack of polish with their bleeding hearts. But the Regionals judges don't see it that way.
Neither did the Nationals judges a season later.
Technician Versus Performer in some form kicks in within New Directions itself, particularly with regard to Rachel, who tends to be technically adept but an imitative and immature performer whose goal is winning approval and applause, and the rest of the girls (plus countertenor Kurt - they're in competition because they share equal ranges and song preferences), who sing with more originality, authenticity and emotion. However, it also applies in reverse to the boys. Finn, as by far the least accomplished of the male singers and dancers, looks like he should be an underdog Performer type - but he's resented for getting solos while other (far more accomplished and enthusiastic) singers such as Artie, Kurt and Puck, and dancer Mike, are undeservedly stuck in his shadow - largely because of Technician Versus Performer favoritism from Will Schuester.
Briefly mentioned in an episode of Alcatraz, the episode's villain is a violin prodigy and Serial Killer who is able to pull out incredible performances either spontaneously or from memory, but has no formal training and can't read sheet music. When he auditions for a spot in an orchestra, at first he aces, but when he's asked to play from a sheet he's completely helpless and gets shown the door. The guy running the audition mentions that this is a real problem when finding musicians- often the only applicants are artists who can't or won't just play what's in the book.
Often happens on So You Think You Can Dance, especially with breakdancers. While technically wonderful dancers are often competent enough to stay on the show for a while even if their performance isn't too amazing, dancers like season 7's Jose sail through because they're fun to watch even if they don't dance very well.
It also has a major part in deciding who wins- there's a reason the winner is '[Country's] Favourite Dancer'. People with bright personalities may well win over more technically gifted dancers.
Top Chef is a strange case, since there's so many sides to it, but it qualifies. It's why people like Fabio and Carla were so well liked, since they more qualified as performers than technicians (while Carla was classically trained, her food was more soulful than anything else).
Occasionally, competitions will play out where one side chooses to make food that isn't terribly suited for the occasion, but showcases some culinary skills, while the other makes food the audience will enjoy. The judges tend to prefer the former.
Can happen on Project Runway, too; the people with the most skill at sewing or the most experience in the fashion business aren't always the ones with the most creativity and innovation. Again can go both ways; a creative person who can't sew at all will probably be auf'd, but so will an impeccable seamstress whose designs are boring.
The two frontrunners of Season 9, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Viktor Luna, are a textbook example of the trope. Anya is badly inexperienced at sewing but often turns out very striking outfits, while Viktor is an extremely skilled garment-maker most often criticized for lacking "the wow factor."
The whole point of Smash. Ivy is the technician (generally, she is more able to "sex-up" the role of Marilyn Monroe than Karen and is a very good actor in her own right) having previous Broadway experience, and knowing how to the play the game to get the role. Karen, on the other hand, has no previous theater experience, and shows up to her audition not dressed as Marilyn or singing one of her songs, yet her audition for the role of Marilyn impresses the producers and directors so much they decide to put her in the chorus, and make her the understudy for Marilyn. Ivy gets the role of Marilyn, then loses it to a famous movie actress (Rebecca), cast in an effort to attract more publicity. Then as Rebecca gets an allergic reaction, Karen gets the role, as she has "something" that Ivy does not.
In Dancing With The Stars Len tends strongly to favor the technical side of things while Bruno and to a lesser extent Carrie Ann prefer the Performers.
Sasha (Technician) and Boo (Performer) are a nuanced version of this in Bunheads. A more blatant contrast in one episode is Jordan (Technician) and Karl (Performer), perhaps because they are only minor characters. There are also hints of this with Fanny (Technician) and Michelle (Performer) in there roles as teachers and in their relationship with the girls (Fanny is stern and strict and the girls both worship and fear her while Michelle plays the Cool Big Sister). The Ringer is so soulessly perfect that she makes technician Sasha look like a performer.
Happens with some regularity in Sweet Genius. Some chefs will have flawless technique but produce relatively unimaginative "safe" desserts, others will have fantastic ideas and less impressive technique. All other factors remaining equal, Chef Ron seems to favor the creative approach, though not by much. A Sweet Genius should have both technique and vision.
In Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition, six-year-old Asia Ray stayed in the competition much longer than kids who were better than her technically, ultimately placing third, based largely on the fact that she was a fantastic performer.
Ru Pauls Drag Race used to appear that Ru preferred technicians to performers come the final elimination, that is until season 4 onward, when Ru will start asking for the Drag Race audience to give their online feedback on the queens, who usually show preference to the performer. Season 4's Chad Michaels (Technician, gives flawless presentations and performances), and Sharon Needles (Performer, spooky but lovable with a big heart and lots of creativity) are perfect examples of this dynamic in action.
The Mythbusters are hosted by the stolid, detail-oriented Technician Jamie and the goofy, improvising Performer Adam. This trope comes into play when they have build-offs where each has to offer their own take on a myth, and usually have to build some manner of wacky gadget in the process. Jamie generally has the better grasp of engineering and design theory, but Adam is usually the one coming up with all the weird, novel ideas. In this case, the Technician tends to win because his work usually agrees with the laws of physics.
Applies to cars rather than people, but Top Gear provides an example with the Corvette Zr1 vs. the Audi R8:
Jeremy Clarkson: "Be in no doubt that the Audi is the better car. It's better built, better looking, better to drive, easier to park and - in the real world - faster. You'd have to be bonkers to buy the Corvette. And that, is why you should."
This is apparently the dynamic between British cars (Performer) and German cars (Technician). British cars aren't exactly the most reliable nor the most powerful, but they do tend to be really aesthetically pleasing, and ooze charm and style. German cars tend to be amazing feats of precision engineering, but are regarded as joyless and a bit boring to drive.
During most of DanceAcademy, Abigail Armstrong is a fantastic technical dancer, but is said to be "very cold". Her rival, and the protagonist, Tara Webster, is not nearly as technically proficient (even having to start her time at the Academy relearning the basics) but is far more of a performer and wins a few solos due to this.
One word, Rap. From the technical geniuses that dominate the underground but don't have the charisma to achieve superstar status (Talib Kweli, Nas, Common, De La Soul, sadly, a lot of political rappers fall into this), versus the loud, dumb, party lyrics backed by incredible stage presence (50 Cent, Flo Rida, Lil Jon, basically all Crunk), there are those that can rise above this dichotomy, and they soak in money and critical acclaim, (Eminem, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious BIG.)
Another contrast that could be seen between rappers is well-illustrated by the diversity of talents in the Wu-Tang Clan: Technicians like master producer RZA and stately story-teller GZA are contrasted with the more wildly-improvisational, jazzy, and audacious performances exemplified by Ol' Dirty Bastard (there's no father to his style).
You could potentially breakdown the entire history of hip-hop by noting the prominent Performer/Technician dichotomies of the day, even the ones that didn't result in outright verbal sparring:
Bronze Age: Kool Moe Dee (Technician) vs. Busy Bee (Performer)
Iron Age: Kool Moe Dee (Technician) vs. LL Cool J (Performer) or KRS-1 (Technician) vs. MC Shan (Performer)
Golden Age: Rakim (Technician) vs. Big Daddy Kane (Performer with great technical ability)
Early/Mid 90's: Tupac (Performer) vs. The Notorious B.I.G (Technician with incredible charisma)
Late 90's/Early 2000's Jay-Z (Performer) vs. Nas (Technician)
Mid 2000's: 50 Cent (Performer) vs. Kanye West (Lyrical Wordsmith, Motherfucking Genius)
Circa 2013, the two most significant young rappers of the day, Drake (Performer) and Kendrick Lamar (Technician) seem to be angling towards this kind of dichotomy.
Amongst guitarists too, just look at the top 100 as ranked by Rolling Stone. The top 10 are mainly remembered as performers who played with a focus on soul and feeling. Whereas Technicians such as Eddie Van Halen are considerably lower on the list.
The revised list written in 2011 is a bit better in this regard, with Van Halen now being in the top 10.
Robbie Williams (performer) and Gary Barlow (technician) from Take That, and more notably their solo careers. Most people agreed Gary was the better song writer and singer but he was quiet and reserved with a fairly stable personality, where as Robbie was wild, charismatic and beset by personal demons. Interestingly this reversed once they got older, as Robbie started to look more and more like a wangsty man-child and Gary like a dignified if stoic gentleman.
Pyromania- and Hysteria-era Def Leppard had co-lead guitarists Phil Collen (technician) and Steve Clark (performer). Collen has stated that, after Clark died, he almost wanted to quit the group over his frustration at the problems he was having with replicating Steve's guitar playing.
Britney Spears (Performer) Vs Christina Aguilera (Technician). In a TV documentary about Christina, a producer from the Mickey Mouse Club said that the talented vocalist Christina often had trouble competing with professional dancer and performer Britney. Their fans also support them for different reasons, Christina's fan are here for her powerful thunderous vocals, and Britney fans like her performance and exprssion of emotions and stage show.
There are alternative theories that Britney has better technique (besides smoking) and spend months mastering her show's technique wise vs Christina is a screetchy senseless performer who focuses on the show of her voice.
Backstreet Boys (Technician) and *NSYNC (Performer). The Backstreet Boys are more simplistic but solid in their live performances and rarely strayed from their Adult Contemporary brand of pop, while *NSYNC preferred technically elaborate live performances and experimenting with their musical palette.
When Ozzy went solo he took the same approach by hiring Randy Rhoads (technician), who stood in sharp contrast to Tony Iommi (performer).
The They Might Be Giants song "XTC versus Adam Ant" asserts that the two bands represent "content versus form," ie technical performance versus style.
An unusually common situation: An actor-who-sings tends to be much more successful than the reverse. Though both fields are demanding, singing is also extremely focused; singers (Technicians) often lack the physical presence needed to connect to the audience, while actors (Performers) may not be the best singers, but know how to get reactions from audiences. Underlining the differences, many actors already are decent singers—but they view it as a fun way to kill time, while singers view acting as Serious Business.
Despite his clear technical skills, Jimi Hendrix was closer to the Performer end of the spectrum. Had virtually no formal musical training, could barely even read music, but was blessed with natural talent and near-perfect pitch. Nobody taught Jimi how to play; HE JUST KNEW, man...
Heavy Metal bands with two guitarists run on this trope. Often the two guitarists will cultivate wildly different lead styles from each other and play off each other in elaborate and extended "duels". Notable twin-guitar teams fitting this mold include:
Accept: Wolf Hoffmann (Technician) vs. Herman Frank (Performer)
Roger Waters, Syd Barrett and Nick Mason (performer) vs. David Gilmour and Rick Wright (technician) in Pink Floyd.
Exemplified perfectly in Charlie Daniel's song, The Devil Went Down To Georgia, with Johnny as the Performer and the Devil as the Technician. While the Devil plays a far more complicated and difficult piece, it pales in comparison to the beauty of Johnny's song.
From Queen, Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor were performers, whereas Brian May and John Deacon were technicians (Deacon, literally, since he was an electrical engineer).
For that matter, Brian May is an astrophysicist.
Lorde (Technician) Vs Lana Del Rey (Performer). Lorde spends a lot of time collecting beats and rhythms and applying it to her music. Lana focuses more on performing the emotions and telling a story.
Boy Bands and Girl Groups can have this. The Technician is usually the lead singer because they have the strongest voice in the group, but the Performer, often the other half of the Vocal Tag Team, may have a more engaging presence that draws the audience and camera to them. The Breakup Breakout is almost always the Performer due to their ability to keep the audience engaged and while the Technician can also be more critically successful, they won't reach the commercial popularity of the Performer.
Lead guitarists are often seen as performers rather than technicians, which has lead to the creation of many lead guitarist stereotypes. For example.
Lionel Richie's 'Ballerina Girl' is a perfect depiction of this trope.
There are countless wrestlers of each type, and just as many arguments about them. Some examples:
Technicians: Dean Malenko, Lance Storm, Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon. Startling degree of talent, wide knowledge of moves and countermoves but usually never really catch on with the casual fans at-large.
"Stunning"/"Stone Cold" Steve Austin was both at different points of his career: As one-half of the Hollywood Blondes in WCW, he was known as a good technical wrestler and remained that way until he was injured by Owen Hart in 1997. Then he became a brawler.
The Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels rivalry is arguably the quintessential example. You can practically rename this trope "Excellence of Execution vs The Showstopper".
During the brand extension era, the two main WWE shows — Raw and Smackdown — were based on this dichotomy, with Raw putting more emphasis on storyline and spectacle while Smackdown was seen as the "wrestling" show.
Similarly we had the old WCW (technician) vs. WWF (performer) rivalry, epitomized by the two companies' top stars, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan respectively.
Gateway Championship Wrestling had upstart technicians Delirious and Daizee Haze against veteran performers Matt Sydal and MsChif. Granted, these were relative cases. Delirious may have been an excellent mat technician with some brawling tendencies but he also wore a mask, constantly babbled and ran around erratically. He was merely the technician because Matt Sydal was an intention announcing acrobatic high flier whose main reason for being a wrestler was to sell shirts. MsChif was well versed in submission holds and counters. She was the performer because she was also a loud mouth prone to excessive and often illegal maneuvers while Daizee Haze focused more on moves that ended matches.
The recent dance-offs between Summer Rae and Emma, with Summer (Fandango's long-time dance partner) as the technician and Emma (a Cloud Cuckoolander) as the performer.
Contrast NFL defensive end Reggie White (performer) with Bruce Smith (technician). White is known for his larger-than-life persona, dominance and memorable plays. Smith is simply known for his high numbers and durability. White is easily the more memorable player and almost always ranks higher on lists than Smith.
Wilt Chamberlain (high-scoring performer) vs Bill Russell (defensive technician).
Pittsburgh Steelers (technician) vs Dallas Cowboys (performer).
In the past, tennis had Andre Agassi (performer) vs. Pete Sampras (technician), at least on the outside. Agassi loathed the game of tennis (at least according to his autobiography Open), while Sampras was happy to sleep, eat and breathe the sport and merely lacked Agassi's natural charisma.
There was also John McEnroe (performer) vs. Ivan Lendl (technician). Not everyone loved McEnroe due to his abrasive personality but everyone could be counted on to have some kind of strong emotional reaction to him and he was the definite crowd favorite against Lendl, who had a more successful career overall than McEnroe with a positive head-to-head record against him and more Grand Slams and weeks at No. 1 to his name but was viewed by many as a personality-devoid "Czech robot" to such an extent that Sports Illustrated once described him as "The Champion No One Cares About". It's also arguably the main reason for McEnroe being typically ranked above Lendl in "greatest tennis players of all time" lists in spite of Lendl spending more time than him at the top of the game because his playing style and wins were considered to be more dynamic and exciting to watch than Lendl's Boring, but Practical consistency.
The fact that Johnny Mac was an American and Lendl wasn't helps too when deciding who the American public will cheer for.
The passionate and fiery Jimmy Connors (performer) vs the "Ice-man" Bjorn Borg (technician).
Steve Nash shows his passion every second of every basketball game. Steve is not a good rebounder or defender, but his passing game and scoring is beautiful to watch. Jason Kidd is more reserved, he is not a terrific scorer, but otherwise in his prime he was perfect in every way, not nearly as flashy as Nash but a deadly passer, defender and rebounder.
Karl Malone (Technician, no flash at all) vs. Charles Barkley (Performer, polarizing on and off the court)
Blake Griffin (performer) vs. Kevin Love (technician).
The artistic Barry Sanders (performer) vs. the consistent Emmitt Smith (technician).
Calvin Johnson (performer) vs. Larry Fitzgerald (technician).
Many quarterback examples. A few notable ones:
Joe Montana (Super Bowl-winning performer) vs. Dan Marino (record-setting technician).
Peyton Manning (cerebral, record-setting technician) vs. Tom Brady (performer with a winner's mentality). Interestingly, Brady has become more of a technician in the last few years (and stopped winning Super Bowls).
Eli Manning also has this dynamic with his older brother Peyton.
Brett Favre (performer) vs. Aaron Rodgers (technician). Favre had an extremely strong throwing arm and would take risks for big plays. At times, he led the league in passing yards, touchdown passes and interceptions all at the same time. Rodgers, Favre's successor in the Packers, has a masterful command of the playbook and the positions of his receivers, and is one of the most accurate passers in the league. Both have Super Bowl rings.
From the 70s, Terry Bradshaw (performer) vs Roger Staubach (technician).
Shaquille O'Neal (performer) vs. Tim Duncan (technician). Despite having a much more fundamentally sound and complete game, Duncan was always considered boring while O'Neal always got the crowd cheering wildly.
Duncan also has this with Kevin Garnett.
In Formula One, Ayrton Senna (performer) vs Alain Prost (technician). From an earlier era, James Hunt (performer) vs Niki Lauda (technician).
Actually, given Senna's level of dedication to physical training and car testing, it's difficult to place him easily in either category. Nigel Mansell, who in testing would 'set a lap, then bugger off to the golf course', Jean Alesi, and Ronnie Peterson, who drove his team leader mad by being so completely able to instinctively adapt to a car's mangled setup and thus unable to provide any feedback, are more fitting examples of performers.
In The World Cup, historically the South American teams are the Performers and the European ones the Technicians, with Brazil and Germany being the best examples of each respectively.
Partially true in modern roller derby; while it is very much a sport, and if you can't keep up technically you will be cut from the team, rollergirls are also strongly encouraged to play to the crowd.
In the English equestrian world: Showjumpers (performers) versus Hunter-Jumpers (technicians). The rivalry is - intense, as showjumpers yell that hunters are robotic and too focused on minutiae, while hunters wail that jumpers care more about leaping ridiculously high fences than they do about correct equitation. (From someone who has ridden both - both sides have a point.)
In Alpine Ski Racing, Bode Miller, despite having cleaned up his 'rockstar' behaviour from a couple of years ago, still skis with a far less pretty and orthodox technique compared to other giants such as Didier Cuche. But *my god* the man is fast...
Boxing: Roy Jones Jr. (performer) vs. Bernard Hopkins (technician)
And currently, Manny Pacquiao (performer) vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (technician)
Ice hockey: Alexander Ovechkin (performer) vs. Sidney Crosby (technician)
Mario Lemieux (performer) vs. Wayne Gretzky (technician) in the 1990's.
Football: Real Madrid (technician) vs. FC Barcelona (performer).
Ironic, considering how Barcelona's performance value comes from their mastering the technical side. Barcelona's equivalents in the UK, Arsenal, are definitely considered the technicians (witness Arsene Wenger's nickname, "The Professor") to Manchester United's performers.
Barcelona style of play (and it predecessor; the Dutch Total Football) on extreme technical skill on a personal level while the tactical flow of the team as a whole is more loose. What results is a team whose individual players are Technicians but the team as a whole is a Performer.
One could roughly compare FC Barcelona and Real Madrid to Maverick and Iceman from Top Gun respectively: FC Barcelona plays a spectacular possession and attacking game, showing incredible talent and skills and always aiming to appeal the public, while Real Madrid plays a strategical counter attacking tactic that relies on a solid defense, then exploiting their opponents' flaws, what they do almost perfectly.
1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, men's figure skating free skate: Ilia Kulik (technician) vs. Philippe Candeloro (performer— and how!)
2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the controversy over men's singles figure skating gold medal. Charismatic performer Evgeni Plushenko skated higher risk program which is filled with small errors , versus collected technician Evan Lysacek who skated clean on a lower risk program .
This is true of figure skating in general. The best can find a balence between crowd-pleasing performance and technical precision, but many struggle and veer too far one way or the other. In the worst cases, it either becomes just an entertaining show and not a sport, or it's technically perfect but emotionless and boring to watch.
Gymnastics too. They've gone through at least three different scoring systems in the last twenty years to try and address this dichotomy; the current system, with its increased emphasis on a predetermined difficulty value, strongly favours technicians.
The Beijing vs London Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies have drawn this comparison, with Beijing painted as a spectacular but somehow soulless demonstration of state power (technician) and London as a less showy but more heartfelt show of the quirkiness of Britain (performer).
Snooker: The 1985 world championship final between Steve Davis (technician) and Dennis Taylor (performer), the contrast highlighted by it also being a Back from the Brink win for the performer. Later on, the 90s rivalry between Stephen Hendry (technician) and Jimmy White (performer).
This happened at 2013 Confederation Cup when Tahiti (Performer) competed against all other teams of its group, especially Spain (Technician). Sure, the Tahitians lost each matches, but it doesn't really bother them, since their goal is to enjoy the tournament, and as a bonus, they won the crowd too.
Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition Wizards (technicians) and Sorcerers (performers). Tends to be inverted though, because wizards end up with much more versatility, more spells per day, and easier access to metamagic feats.
Magic: The Gathering's Player Archetypes have the "Timmy" type as the performer and the "Spike" type as the technician. Timmies play to use powerful cards, and Spikes play to win. The third archetype, Johnny, splits the difference; While Johnny plays to create new and interesting combos and card interactions, though not necessarily to win, some knowledge of the rules is required to ensure that those crazy ideas actually work.
Alternatively, one could consider it a spectrum. At the far end of the Technician scale, we have Spike, who bases his decks off of pure tactics, often using predetermined strategies or copying the best in the game in order to make a powerful deck. Next is Johnny, who still focuses on power, but tends to try and experiment to create new combos and new abilities as he does so. Third is Timmy, who doesn't care about technical power but just wants to make big stuff happen. Finally, not mentioned above is Vorthos, who plays for flavor and often builds their deck around such concepts without regards to actual tactics. This does slightly subvert the usual rules of Technician Versus Performer, though, because everyone tends to play for the love of the game, even if they have different methods of doing so.
In-universe, the blue vs. red conflict is Technician vs. Performer. Blue tends to be icily logical, focused on victory through precision, control, and superior information, usually whittling down an opponent's ability to oppose it; Red is the colour of emotion and impulse, and tends to win with big spectacular displays like hails of thunderbolts, massive fireballs, swarms of goblins or the unleashing of a dragon.
Warhammer40000 armies tend to lend themselves to one side other the other during gameplay. Armies with fewer but individually more capable units, such as the Space Marines, Eldar, Dark Eldar, and Chaos are more Performers; their versatility allows for wildly different forces from the same race tto be equally as effective in the hands of a capable player. Armies with more but less unique units like the Imperial Guard, Orkz, Necrons, Tyrannids, and Tau generally win more often when they adhere to a strict set of tactics for each situation, and are more Technicians. Of course, the huge size of the setting allows for much internal variation, so it is possible to see one army or another slide towards one end or the other.
In the world of hobby boardgaming, people often talk about a rough division between "Eurogames" and "Ameritrash." Eurogames tend to be on the Technician side of the equation, emphasizing play mechanics and balance over theme and production; notable games in this category include Caylus, Agricola, Le Havre, and many abstract strategy games. Ameritrash games, which tend to focus on presentation, theme, and character ahead of mechanical concerns, are usually Performers. Think of games like Dungeonquest, Talisman, Cosmic Encounter. The term Ameritrash originally arose to denigrate that style of gaming after the rise of the Eurogame; now it's often used as a general label and not a statement of quality, as many Ameritrash games are really well made and fun. And, of course, there's a great deal of cross-over between the two categories.
A big theme in Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The established Meistersingers are all about proper technique, but the inexperienced singer hero wows them by being so darned passionate.
Street Fighter: Ryu and Ken. To elaborate, Ryu is something of a Blood Knight-Spirited Competitor mixture whose main purpose in life is to perfect his fighting skill and have the perfect match. In that sense his fighting style is at its purest form and therefore does more damage without the focus on flash. Ken, on the other hand, is a showy combatant with a focus on fast kicks and punches and only cares about winning and putting on a good show. In this sense, Ken is more combo oriented and therefore, while not as damaging as Ryu's, his move do alot of damage if comboed into. This is best showcased in the UDON comic, where Ryu and Ken are both studying the Dragon Punch: Ken, with his natural abilities, gets the basic gist of the move, pulls it off perfectly and then throws some fire on it and calls it a day; Ryu on the other hand, continues to practice that one basic attack over and over with no variance in form or routine. In the end, Ryu ends up with a stronger, harder-hitting Dragon Punch while Ken winds up with a weaker but flashier one supported by other unique attacks and combos.
Sakura Wars plays it straight in the fifth act of So Long, My Love when the protagonist has to take Subaru's place on stage after losing a contest to them. Subaru is the ultimate technician, while Shinjiro is the ultimate performer. Subaru also has a similar moment when she first tries to play Jazz music at a club. While she is technically proficient, it takes her a while to understand the performance aspect of the genre.
Fatal Fury's Kim Kaphwan and King of Fighters' Jhun Hoon. Kim is a very traditional Tae Kwon Do practitioner and his moves, while pretty flashy themselves, are fairly traditional and get the job done. Jhun Hoon, Kim's rival since childhood, is very much pure flash: he fights with only his feet (Kim has two/three punches) and kicks out ki phoenix talons (someting Kim doesn't do). He also has a very flamboyant aura about himself and is obviously very showy with his moveset, while Kim shows off a little less in exchange for being more reliable.
While we're here, let's also bring up the Bogard brothers. Andy is a serious-minded and very focused individual who strives to be a well-rounded fighter while Terry has a more lax attitude, just looking for a good match and relying on his natural talents. Unfortunately this puts Andy into a Hard Work Hardly Works situation because in addition to being the "performer" of their duo, Terry is also the better fighter. Andy's efforts to become a great fighter are surpassed by Terry's pragmatic and naturalistic fighting style, which can leave him a bit down on himself.
Used in a subplot in The World Ends with You. The Ramen Don's ordinary but very tasty and masterfully made Ramen is being ignored in favor of the mediocre, yet flashy and crowd pleasing Shadow Ramen, and Neku and Joshua work to reverse this by getting the celebrity supporter to try the "plain" Ramen and therefore support Ramen Don. Although in this case, Ramen Don is a guy who loves his Ramen, where as Shadow Ramen just views it in terms of cold hard cash, and this subplot is about integrity and doing whats right, not what looks good. It's also played straight with the characters of Shooter and Yammer. Yammer himself says he's more technical, but Shooter has more heart so he wins all the matches.
Shooter and Yammer are parodies, they parody this trope along with other cliche'd ShōnenSerious Business tropes.
Street Fighter vs Tekken. Street Fighter is the 'technician' role, a game largely focused on trying to balance characters, but its very difficult to get into 'casually' vs Tekken, the performer, a fighter game which is easy to play but has fewer special moves. Though considering that the 'Technician' here has spectacular special attacks and characters shoot fireballs, while the performer is focused largely on hand to hand combat, the lines can be blurred. There's going to be a two-game crossover series according to the other wiki, with one game built on each engine.
Tekken is more realistic in terms of the way the characters fight. Although fireballs are present, they haven't been that common in recent years. Many people believe Street Fighter's retro appeal is the only reason it remains so popular, as it has not made use of technology like Tekken has. They did try with the Ex series, but it didn't work that well.
For a game as wacky, stylized, and generally amusing as Team Fortress 2, the eight major damage-dealing classes can usually be assigned into Technician and Performer categories. Classes such as the Soldier, Heavy, Sniper, and Engineer are typically Technician-style classes. They are slower, fairly straightforward classes that are consistent and play in largely the same fashion, with less variation in tactics and equipment. The Sniper, in particular, is far and away the most technical class, requiring exceptional, consistent precision to do well, especially when repeated several times over to the enemy's heads. The Pyro, Scout, Demoman, and Spy are Performers. They are faster and fun to watch, and often have unusual options available to them that can radically change their gameplay. Examples include the Demoknight loadouts and the Spy's variety of invisibility watches and knives with special effects.
Yuri and Flynn's fighting styles in Tales of Vesperia can be distinguished in this way, as discussed here. In story, the explanation is given that they were trained in the same style but while Flynn perfected his skills, Yuri chose to add his own flair, causing them to diverge. Gameplay-wise, this maifests as Flynn using many of the classic Tales Series sword artes with sharp, precise movements, while Yuri moves in a flashier, more fluid way and combines original artes with variations on the classics.
This trope also applies to their cooking abilities: Flynn has skill, Yuri has talent. Though unlike in fighting, where their differing approaches are treated as equally valid, Yuri is very clearly the more competent one in the kitchen.
World of Warcraft has this distinction between the PvE (technician) and PvP (performer) crowds. PvE players often spend their time memorizing spell/ability rotations and managing buffs/debuffs over a fight while working a specific role (Tanking boss damage, dealing damage, or healing other party members), while the much more chaotic PvP depends more on the players essentially improvising. One PvE boss encounter back from the Wrath days re-created PvP conditions as you faced a squad of enemies from the opposing faction in battle. It benefitted from using PvP gear and mechanics, which caused a lot of consternation in the PvE community.
Also discussed by the Avatar and Virion, who are both pretty good at tactics. Virion is a Performer who creates schemes designed to win no matter what, even if it causes losses among the troops; the Avatar is a Technician who would never sacrifice a single unit if s/he could help it.
In thisNobody Scores! strip, the exchange between Sara (technician) and Beans (performer) before a swordfight could be substituted for the trope description. Unlike most instances of this trope, the technician owns the performer — only to be defeated by the sheer madness of her following opponent.
Sara: I have mastered the science of the blade. [...] [It] is like a game of chess. You must think first, before you move.
Beans: I overwhelm your science with PASSION!
In RWBY this trope is why the warriors Ruby and Weiss find it difficult to fight as a team. Ruby is wild and impulsive, frequently running into battle with no concern for where her team is in relation to her; Weiss is patient and analytical, unwilling to move until she's planned out her actions. (This also shows their contrasting personalities.) The show depicts both of their approaches as equal, though Weiss is certainly less sympathetic as a character.
The Whateley Universe has an unusual case where the Technician is actually teaching the Performer- Sensei Ito, who is teaching ki mutant Chaka. Ito is an old man who spent many hard years of work to master his ki, and is an amazing fighter. Chaka was a student of martial arts who manifested as a ki mutant, and can now do things that Ito could only dream of. She often lends her power to flashy tricks, like throwing needles at a board so they land in the shape of a C, and gets rebuked by Ito for wasting her power on tricks that are essentially pointless. It doesn't help that their personalities are complete opposites- Ito is calm, quiet, reserved and thoughtful, while Chaka is bouncy, vibrant, incredibly energetic and doesn't take many things seriously.
In Hero 108, episode "Camel Castle", Lin Chung's drawing of Ape Trully turns out to impress the Camels by being considered unique.
Rainbow Dash (performer) vs. Applejack (technician) in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Dash loves to show off and create flashy moves, while Applejack simply relies on hard work and grit. Each one has her fans, both in real life and among the show's characters, and the writers seem careful not to favor one over the other. Similar parallels can be drawn between Pinkie Pie, who bakes for the hell of it, Fluttershy, who works with animals because that's what she's good at, and Rarity, who designs clothes out of aesthetics, and is annoyed when she has to make inferior dresses for her friends because they are what they want to wear.
The most explicit Technician vs Performer argument in the series though would be The Great and Powerful Trixie (performer) vs Twilight Sparkle (technician). Twilight has the natural talent and ability of the Performer, but with a slant of constantly learning new spells and being trained by Celestia. Trixie has a natural affinity to magic as well, and is about as Performer as they come when it comes to desire and charisma, but while she has a more limited bag of tricks than Twilight, she seems to have them more adapt and flexible with her spell craft, getting through her complex spells about as fast as Twilight can go through a TK cantrip. While Twilight is a main character, and Trixie is a JerkassFake Ultimate Hero in her one episode, the two have an interesting dynamic in fanon when all other things are equal. Their dynamics are inverted in the episode Magic Duel, where Trixie gets a powerful artifact and Twilight is forced to play the role of Performer to outwit her.
Chowder has the Baker vs Cook duality seen in the real life section; Endive is the Baker/Technician and Mung Daal is the Cook/Performer. Many episodes, however, show that they're both equally competent, just different in their style and temperaments.
Robins I & III in Young Justice, with Dick as the Performer and Tim as the Technician. They're both very efficient, methodical crimefighters; the difference is that Dick enjoys the action and is a naturally charismatic leader, despite his distaste for the job, while Tim is quieter, more serious, and while modest, is a by-the-book leader who doesn't mind the responsibility. Tim doesn't really inject much of his personality into crimefighting, while Dick unequivocally states in the tie-in comics, "I love my job."
One episode of Muppet Babies has Piggy and Skeeter trying to teach Scooter how to dance. Piggy (the technician) is a ballet dancer who thinks dance should be beautiful, while Skeeter (the performer) thinks dance should be fun. While the two fight over who's right, Scooter decides to Take a Third Option and performs a graceful Fred Astaire-inspired tap routine, which proves that dance can be both beautiful and fun.
Columnist John Derbyshire once said that the Deep Blue vs Kasparov match was really between a "toolmaker"(technician) represented by the programer, and a "virtuoso"(performer) represented by Gary Kasparov.
Also on the subject of Chess, two World Champions: Mikhail Tal (performer) and Tigran Petrosian (technician). Tal was known for wildly speculative sacrifices leading to incredibly active and complex positions; even if later analysis showed the sacrifices to be flawed, it was difficult for even the best opponents to refute them over the board. "Chess, first of all, is art," said Tal. Meanwhile Petrosian was known for setting up rock-solid defenses and waiting for the opponent to make the slightest of mistakes, and then systematically demolishing them. Responding to criticism of his style, Petrosian said "They say my games should be more 'interesting'. I could be more 'interesting'—and also lose." (In case you were wondering, Petrosian has the slight edge in his lifetime record against Tal, 22½—19½.)
The traditional Mac/PC rivalry revolved around this, with Microsoft as the technician and Apple as the performer. In the last decade or so, however, the rivalry has cooled, and both now straddle the technician/performer divide
Victor Davis Hanson described the Battle of Waterloo this way saying that Wellington was more like a technician and Napoleon was like a performer. As he was rooting for Wellington it was kind of an inversion.
US Navy (Technician) vs Imperial Japanese Navy (Performer) in World War II. Subverted in that the technicians won, largely because of better strategic intelligence and battle-action, even during the early years of the war when they were often outnumbered. Meanwhile, the Japanese's most audacious attacks, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor (which inflicted little lasting harm, while provoking an overwhelming response from the US) or the use of Kamikaze suicide missions (which sacrificed planes and experienced pilots at exactly the moment they were both in shortest supply), backfired.
The El Alamein campaigns stands out: Rommel (performer) versus Montgomery (technician). Rommel was a tactical genius with a penchant for risky but brilliant maneuver warfare, conducted on a shoestring logistical line; Montgomery was excellent at organization and attention to detail, arranging for every shell to reach its destination. In a inversion, Montgomery won. Second El Alamein was not known for British maneuver genius but for meticulously-planned attacks that smashed through Rommel's depleted lines; Rommel had no fuel to maneuver with thanks to British air attacks, while Montgomery had even forecasted the length of the battle successfully. Basically, Rommel was more of a tactician and Montgomery more of a strategist.
The entire chain of political events which ended in World War II could be understood as the battle between the logic of a Technician and that of a Performer, while the former was the Soviet Union and the latter the community of Fascist states. If anything, the Communists were absolute maniacs of discipline and gain by struggle: they won the Russian Civil War by the skin of their teeth, developed the heavy industry and military forces of the USSR by iron hand, oppression, death and poverty, won World War IIby the force of numbers, immitated to the point that Soviet cars, trucks, buildings or fridges were carbon copies of American designs, only because they were so determined to gain visible results that took the easier way by copying what worked, regardless of having understood the culture behind it or not. On the other side, the entire Fascist culture, from Benito Mussolini in the 1920s to the end, revolved around coolness, elaborate design, color, music, innovation, staging, up to the point of being a gigantic theatrical performance instead of true Machiavellian politics. They played straight the trope, as modern people are far more impressed by cool tanks, uniforms and heroic deeds of the losers instead of the anonymous labor and toil of the winners.
The central ethos of punk rock is that of the performer, bringing it to swift popularity in a musical landscape dominated by the prog rock technicians who dominated contemporary rock music.
Warrior versus Soldier. A soldier trains to fight as part of a team, drilling and practicing to become part of an organised unit, a warrior is a much better fighter individually, but is undisciplined and fights alone. The Roman Empire vs The Celts during the conquest of Britain is a good example of this- in open fields with plenty of space, the Romans fought as one and overwhelmed the Celts with superior equipment, training and discipline, but when they were forced to fight in the forests that covered Britain at the time, they were split up from each other and the Celts massacred them in one-on-one fights.
Director-writer Franco Dragone, who handled most of Cirque du Soleil's shows through 1998, arranged for extensive creative workshops with the gymnasts, acrobats, dancers, etc. hired for each show from Nouvelle Experience onward. He was confident in their technical skills, so in the workshops he focused on getting them in touch with their creative sides. From these, the quirky characters of the shows emerged — performers who were nonetheless highly skilled. The first post-Dragone show, Dralion, would have used similar methods but they ran up against Values Dissonance due to a predominantly Chinese cast that was not comfortable with Dragone's style; the creative team instead focused on getting the best work possible out of these technicians, which is why the show isn't as character/theme-focused.
Karaoke singers tend to fall into one of these two extremes, and audiences tend to respond equally well to both the guy singing off-key and flubbing the lines while jumping wildly around the stage and the guy nailing the song flawlessly.
Many people who audition for X Factor or Idol are either overconfident people with no singing ability, or people with good singing ability who are too nervous to sing well in front of people. People who pass their auditions are usually humble people with good singing ability who can take criticism. They are usually attractive as well, but this isn't always the case.
At some culinary schools, this is described as Baker Versus Cook - the former are generally considered to be much more precise in their directions and timing, while the latter improvise a considerable amount more (in part due to the comparative uniformity of baking ingredients versus the different shapes and quality cooking ingredients, a cup of sugar is a cup of sugar regardless, whereas cuts of meat and vegetables can vary widely in size, although neither side is without the other's concerns). The differing skillsets are why many larger upscale kitchens will have a dessert chef completely distinct from the executive chef handling appetizers and entrees.
Many technicians work hard to get a performalist appearance. Dancers are a good example, but holds for musicians as well.
The rivalry between skaters Robin Cousins and Jan Hoffman boiled down to could Hoffman win by more on the technical figure tracing than Cousins could on the free program.
Automated Production (Technician) vs. Hand Craft (Performer). A robotic production line can make incredibly precise items rapidly and generally wins, however hand crafting has a "personal" and "unique" feel about it that lets someone think less about paying higher amounts for a (generally) lower quality item if it's man made.
Technician Al Pacino compared to performer Marlon Brando. Al Pacino said that he would work his ass off in acting... only to come short of what Brando could do in his sleep. Brando was also famous for refusing to memorize lines and often had cue cards on set or just improvised.
2010 had a similar race between Inception and The King's Speech. The former won the awards for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects and Cinematography. The latter won Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture.
Chris Bliss tends to be belittled in the juggling world for only ever using three balls instead of a more technically demanding higher amount. As a result, the same people find his immense popularity puzzling. However, Bliss' performances are flexible and lively with how he keeps shifting his juggling patterns, while people juggling with more objects tend to repeat the same precise mechanical pattern.
In the Asian competitive yo-yoing circuit, the team from Thailand is consistently the technicians while the team from Japan is most often the performers. The prevailing Thai strategy is to incorporate and mimic as flawlessly as possible past winning performances, whereas Japanese yo-yoers, inspired by the improvisational performers that made them an international force, are more inclined to make routines on the fly and create new tricks. The Thai usually get near perfect marks in technical skill whereas the Japanese usually do the same in creativity. (That being said, creativity is given more weight than technical skill, so between the two countries, only Japan has ever represented in world tournaments.)
More downplayed than the other examples, but Western martial arts (boxing, German fencing, wrestling) leans towards Technician, while Eastern martial arts (karate, kung-fu, taekwondo), leans towards to Performer.
Education. Ignoring the obvious of Mathematics and Physics versus Art and Music (and possibly English and History too), there's also the more general Everyone Gets A Trophy phenomenon and the promotion of vocational qualifications alongside more academic ones; the public backlash comes from the perception that schools should be about technical (academic) achievement, but they're increasingly seen as pandering to performalists.
Two of the great all-round card players (and close friends - they were also skilled at backgammon and wrote a book about it together), Oswald Jacoby (technician) and John R. Crawford (performer).