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Technician vs. Performer

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"I don't play accurately — anyone can play accurately — but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for life."
Algernon Moncrieff, The Importance of Being Earnest

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 (usually music or theater), or sports that require mixing physical ability with creativity (such as dancing or skating).


Alice is in a ballet class. She practices every day, spending hours in front of the mirror ironing out every tiny imperfection, and pushing herself to execute the hardest of hard moves. She's highly respected, her mentors find her a dream to teach, she's consistent, reliable, and all the other students are desperate to be her partner (even if they do find her unpleasant to work with and too difficult to keep up with her standards). But as devoted as she is to her art, she doesn't always seem to enjoy it. While everyone has a home or social life, she has sacrificed all those things to just practice, often alone and late into the night, when everyone has gone home. She may even secretly resent not being 'normal', focusing on her mistakes rather than her successes, and every recital is colored by the presence of her domineering Stage Mom.


Then there's Betty. Betty would never get up early for a pre-dawn warmup. She daydreams her way through class. No matter how hard she tries, there is always one move that she can never quite pull off, and sometimes she'll even improvise her own moves and go off script. Nevertheless she loves to dance, her joy coming out in every performance. Even if she lands flat on her tail, she leaves the audience smiling, and as much as her willfulness annoys her instructors, her commitment is unquestionable. She probably has a close group of friends outside the studio, a solid family who cheers no matter what she does, and an optimistic outlook on life. And if dancing ever stops being fun, she'll just stop doing it, but one gets the sense that it will never stop being fun for her.

If they're in a competition, the judges will put Alice's name on top every time, while Betty will be lucky to even get ranked. Put the pair in front of an audience, however, and it's a different story.


The audience doesn't see Alice's perfect form. They see that she dances with a face like a wet weekend. Betty is far more interesting. She turns a pratfall into a quirky dance move, makes faces at the kid in the front row, and laughs her way through the final act. Alice may be rolling her eyes from backstage, but she will likely go home wondering why Betty got a standing ovation while all she got was a polite smattering of applause. And why does Betty get to be so happy when she botched a simple pirouette while Alice nailed that quadruple-quintuple somersault?

Alice's "mistake" is that she dances to meet expectations, whether external (imposed by others) or internal (self-imposed), while Betty dances for the sheer joy of the art. The watching audience may not realize what a "perfect performance" is, but they know when the dancers are enjoying themselves... and even those who do know what good form is would rather see originality, artistic interpretation, and plain simple fun — which Alice often can't do, because improvisation, invention, and fun often risk that sense of 'perfection'.

Typically, these two will spur each other competitively in some way. They may find that they're Not So Different in certain aspects of their lives and passions. Sometimes, Defeat Means Friendship will take hold, and the girls will each learn from each other: Alice will learn to loosen up and rediscover the joy of her art, and Betty will try and emulate Alice's dedication and practice. If they don't come to terms, it can lead to some nasty results or a breakdown.

A Sister Trope to Red Oni, Blue Oni, where the Technician is the blue oni (cool, methodical, logical) and the Performer is red (energetic, instinctive, emotional). Obviously, these two archetypes can manifest differently depending on the situation they're involved in, such as:

  • A martial artist who uses precise, traditional moves vs one who dances around and uses unorthodox techniques
  • A painter of simplistic, cheerful paintings in an art school full of students obsessed with complexity
  • A musician who finds sheet music boring and likes to jazz them up with their own variations, to the consternation of a band member who has been practicing with that sheet music for months

Generally, the narrative will be in favor of the enthusiastic performer (who sometimes has The Gift, but not always) rather than the diligent technician. 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, where the technician is undeniably better at what they do, but they are contrasted with a Brilliant, but Lazy performer who is ultimately more fun to watch, or gets acceptable results with a fraction of the effort. In this case, Hard Work Hardly Works adds insult to injury by giving the 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.

A character who is both technician and performer may overlap with Talented, but Trained (innate talent + hard work).

Contrast the Villainy-Free Villain and Opposing Sports Team. Could also be seen as a form of Snobs Vs Slobs, with fastidious technicians who pay attention to detail as the foil for performers who believe in doing what comes naturally. In a military or combative setting, this dichotomy may form the basis for Opposing Combat Philosophies, along with Soldier vs. Warrior.


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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.
  • Battle Royale:
    • This trope is brought up in the manga, when the character Toshinori Oda remembers the time that he and the protagonist, 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 bishounen soup star (and love rival of Kouyuki) they have performing with them can't actually sing.
  • BNA: Brand New Animal: When it comes to shapeshifting, Michiru is a Performer good at developing new forms on the fly and seemingly without thinking; while Nazuna is a Technician with only a few forms that she's practiced and refined. One of the more notable examples being their flight forms: Her first time using the form Michiru fell off a tall building and shifted into a bird without even noticing until Shirou pointed it out, while Nazuna grows angel-looking wings out of her shoulders and revealed them in a staged performance.
  • 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 abroad 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 "Soccer 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  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's emotional 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.
  • In Carole & Tuesday, Angela Carpenter is the Technician, driven to perfection by her pushy Stage Mom and her own ego, and making heavy use of cutting-edge AI to write and compose her songs. The titular duo, meanwhile, are the Performers: their main motivation is sheer passion, they get noticeably bored and frustrated during long practice sessions, and their songs are stripped-back acoustic numbers with none of the smoke and mirrors of their contemporaries. As the series progresses, Angela is consistently the more successful of the duo, but the pressure, combined with the death of said stage mom, ultimately sends her into a depressive, self-destructive spiral.
  • Code Geass: In battle, Lelouch is the Technician to Suzaku's Performer. Lelouch is a calculating tactician who is much better suited at outwitting his enemies than taking them head-on, and the only time he can match experienced pilots in a fight with a Knightmare Frame is with a Knightmare that has an unusual control mechanism that he allows him to take advantage of his intellect. In comparison, Suzaku is no leader and a much more gifted pilot and combatant, attacking head-on and using risky maneuvers to overcome his foes.
  • 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 because he is more open to learning from others.
    • A better example may be Piccolo (post-Heel–Face Turn anyway) and Goku... Or, frankly, anyone else in the series that isn't a normal little human. While preternaturally strong, he usually ends up registering about a 7 or 8 while others spike at 10-15. But he's just so damn good and knows so many techniques (when it doesn't just come down to a planet-busting Beam-O-War) that he can hold his own with the best of them. Unless he's the one that gets picked on to prove "how much a threat" the new villain is.
    • 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.
  • Briefly mentioned in Fullmetal Alchemist, where Winry and Cheska debate over whether cooking is a science or an art.
  • Girls und Panzer encapsulates the divide with the Nishizumi sisters: Miho simply wants to enjoy Tankery matches as fun sporting events (Performer), while Maho has adopted her family's ethos of using traditional battle tactics to win at all costs (Technician). When they finally face off on opposite sides, it's a classic David vs. Goliath match where Miho's Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits are outgunned in a straight fight, but Maho's tanks suffer from Crippling Overspecialization, where their practiced formations can't adapt to unorthodox tactics and Refuge in Audacity.
  • 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.
  • Iron Wok Jan twists this trope with Kiriko Gobancho and Jan Akiyama. Jan, the Jerkass Anti-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.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has this dynamic with its many characters, some of which change roles throughout the series as well. To name some examples:
    • In Phantom Blood, Jonathan is the performer to Dio's technician. Dio is a highly calculating villain who uses guile and pragmatism to gain an edge, while Jonathan is a quick thinker who uses creative solutions to overcome his opponents.
    • Joseph, the hero of Battle Tendency, is even more of a performer compared to Jonathan, as well as compared to his Friendly Rival Caesar. What Joseph lacks in training, he more than makes up for in creative applications of Hamon, as well as unorthodox abilities conceived to throw his opponents off and give himself the advantage.
    • Jotaro, the hero of Stardust Crusaders, is more of a technician than Joseph or Jonathan, possessing a keen intellect that allows him to dismantle his opponents' advantages. DIO, meanwhile, has become more of a performer, using The World to halt time as a means of both giving himself a nigh-immutable advantage in combat and messing with his enemies' heads.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • This is the biggest difference between Kaguya and Shirogane in their Battle of Wits. Kaguya is a schemer who tends to come up with her plans ahead of time and favors being Crazy-Prepared, while Shirogane tends to prefer Indy Ploys. They end up swapping roles when they finally admit their feelings to one another, with Shirogane spending weeks planning out a Grand Romantic Gesture and Kaguya spontaneously initiating The Big Damn Kiss.
    • This also comes up when Kaguya and Fujiwara both try to help Shirogane learn a dance for the sports festival. Kaguya has him go through the motions and memorize the proper moves, while Fujiwara tells him he has to understand the feeling of being pulled.note 
  • 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 Jerkass to a more selfless but still Hot-Blooded Tsundere.
    • 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".
  • Kill la Kill has Ryuko as the performer and Satsuki as the technician. Ryuko is accustomed to street fighting and has little experience with using her Scissor Blade, so she relies on quick thinking in conjunction with Senketsu's ever-increasing arsenal of powers to win fights. Satsuki on the other hand has been training with a katana since childhood and doesn't have any abilities on Junketsu that are unique to it, relying on her insane skill to keep up with the power creep in later episodes.
  • 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).
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Izuku Midoriya and All Might
      • A teacher-and-student variation exists between the protagonist Izuku Midoriya and his mentor, the number one hero All Might, who trains him in the use of their shared quirk, One For All. All Might is a performer. From the day of his heroic debut, saving people while laughing in the face of disaster and proclaiming everything will be all right now because he is there, All Might has inspired confidence and admiration over his career. Midoriya, meanwhile, is a technician. He's quiet, has taken notes on heroes since he could write and tends to impress people on a much more individual level. All Might's mentoring of Midoriya is hampered by this fact, as All Might took to One For All much more naturally than Midoriya has, yet fails to realize his student isn't as intuitive as he was. His teachings are less informative than they should be as a result.
      • The contrast is further shown in how All Might's teacher, Gran Torino, approaches them. He taught All Might by basically subjecting him to Training from Hell and beating the crap out of him to the point the number one hero trembles in fear of the old man years later. He deals with Midoriya by giving him a few choice pieces of advice, letting the boy work out the answers on his own, then beating the crap out of him to give Midoriya a chance to test what he's come up with. Midoriya makes much more progress controlling One For All in a week with Gran Torino than he had in a significantly longer period with All Might.
    • Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo
      • Midoriya shares this contrast with his childhood friend and bully, Katsuki Bakugo. Midoriya is timid, thoughtful, and has to constantly put in the work to catch up to his peers in using his powers. Bakugo is a hothead driven to surpass his peers who prefers to rush in headfirst and is a more naturally gifted fighter. Where Midoriya sees being a hero as cool because they help people, Bakugo sees being a hero as cool because heroes always win. The differences between them are highlighted as early as the U.A. Entrance Exam. Bakugo passes the practical exam exclusively by destroying robot adversaries for points. Midoriya makes it through exclusively by passing the Secret Test of Character, fighting a powerful foe worth zero points to save a student who got trapped in its warpath.
      • In the Provisional License Exam, in which the students are tested for the right for licenses that let them act as heroes in limited situations, the second phase is a simulated rescue mission which involves a combination of fighting off villains and rescuing survivors. Bakugo's tunnel-vision on the surface-level, action oriented side of heroing bites him hard, as he's excessively rude to the people he's supposed to be saving even as he's making appropriate calls on whether to help them or send them to aid stations. Midoriya, despite some initial stumbling, is much more well-rounded and handles both the rescue side and a simulated villain attack much better. This results in Bakugo being one of only two members of the class not to pass the exam. Later, All Might tells both of them that a mix of Technician and Performer is ideal, and that Bakugo was held back by being too focused on the surface fame of being a hero, while Midoriya is too focused on the nuts and bolts and tends to be less driven and ambitious.
    • For all that Midoriya is the technician when placed beside the inspirational All Might and attention-grabbing Bakugo, the dynamic flips when Midoriya is compared to Tenya Iida. Midoriya's natural willingness to jump into danger to help others and relative recklessness contrast sharply to Ida's by-the-book, prone to overthinking attitude. In the U.A. Entrance Exam, Ida focuses on performing the test following the rules laid out to them beforehand. The idea of attacking the giant, zero-point robot never occurs to him for a moment and only seeing Midoriya do so to save someone else makes him stop and consider that there even is a Secret Test of Character involved. As the two become friends, Midoriya's natural heroism helps inspire Ida while Ida's adversity to recklessness has helped to keep Midoriya in check.
    • The Joint Training Arc highlights this dynamic between Classes 1-A and 1-B. Class 1-A are the performers, who have caught the eyes of many Pro Heroes for internships, become stars during the Sports Festival, and regularly thrive in high-pressure, chaotic situations like the villain attacks during USJ and the summer training camp with quick thinking and resolve. Class 1-B are the technicians, as they have had relatively stable classes throughout the semesters, make good use of teamwork, forethought and planning, and regularly thrive in more organized assessments like U.A's final exam or the provisional license exam.
  • 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 is 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.
    • Zoro's fight against Buggy's second mate, Cabaji The Acrobat, puts a notable emphasis on this. Cabaji, along with his swordsmanship skills, uses a variety of circus tricks against Zoro such as firebreathing and spinning tops as well as fighting Zoro while riding on top of a unicycle as opposed to Zoro who simply uses his skills as a swordsman against Cabaji. Zoro struggled with Cabaji's tricks at first, not helped with the wound he got when fighting Buggy prior, but when he managed to knock Cabaji off his unicycle and forced Cabaji to fight him without any tricks, Zoro defeats him with a single attack.
  • Duck/Ahiru, 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. Of course, her counterpart is Rue, who though technically skilled, finds that she is lacking something..
  • 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.
  • Discussed in Smile Down The Runway. There are basically two types of fashion: i.e. "high-fashion" (technician) that has high artistic merit and eccentric designs that would require advanced techniques to pull off, and "commercial fashion" (performer) that appeals to masses. During the Geika Institute Fashion Festival, the entries are ranked based on the former, but the headmaster reminds the audience that there is really no ranks in fashion, and that the judges' rankings should not invalidate the customer's emotional experience with their favoured collections. As if to drive the point forward, the judges agree that Ayano Toh is the no. 1 contestant, as his collection showcased the highest level of artistic expression, while Ikuto is placed 11th since his designs are too "commercial". However, Ikuto is also the only other student aside from Ayano to attract buyers, meaning that 9 others who were ranked higher than him failed to connect to the audience.
  • 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.
  • The many many episodes of Pokémon did this a few times, once with two rival restaurants, owned by sisters, 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. While Ash and his friends helped out Mr. Mime by teaching which flavors work best and to take it a bit slower, Team Rocket helps out the Sneasel in being a bit more flashy with presentation. After a Cooking Duel and stopping Team Rocket, the two sisters made up and combined their places into one.
    • This also happens a lot with Ash in Pokemon battles. Ash is a Performer whose Pokemon are strong 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.
      • The dichotomy shows in Froakie & Hawlucha's Doubles match against Clemont's Bunnelby & Chespin. Froakie takes the match seriously, while Hawlucha wants to make it a performance. Neither thinks much of the other's method.
    • 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. Ash once tried a contest on a suggestion, leading to a matchup against Zoey. Zoey ends up winning by virtue of having more points, but just because time ran out before Ash's Pokemon could land a difinitive knockout hit. She admits if it weren't for the time limit, she would have lost.
  • Sword Art Online has this dynamic with two antagonists, Akihiko Kayaba and Nobuyuki Sugou. Kayaba is a Mad Artist at his core, and used groundbreaking virtual technology to force thousands of people to live inside his video game, Sword Art Online. Sugou, on the other hand, uses ALFheim Online to perform human experimentation and harvest data.
  • Lampshaded by Aster/Edo Phoenix (a professional duelist, the performer) in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX during his duel against Jaden/Judai; he states that everyone can win a duel, but he's a professional, and his task is to grasp victory while giving his audience a good show, cue to him feigning to have taken game-ending damage only to make a powerful comeback and winning just after that.
  • Yusei Fudo and Jack Atlas of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's fit this trope perfectly, at first glance. 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, preferring big and flashy plays to several smaller tactical ones like Yusei. Despite this, 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. What makes this more debatable, is that Jack sticks to tried and true methods, whereas Yusei will try new things and tends to be more creative.
  • Is a major part of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, since Yuya is training specifically to be an entertainment duelist; a fictional branch of pro-duelists whose goal is to entertain the audience instead of winning. Lots of duels are between technicians and performers, with varying results. Becomes a crucial part of Yuya's character, since Yuya sometimes tries to be the performer in situations where it's completely inappropriate and has an emotional breakdown when he's repeatedly forced to duel as a technician instead of a performer.
    • During the MCS qualifying duels, this trope is how Yuya wins and gets through to Kyuuando and Michio; both are technicians who think they're performers, and Yuya's performance shows them how to become a real performer.
  • 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.
      • Possibly justified, as despite acting like a performer, Eiji had much more practice drawing manga than his peers by virtue of not having anything else to do as a child.
    • A straighter example would be Hiramaru compared to any of the others characters. while they all have a passion for manga and have been improving their skills for a few years, Hiramaru had no experience drawing, or even reading manga. He took one glimpse at a recent issue of Shonen Jump, learned a few tricks and decided he could try it. His first chapters got better rankings than thoses of Ashirogi, who debuted in Jump around the same time, and his first manga lasted longer than thoses of the main characters or the other rivals, except Niizuma. Not only that but he was also the first to get his manga adapted into a anime aside from Niizuma (who had already been serialized for three years when Hiramaru debuted) .
  • One episode of Twin Princess of Wonder Planet 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 Moon Naoko 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.
  • In Little Witch Academia (2017) Diana Cavendish and Akko Kagari are the Technician and Performer, respectively. Diana comes from a long, well known, powerful family. At a Festival in episode 13, she pulls off a powerful summoning, copying parts of the performance of Shiny Chariot, an entertainer witch from a decade ago. Her skill wows the crowd. But Akko, who has very little skill (she's only been using magc for maybe a couple months at this point) and can't do anything well, but wants magic to be fun, puts on a dazzling performance, using her inability to do things perfectly to instead make silly shapeshifts, eliciting laughs from everyone, even those who comment in just how bad her shapeshifting skill is, and wins the crowd. Diana's performance, while technically perfect, is sterile and cold in comparison.
  • Macross:
    • Macross Plus features a literal chart graphing the performances of test pilots Guld (the Technician) and Isamu (the Performer), with Isamu's crazy stunts leading to either disaster or an amazing performance, while Guld's steady and even progression being good enough to keep up with and push Isamu.
    • Macross Delta features Hayate as the performer and Mirage as the technician; their squadron's ace actually criticizes both of them for going too far on their respective ends of the spectrum, since his own piloting is a near-perfect mix of both styles.
  • 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, methodical, 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.
  • As with many tropes of the Super Robot genre, Mobile Suit Gundam provides a Deconstruction of the usual use: Amuro (Performer) is incredibly talented but, having had to jump in the Gundam with the piloting manual and no prior training, has little experience piloting a mobile suit, while the Zeon aces he has to face are all militarily trained and experienced war veterans who know their machines inside-out. As a result, Amuro survived Char's initial onslaught with a Zaku and defeated Ramba Ral's Gouf only thanks to the superior performance of the Gundam, and is only by learning the technique through hard training and battles that, by the time the Three Black Stars (less skilled than either Char or Ramba Ral) show up, he's a legitimately good pilot. After that, it Reconstructs it: the Three Black Stars are still more skilled than Amuro, but aren't as versatile as him and last only two fights before being killed off, with one of them getting unceremoniously killed when Amuro dismantled their trademark maneuver.
  • Naruto plays this trope both ways: as long as there's even a chance of a fight being anywhere close to even, neither natural strength nor self-taught ability NOR extensive skill training has a natural advantage. Some of the best examples of this are any time Naruto (the Performer) wins a fight through making up moves on the fly and sheer hard-headedness, or the victories Shikamaru (the Technician) accrues through strategy and his mastery of shadow-manipulation binding techniques. There are plenty of speeches about "ability versus technique" going in both directions, both with their merits. There are also plenty of instances where "unbeatable techniques" or "unstoppable raw power" both come to the forefront, especially as the Tailed Beasts come to the fore and need to be dealt with/are needed to deal with the problems at hand.
    • Surprisingly enough, Naruto changes roles in The Last, which comes to view in his final battle with Toneri Otsutsuki. Toneri's newly acquired Tenseigan gives him access to a lot of flashy and destructive jutsu, and is more or less evenly matched with Naruto in terms of raw power. On the other thand, while not lacking on the flashy himself, Naruto makes use of the skills he acquired from years of fighting experience along with his strength and determination, and Toneri's newly acquired abilities couldn't match up to the more battle-hardened Naruto. Case in point: Toneri's BFS lazer gets defeated by a fairly basic move (a chakra imbued fist).
  • An ongoing theme in Food Wars!. Interestingly, the manga doesn't come out on a specific side, instead stating that it's necessary to be able to do both. Individual characters are all over the spectrum, from Alice Nakiri who is so obsessed with incorporating cutting-edge techniques she loses sight of the task at hand, to Megumi Tadokoro who always cooks with great care and attention, but has trouble with execution due to lacking technical skills. A particularly vile version of the Technician is Mimasaka Subaru, who is an excellent cook, but only cares about winning cooking competitions. He doesn't care about cooking good food, about pleasing diners, about respecting the skills, privacy and propery of others, and his entire schtick is based around stealing his competitors' recipes and improving on them just enough to make sure he wins.
  • The two main characters in Your Lie in April are this when it comes to music. Kousei is the technician, since his mother drilled into him that he must always stick to the score and memorize it inside and out, while Kaori is the performer whose wild and energetic playing greatly deviates from the sheet music.
    • This also plays a major role in the series itself, as the Performance side is the one always advocated for, as it has the greatest potential to reach others on an emotional level. This is exemplified in the second episode, in which the Head Judge marks Kaori off for deviating from the piece as-written, but the audience loves it, giving her a standing ovation.
      Mr. Kazama: Blasphemous! The tempo and dynamics are abysmal! Look, her own accompanist can't even keep up with her! She's dragged Beethoven into a back-alley brawl!
      Kousei: It's Beethoven's Kreutzer, but this piece no longer belongs to him. Here and now - she owns it. Down to its soul!
  • Nagisa and Karma in Assassination Classroom. The two of them have been compared a few times and at least once by Karma himself. Karma, the Performer, is faster, stronger and more skilled than Nagisa but is too much of a showboat to be a proper assassin. Nagisa, the Technician, is quiet, looks harmless and is frequently mistaken for a girl but is capable of killing casually, is very level-headed and appears nonthreatening until he's already struck.
  • In Full Moon Madoka Wakamatsu is the Technician as a more experienced Idol Singer with skills that don't come from other sources, while Mitsuki/Fullmoon is the Performer as a prospect singer who has magical help and sings with her heart. It becomes quite important later since Madoka is told that her songs are good but have no soul, causing her to almost quit music altogether.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice explores this in several figure skaters — overall, it takes the view that both elements are crucial in succeeding as a skater:
    • Yuri Katsuki's ballet teacher, Minako, tells Victor that Yuri is no genius, and that his skill and success are down to constant practice and the luxury of having a nearby ice rink that was willing to let him practice alone. Yuri himself echoes this sentiment. This would seem to put Yuri firmly in Technician territory...but the narrative strongly suggests that Minako is simply wrong: Yuri does have natural talent and very strong Performer elements. Victor picks up on this immediately, telling Yuri that his ability to "make music with his body" is what immediately drew Victor to him (well, that and the drunken pole-dancing antics). Yuri Plisetsky too, remembers Yuri K for his elegant step sequences. In fact, it's technical skills (especially the jumps) that are the bane of Yuri's life, while his performance elements boost his score.
    • Victor, the in-universe star of the ice, is best know for being a Performer — in and out of the rink. He's a showman, he flirts with the cameras, and his programs are clearly designed to tell a story. His priority is entertainment, and when he worries that he has nothing new to bring to his performances, he's ready to give it up. However, his speech about how skating consumed his life so that there was no room for anything else, added to the fact that you can't get as good as Victor is without putting the work in, suggest strong Technician skills too.
    • Yuri "Yurio" Plisetsky is a Technician when being kept on a leash by Yakov and Lilia, but seems to be a more natural Performer. His coaches spend hours on technical elements and hammering out imperfections. However, the Agape program (choreographed and initially coached by Victor) had emotion rather than technical skill at its heart, and that is the program he sets a world record with. By contrast, his free skate is technically demanding to the point of being nightmarish, but doesn't inspire the same level of emotional intensity in Yurio. When he gets his own way in his self-choreographed exhibition skate, he's purely focused on putting on a show, although his technical skill is still present.
    • Other skaters in the story are presented on a sliding scale between Technician and Performer; Phichit Chulanont's ultimate goal is to put on an ice show to show the world how fun skating is, and Yuri calls him "a born entertainer", while Seung-gil Lee is entirely fixated on the technical aspect of figure skating and is constantly calculating his score as he performs.

    Comic Books 
  • Crossed: Shaky and Tabitha interestingly zigzag this in their first conversation. Tabitha clearly enjoys making artwork, with a very performer-esque demeanor, but she often writes over her (very good) drawings without showing them to anyone, and claims that art doesn't have to be seen to matter. Shaky is generally more clinical and detached when it comes to his work, and says he isn't a real artist because he only wrote comic books for money but he also admits that his art, particularly his diary, matters to him because he wants people to read it and know about him, which is a mentality better suited for a performer than a technician.

    Fan Works 
  • This is the source of the conflict between Trixie and Twilight in RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse. Twilight is the Technician par excellence, having graduated with a perfect GPA from Luna's Academy Of Magic a year early and only having honed her understanding of magic since. Trixie, by contrast, couldn't care less about magical theory, despite being the Lunaverse's Element Of Magic. She learns spells not from books, but by watching other ponies cast them. Her specialty is illusion magic, and half her "magic" is actually sleight-of-hoof tricks. Twilight's refusal to accept that a mare who doesn't care a whit for arcane theory could possibly be the Element of Magic is what sets off the plot of Boast Busted. In the later episode Magic Tutor, Twilight and Trixie are forced to work together when trying to teach magic to the foals of Ponyville. Trixie's explanations are so vague that the foals have a hard time understanding them, while Twilight is so technical that the foals find it hard to pay attention.
  • Ash and Red have this dynamic in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Ash is far better at coming up with off the wall strategies but lacks the power of Red, while Red is good with power and straight forward strategies but lacks Ash's adaptability. Scott notes that both of them have potential, though each has much to learn yet.
  • Ash in Challenger serves as a performer to the students' technicians when he fights the top ten students at a Pokemon prep school. Part of why Ash utterly destroys so many of them is because of his unusual battling style that clashes with their theory based training. The rest is because while they study theory and type match ups, Ash has actually gotten into dozens of battles and learned from each of them.
  • Rivals Series: One of the main cruxes of Viktor and Yuuri's rivalry. While both are strong in all areas, Viktor has better technical skating skills, being able to pull out several complicated jumps and land them with ease; Yuuri, however, is a better performer, having revolutionized step-sequencing to the point that the ISU had to actually clarify how they scored step-sequencing just for him, and perfect compulsory figures to compliment how much control he has over his body. The latter even won the Junior Worlds Championship with a quad-less program — which, in this day and age, is unheard of.
  • The conflict between Cafe Prime and Jaune's in Service with a Smile boils down to accuracy vs passion. Cafe Prime is a massive coffeehouse chain with fifteen locations in Vale alone but they're heavily focused on "efficiency" which means their tables are suffocatingly close together, their customer service feels fake, and their coffee is cheap but acceptable. Jaune's is a mom and pop store owned by Jaune Arc which, while more expensive, has par excellence customer service with friendly staff, a wide variety of coffee considered the best in the city, and a friendly and inviting atmosphere. It also shows in how they try to compete with one another: Cafe Prime will offer free coffee or hire expensive celebrities to host shows at their locations while Jaune's will use costumes and decorations to make themed weekends like dressing up as pirates.
  • Rock Lee vs Naruto in Reaching for a Dream is a match between someone who learned a powerful martial arts style vs someone who was Taught by Experience.
  • Vice-Admiral Johnathan (Technician) and Cross (Performer) in This Bites! during a test of strategies and tactics between G8 and the Straw Hats. Johnathan uses control tactics and his experience as both a marine and the commander of Navarone to deduce the actions of the pirates and catch them off guard at several turns, while applying his strategies as a chessboard. Cross admits that he isn't good at chess compared to Johnathan or Robin, but that is because he finds himself constrained by the rules. In the final hour of their Twenty-Four Hours escape time-limit, Cross instructs the Strawhats to cause so much chaos that they can retrieve their gold and weapons while the marines are trying to maintain order. As Cross described it to Johnathan, instead of playing the game he flipped the board entirely.

    Films — Animation 
  • Coco: One can apply both sides of this dynamic to Ernesto and Héctor. Overall, Ernesto is the Performer: charismatic, outgoing and able to draw the crowds but as a performer, he’s a Technician: polished but emotionally vacant. Héctor, as a songwriter, would be the Technician, since he created the songs that made Ernesto famous, but as a songwriter, he’s really a Performer: sincere and heartfelt, as is shown in how he created “Remember Me”, not as a cheesy love ballad but as a tender lullaby for his beloved daughter, Coco.
  • 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. This ends up as a deconstruction: Mike knows what to make of every situation, he knows what scares to give to each child and how to milk information out of every profile, but his lack of practical ability ultimately makes it pointless for him to even try. Sully has a good technique, but he only has that single one technique, that does not work on every situation and could often result in him making a mistake, which comes from his lack of interest in even reading the profiles. They can't really do anything having only a single one of these capacities.
  • 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 Freak based on 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.
  • The conflict between the main character and her rival in Ballerina: Félicie has no technical skills whatsoever, coming from an Orphanage of Fear with no training, but loves dancing to the bottom of her soul. Camille knows technical dancing inside and out, but only dances because her Stage Mom forced her into it. Félicie wins the final competition because Camille says she deserves to - Félicie can learn the technical skills she currently lacks, but Camille can't replicate Félicie's passion.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, this is the difference between Astrid and Hiccup's approach to anti-dragon fighting. Astrid hones her skills with incredible effort and traditional weaponry; Hiccup strives to understand the dragon mind so he can direct and pacify them without bloodshed. This represents the duality of Viking culture; fearless savagery coupled with ideals and creative strategies. Hiccup's Performer style is ultimately superior, but he needs Astrid's pragmatic mind to pull him through the dark parts of his 'saga'.
  • Ratatouille: Remy (via Linguini) is the Performer to Colette's Technician. Remy's heightened senses allow him to experiment with mixing flavors and improvising his dishes. Colette on the other hand insists on sticking to Chef Gusteau's tried-and-true recipes. Over the course of the movie they start to learn from each other: Remy taking Colette's advice on how to work in a professional kitchen while she learns to trust his instincts and experiment with flavor. By the end they've become a highly successful team that knows how to play off each other's skillsets.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Drumline has the protagonist as the performer butting up against the technical performance required by the drumline's captain to form a unified sound.
  • 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. 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.
  • Blades of Glory has rival figure skaters, Jon Heder's Technician and Will Ferrell's Performer, forced to skate together in the pairs event.
  • 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 
  • In The Prestige, Angier is the showman who lives to delight his audience, while Borden is the technician in love with the craft of illusion. 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 trope is later subverted in that Angier's illusion relies on technology but Borden's is pure performance.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Khan and his crew as Performer, and Kirk and his crew as Technician. While Khan is brilliant and ruthless (and crazy) and commands a crew of Augments, Kirk has him beat with superior training, experience, and familiarity with ship-to-ship combat. Khan manages to surprise Kirk (thanks to Kirk ignoring regulations) and draw first blood, but Kirk soon evens the odds and takes advantage of Khan's two-dimensional thinking to cripple his ship.
  • In Chariots of Fire, Harold is more a technician and Eric more a performer.
  • 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."
  • Black Swan uses this trope to illustrate the differences in the dancing of the two main characters. Nina is technically flawless, but she's cold, controlled and distant, which makes her an excellent White Swan and a bad Black Swan. Meanwhile, Lily dances more instinctively, lacking the technical chops but letting her warm and sensuous personality come through. This makes her an excellent Black Swan but a sub-par White Swan. The ballet director is torn because he would prefer to cast one dancer as both roles. In this case the narrative favours Nina as the Technician - as Thomas tries to get her to learn to loosen up so she can play the Black Swan.
  • 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. One always performs consistently well, while the other is prone to flights of both genius and sloppiness.
  • Back to School: The conflict between Professor Phillips and Thornton Melon pops up is a battle between academic knowledge vs real world experience. Phillips is a straight-laced teacher of economics who focuses on accepted theory. Thornton Melon is a self-made entrepreneur who discusses creative business practices and the shady backroom deals.
  • 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 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 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.
  • My Week with Marilyn portrays the Troubled Production of Laurence Olivier's The Prince and the Showgirl and how his leading lady Marilyn Monroe drove him utterly batshit over her flakiness and mental breakdowns during the shooting, only for him to acknowledge that when she worked she was the greatest thing that had ever been seen on a screen. Summed up with the quote:
    He is the world's greatest actor who wants to become a movie star. You are the world's greatest movie star who wants to become an actor. And this movie isn't going to help either of you.
  • In Rush (2013), 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.
  • Itty Bitty Titty Committee Cheerleaders Vs. The Big Boob Squad (Yes, it's an all-girl cheerleader-themed porno) has the Petite Pride 69'ers having the better choreography and agility "because they're not weighed down" compared to the bullying Beavers who rely solely on sex appeal and can only attempt seducing the judges to victory.
  • 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.
  • Trouble with the Curve has Gus and Philip. Gus, the grizzled veteran, goes to games and observes the players firsthand. Philip, much younger, relies on statistics via computer. While Gus is found to have superior results, it is pointed out that Philip is more repeatable in his results, is more productive, and doesn't cost as much.
  • Apflikorna (She Monkeys) has newcomer Emma as the technician, who is the strongest and most controlled equestrian, but loses out against the super-glamourous Cassandra who turns everyone's head (but is actually just interested in Emma).
  • In Seven Samurai, the most extreme examples are quiet, hard-working perfectionist Kyuzo and dynamic natural talent Kikuchiyo (who's not even a samurai anyway).
  • In the film Florence Foster Jenkins, this is Zig-Zagged. Florence is passionate about music, works hard at practicing, and loves to perform, but she is so Giftedly Bad that she just plain doesn't realize she has absolutely no technical skill whatsoever. Ultimately she succeeds because people enjoy her performances as Camp and because she's so good natured that nobody has the heart to tell her she's terrible.
  • In The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), the piano teacher declines to take Birdie as a student because she just plays the notes but has no passion, sighting that she would be an excellent typist but not a pianist.
  • Amadeus: Salieri is shown to be quite deliberate about his compositions, carefully testing each note and chord before penning it in, with the occasional bit of prayer to help him through it. Mozart seems to make it up right off the top of his head "as if he were taking dictation", according to Salieri.
    • Although it is hinted this is largely an act by Mozart and he does work very hard at composition, part of the reason for his decline is he refuses to do any work such as teaching that would pay well because it would take away the time he needs for composition.
  • In the Based on a True Story movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, Josh's two chess teachers each reflect these traits. Bruce (the technician, played by Ben Kingsley) is a respected chess master who strictly adheres to traditional chess theory and strategy. He encourages Josh to spend all his time studying theory to play "properly" and to always think carefully before every move. Vinnie (the performer, played by Laurence Fishburne), on the other hand is a street hustler who has a very fast and loose play style, moves by instinct without thinking about it, ignores traditional theory and strategy and encourages Josh to "play from the gut". Bruce's training seems to take away the joy of the game for Josh, while Josh seems to be happier when playing with Vinnie. Josh eventually adopts elements of both styles of play into his own.
  • Throughout The Mighty Ducks films, the titular Ducks are the Performers to the opposing Technicians, using unorthodox tricks against their opponents' strength and aggression. As the trilogy goes on, however, their "little Duck tricks" become far less useful, and they have to work in some Technician just to remain competitive.
  • The Dead (1987) - while the dichotomy was there in the original short story, the film plays it up more. Mary Jane is a beloved and respected piano teacher, so her skill is technically brilliant when she plays a piece for the party - but the majority of the guests are bored by it and only applaud out of politeness. Aunt Julia was once a soprano in a church choir but is significantly older, and her performance of "Arrayed For the Bridal" has some warbling - but she sings with such passion and enthusiasm that it moves all the guests.
  • Emily Blunt commented on this when she was cast as the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods - a role she was reluctant to audition for due to her limited singing experience. Rob Marshall apparently didn't want "a singer who could kind of act" and rather wanted someone who would give the songs the emotion they needed. It seems the critics agreed - as Emily got a Golden Globe nomination for the performance (and the fans consider her to be a highlight of the cast).
  • The World of Suzie Wong - Robert's paintings are simple and not to the standards of elite galleries in London. But he's able to bring out the good features in his models and create art that has something to it.

  • 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.
  • Ballet Shoes:
    • Played with a bit, where it's mentioned at one point that Petrova 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).
    • Played very straight when it comes to Winifred - who is a Jill of all trades - versus Pauline - who is a good actress but merely competent at dancing and singing. Winifred loses the part of Alice to Pauline mainly because she's from a poor family and looks shabby at auditions, and also seems to lack Pauline's charisma.
    • 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. This is a slightly unusual example 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.
  • This comes up several times in Discworld books.
    • In the 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. In "The Sea And Little Fishes", in response to someone commenting on Granny's "natural talent", Nanny notes she has much more "natural talent" than Granny Weatherwax, but the latter is the most respected and feared witch alive by dint of years of sheer, bloody-minded application of the little talent she does have. Nanny, however, has the ability to get along with anyone she meets instantly, which is one trick Granny has never picked up.
    • Played with in Maskerade, where Bucket, Salzella et al. argue that though Agnes is the technically superior singer who puts in all the work, Christine has superior stage presence and "star power" (read: she's thin, blonde and conventionally attractive). In truth, Agnes is both performer (she is naturally talented) and technician (she works to improve), while Christine cannot sing for peanuts.
    • 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 in her playing, but her performances are cheerful and pleasing, and on the whole people much prefer to listen to her.
  • Emma: Emma Woodhouse plays the piano rather well, but she didn't practise enough as a child to reach true mastery. Jane Fairfax is as old as Emma, and just as talented in music as she is, but Jane has a deeper love for music and she has been a diligent student and plays perfectly. Emma is a skilled performer, but Jane is both a technician and a performer. Though some people do not see it...
    Harriet: Oh! if I could but play as well as you and Miss Fairfax!
    Emma: Don’t class us together, Harriet. My playing is no more like hers, than a lamp is like sunshine.
    Harriet: Oh! dear — I think you play the best of the two. I think you play quite as well as she does. I am sure I had much rather hear you. Every body last night said how well you played.
    Emma: Those who knew any thing about it, must have felt the difference. The truth is, Harriet, that my playing is just good enough to be praised, but Jane Fairfax’s is much beyond it.
    Harriet: Well, I always shall think that you play quite as well as she does, or that if there is any difference nobody would ever find it out. Mr. Cole said how much taste you had; and Mr. Frank Churchill talked a great deal about your taste, and that he valued taste much more than execution.
    Emma: Ah! but Jane Fairfax has them both, Harriet.
    Harriet: Are you sure? I saw she had execution, but I did not know she had any taste. Nobody talked about it. And I hate Italian singing. There is no understanding a word of it. Besides, if she does play so very well, you know, it is no more than she is obliged to do, because she will have to teach.
  • In Shades of Milk and Honey and its sequels, Jane and her husband Vincent work together as illusionists. Jane is the technician, Vincent is the performer.
  • 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.
  • In the backstory of Without Bloodshed, violinist Christabel is an almost-pure Technician, and a Prima Donna in the bargain. Guitarist Morgan and vocalist/keyboardist Naomi are performers with considerable technique and compositional of their own. Though the band Crowley's Thoth is named after Christabel Crowley, it's Morgan and Naomi who make the band work in the studio and on tour. Christabel resented her bandmates' popularity and tendency to constantly upstage her. Morgan and Naomi wish she'd loosen up, study some music theory, help write some songs, and be ready to perform when the show starts.
  • In A Million Open Doors, the difference between performance and technique is discussed; For Giraut, as an Occitan, the way that one performs a piece of music is the crucial thing, but on Caledony, where "reason" trumps everything else, all performances are judged based on technique, because style is considered objective.
  • RCN: The difference as captains between Daniel Leary and Lieutenant Vesey, his first officer for most of the series. Vesey is well-educated and a fine sailor, but as a combatant she lacks her CO's aggression and instinct for killing. It's remarked at least once that if she is given a permanent command of her own and faces a major battle, she'll fall back on training and perform competently, but will probably never match Daniel for sheer skill.
  • One Hundred Years Ahead: An academic variation, implied in the case with the 6B class's two best students, Mila Rutkevich and Kolya Sulima. Mila is described as a "principled A-student", to the point that the teachers feel awkward giving her anything less than an A. She is The Perfectionist who devotes all her time to studies and is furious when Alice becomes a better student than her. Kolya is also a hard-working student, but he isn't mentioned to get straight As like Mila, concentrating only on the fields that personally interest him. Unlike her, he is involved in extracurricular activities (chess and a scientific society at the planetarium) and is much more sociable and friendly. Their futures (at least, according to Alice) reflect it: Mila is to become a very strict school headmistress and Kolya is to become World Chess Champion and invent the time machine.
  • Perfume by Patrick Susskind: Master Baldini is the Technician, insisting on following the formulas for scents; Grenouille is the Performer, whose natural ability to smell literally anything makes him able to replicate any perfume without even measuring the ingredients and create his own new scents completely spontaneously.
  • In his book When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?, George Carlin explains why he thinks Michael Jackson will always be the greatest performer of all time; most other iconic musicians of the 20th century are either entertainers with no artistry or artists with no sense of showmanship, but the King of Pop was able to strike a delicate balance as both the technician and performer.
    What's important to me is that Michael is the greatest entertainer who ever lived. Bar none. Watch him dance; pay attention to the showmanship. no one ever came close.
    Elvis was a bogus white guy with sex appeal and good looks who ripped off a lot of great black music, watered it down, and made it safe for lame whites who couldn't handle the experience of raw, emotional black music. Never grew as an artist; remained an entertainer. Fuck Elvis.
    Sammy Davis Jr.? Nice try. Ordinary dancer, ordinary singer, second-rate impressionist. I also didn't like the insincere sincerity. But he was a nice man personally; I give him credit for that.
    Frank Sinatra? Great singer of songs, among the best. Superb musician. Grew as an artist. No showmanship, though. Arrogant, too. And mean to ordinary people. Fuck him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In the first years of the War of Five Kings is an exhaustive study of this;
      • Royalist leader Tywin Lannister is the Technician; exhaustively educated, a veteran of at least four separate wars over the course of his sixty-year life, and intimately familiar with the geological and political landscape of Southern Westeros — which is on the verge of shattering into utter chaos because the previous king died under questionable circumstances and the current monarch's lineage is publicly questioned. Oh, and he is filthy fucking rich. However, he has only moderate support from his generals, he's fighting for a teenaged monarch who is already infamous for his viciousness and outright stupidity, and much of his forces are mercenaries.
      • Rebel leader Robb Stark is the Performer; young, inexperienced and completely ignorant of the territory he is smashing through on his way to the capital to collect the head of his father's murderer. And he's so strapped for cash that his primary source of funds is ransoming enemy knights. He's also an absolute animal in combat(mind his awesome horse-sized wolf if you value your life), beloved by his bannermen with whom he's been close friends with since he could walk, fighting for the independence of a kingdom that adored his father completely and enthusiastically supports his quest for vengeance, and all his forces are volunteers with high morale.
      • Robb wins every single battle he fights, so Tywin eventually realizes he can't win on the battlefield and bribes a third party into slaughtering Robb's forces in a blatant violation of Sacred Hospitality. He also dies on the privy with two crossbow bolts in his chest because he treats his allies like shit.
    • In terms of her linguistic skills, Missandei and Dany have this dynamic. The latter, being naturally quite boastful and self-absorbed (albeit endearingly so to Missandei), is quite proud of her mastery of Dothraki, Valyrian, and Common Tongue, but Missandei has a better technical grasp of those languages (since it is after all her main skillset). As such she latches on to linguistic subtleties like the gender-neutral nature of Valyrian which Dany missed since she mostly uses the language to communicate without attention to grammatical exactitude.
  • 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.
    • Dancing with the Stars features a twist on this trope. In almost every season, the "technician" role is filled by current or former athletes, while the "performer" role is filled by entertainers of one form or another. Both groups have people with widely varying dance experience, based either on the athlete's specific sport or the entertainer's specific genre. Season 26, in which all of the celebrity contestants were athletes, still had this dynamic, with the "performer" role filled by the three figure skaters.
      • Several DWTS judges have well-known biases toward one side of this divide. Len tends strongly to favor the technical side of things while Bruno and to a lesser extent Carrie Ann prefer the Performers.
  • On Stargate SG-1, 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 mentions 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:
    • The show 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.
    • Technician vs. 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 vs. 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 b-boys. 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.
  • 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.
  • Dance Moms:
    • For some time in the first and part of the second season, Maddie was portrayed as having the strongest technique thanks to interview clips from Abby and the moms constantly praising (or sometimes scorning) Maddie for her perfectionist tendencies. Conversely, early underdog Chloe was portrayed as an imperfect dancer with a few technical issues to work on, but one who had the je ne sais quoi. Despite the portrayals of the trope, possibly designed to make more root for the sweet and shy Chloe, early on it was quite clear to those in the dance field that Chloe was actually the more technically sound dancer, with better lines and stronger turns, while Maddie's main strength was in her performance and facial expressions. This was, however, played straight around season 3, when Chloe began to take time away from competitive dance and Maddie made major technical progression.
    • In Dance Moms, despite the technician/performer dichotomy between Chloe and Maddie, who were both, at the end of the day, fairly technically sound dancers with fairly strong stage presence/performance (which one edged out the other seemed to vary from week to week early on), it could have been played straight with girls like Paige and Nia. Both were admonished for their weak technique early on despite being natural performers. The main problem was, unlike Chloe, Paige and Nia rarely had their own shining moments on stage. A notable exception was in Season 2, when Paige pulled out a rare overall win against both Chloe and Maddie in the junior category.
  • RuPaul's 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. Their respective approaches are exemplified in the 2013 episode "Hypermiling/Crash Cushions": tasked with making two models out of foam for an upcoming test, Adam simply sketches a rough outline on the foam block and starts cutting, ending up surrounded by a mountain of foam scraps, while Jamie gets on a computer to design and print out a form that will allow him to proceed neatly and efficiently.
  • Applies to cars rather than people, but Top Gear provides an example with the Corvette Zr 1 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.
  • Dance Academy explores and partially deconstructs this trope with Tara and Abigail's ongoing rivalry. Abigail—rival and sometimes antagonist—is the Technician: fantastic technical dancer, but is said to be "very cold". Tara—the heroine—is the Performer not nearly as technically proficient (even having to start her time at the Academy relearning the basics) but earnest and emotive. As a show about dance, Dance Academy also explores the topic of physical potential: Tara has an idea body type for ballet, and Abigail doesn't. Originally the Technician vs. Performer trope is played very straight, with the narrative being in Tara's favor—she's the protagonist. But as the show wears on, it explores the other side, developing Abigail's characters as a Defrosting Ice Queen, showing her more sympathetically. The trope is eventually deconstructed, exploring the heartache Abigail experiences—she works so hard, sometimes pushing herself past the point of what's healthy, all because she desperately wants it, but in contrast with naturals like Tara, that's only barely enough.
  • A recurring motif in Slings & Arrows. Usually (though not always) the Performer has the better of it.
    • In season 1, Claire uses technical exercises to cover up the fact that she has no clue about the actual emotional dynamics of the character she's playing. Her understudy Kate jumps in at the last minute when Claire breaks her leg, and is a massive success despite being underrehearsed by virtue of her emotional performance.
    • Season 2 looks like it's going to work similarly, with Henry the technician who knows the part of Macbeth cold, and Jerry his less-practiced understudy whose very uncertainty about the role makes his performance more vivid. The difference is, Henry — unlike Claire — really is the better actor; the epiphany the director has upon seeing Jerry play the role is not "Jerry needs to keep playing this part" but "I need to find some way to knock Henry off-balance."
  • World's Dumbest... features a Subversion — a boxer performs an elaborate pre-bout dance routine with his crew, and then takes a severe hit ten seconds in by an opponent who actually decided to focus on boxing. (Imagine that!)
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • It features the rivalry between Amy Santiago and Jake Peralta, with the two of them even having a bet to see who can catch more criminals in a year. They both follow the two sections of this trope nearly perfectly, with Amy as the perfectionist By-the-Book Cop technician who always tries to do things properly in contrast to Jake, who desperately wants to be a Cowboy Cop and is quite frequently a Manchild.
    • Charles Boyle is the technician in contrast to Peralta and to a lesser extent Rosa Diaz. While he is not as smart as Amy, as clever as Jake, or as intimidating as Rosa; he works harder than everyone else and is more than capable of keeping up with them.
  • The Worst Witch:
    • The TV series plays this up more than the books with Ethel and Mildred. Ethel is an Academic Alpha Bitch who has a natural affinity for studying and becoming top of the class. Mildred however is very bad at the school environment but is a Plucky Girl with a great imagination - which pays off whenever the school faces threats from Wicked Witches. Mildred's imagination and quick thinking usually saves the day. Miss Cackle likewise gives a speech in the first episode about spellcasting that the right words aren't as important as the right feeling - meaning that witchcraft in this case favours the 'Performer' school.
    • Also in regards to Witches vs Wizards in general. Witches are the Technicians - with magic being used more for practical purposes - and they cast spells entirely through their intelligence. Wizards are the Performers - they're far flashier and more flamboyant in how they cast magic - and they do so by use of a big impressive staff.
  • Charmed discusses this in an episode with a literal Muse. When Paige feels annoyed that she can't get her paintings exactly perfect, the muse says "art isn't about perfection; it's about expression."
  • In an episode of M*A*S*H Charles points out how he himself is an example of this when he has to convince a wounded pianist his career isn't over. Charles' greatest regret is that as much as he loves classical music, he will never be able to play it.
    Don't you see? Your hand may be stilled, but your gift cannot be silenced if you refuse to let it be. The gift does not lie in your hands. I have hands, David. Hands that can make a scalpel sing. More than anything in my life I wanted to play, but I do not have the gift. I can play the notes, but I cannot make the music. You have performed Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Chopin. Even if you never do so again, you've already known a joy that I will never know as long as I live. Because the true gift is in your head and in your heart and in your soul. Now you can shut it off forever, or you can find new ways to share your gift with the world - through the baton, the classroom, or the pen. As to these works, they're for you, because you and the piano will always be as one.
  • Total Divas being a wrestling reality show naturally plays up this contrast a lot:
    • Newbies Eva Marie and JoJo. JoJo is the Technician, as a natural athlete who catches on very quickly to wrestling. However she doesn't get the same opportunities as Eva because she lacks her beauty and charisma.
    • The Funkadactyls when putting a routine together. Trinity the trained dancer wants to have some elaborate steps and moves. Ariane however wants more glamour and sex appeal.
    • Nattie's rivalry with Summer Rae. Nattie is a veteran wrestler and widely respected in the locker room. Summer meanwhile is a dancing valet, and Nattie is afraid of being upstaged by her.
    • The other Divas merge the tropes. The Bellas would have began as Performers - models hired for their looks and personality - but improved their wrestling to be considered Technicians. Paige is a veteran Technician who has been wrestling since she was thirteen - but became popular once she adopted her 'Anti-Diva' gimmick, thus having a lot of a Performer in her too. Alicia Fox too was previously a Performer but years of training gained her the technical ability too.
  • On Feud: Bette and Joan, Bette Davis is the technician, carefully planning out every nuance of her role and trying to capture her character's internal life, while Joan Crawford is the performer, treating her role as a costume and assuming that what the audience wants to see is her presence.
  • On Robot Wars, several contestants built robots that apply as examples of either, though most enjoy being a Performer over a (in this case, a literal) Technician. One infamous example was between the biggest Performer Diotior against Technician Tornado. Diotoir was the crowd's favourite despite never succeeding, clad in fur that caught fire, had a big cheesy grin on the front and was quite slow. Tornado was built for speed, reached a semi final, built by a team motivated by winning at all costs and was usually described as a very fast "box on wheels". You may think the Technician Tornado would win, but with some creative use of its flipper, Diotoir won by pitting Tornado.
  • The Great British Bake Off: Part of the format, since the signature bake allows for and the showstopper requires elaborate decoration according to the baker's own tastes, whereas the technical challenge is all about uniformity and strict accordance to the recipe. There are however specific examples from the series:
    • Brendan (Technician) versus James (Performer) in series 3.
    • Lucy in series 4 made very plain breadsticks ("Grissini with Salt") in the Signature round in the hope that the judges would be impressed with the technical qualities, whilst everybody else was trying much more elaborate recipes. She did this because she knew bread was a weak spot and so concentrated on getting it technically right, rather than being showy — unfortunately, she didn't get it right and, following a similar problem in the Showstopper round with a roasted tomato and garlic bread loaf, she was eliminated.
    • And in the final of that series, Kimberley (Technician) vs Frances (Performer).
  • The Wonder Years, episode "Coda": Older Kevin expresses his regret on giving up things in his life at the beginning of the episode. Young Kevin takes piano lessons and he's a rather reluctant about it because Ronald Hirschmuller (who is his age and plays before him) is so much better. However, Kevin's piano teacher tries to encourage him by pointing out he has talent (she even suggests that he has more talent than Ronald) and that he just needs to practise. Kevin dedicates his time to practising and realizes he likes playing. However, his confidence suffers a blow — during a rehearsal before their recital, Kevin finds out that Ronald plays the very same piece and that he plays it perfectly. He keeps comparing their performances and then he unfortunately makes lots of mistakes during the recital. His teacher encourages him that he will play better next time, but it's revealed that Kevin gave up piano entirely.
    Older Kevin: And now, more than twenty years later, I still remember every note of the music that wandered out into the still night air. The only thing is... I can't remember how to play it anymore.
  • The pilot for Deception (2018) reveals that superstar magician Cameron Black has long kept secret that he has a twin brother, Jonathan, who helps with his tricks. This was pushed on them by their stage magician father who realized it would be great for a public act. It's shown that Jonathan is better at things like lockpicking and the more technical sides of tricks. However, Cameron is far better a natural performer and thus, he was the one given the public identity of the "lone" Black while Jonathan was kept to the shadows.
  • Kamen Rider Build: Protagonists Sento Kiryu and Ryuga Banjou form this kind of contrast. Sento is the Technician, a genius physicist whose work is based on solid scientific theory and research, and as Kamen Rider Build has the ability to adapt to any situation. Banjou is the Performer, a former MMA fighter who's Book Dumb but has good instincts, and as Kamen Rider Cross-Z has to rely on his own skills and power to overcome obstacles. Rather than showing one as superior to the other, the series makes a point of how their approaches compliment each other and make them an unbeatable team.
  • Victorious: Jade and Tori's rivalry is built on this. Jade has spent years learning how to sing and act. Tori on the other hand is untrained (in one episode she admits she doesn't know what an understudy is) and relies more on her natural talent. This is exemplified in an episode where they participate in an acting exercise where they must stay in character as long as possible. Jade gives a more subtle and convincing performance, whereas Tori's performance is deliberately over the top and comedic.
  • Community: The episode Debate 109 shows the pitfalls of adhering too closely to one or the other. Annie, the technician, knows her facts and the rules of competitive debate, but fails to make much impact due to her stilted, robotic delivery. Conversely, Jeff the performer is able to win over the crowd with his natural charisma and talent at bluster, but his lack of anything approaching a cogent argument scores him zero. Ultimately, Annie has to learn to loosen up, and Jeff has to make an effort to learn, in order for them to succeed.

  • Rap:
    • Technical geniuses who dominate the underground but don't have the charisma to achieve superstar status are technicians. They include Talib Kweli, Nas, Common, and De La Soul.
    • The loud, dumb, party rappers backed by incredible stage presence are performers. They include 50 Cent, Flo Rida, Lil Jon, basically all Crunk).
    • 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 break down 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 with versatile lyricism) vs. The Notorious B.I.G. (Technician with incredible charisma)
      • Late 90's/Early 2000's Jay-Z (Performer with great technical ability) vs. Nas (Technician with spurts of performer-like passion)
      • 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 fans are here for her powerful thunderous vocals, and Britney fans like her performance and expression of emotions and stage show. There are alternative theories that Britney has better technique (besides smoking) and spends months mastering her show's technique wise vs Christina is a screechy 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.
  • Van Halen's singer debate: David Lee Roth (performer) vs. Sammy Hagar (technician).
  • Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne (performer) vs. Ronnie James Dio (technician). 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.
  • This trope is the main reason why it's generally not a good idea to try to discuss either Garage Rock or Progressive Rock with fans of the other. The divide between Punk Rock and Heavy Metal isn't as strong, but they fit this trope too.
  • 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...
    • This was never made more apparent than when Hendrix requested a jam session with Cream when he first arrived in London. This was at the peak of "Clapton is God" amongst English rock fans, and many were shocked that Hendrix even dared share the stage with Eric Clapton. As good as he is though, Clapton was more on the Technician side and had a very stoic stage presence. Hendrix, by contrast, tore ass through "Killing Floor" doing his usual tricks (playing behind his back, with his teeth, playing with feedback, laying into the whammy bar, etc). As Jack Bruce said later "Clapton was playing guitar. Hendrix was a force of nature."
  • 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)
    • The Black Dahlia Murder: Ryan Knight (Technician) vs. Brian Eschbach (Performer)
    • Cannibal Corpse: Pat O'Brien (Technician) vs. Rob Barrett (Performer)
    • Deep Purple (guitar vs. organ): Ritchie Blackmore (Technician) vs. Jon Lord (Performer), though Blackmore could pull off some really insane stage antics, all with a frown on his face.
    • Dethklok: Skwisgaar Skwigelf (Technician) vs. Toki Wartooth (Performer)
    • Dir en grey: Kaoru (Technician) vs. Die (Performer)
    • Dream Theater (guitar vs. keyboards in this case): John Petrucci (Technician) vs. Kevin Moore or Derek Sherinian (Performer). Now with Jordan Rudess it's Technician vs. Even Bigger Technician.
    • exist†trace: Omi (Technician) vs. Miko (Performer)
    • Exhumed: Bud Burke (Technician) vs. Matt Harvey (Performer)
    • Gamma Ray: Henjo Richter (Technician) vs. Kai Hansen (Performer)
    • Helloween: Michael Weikath (Technician) vs. Kai Hansen (Performer)
    • Hour of Penance: Giulio Moschini (Technician) vs. Paolo Pieri (Performer)
    • Iced Earth: John Schaffer (Technician) vs. Randall Shawver (Performer)
    • Immolation: Bill Taylor (Technician) vs. Bob Vigna (Performer)
    • Iron Maiden: Dave Murray and Janick Gers (Technician) vs. Adrian Smith (Performer)
    • Job for a Cowboy: Alan Glassman (Technician) vs. Tony Sannicandro (Performer)
    • Judas Priest: Glenn Tipton (Technician) vs. K.K. Downing (Performer), with Tipton favoring melodic, technical solos, and Downing preferring a rapid fire assault, punctuated by whammy bar tricks and other odd noises.
    • Kreator: Sami Yli-Sirnio (Technician) vs. Mille Petrozza (Performer)
    • Megadeth: Chris Poland, Marty Friedman, or Chris Broderick (Technician) vs. Dave Mustaine (Performer)
    • Mercyful Fate: Hank Shermann (Technician) vs. Michael Denner (Performer)
    • Metallica: Kirk Hammett (Technician) vs. James Hetfield (Performer)
    • Misery Index: Darin Morris (Technician) vs. Mark Kloeppel (Performer)
    • Scar Symmetry: Per Nilsson (Technician) vs. Jonas Kjellgren (Performer)
    • Slayer: Jeff Hanneman (Technician) vs. Kerry King (Performer)
    • Suffocation: Terrance Hobbs (Technician) vs. Doug Cerrito or Guy Marchais (Performer)
    • Trivium: Corey Beaulieu (Technician) vs. Matt Heafy (Performer).
    • X Japan: Pata (Technician) vs. hide/Sugizo (Performer).
  • Technical Death Metal vs. many other types of Metal.
  • John Lennon and Ringo Starr were more on the "performer" side, but Paul McCartney and George Harrison were more technical in The Beatles (though all were self-taught). (In Mitch Benn is the 37th Beatle, Mitch rather cruelly describes Harrison as someone who "realised that the way to become a rock star when you had no personality whatsoever was to become really good at all the complicated fiddly bits".)
  • Roger Waters, Syd Barrett and Nick Mason (performer) vs. David Gilmour and Rick Wright (technician) in Pink Floyd.
  • Exemplified perfectly in Charlie Daniels' 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.
  • Electric Guitars (the band, not the instrument) is an interesting example. The band features two guitar players, Soren Andersen and Mika Vandborg. On any given song, whoever sings is the Technician, while the other is the Performer.
  • KISS with their lead guitarists. Ace Frehley was a Performer, more known for his guitar emitting smoke and firing rockets than for his playing, and he was once described as "a cheap Jimmy Page imitation in a flashy costume". His replacements in the 80's (Vinnie Vincent, Mark St. John, Bruce Kulick) were all Technicians who could play rings around him, but never connected with the audience the way he did. In fact, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons jokingly called Bruce "Spruce Kulick" when he first joined because of his lack of stage presence and just standing there like a tree onstage. Current guitarist Tommy Thayer is also a Technician, but more a Promoted Fanboy as he idolized Kiss and Ace growing up.
  • 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.
  • Even within the highly technical shredding style of guitar, a division exists between pure "shredders", who mostly kept their shredding improvised, and were more often seen in more commercial bands, and the Neoclassical guitarists who tended to place an emphasis on a understanding of music theory, and rigidly structured playing, often forgoing vocalists and conventional song structures to create instrumental symphonies.
  • Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Bella Thorne and Hilary Duff (performer), vs. Demi Lovato, Emily Osment, Bridgit Mendler and Lalaine (technician).
  • Elton John (technician) often teamed up with Billy Joel (performer) for shows since The '90s. Both are classically trained, however.
  • The seventies-era Stones were an odd example, particularly on stage. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards hewed strongly toward the Performer end of the spectrum while lead guitarist Mick Taylor was best known for his technical skill and staring at his guitar during performance. However, Taylor's improvisational ability also made him the most variable musically, and his ability to take the warhorses in odd directions is still missed in some circles compared to the steadier Ronnie Wood.
  • Classical pianists: there are pianists like Maurizio Pollini who possess flawless technique, but are accused of emotionlessness, and pianists like György Cziffra or Arthur Rubinstein, who play with great passion and seamlessly ignore minor mistakes.
    • Vladimir Horowitz was both, he could play with staggering intensity, but was notorious for reworking other composers material when he thought they weren't technically perfect.
    • French-Swiss pianist Alfred Cortot is an interesting case. He was a highly educated scholar of the technical side of music, taught at the Paris Conservatoire, and published meticulously annotated print editions of musical scores. But in his playing he freely varied tempos for expression and was perfectly willing to include wrong notes or other technical slip-ups in his recordings as long as the performance was effective.
    • Musical scores bow to this notion as well: legendary piano virtuoso Franz Liszt often allowed the interpreters great freedom in interpretation while the Bigger Is Better symphonic composer Gustav Mahler painstakingly noted every inch of his vision.
  • Jimmy Page, lead guitarist of Led Zeppelin, was a rare example of both. On the album recordings his guitar playing was precise and technical. The live versions of the same songs onstage were more emotional and improvised.
  • Blues (Performer) versus Jazz (Technician). Within blues music, artists like BB King and Albert King are often seen as technicians - whereas artists like Jimmy Reed are Howlin' Wolf are seen as performers.
  • An interesting 50/50 of this is Prince. You see Prince on stage, doing splits and tearing through epic fluid guitar solos, you'd put him on the Performer side. But according to his old engineers and collaborators, Prince was a wiz in the studio. His first album was basically a polished demo he recorded himself playing 26 different instruments ranging from guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, wind chimes and wood blocks, and more. He programmed all his own beats using his beloved Linn drum machine, knew how all the computers and tape machines worked, and cut his own vocals alone with a simple boom mic hanging over the mixing console. Classic singles like "When Doves Cry" were all him performing solo. That said, they also confirmed Prince rarely second-guessed himself, which is why he was so prolific and released so many albums. Basically, he was a Technician trying to capture the passion of a Performer, and he very more often than not succeeded.
  • Electronic Music duos pairing a producer (technician) with a DJ (performer). Examples include Bedrock (DJ John Digweed x producer Nick Muir) and Way Out West (DJ Nick Warren x producer Jody Wisternoff).
  • An important feature of 80's King Crimson. Robert Fripp, the mastermind behind the band and the technician, would sit there on stage not even smiling while Adrian Belew, the performer and the vocalist, would ham it up David Byrne style.
  • The Who was all over the map. Pete Townshend's songwriting and guitar playing are mostly on the technical side, although he can still cut loose when playing live. Roger Daltrey is definitely a performer, continuing to draw crowds even after his once-mighty singing voice has weakened with age. John Entwistle was a technician through and through - in live shows he'd hardly even move, but his rock-solid bass playing was a reliable backbone the others could lean on. And whether Keith Moon was an exuberant-but-precise drummer or a crowd-pleasing rock animal depended on how many drugs he happened to be using at the time.
  • Westlife had the lead vocal duo of Shane Filan and Mark Feehily. While Shane's solid, reliable, consistent voice meant he was usually trusted to sing lead for the majority of the song, it was Mark who provided the soulful, sweeping vocals that took over after the key change.
  • David Bowie was the ultimate in 'performer over technician'. Other than a handful of saxophone lessons when he was a teenager, he was not a trained musician but he was a naturally instinctive singer (rarely needing more than one take to nail a vocal), a utterly brilliant songwriter, a natural showman and had a knack for getting the best out of his collaborators (including many technicians).
  • Synth-Pop duos like Yazoo, Soft Cell and Erasure would typically pair up a quiet, technical keyboard player with a very expressive, soulful vocalist.

    Music Video 
  • Lionel Richie's 'Ballerina Girl' is a perfect depiction of this trope.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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 never really caught on with the casual fans at-large.
    • Performer: The ur-example here is probably Hulk Hogan. Never the most versatile worker, Hogan knew how to put on a show and the fans adored him. Although he did put real technical matches in Japan, no one was equating him to Owen Hart or Ken Shamrock. More modern examples would be Mick Foley, The Rock, Triple H (great psychology but his technical skill is a much shilled informed ability), The Undertaker (who can pull off some amazing stunts when it's called for) and John Cena. Comedy wrestlers, like The Honky Tonk Man and Santino Marella (amusingly enough, the guy has extensive MMA training, and was a fighter in Japan), fit here also.
    • There are the rare wrestlers who bridge the gap, and they are usually regarded among the elites: Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Eddie Guerrero, Asuka, and CM Punk come to mind immediately.
    • "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".
    • The more calm and calculated Jerry Lynn vs. the more intense and high-flying Rob Van Dam.
    • Matt Hardy (technician) vs Jeff Hardy (high-flying performer), two brothers who were mostly known for being a tag team, so they complemented each other more often than not. While Jeff was initially the bigger star with his insane moves and good looks, as they got older, Matt developed stronger promo/performing skills and got massively over as 'Broken' Matt Hardy, while Jeff has not evolved as much.
    • Low Ki, Homicide and Samoa Joe as the technicians vs performers Special K in Ring of Honor, though Ki and Cide did have some flash associated with performers both were technically sound, well rounded athletes who worked in the ultra stiff promotions of Japan while K were rave kids who...did a lot of flips. Hydro would later become Pure Division technician Jay Lethal, but always held onto some of his performer traits.
    • Later, performers The Young Bucks vs comparable technicians The Briscoes, and later still, the Bucks vs even more heavily contrasted technicians reDRagon. The Briscoes were twist-your-arm, smash-your-mouth wrestlers, and although Mark did sometimes dabble into his flippy redneck kung-fu, it was tame compared to the heavy use of flips and super kicks the Bucks were known for. reDRagon's premise was Muay Thai fighter Bobby Fish complemented by the mixed martial arts of Kyle O'Reilly, making them as technical as it gets.
    • The Bucks' long-running cold-war 'rivalry' with FTR (they never met in-ring and only traded barbs online for years) can also be counted as this, where the Bucks are high-flying Spot Monkeys, FTR are old-school technical wrestlers.
    • Daniel Bryan and The Miz's feud over the WWE United States Heavyweight Championship - Bryan widely considered the flat-out best in-ring technician in North America (winning The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Awards for "Best Technical Wrestler" nine years in a row, "Most Outstanding Wrestler" five years in a row) pitted against The Miz, a charismatic heel who got his start on reality shows.
  • The oldest and longest continually operating wrestling promotion in the world, EMLL turned CMLL, has been the technician to all of its national rivals, most obviously Lucha Libre Internacional/Universal Wrestling Association and AAA. Its reluctance to feature Gimmick Matches and blood, adherence to multiple weight classes as well as a tendency to push mat technique or athleticism first make it the technician to all but a few promotions in the world but LLI and AAA also tended to have far more outlandish angles, grandiose presentations and sometimes changed the very ring itself compliment more visually impressive styles.
  • Zigzagged with the two JWA breakaways All Japan and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. All Japan tended to have a much more realistic, formal presentation with more grounded angles and gimmicks. New Japan had sillier happenings and more relaxed about things such as competitive division but tended to focus more on stiff striking, complex mat strategies and practical submission holds over the large power wrestlers that were All Japan's favorites. Played straight with two of their breakaways, Pro Wrestling NOAH from All Japan and Pro Wrestling ZERO1 from New Japan, as the latter's shows not only carried over the more relaxed atmosphere but were often just bizarre.
  • Since its founding, the locker room of Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling was heavily divided between two factions, the "shooters" (most prominently, former boxer Rumi Kazama) and "entertainers" (most prominently Jackie Sato of The Beauty Pair fame), which split the company in two by 1992, the "shooters" going on to found Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling (which became LLPWX) and the "entertainers" continuing the brand legacy with JWP Project (which was then succeeded by JWP Joshi Puroresu, which was then succeeded by Pure J). Tellingly, LLPW's leadership went to judoka and mixed martial arts crossover star Shinobu Kandori(who in fact beat Sato into retirement and left pro wrestling for five years until LLPW's establishment) while JWP's went to the body building Non-Ironic Clown Command Bolshoi.
  • In an interview, Ricky Steamboat favored his matches with Ric Flair (with whom he could improvise for 20 minutes and tear down the house with) vs. his critically acclaimed match with Randy Savage (who rehearsed his matches right down to the smallest detail).
  • In the Divas division, WWE was long notorious for pushing performers (Sable, Miss Kitty, Trish Stratus, Lita, Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly) over technicians (Jacqueline, Molly Holly, Jazz, Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix, Natalya). Ivory, Mickie James and Victoria are examples of ones who could go both ways.
  • Similarly we had WCW (technician) vs. WWF (performer) rivalry, epitomized by the two companies' top stars, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan respectively. Some even blame WWE's reluctance (from at least the mid 1990s) to use the phrase "Professional Wrestling" on this trope.
  • 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. Ironically for the women, it was the other way around. RAW was the wrestling show where the Women's title was defended and majority of wrestlers ended up. SmackDown meanwhile had less women, and those it did have were used for Fanservice. As of 2016, with the brand split re-instated, it has fallen back into the old divide of SmackDown being a wrestling show and RAW focusing primarily on entertainment.
  • One of WWE's most common tactics is to pair up two less-than-over midcarders in a Tag Team; one highly skilled on the mic but with mediocre in-ring ability, and one with great wrestling skills but deficient in character or charisma; so they can conceal each other's weaknesses. One will work the crowd, while the other will do most of the heavy lifting in the ring.
  • 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.
  • Veteran evil foreign technician American Angel vs recently arrived Funny Foreigner performer Xstasis in LLF. Averted when the Dangerous Angels fought the Canadian Ninjas, where Nicole Matthew's often forgotten mat technique contrasts Portia Perez's "power".
  • Homicide may have been the technician when he and Low Ki fought Special K, and in fact was probably the technician vs Colt Cabana, and in a dual technician's feud with Steve Corino, he and Low Ki being in another case against Samoa Joe and Jay Lethal, to show the latter's growth...but he was the definite performer contrasted to Bryan Danielson. In their first feud Homicide knew he was the inferior technical wrestler and thus decided stabbing Danielson, should the opportunity present itself would be perfectly valid. In their second feud when Homicide was the face it instead became the question of how the performer would find a way to best the superior technician... though fans were perfectly fine with the prospect of Danielson being stabbed after he paid someone to break Homicide's arms.
  • After the fact that EVOLVE didn't have the Dragon Gate roster, this was the most noticeable difference between it and DG USA, in the beginning anyway. EVOLVE had much more strict rules and was more strict about enforcing them, a rigid ranking system as well as an emphasis on technical wrestling and contrasts of wrestling styles. DG USA was far more relaxed about who could face who, penalties for breaking rules and what even constituted breaking rules in the first place, which a stronger focus on fast paced action between multiple competitors and the faction wars associated with Dragon Gate in general. This largely came to an end as power stables from FIP and DG USA (particularly the Premier Athlete Brand) increasingly made their presence felt on EVOLVE shows and were increasingly not punished for it.
  • The 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.
  • The Four Horsewomen of NXT became notable partly because they were able to merge these two tropes. Charlotte and Bayley were more performers when they started - emphasis on their gimmicks - but worked hard to really improve their wrestling. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch meanwhile started out as technicians who were solid in the ring but lacked character - only to develop gimmicks of their own and connect with crowds.
  • Behind the scenes, the Bella Twins commented on merging these two tropes when they were training with Natalya Neidhart in developmental. Nattie was the Technician who helped them with their wrestling. They meanwhile were the Performers, who helped her do "the Diva thing".
  • Subverted with the feuds between The Kingdom, Bullet Club, Search & Destroy and The Rebellion. The latter two formed in response to the former two, Alex Shelley seeing if it wasn't possible to steer younger wrestlers back to the wrestling and code ROH had been established on while The Rebellion rose from a campaign that could be summarized as "No More Super Kick!". But not only were Kingdom and Bullet Club traditional enemies, The Rebellion thought the younger wrestlers Search & Destroy was catering to were part of the problem, leading Shane Taylor to purposefully put Lio Rush and Donovan Dijak out of ROH. In turn Search & Destroy dismantled The Rebellion with a passion they never brought against Kingdom or the Club.
  • Team Australia vs Trifecta in SHIMMER. While Kellie Skater and Shazza McKenzie have been hailed for their mat work, on a SHIMMER card it's their showboating, goofiness and energy that makes them stand out. Meanwhile Mercedes Martinez has always been a pretty straightforward wrestler, and while she got more vocal over the years she also became less concerned about showing what she could do if a quick win was possible. Nicole Savoy was a suplex enthusiast at first, but when that didn't get her many SHIMMER wins she became a jujitsu fanatic. And Shayna Baszler was determined to return pro wrestling to its "catch" roots(breaking bodies whenever possible). Madison Eagles could have swung the Aussie pendulum to "technician" but seemed uninterested in formally taking Jessie McKay's place and "Ninja Kangaroo" McKay already solidified their performer reputation.
  • Celtic Championship Wrestling put Xavier Burns - a tactical heel - versus Ricky Combat - a brawling babyface. Out of universe however it was the other way around - with Xavier having the over-the-top character and Ricky being an expert in Wrestling Psychology.
  • One of the earliest examples would probably be Lou Thesz vs Gorgeous George. George was one of the several "world champions" who Thesz defeated on his way to unifying every championship under the National Wrestling Alliance. Thesz is considered one of the granddaddies of technical wrestling, which George was arguably the very first wrestler to get over with his gimmick and showmanship rather than his athletic prowess.

  • In Cabin Pressure, Douglas is The Ace, a naturally gifted pilot who instinctively knows when you can shave a couple of points off the regulations, and is more than happy to do something borderline dangerous if it'll give the passengers a show. Martin is a decidedly ungifted pilot who has worked as hard as possible to become a fairly decent one and has literally memorised all the regulations because he feels if he doesn't follow them to the letter anything could happen. As Carolyn puts it "I have a good pilot and a safe pilot. Martin won't let them get into trouble, and if they do, Douglas can get them out of it." Lampshaded in the penultimate episode, when Martin applies for Swiss Air; he gets an "Adequate" on the simulator, but scores 100% on the written exam, which is supposed to be impossible. If Douglas had applied, he'd probably have got a high score on the simulator (assuming he didn't do anything too dramatic), but would barely have bothered thinking about the written questions at all.

  • 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.
  • Roughly the difference between New England placekickers Adam Vinatieri (performer with a particular flair for clutch kicks) and Stephen Gostkowski (high-scoring technician with a major, but often unnoticed impact on team performance over multiple seasons). Apart from a brief stretch in 2010 and the injury-marred kicker carousel of 2019, the Pats have only had two placekickers on the roster since 1996, and they're both among the greatest at the position. Gostkowski, in particular, is the franchise leader in scoring, has helped bring the Pats to six Super Bowls, and has played a major factor in keeping the team in championship contention more or less continuously between 2009 and 2019. However, despite Gostkowski's greater percentage of regular season and playoff field goals made, his powerful leg and his consistency over a longer career at New England, his high profile missed PAT and field goal kicks (a crucial missed PAT cost the Pats a chance to go to Super Bowl 50 by way of an unsuccessful last minute 2-pt play; a missed PAT in Super Bowl LI forced the Pats to convert 2-pt plays twice just to tie the game; a missed field goal and PAT in Super Bowl LII; a missed field goal in Super Bowl LIII) form a compelling contrast to Vinatieri's postseason heroics (the two kicks in a blizzard during the 2001 Divisional vs. Oakland; game-winning last minute kicks in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, a crucial and ultimately game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXIX) and leave him with a complicated legacy.
  • NBA basketball, where the top players can be directly contrasted against one another in one-on-one play, is ripe for this trope.
    • Wilt Chamberlain (high-scoring performer) vs Bill Russell (defensive technician).
    • Larry Bird (technician) vs. Magic Johnson (performer).
      • Special mention goes to the rivalry of these teams in general; the traditional Boston Celtics (blue-collar, team-first technicians) and their hollywood rivals the Los Angeles Lakers (flashy, stylistic and superstar heavy performers).
    • Among point guards, the passionate, flashy Steve Nash was a relatively poor defender leading a fast-paced, high-scoring offense with creative passing and scoring; the reserved Jason Kidd wasn't a terrific scorer, but played excellent defense and distributed the ball beautifully.
    • Karl Malone (Technician, no flash at all) vs. Charles Barkley (Performer, polarizing on and off the court)
    • Blake Griffin (a dominant low-post bruiser known for high-flying dunks and histrionic reactions to getting fouled) vs. Kevin Love (a versatile, low-key player with limited post presence but textbook outside shooting and excellent passing).
    • Shaquille O'Neal (performer) vs. Tim Duncan (technician). Despite having a much more fundamentally sound and complete game, Duncan was always considered boring while Shaq always got the crowd cheering wildly.
    • Teammate example: Klay Thompson (a tall guard with textbook-perfect shooting mechanics and steady post moves, described by his teammates as acting the same whether he's made 10 shots or missed 10) vs. Stephen Curry (a smaller guard with an unorthodox but deadly shot, a broad repertoire of high-risk, no-look passes, and a habit of enthusiastic on-court celebrations).
    • The 2017 MVP race pitted Russell Westbrook (a flashy on-court performer with a penchant for attempting high-risk plays and padding box score stats) against James Harden (who specialized in running an efficient offense) and Kawhi Leonard (an elite defensive stopper). Westbrook won the MVP despite leading his team to fewer wins, and losing quickly in the first round of the playoffs.
  • 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 "Iceman" Björn Borg (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:
    • Dan Marino (record-setting technician) vs. Joe Montana (Super Bowl-winning performer).
    • Peyton Manning (cerebral, record-setting technician) vs. Tom Brady (performer with a winner's mentality). Interestingly, Brady has become more of a technician as he's aged, even more so after Manning's retirement.
    • 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 the most accurate passer in the league, with the highest career passer rating and touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history. Both are considered among the greatest quarterbacks of their respective generations, and both have Super Bowl rings.
    • From the 70s, Terry Bradshaw (performer) vs Roger Staubach (technician).
  • While baseball's measured pace and tendency towards staid decorum tends to breed more technicians, there are some examples (particularly among pitchers, who get the most opportunity to put their personal stamp on games).
    • Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay, probably the two best pitchers of the late 2000s-early teens. This column from Joe Posnanski is essentially a discussion of this trope, and even their nicknames - the unorthodox, improvisational "Freak" vs. the stone-faced, surgically precise "Doc Halladay" - fit.
    • The two best pitchers of the 90s also fit. Greg Maddux, who consistently defeated hitters despite a limited fastball with better command than any pitcher of the modern age and a preternatural ability to analyze games, was the technician; Pedro Martínez, who threw a dazzling array of pitches and was famously demonstrative and feisty on the mound, was the performer.note 
    • The Yankees and Red Sox teams of the 2000s were essentially very similar, but their respective superstars fit this - Derek Jeter (a defender with limited range but steady hands, who had one of the most textbook inside-out swings baseball has ever seen) vs Manny Ramirez (a theatrical, unpredictable fielder and a "mad genius" of hitting.)
  • In Formula One, Ayrton Senna (performer) vs Alain Prost (technician). From an earlier era, James Hunt (performer) vs Niki Lauda (technician). In more recent years, we have Lewis Hamilton (technician) vs Sebastian Vettel (performer).
    • 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.
    • This South American–European dynamic holds true to some extent on the women's side. Brazilian icon Marta has filled both roles at the same time. Asian sides (plus Australia, which now plays within the Asian football structure) are mostly technicians, though current Australia star Sam Kerr has many "performer" aspects. The team with the most wins in the women's edition, the USA, is capable of playing either role as needed. And sometimes both, with the iconic 1999 team as just one example.
  • 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 is a sport where technicians and performers can equally shine. Regardless of which type of fighter they are, everything else being equal, it will almost always be the fighter with the most varied and complete skills set that wins the fight, be they a performer or technician.
    • Roy Jones Jr. (performer) vs. Bernard Hopkins (technician)
    • Mike Tyson (performer) vs. Evander Holyfield (technician)
    • Gerry Cooney (performer) vs. Larry Holmes (technician)
    • Tommy Hearns (performer) vs. Marvin Hagler (technician)
    • Arturo Gatti (performer) vs. Micky Ward (technician)
    • Meldrick Taylor (performer) vs. Julio César Chávez (technician)
    • Aaron Pryor (performer) vs. Alexis Argüello (technician)
    • Muhammad Ali (performer) vs. George Foreman (technician)
    • Manny Pacquiao (performer) vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (technician in the ring, but a performer out of it).
  • Ice hockey: Alexander Ovechkin (performer) vs. Sidney Crosby (technician)
    • Mario Lemieux (performer) vs. Wayne Gretzky (technician) in the 1990s.
    • Among old-timey goaltenders: Charlie Gardiner (performer) vs. George Hainsworth (technician)
  • 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 Arsène Wenger's nickname, "The Professor") to Manchester United's performers. As of late, among the Premier League's Big Six we have Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United as the technicians, and Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City as the performers.
    • Barcelona's tiki-taka style of play (and its predecessor, the Dutch Total Football) is based 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.
    • The 2017-18 Serie A season showed this confrontation once again between title contenders Juventus and Napoli. Six-time consecutive title winners Juventus are the technicians, with their manager, Massimiliano Allegri, favoring tactical versatility and emphasizing each player's traits to win matches even when they don't perform at their best. Napoli, instead, are definitely the performers: their manager, Maurizio Sarri, almost always goes with the same players and rarely pulls off turnovers; however, when they win, they dominate the match front, back and center with mesmerizing plays and a devastating attacking verve. Even though Juventus won their seventh consecutive title with one match to spare despite their last-minute defeat at home against Napoli, the latter have gotten the approval of football fans everywhere in the world not just for their spectacular plays, but also for coming the closest a team has ever gotten to snatch the Serie A title away from the Old Lady in 7 years. This contrast also showed itself later in the season to a lesser extent with Champions league zone contenders Inter Milan (technicians) and Roma (performers).
  • Figure skating in general. The best can find a balance 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.
    • The 1992 Winter Olympics women's figure skating event was billed as "the artists (Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan) vs. the athletes (Tonya Harding and Midori Ito). The first two women were remarkably elegant and graceful skaters, but they could not land a triple Axel jump, while the latter women could.
    • By the 1994 games, it was Nancy Kerrigan in the "athlete" role, with Oksana Baiul as the "artist".
    • 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 the men's singles figure skating gold medal. Charismatic performer Evgeni Plushenko who skated a higher risk program which is filled with small errors, versus collected technician Evan Lysacek who skated clean on a lower risk program.
    • The 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Champions, Nathan Chen v. most of the other contenders. Chen landed five quads in his free skate, but emotionally his programs have been criticized as boring and passionless; compare Jason Brown, who took the bronze, who could not even remotely match the amount of points Chen racked up but skated a fun, spin-filled program to music from Hamilton.
  • Artistic gymnastics (especially on the women's side) too, since gymnasts have to be both technicians and performers to some degree. On balance beam and floor exercise in particular, it's a requirement that gymnasts perform creative and artistic routines rather than "a series of disconnected elements". They've gone through at least three different scoring systems in the last few decades note  and address this dichotomy. The current system, with its increased emphasis on a predetermined difficulty value, is considered by many to favor technicians; some fans have complained that doing difficult skills has taken precedence over artistry, noting that gymnasts like Laurie Hernandez and Brooklyn Moors, though they excel in choreography and artistry, come in at a disadvantage to their competitors with less artistry in their choreography but more difficulty in their elements; they can score high enough to get into finalsnote , but often can't seriously challenge for a medal unless some of the other contestants make mistakes. However, this is not an absolute binary; there are gymnasts who are capable of being both. Runaway superstar of women's gymnastics Simone Biles, on floor exercise in particular, can not only do incredible difficulty (why, yes, that is a triple double she's throwing), and well-executed difficulty at that, but also really performs the choreography (rather than just going through the motions, as many gymnasts have been accused of doing) and plays to the crowd, making her routines fun to watch.
  • 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 the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup when Tahiti (Performer) competed against all other teams of its group, especially Spain (Technician). Sure, the Tahitians lost each match, but it didn't really bother them, since their goal was to enjoy the tournament, and as a bonus, they won the crowd too.
  • In Mixed Martial Arts:
    • Randy Couture (Cool Old Guy who had to rely on guile and tactics to make up for his age) vs. Chuck Liddell (brawling knockout artist) are a prime example. Couture won the first fight, but the loss forced Liddell to become more technical himself, after which he managed to beat Couture twice.
    • Two faces of the UFC in the early 2010s: Georges St-Pierre (technically impeccable wrestler) and Anderson Silva (counter striker with some showboating tendencies).
    • Kazushi Sakuraba (performer) vs. the Gracie family (all technicians).
  • Rugby union: England (Technician) vs. France (Performer) is known as "Le Crunch", and is one of the biggest matches between Northern Hemisphere teams. The French national rugby union team is renowned for its "French flair" where the players can score tries out of nowhere (in fact, one of its most famous tries is remembered as the "try from the end of the world"), compared to the other Northern Hemisphere teams who play a more pragmatic style (especially England). While the French haven't had as much success in the Six (formerly Five) Nations or Rugby World Cup as England have, and also have a losing record against England, they're still more successful than any other Six Nations side; they have more wins against New Zealand than every other Northern Hemisphere side put together, and have also reached as many World Cup finals as England have (although unlike England, they failed to win any). It's said that "you never know which France will turn up" for any given match. When French flair was abandoned under coach Philippe Saint-André,note  it resulted in one of the worst eras of French rugby, picking up a wooden spoon in the 2013 Six Nations and suffering the heaviest ever World Cup knockout stage defeat (13-62) against New Zealand.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In terms of Player Archetypes, The Munchkin and The Loonie make up the most extreme ends of the trope, with the former playing to "win", even when it's not the point of the game; and the latter playing to have fun, even if it comes at the expense of the game's integrity. In between, the Rules Lawyer and the Power-Gamer occupy the Technician end with their adherence to the game's mechanics, while The Roleplayer and The Real Man typically occupy the Performer end with their commitment to the story and situations (respectively) that play out.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition Wizards (technicians) and Sorcerers (performers). Tends to be inverted though, because wizards end up with much more versatility, learn spells sooner, and easier access to metamagic feats.
    • Fifth edition retains the same flavor, but plays it much straighter in actual practice. Wizards know a lot more spells, but can only alter them in very static and consistent ways, while sorcerers know a smaller number of spells but possess a separate point system that allows them to alter them on the fly while casting them instead of having to learn a different version of the spell separately. The statistics of a typical sorcerer also make it much easier for them to alter the effective impact of their spells with bluffs or fast-talk at the target and to effectively use the most flexible spells like illusions.
    • Other similarly built classes share the distinction such as Fighter (technician) vs Barbarian (performer), Bard (performer) vs Rogue (technician), Paladin (technician) vs Cleric (performer), and Druid (performer) vs Ranger (technician).
    • From a more meta perspective, there's making a character to fit an interesting concept or theme with perhaps less-than-optimal performance (Performer) vs. making a character that mechanically is as powerful as possible with roleplaying and story taking a backseat (Technician).
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Player Archetypes have the "Timmy" type as the performer and the "Spike" type as the technician. Timmies play to have fun and make "big things" happen, and Spikes play to win. The third archetype, Johnny, splits the difference; While Johnny plays to create new decks, interesting combos and never-before-seen 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.
    • In-universe, the Blue vs. Red conflict is Technician vs. Performer. Blue tends to be coldly logical, focused on victory through precision, control, and superior information, usually whittling down an opponent's ability to fight back; 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.
    • The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica (a tie-in book with Dungeons & Dragons) suggests that the Rakdos (A Red-Black cult of sadistic entertainers) see the relationship between their guild and the Izzet League (A Red-Blue guild of scientists and inventors) as a literal instance of this trope:
    "Every performance benefits from prop masters and pyrotechnicians. They can be useful backstage, but they lack the charisma for the spotlight."
    • And finally when it comes to the cards themselves, we have the dichotomy between Vorthos (Performer) and Melvin (Technician). Vorthos is all about the "flavor", the story the cards are telling. Some Vorthos are far more interested in the artwork on the cards then they are in the game itself! Melvins, by contrast, are all about the rules and mechanics of the game. They might not even be aware of the story the cards are telling at all, and the artwork serves as little more than a visual reminder of which card is which. The difference can be best summed up with the go-to example cards for Vorthos and Melvin, Form of the Dragon and Mystic Speculation.
      • Two of the three abilities of Form of the Dragon are wildly out of flavor in Red on their own (attack denial and direct life total manipulation, respectively) until you step back and realize that when combined they actually turn the player into a flying, fire-breathing dragon.
      • Mystic Speculation, meanwhile, has almost no flavor to speak of but from a rules standpoint accomplishes a fair bit of versatility in only two keywords, Scry and Buyback. Most other cards need at least three words, and even then the list of such cards is fairly short.
      • And just to put the cherry on it, Form of the Dragon is Red while Mystic Speculation is Blue.
  • Warhammer 40,000 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 to 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.
  • In Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, Carlotta is often played as the Technician to Christine's Performer.
  • In Amadeus, the performer Mozart is the protagonist, and the technician Salieri is the Designated Villain. Salieri is shown to be quite deliberate about his compositions, carefully testing each note and chord before penning it in, with the occasional bit of prayer to help him through it. Mozart seems to make it up right off the top of his head "as if he were taking dictation", according to Salieri.
  • The Mrs. Hawking series: in part III: Base Instruments, two of the ballerinas are described this way, with Raise Sergeyeva being the performer and Elena Zakharova the technician.

    Video Games 
  • Splinter Cell (technician) vs Metal Gear Solid (performer). Both are stealth-oriented games. Splinter Cell is quieter, but more technical in it's stealth mechanics. Metal Gear Solid's sneaking is more simplified, but the game is more bombastic and gives more of a Hollywood blockbuster vibe.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has a rivalry between Samuel "Jetstream" Rodrigues and Raiden. The former has been trained in swordsmanship and has a formal style, while Raiden discovered a natural talent for blades while growing up as a Child Soldier. Sam even immediately pegs Raiden as "self-taught" in their first duel. Their relationship is also inverted in how they use their expertise, as modern-day equivalents of a samurai and ninja: Sam is a Blood Knight who openly challenges his enemies in straight fights (Performer), while Raiden is a Combat Pragmatist who uses stealth and agility to eliminate his targets with minimal risk (Technician).
  • The music game Gitaroo Man features this in the final guitar battle with the hero U1 versus the villain Zowie, even in the first few bars. Zowie opens with a bunch of rapid fire notes, but it sounds harsh and atonal. U1 (and thus the player) responds with one crystal clear reverberating note, showing his intends to win the duel with melody versus skill.
  • Sentimental Graffiti: Elegant Classical Musician Akira is a Technician, and romancing her involves practicing with her and helping her realize that she needs to be more of a Performer.
  • Street Fighter has quite likely the most famous example in all of video games in Ryu and Ken. Ryu is a Blood Knight-Spirited Competitor whose actually has no talent, but dedicates every waking moment of his life mastering his fighting skill and learning from his opponents. His fighting style is simple, uncomplicated, honed into its purest form to do the optimum amount of damage without any flash or drawbacks, but also without much option for variety. Ken, on the other hand, has all the talent in the world, so he slacks off until a challenge comes along (typically Ryu), and then he trains for a month and he's back to being a world-class fighter. Ken is a showy combatant with a focus on fast kicks and punches, and tends to put his own spin on the same moves he and Ryu learned (his signature Shoryuken has flames and hits multiple times, compared to Ryu's single-hit basic punch). In this sense, Ken is more combo oriented and therefore, while each of his attacks are not as damaging as Ryu's, if combo-ed, they can do a lot of damage, but it also opens him up to more mistakes.
  • Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love plays it straight in the fifth act when protagonist Shinjiro 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 The 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.
    • The Bogard brothers, too. 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 despite his affection and respect for his older brother.
    • Kim's sons from Garou: Mark of the Wolves: Jae Hoon and Dong Hwan. Jae Hoon is his father's son through and through, using his dad's staple moves (but with an Incendiary Exponent) and having the same stern attitude on training and evildoers. Meanwhile his brother is the Brilliant, but Lazy sibling, who uses a more individualized take on TKD that injects some electricity for the contrast, preferring to show off, self-aggrandize, and rely on natural talent during battle.
  • 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 Shōnen Serious Business tropes.
  • Virtua Fighter (technician) vs any other fighting game (performer). Virtua Fighter is known for being Difficult, but Awesome, while not being flashy like Tekken, Street Fighter or Dead or Alive, games that aren't as revered in terms of Competitive Balance.
    • In general, Yu Suzuki has shown himself to be a technician as a game developer, which is especially evident with his most ambitious project Shenmue, an extremely graphically detailed and expansive open world game. Suzuki's body of work can be compared to fellow SEGA game designer Toshihiro Nagoshi, the performer. Nagoshi has produced games like Super Monkey Ball and Daytona USA, remembered not only for their nostalgia values, but how engaging and fun they were. On top of that, he's also the producer of the acclaimed story-driven Yakuza series, which is seen as a Spiritual Successor to Shenmue, but had a less strict development cycle overall.
  • 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.
  • Street Fighter (again) as the technician vs Mortal Kombat as the performer. The contrast between both franchises can be illustrated with their grand returns in Street Fighter IV and Mortal Kombat 9: both were highly acclaimed by critics and players, the former for its deep, competitive gameplay system, the latter for its visuals, detailed storyline and several game modes.
  • 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. Though this is because Flynn's skill cannot compensate for his Cordon Bleugh Chef status, especially with his idea of what tastes good. The result is usually over spiced at best. Yuri does have a good sense of taste and applies it to how he cooks.
  • In another game from the series, Kratos and Zelos have similar artes, but Kratos is the Technician to Zelos' Performer.
  • 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.
    • The same may be said of MMORPGs in general, although how much the "Multiplayer" part of the acronym is enforced in PvE throughout any given game will greatly determine where any given player lies on this scale. Within PvE, a Technician may be the player who plays primarily in highly organized groups and spends a fortune giving his/her character top-of-the-line gear, and who has little to no tolerance for new players or anything that might interfere with dungeon-crawling or other in-game activities that require groups. The Performer, on the other hand, will know what to do when and have decent (but not supreme) gear for his/her character's level, but is generally much more tolerant of the Pick-Up Group and will keep the "fun" factor in the dungeon- or event-run by methods including but not limited to taunting AI-controlled enemies in the group-chat channel in order to give the group a good laugh.
  • Banjo-Kazooie has Kazooie the performer and Banjo the technician. Kazooie has greater agility and speed and always tries to show off herself as possible when she engages her foes, fitting her Deadpan Snarker attitude. Banjo is focused on his strength and power and is very skilled at self defence with various techniques at his disposal, being a big brawny bear. Whoever is better at combat is very much something of a debate between them both, but they really are considered equals.
  • Dive (Technician) and Kick (Performer) from Divekick are unusual examples in that both of them neglect their divekick practice, but Kick has natural talent while Dive applies his math skills to his divekicking instead.
  • An example from e-sports: in professional Dota2 play, North American and European teams tend to lean towards being performers, while Asian teams tend to favor being technicians.
  • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the siblings Luthier and Delthea fit in very well. Delthea is the performer who is naturally gifted with magic, but doesn't really care to refine herself since she's Brilliant, but Lazy and just wants to have a normal life. Luthier, on the other hand, is the hardworking technician who is not particularly exceptional, but works very hard to get as good with magic as he is. In the end Delthea seals her power away and is Happily Married to a high-ranked nobleman, while Luthier continues to travel and study magic.
  • PlatinumGames, a game studio whose design philosophies align with the technician side of the spectrum, took a more technician-style approach when it came to the development of NieR: Automata.
  • In A Hat in Time, the dueling directors, a dancing penguin called DJ Grooves (Performer) and the train-loving "owl" known only as the Conductor (Technician) have different directing philosophies. DJ Grooves is all about whatever will make him popular, but always loses out to the more technical-minded Conductor, who loves making movies with action, thrills, and explosions. This is also reflected in the missions they give you: the Conductor's side focuses on traditional technical platforming, while DJ Grooves' side simply has Hat Kid try to attract as many fans as possible.
    • This is also reversed within their boss fights. The end of World 2 has you fight either one of them in a case of Static Role, Exchangeable Character. The hitbox of the boss matches DJ Grooves' hitbox, but in terms of story, the Conductor (who is a major Jerkass) fights you, while DJ Grooves (who is a Nice Guy compared to the Conductor) shows up to save Hat Kid at the last moment. Either way, their attacks combine both elements from their chapters. One would say it's a bit fitting that it is a possible outcome.
  • Victoria vs. Max in Life Is Strange. Victoria isn't a great photographer, but she's very skilled and knowledgeable. Max takes great photographs almost without intending to, because she has a good sense of what people want to see or hear to convince them to make different choices. It mostly comes down to personality differences: Victoria is an extrovert who wants to be in pictures, and Max feels most comfortable in the background, waiting patiently for the perfect shot.
  • The third Tetris: The Grand Master game introduces the Super Rotation System (called "World Rule" in-game) alongside the TGM series' more traditional Arika Rotation System (called "Classic Rule" in-game), creating this dynamic. ARS is the technician, favoring a simpler set of rotation physics that are more rigid but simpler to understand generally result in faster runs, while SRS is the performer, with a more lenient and flashy rotation physics that allow for wilder twists (up to and including the infamous T-Spin Triple) and easier recoveries but often a slower performance (hence why in Shirase mode, the time checkpoints for SRS are looser).
  • Devil May Cry: Vergil is the Technician, since he fights with pure skill and concentrates on being as precise as possible. His brother Dante is the Performer, since while he is very skilled, he concentrates on being as stylish as possible when he fights.
  • Let's look at the relationship between the games Freedom Planet and Spark the Electric Jester. They're both 90's inspired indie platforms that use the fan-made Sonic Worlds as their core gameplay engine. The level of detail found in the former can genuinely be used as a benchmark for how powerful Clickteam Fusion is in general, evident in the game's high-action setpieces, level quirks, distinct character and enemy animations, slick touches of 2.5D, and accommodation of various play styles. Meanwhile, Spark has its main appeal rooted in the way it combines elements of LakeFeperd's favorite games and how the players use either Spark or Fark.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Skyrim, this is played with depending on how you build your character. A destruction-focused mage is a technician, and will have an array of spells allowing them to adapt to a particular enemy's weakness. But even the highest level spells can't match the damage output of a properly built warrior with a good sword (the performer). And a stealth-focused rogue swings it back to technician again, as with the right gear and perks they can do up to 30x damage with a sneak attack, allowing them to one-shot all but the toughest bosses.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, SeeD mercenaries fight with weapons, utilizing disciplined strategies, years of experience, and tightly controlled Guardian Forces. SeeDs exist to kill sorceresses, spellcasting loners who fight by unleashing the primal forces of nature within their souls and hoping that they will get something like the result they want. Sorceresses are much more powerful, but there are so many SeeDs that power doesn't really matter.
  • Among e-sports teams, OG has been both: because of their mastery of the metagame, they are a lot more confident in performing with unorthodox team builds and strategies, making them look more like performers than technicians on the way to winning TI 8 and TI 9. TI 6 winners Wings also had the same playing style, but not as outlandish as OG during TI 9, where a Diffusal Blade on Gyrocopter and Ana playing Io as carry was played in the deciding game 4.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa, Izuru Kamakura is the technician who is skilled at everything, in comparison to every other student as performers. Although he matches everyone at their own talents, he is completely bored and finds no satisfaction in it, as opposed to the rest of the cast.
  • In SC2VN, Reva is the technician and Stunt is the performer.
  • In Shall We Date?: Wizardess Heart, Klaus describes the difference between his younger brother Elias and inveterate troublemaker Luca in these terms. Although Elias is very skilled at magic, Klaus criticizes him for being too methodical and pushes him to be more imaginative and put more of his own personal style into his magic. Comparing Luca to Elias, Klaus says that Luca's magic has a creativity that Elias lacks, and in this way he considers Luca to be the superior wizard despite his recklessness.
  • Yuri (Technician) vs Natsuki (Performer) in Doki Doki Literature Club!. Yuri prefers to use complex and deep words to write sophisticated poems while Natsuki prefers to use simple vocabulary and wording to reach the reader more easily. They consistently clash about this and it causes the first real conflict in the game.
  • Almost every game in the ‘’Ace Attorney’’ franchise, with Phoenix and Edgeworth being the main examples. While Edgeworth (Technician) prosecutes cases in a strict manner reminiscent of the style of his Evil Mentor Manfred Von Karma, Phoenix (Performer) often makes leaps of logic in his cases to prove his clients’ innocence, forcing him to come up with explanations on the fly. Luckily for him, he’s usually right. Both come to more of a middle ground by the end, working together to find the truth rather than win their respective arguments.
  • Harvest December has Masaki (technician) and Yuki (performer) apply this to babysitting of all things. Yuki, who took the position to prepare for having a child with Masaki in the future, believes that compassion and direct care is enough for baby Ren. Masaki, meanwhile, had taken the time to read up on child care but has no interest in connecting with Ren emotionally. This leads to a conflict between them when they start to get overwhelmed with caring for Ren, until Ren throws a tantrum during their fight and calms down when the two work together, causing them to realize that Both Sides Have a Point.

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY this trope is why the warriors Ruby and Weiss found it difficult to fight as a team early on. 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. If anything they're both shown to be flawed, with Weiss hesitant and lacking spark, and Ruby clumsy and reckless. The more developed fighters in the cast show clearer signs of unifying both approaches, though some lean more to one side than the other.
  • Death Battle: The two combatants have this kind of dynamic between them. Leon Kennedy the technician, is a veteran cop turned government agent with a wide array of conventional firepower, versus Frank West the performer, a journalist with little professional training but enough ingenuity to turn anything he can get his hands on into one of several improvised weapons.

    Web Comics 
  • In this Nobody 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!
  • Aurora (2019): Erin is an Insufferable Genius from an academic background, Alinua is a naturally-gifted life mage who may be tied to some sort of unusual entity. When they're discussing technique, things get a little heated.
    Erin: And I'm telling you that safety is by definition not "overcomplicated"! A haywire healing cantrip can do terrible things to a person! What if you were trying to mend a broken bone but you filled the fracture with stomach lining instead?
    Alinua: How could you possibly screw up a broken bone that badly? Bone already wants to grow more bone! Just feel it out and help it along a little!
    Erin: What do you mean, "feel it out"?!
  • Sleepless Domain: Undine is the technician to Heartful Punch's performer. Undine typically shuns the spotlight, acting more as support on Team Alchemical and is not too worried about standing out or preferring not to. On her own she struggles to find new ways to use her powers for offense and some of what she does use are inspired by her friends' past suggestions or her own past traumas rather than her own imagination. Heartful Punch, meanwhile, stands out naturally and tends to be much more improvisational and showy to the point that Undine compares her to Team Outrageous. Where most magical girls follow a set patrol to protect the city from monsters, HP just wings it by letting her sensory abilities lead the way.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • There is a strange and malevolent variant of this in Kakos Industries. One of the central contrasts between the two main companies within the show is this, even applying to the executives that own them. Where in Kakos Industries is incredibly organized and abides to a multitude of rule books and traditions to uphold Evil, (Horrible Noise) is content with doing Evil for the sake of Evil and will take any opportunity they can to spread chaos since that counts as an accomplishment. The same applies to the owners Corin Deeth III and Melantha Murther as one gained their position due to family lineage and is always working to to fill the shoes of someone else while the other worked their way up independently and uses their power to sabotage the competition out of a need to be noticed and amused.
  • Late in Unnatural Selection, Likol notes that Alison's original music has no basis in music theory, and that she simply plays by ear whatever sounds pleasant. He considers it another proof of her sapience, whereas a "dumb" AI would use Procedural Generation to produce music.
  • DmC vs. Revengeance | 6 Years Later from The Gaming Brit Show is a retrospective that puts the games under this light, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses after hype. He argues that Dm C Devil May Cry was more of a technician, with a deeper and more satisfying combat system and mechanics with a story that didn't have too many low points but no real highs, while Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is more of a performer, as it wasn't as mechanically deep, using its flashy spectacles and insane ideas to deliver a more emotional payoff within its story and characters.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Hero: 108 episode "Camel Castle", Lin Chung's drawing of Ape Trully turns out to impress the Camels by being considered unique.
  • 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.
  • In the Disney Fairies short "Pixie Hollow Bake-Off", the Baker Fairies, who have been baking an identical perfect white cake every year for years, are the Technicians and Tink and her friends, who create their own brightly decorated cake, are the Performers. The queen congratulates the "Non-Baker Fairies" on the imagination they've shown, but Reality Ensues when their cake tastes terrible.
  • Zuko and Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender represent this with their different firbending styles, as befitting their Sibling Yin-Yang/Red Oni, Blue Oni personalities. Zuko uses showy fire attacks and a lot of jumping, kicks and flips, whereas Azula's fire and movements are tightly controlled, economical and directed. This is inverted come the series finale however. When Zuko temporarily loses his firebending, he and Aang go to rediscover a forgotten style powered by passion and liveliness (taught by a lost tribe of Firebenders) and it's flat-out stated that this is how Firebending actually is compared to the anger and hatred driven style it is now, thus allowing Zuko to become a much better bender. Azula suffers a Villainous Breakdown as a result of her only two friends betraying her and her father pretty much abandoning her, and quickly goes insane. Zuko manages to take advantage of this and very nearly beats Azula had she not tried a sneak attack against Katara, who was spectating at the time.
    • And as demonstrated in the immediate follow-up to the above scene, a similar contrast can also be made between Azula and Katara herself, both being prodigies in their respective elements. As opposed to Azula's practiced and perfected technique and above-mentioned mental instability, Katara's bending is fluid, efficient, and driven by her emotions, such as flaring out of control when angry or in defense of her friends. In an interesting twist, however, while relatively skilled on her own merits, she wasn't as much of an expert in the first season when she relied on her feelings alone, and as such had to learn specific techniques from the Northern Water Tribe to help her gain a better understanding of her element. So while her emotional drive is a key factor, it's a combination of skill and passion that makes her bending so effective, allowing her to subdue a rampaging Azula with relative ease.
  • There's something of this dynamic going on between Apple White and Raven Queen in Ever After High, made clearest in 'Way Too Wonderland' where Apple White is noted as being better at chess, while Raven is better at dancing. Apple White is also president of the Student Council, a A+ student and the most popular girl in school, yet she's also rigid, inflexible and obsessed with tradition. Raven is absolutely none of those things, yet her creativity, imagination and ambition make her far more effective in a crisis.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • The rivalry between Bob Belcher and Jimmy Pesto has Bob as the performer and Jimmy as the technician. Bob may not be a good restauranteur, with his restaurant always on the verge of closing, but he is an amazing burger cook and frequently gets praise from professional chefs. Jimmy, on the other hand, is a great businessman who runs his pizzeria like a well-oiled machine, but he's a terrible chef as eating his own burger once drove him to tears by how bad it was.
    • One episode showed that Bob had a similar contrast with his father, who rigidly believes in his menu and refuses to make changes.
    • Episodes that focus on Gene often shows him as way over on the performer end of the scale, and often struggles with the discipline and attention span required to become a better musician.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • In the episode "The Infernal Internship of Mark Beaks!" Huey is the technician, keeping a checklist of work tasks and doing them all meticulously, while Dewey is the performer, mostly slacking off day-to-day work tasks but impressing people by embracing the company culture and doing things like ordering everyone pizza for lunch. The result is that Huey gets the internship for all his hard work, but Dewey gets a much better VP position for no other reason than owning a briefcase. This is actually discussed by Dewey in his pep-talk shortly afterward, telling Huey that while everyone is drawn to and impressed by the performers, it's the technicians' hard work that make the performer's role possible.
    • "Challenge of the Senior Junior Woodchucks!" focuses on Huey and Violet competing for the position of Senior Junior Woodchuck. Huey is one again in the technician role, following the step by step instructions of the group's guidebook to earn merit badges at official troop events. Violet is the performer, focusing on the group's overarching principles rather than the nitty gritty details and applying them to the real world to earn her badges. Violet wound up winning because Huey's focus on instructions caused him to lose focus on the group's philosophy of helping others.
  • The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Rival" obliquely touches on the trope when Lisa's class have to create literary dioramas. Allison, the eponymous rival, constructs an elaborate diorama based on The Telltale Heart, complete with a battery-powered mechanism to simulate the thumping of the floorboards from the story's climax; however, the judges (Principal Skinner and Ms Hoover) are unimpressed by the technical achievement, stating instead that the project has little originality to it. The only "performer" to counterpoint the "technician" is Ralph Wiggum's action figures, which actually won the contest because Skinner is a Star Wars fanboy.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Rainbow Dash (performer) vs. Fluttershy (technician). Rainbow loves to show off and create flashy moves, while Fluttershy simply relies on hard work and grit. Both obviously has her fans, so the writers seem careful not to favor one over the other.
    • Pinkie Pie and Rarity have similar parallels. Both are charismatic people-ponies with Pinkie Pie being naturally cheerful, friendly, and full of a desire to make others smile (performer) and Rarity cultivating her image, deliberately networking to grow her social circle, and using her craft to make a name for herself (technician).
    • Twilight Sparkle and Applejack do have similar parallels as well. Both have extensive knowledge of their respective fields, magic and farming, respectively. But while Twilight's knowledge comes from years of intense study and research (techincian), Applejack's comes from years of practical experience (performer).

    Real Life 
  • Compare the dense, cerebral, ornate, flowery writing style employed by William Faulkner with the sparse, minimalistic writing style of Ernest Hemingway. Both have a claim to the title of "greatest American author of the 20th Century," and both can be considered Performers to each others Technicians. Faulkner wrote in a variety of styles while Hemingway only wrote in one, Faulkner wrote both short stories and novels, while Hemingway wrote mostly short stories and only a few complete novels. On the other hand, Faulkner was known for being very self-effacing while Hemingway gloried in being a public celebrity and known name.
  • Columnist John Derbyshire once said that the Deep Blue vs Kasparov match was really between a "toolmaker" (technician) represented by the program, 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.)
  • Garri Kasparovs dynamic, active playing style and Anatoly Karpov's positional "Boa Constrictor" squared off in 1984 FIDE world championship. It had to be terminated after 48 games unresolved because the players' health was in risk due to strain.
  • 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. Somewhat ironic, since in internal design, they are arguably the opposite: Apple OS is the tightly-defined technician, with one tried and tested app for each function, whereas Windows is the more adaptable but sloppier performer.
  • Browsers tend to emphasise either customizability and power or a streamlined user interface. The release of Google Chrome in 2008 set off a trend of smooth, lightweight browsers: compare, for example, Opera Presto and its vast array of built-in features (technician) with the newer Opera Chromium, which is much faster but has abandoned all but the most basic options (performer).
  • 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. The technicians won this one, largely because of better strategic intelligence and battle-action, even during the early years of the war when they were often outnumbered, as well as paying attention to little details such as damage control and training regimen. Meanwhile, the Japanese paid little attention to anything that wasn't necessary in maintaining combat performance, as well as relying on Refuge in Audacity for many of it's combat actions; this resulted in blunders like Pearl Harbor (which did very little harm but angered the US enough for it to respond), kamikaze attacks (a massive waste of things the Japanese were, at that point, very short of, which were good airplanes and pilots), and the sinking of Taiho (which was because of poor damage control).
  • 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's staff had even forecast the length of the battle successfully. Basically, Rommel was at his best when other people were handling the operational level of war (confining him to tactics, something he was actually good at) and Montgomery was best at the operational level (having prevented his subordinates from exercising too much imagination in their tactics).
  • 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 II by the force of numbers, imitated 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. It says something that what many people instinctively think of when they think of the Nazis is state-sponsored propaganda produced by the Nazis (e.g. Triumph of the Will).
    From first to last, the Third Reich was spectacular, gripping theater. That is what it was intended to beModris Eksteins
  • 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.
  • The trope Soldier vs. Warrior incorporates the basic elements behind this trope. A soldier (Technician) trains to fight as part of a team, drilling and practicing to become part of an organised unit. A warrior (Performer), on the other hand, 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. Bakers have to be precise, as the ratios of the ingredients to one another is absolutely critical to baking. Cooks do not need to be precise and have more freedom to improvise. 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 figure 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.
  • In Spain, at The Cavalier Years, Miguel de Cervantes was a technician, mediocre playwright and poet that wanted to establish rules in playwriting so every author in Spain could publish without fear of being arrested and set a standard for quality in entertainment. Felix Lope de Vega, the performer, was an accomplished natural poet and incredible successful playwright who was convinced Viewers Are Morons and that they must create art with Lowest Common Denominator because that is what the public wants. (He stated it in verse, it’s awesome). Cervantes had serious disagreements with Lope de Vega that at the time seemed pure envy. Cervantes died in poverty and oblivion, while Lope de Vega was always popular and loved. Now Lope de Vega is recognized as one of Spain’s The Cavalier Years geniuses, while Cervantes has been Vindicated by History by an interesting experiment he did: the first modern novel, Don Quixote.
  • Beauty: Technician Dayanara Torres (may have won the beauty pageant) vs. Performer Jennifer Lopez (actually hailed as the world's most beautiful woman over and over again).
  • Modeling: Technician Gisele Bundchen vs. Performer Heidi Klum.
  • George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. When making the original Star Wars films, it was clear to all involved that Lucas was more invested in getting the technical details right first, and crafting an emotionally resonant story second, his constant revisions of the original trilogy has borne this out. Spielberg, while a gifted technician in his own right, is chiefly interested in pulling out all the stops to wrench the emotions of his audience. Their collaborations on Indiana Jones shows both their approaches at work.
    • Also George Lucas and mentor/friend Francis Ford Coppola, a more emotional director who (as opposed to Lucas) loved working with actors. After the box office failure of Lucas' first feature, the cold science ficton Dystopia film THX 1138, Coppola challenged Lucas to do a warmer, more human movie, so Lucas made American Graffiti a semi-autobiographical Coming of Age comedy to prove he could, and it became a hit.
    • Lucas' Star Wars universe is closer to the performer end of the spectrum compared to the technician Star Trek universe. The former has a for-its-time and in-some-areas gritty Used Future look and both the dark side and the light side of the Force favor instinct over reason, compared to the rational and utopian Star Trek.
    • Going off of the above example, Steven Spielberg has a performer ethos compared to the technician mindset of his friend Stanley Kubrick. Compare Kubrick's cerebral, visually dramatic, detached 2001: A Space Odyssey to Spielberg's equally visually dramatic but warmer and more emotionally resonant Jurassic Park. Both deal with similar themes regarding the potential consequences of modern science and technological innovation, but are handled totally differently.
    • Martin Scorsese is unique for being both a technician and a performer. He's known like Lucas for extensively preparing, storyboarding his films, and treating the production of a film as mainly an exercise in gathering material for editing (which Scorsese insists is the most important part of any film-making endeavor). On the other hand he's also known for being very visually lush, very intense use of music, and being very actor friendly.
  • 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. Even then, certain product benefit better from one method more than the other.
  • 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.
  • The Academy Awards for 2013 see two front runners emerge: the moving story of 12 Years a Slave, featuring excellent performances, heavily favoured by the actors and writers, and the technical masterpiece Gravity, boasting the best visual effects and use of 3D seen to date. Important to note that 12 Years features a large star-studded cast, whereas Gravity merely has 3 actors and 3 voices, with the majority of the work being done by the crew. Gravity won 7 awards (Best Director, Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Best Original Score and Sound Mixing), but 12 Years took home Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay and the grand prize, Best Picture.
    • 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 Original Screenplay, 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.
    • When put together in a ruleset that allows for both such as Mixed Martial Arts a Technician with a strong grasp of the basic skills of fighting (Boxing, wrestling and submission grappling) tend to dominate a more flashy Performer.
  • When it comes to the muscle sport world, there are two types of professionals: the bodybuilder and the strongman. Bodybuilders (technician) focus on mirror-like symmetry and go for the perfect sculptured look with science-based techniques, but their muscles are used for show. When they are in the middle of a competition, they are actually physically at their weakest due to starving and dehydrating themselves to reduce body fat. Strongmen (performer), on the other hand maintain a focus based on the need to be able to do many different tasks and be strong everywhere. While bodybuilders are cut and trim, strongmen are always huge around the middle. This is because the massive weights being lifted and the strange ways they are lifted put immense pressure on the spine and internal organs and a very strong core (with padding from fat deposits) is needed to protect them.
  • In motorsport, while both Technicians and Performers are everywhere, the general rule is that drifting is for Performers wanting to put on a smoky, high-octane show of car control, while grip driving is the realm of Technicians seeking the fastest, most efficient way around the track. That said, there are Technician drifters out to demonstrate superlative mastery of their vehicle, and Performer circuit drivers that engage in stunning battles for position.
    I drift not because it is a quicker way around a corner, but it is the most exciting way - Keiichi Tsuchiya
  • Elsewhere in the car enthusiast community, there is the distinction between the Technicians, people who love to tune their cars with performance modifications to extract the maximum power of it; and the Performers, who often just prefer racing and driving pleasure.
  • 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.
    • By contrast, with career choice after getting an education, this is nearly inverted. Those who pursue more practical jobs tend to be closer to technicians are they tend to find jobs that are in high demand and thus find job stability and a much higher salary. Academia, on the other hand, is less stable and generally only pursued out of passion and curiosity.
  • 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).
  • Robert Falcon Scott (performer) and Roald Amundsen (technician) in the race for South Pole. Scott was very much a Gentleman Adventurer, hoping to conduct a scientific expedition alongside the Pole march and willing to experiment with motor sledges and making unplanned changes to his crew. Amundsen was a Crazy-Prepared utilitarian who focused solely on reaching the Pole using proven methods (sledge dogs and skiing). Ultimately, Amundsen won, but for a long time Scott and his tragic death on a return march were more remembered.
  • Among Science Fiction writers, those on the harder side of the scale tend to be Technicians who are most interested in using their fiction to make a legitimate contribution to scientific theory. Those on the softer side tend to be Performers who just want to use the tropes of Science Fiction in interest of telling a well-crafted story. A fine example of the former is Isaac Asimov; of the latter, Ray Bradbury.
  • Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate is a stern warning for any filmmaker who takes the Technician route too far. He was so obsessed over getting the period details right and perfecting the (admittedly spectacular) cinematography, he neglected to notice that the actual story wasn't strong enough to justify the nearly six-hour running time.
  • Classic Disney Shorts vs. Looney Tunes: Disney had more principled, sweeping, and painstakingly crafted animation, while Warner Bros. cartoons were more improvisational, snappy, and willing to step out of the pack. Interestingly, their audiences tend to be drawn for opposite reasons; fans of Disney like their strong emotional feel, whereas fans of Looney Tunes like their down-to-earth wit.
    • Within Warner Bros., there was a rivalry between technician Chuck Jones, whose cartoons are based on precise timing and attention to detail, and performer Bob Clampett, whose shorts are filled to the brim with exuberant action and inventive visuals.
  • You might think that software developers would be all technicians, but the Playful Hackers lean toward the "performer" end of the spectrum. One of the tenets of the "hacker ethic" is that code can be beautiful. These people tend to gravitate toward Linux and open source software. While they can create some amazing programs, they unfortunately tend to avoid things like documentation or "proper" coding style, which makes life difficult for the programmers who have to maintain their code after them.
  • With Video Games this is often the difference between Let's Play or Streaming (performers) and Professional Gaming (technicians). While there are plenty of people who can do both personality is much more important for Let's Players/Steamers as the basis of their brand whereas for pro gamers skill is paramount.
    • Hardcore gamers who play to win (technicians) versus softcore and casual gamers who play just to have fun (performers). An age-old rivalry.
    • Within the Damager, Healer, Tank triangle, Damager and Tank are the performers, who are up front with the relatively simple tasks of doing damage and soaking it up, respectively, while the Healer/Support is the technician, micromanaging the team's health and buffs. Heck, think of it as like a theater performance: Damager and Tank are the actors on stage, while the Healer/Support hangs in the back and manages things that actors don't need to care (as much) about. At a higher level though, the paradigm shifts; Damagers become Technicians optimizing their output, while Tanks and Healers become Performers reacting to the ever-changing (and potentially random) conditions of a given encounter.
    • On the production side, large studios and AAA games (technicians) vs small studios and Indie games (performers). Being on the wrong side (so to speak) may have contributed to Hideo Kojima leaving Konami.
  • Keep this in mind next time you read or write a Top Ten List: is it the Top 10 Best ____, or is it your Top 10 Favorite ____?
  • With regards to filmmaking, the likes of Oscar Bait tend to be on the technician side — out to please critics and win awards. Blockbusters meanwhile lean towards performer side — emphasis on spectacle and pleasing audiences. Critical Dissonance exists for this reason — blockbusters will usually have higher scores with audiences than critics, and vice versa.
  • It's often argued that there are only two type of memoirs written by actors: One that focuses heavily on method and the interplay between costars (Technician: A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston), and the other is what it's liked to be secured in a safety harness and dragged behind a car for 200 feet (Performer: If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell).
  • In political campaigns, it often comes down to a charismatic candidate with a voice and a vision, against a more reserved individual who focuses on in the nitty-gritty of policies. Often as not, the candidate who cultivates a stronger gut reaction from voters will win the election. John F. Kennedy vs Richard Nixon is a fairly famous example.
    • The 2016 elections took this to its extreme with Hillary Clinton (Technician) and Donald Trump (Performer).
    • The 2020 elections would repeat this dynamic with Joe Biden playing as the Technician. Whereas previous elections favored the Performer, Biden the Technician won partly because he offered plans to persuade voters who were concerned about the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
    • While Clinton and Biden are Technicians compared to Trump, Biden is more of a Performer compared to Clinton. Clinton had a more detail-oriented policy whereas Biden touted his image as a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Television in The '50s had two major players in comedy: Jackie Gleason (The Honeymooners) and Lucille Ball (I Love Lucy). While both were actors and thus performers to an extent, the differences were in their approach to their writing: Gleason was firmly in the "Technician" side, with every little bit of his writing planned out in advance, adjusted and revised down to the letter. Ball, on the other hand, had a more "Performer" writing style, providing information and lines to her co-stars and her improvising as she went.
  • The Fixed mindset vs. the Growth mindset: People with the Fixed mindset define themselves by their abilities, tend to put more effort in perfecting a single project, but are brought down more by failure. By contrast, those with the Growth mindset define themselves by effort, like to get experience in several subjects under their belts, and are more willing to break a few eggs to make their own omlette.
  • Parkour (which emphasizes efficiency) versus freerunning (which emphasizes aesthetics).
  • In 2000, while observing Brian Orser's performance at the Hershey Figure Skating Challenge, a color commentator recalled the outcome of the "Battle of the Brians" back in 1988, saying that tiebreakers were decided based on the skaters' technical scores, and that if it had been decided based on artistic scores instead, Orser would have won instead of Brian Boitano.
  • In terms of illustrative painting, look no further than J.C Leyendecker verses Norman Rockwell. Both highly respected painters who created cover illustrations for the Saturday evening post, Leyendecker was a Technician who'd do practice painting after practice painting to prep for the finished piece while the Performer Rockwell would copy photo compositions to achieve his pieces. In the end Leyendecker would come out with idealized paintings that established superior technical style but often felt less personable. Rockwell's by comparison used his artistic knowledge to craft intimate and human paintings at the expense of technical skill. In the end, the masses regard Rockwell more than Leyendecker for creating quintessential American Icons, while most studying the arts say the inverse with many an artist praising Leyendecker for his technical genius.
  • Career soloist musicians tend to fall into one of these two camps, although there are notable exceptions. In the mid 20th century, the rivalry between Fritz Kreisler (known for his nearly impossible to replicate cadenzas) and Jascha Heifetz (known for inventive performances) was this. They were both eccentric individuals (to put it politely) with titanic egos, and legions of perhaps overly loyal fans. This was also a time when young academics were being encouraged to question the standards and assumptions of older academics. This ended up with someone accusing Kreisler's fans of anti-semitism, in a rather baffling article. As this was the 1960s, the argument was taken more seriously than it probably should have been. Both musicians pushed modern composers in directions they might not otherwise have taken: and reached people well outside the normally insular world of Classical music. What this ultimately led to was more entertaining concerts, regardless of who was performing.
  • Monty Python was known for the creative tensions between John Cleese (technician) who would rigorously analyse scripts and Terry Jones (Performer) who tended just to go with what felt emotionally right. When it came to making the films - the technician role was taken over by Terry Gilliam who tended to clash with Jones over the direction of Monty Python and the Holy Grail because of this - they eventually compromised with Gilliam overseeing the technical elements of camera placements and lighting and Jones concentrating on working with and directing the actors. Gilliam's concentration on the technical elements meant that his films are often notorious Troubled Productions, as he doesn't seem to be as good as keeping the rest of the production on track.
  • The two most important creators of Doom were John Romero (performer) and John Carmack (technician). Carmack is genius programmer responsible for all the technical achievements Doom pulled off, while Romero was the one who came up with the Rated M for Manly-cum-Death Metal-cum-Gorn aesthetic the series is infamous for. Romero became the face of the company while Carmack stayed in the background. Eventually the two split over creative differences of how they wanted to design games, for example Romero wanted bigger and flashier games while Carmack firmly believed in the Excuse Plot. In the end Carmack won, Romero is the more famous of the two, but nowadays he is well known for the disaster that was his pet project Daikatana, while Carmack's career has quietly continued to blossom in the tech field.
  • Puppeteers of The Muppets have to have elements of both styles strictly by necessity, as in most cases the same person is providing the voice, delivering the dialogue, and manipulating the puppet all at once. As the Muppet Performers come from a diverse series of backgrounds, some lean more in one direction than another.
    • Jerry Nelson, for example, had a rather stiff, unexpressive style of puppetry, and even his lip-sync wasn't as precise as most of the others. On the other hand, he was The Cast Show Off for his singing, his ability to deliver both hilarious and heart-wrenching performances, and he was the group's resident Man of a Thousand Voices.
    • Dave Goelz, by contrast, did not come from a creative or performing background (he was an engineer), and got his start designing and building puppets. As a result, when he became a puppeteer himself he knew all the technical skills to operating the puppets, but it took a few years before he was confident enough in himself as a performer to realize the emotional, loveable characters he is now known for.
    • This is why Frank Oz was universally considered The Ace during his tenure with the Muppets - he could steal the show with a spectacular performance, or contribute to a scene almost invisibly with masterful, silent subtlety.
  • Film acting versus stage acting in a lot of regards. Stage acting requires a lot more technical skill - from projection, diction, the ability to be big without being over the top and having to do an entire performance in one show (often multiple days and nights in a row). Film acting is a lot more instinctual, with a lot of subtleties and more room for improvisation (improv is done in theatre too but in a controlled way), while also requiring the focus to continually deliver after multiple takes. The result is that some screen actors lack the presence to be good on the stage and that some theatre actors are too big for film work (Laurie Metcalfe for example prefers the stage for this reason). And there are of course plenty of actors who can do both.
  • This video of artistic gymnasts trying parkour shows the perspective of similar movements and skills, but used in very different manners: gymnastics has a focus on technical perfection and very standardized ways to do things, while parkour is much more free and focused on efficient movement. The gymnasts have no problem mastering the movements, but they admit that it's an interesting experience to step out the rigid standards of gymnastics, while the parkour instructors admit that they were impressed by how cleanly the gymnast did things. In a positive spin of this trope, both sides end up learning from the others and gaining mutual respect.
  • The long-awaited cooking showdown between Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Flay, if and when it happens, will be this, with Ramsay as the culinary expert and Flay as the competition expert.
  • Among writers in general "plotters" and "pantsers" could be considered technicians and performers, respectively. "Plotters" prefer to write out an outline and compose character profiles before starting on the story, while those who write "by the seat of their pants" tend to just sit down and make it up as they go. Pantsers might be prone to wandering off on tangents or developing Plot Tumors as they work, necessitating a good editor or a rudimentary outline to keep things on track.

Alternative Title(s): Technician Vs Performer


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