Technician Versus Performer

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"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."


A plot common to stories that focus on the arts (such as painting or writing), or on sports that require mixing physical ability with creativity (such as dancing or skating). Basically, it is a contrast between a highly skilled and critically-acclaimed artist, and a crowd-pleaser.

Say we have two dancers. One is our heroine Alice, the other is The Rival, Betty. Betty has been dancing for years. She's highly thought of in her field, her mentors find her a dream to teach, and all the male students are desperate to be her partner. She's up at the crack of dawn, spending hours in front of the mirror going over every single move, ironing out every tiny imperfection. She's so devoted to her art that she probably doesn't have much of a life outside of it - sometimes extending to issues with her own family, such as a domineering parent/coach who's trying to live vicariously through their child. Her dancing may be flawless, but she may have a love-hate relationship with her art; secretly resenting the long hours of practice, for example, or angry that she had to give up a romantic interest because her teachers were worried that he'd distract her from dancing. Or maybe she really does want to be perfect, but can't seem to ever achieve it in her own eyes.

Alice isn't quite as capable. She sleeps in. Her daydreaming drives the teacher up the wall. No matter how hard she tries, there is always one move that she can never quite pull off. But she loves to dance, and her passion comes out in every performance. Even if she lands flat on her tail, she leaves the audience smiling. Unlike Betty, she probably has a close group of friends, a solid family background, and an optimistic outlook on life. If her pastime stops being fun, she'll stop doing it.

As long as they're competing for marks, Betty will win every time. Put the pair in front of an audience, however, and it's a different story.

The audience doesn't know what to make of Betty. They're pretty sure she's good, but she spent the whole performance with a face like a wet weekend. She may not even have her own personal style: instead, she mimics the technique of other, more successful artists. Alice was much more interesting. She turned a pratfall into a quirky dance move, made faces at the kid in the front row and laughed her way through the final act. Betty will likely spend most of the next episode wondering what Alice did to get a standing ovation, while all she got was a polite smattering of applause at the end of her dance.

Betty's "mistake" is usually that she dances for an impersonal ideal that others expect of her, while Alice dances for the sheer joy of the art. Some people watching won't realize exactly what a "perfect performance" is, but they know when the cast are enjoying themselves...and even those in the audience who do know what perfection is would rather see originality and entertainment.

Red Oni, Blue Oni rivalries where the two are rivals in the same field often feature this with the blue oni as the Technician and the red as the Performer. Since blue types are often loners or social misfits who put a lot of importance on their one extraordinary ability, having their red counterpart outperform them (even if only in the mind of the audience) can lead to some nasty results or a breakdown.

Perhaps, if they can reconcile, Defeat Means Friendship will take hold, and the girls will each learn from each other: Betty will learn to loosen up and rediscover the joy of her art, and Alice will try and emulate Betty's dedication and practice.

Obviously, the form that Alice's "originality" manifests itself in will depend on the art/sport she's involved in. She might be an imaginative writer who can't spell, or a painter of simplistic, cheerful paintings in an art school full of students who tend to produce Mona Lisa style works. She may be the ice skater who zooms around the ice happily, but can't quite pull off that tricky spin, or a musician that finds classical music boring and likes to jazz them up with their own variations (with varying degrees of success). Whatever the scenario, the individuality that makes her "unperfect" is the same individuality that endears her to anyone watching.

Generally, the narrative will be in favour of the enthusiastic performer (who sometimes has The Gift, but not always) rather than the diligent technician. This can be seen as a Family-Unfriendly Aesop, since it means undermining the hours of practice the technician has put in to get to that level. At its best, the trope sings the praises of enjoying yourself and being unique; at its worst, it implies that superior skill hamstrings individuality.

Differs slightly from (but is related to) Hard Work Hardly Works. In this trope, there is no denying that the Technician is usually better at what they do, but the Performer is more fun to watch, while Hard Work Hardly Works adds insult to injury by giving a cheerful slacker superior skill than those around them who actually practice now and then. Also similar to Weak but Skilled; similar in that there is a better trained performer against a stronger or more talented rival, but different in that the one with the best training wins, usually through cleverness and skill. If paired with Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training, then the Family-Unfriendly Aesop can get worse as it implies not only is hard work foolish, but harmful. Sometimes the technician might be technicaly better, but the performer can still be superior due to creativity.

Examples of Technician Versus Performer include:

Anime and Manga

  • Dragonball Z: In a way Vegeta is the Technician to Goku's performer. Vegeta trains and fights to be the strongest fighter in the universe, he also never spars, pushes himself waaaay too hard and his pride won't allow him to ask for help. Goku trains and fights because he loves it and is willing to learn from and train with others. In the end Goku is the better fighter despite not taking his training quite as seriously as Vegeta.
  • 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.
    • Don't forget Rosetta versus Sora early in season one. Rosetta was a stellar technician whose act looked like a "Diavolo machine". According to Kalos, she looks 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 has to teach her how to enjoy herself more so she'll win the audience's love. When she does becomes more of a performer thanks to Sora's help, he lampshades this by saying, "Rosetta has finally become a performer."
  • Mazinger Z and its sequel, Great Mazinger: Koji Kabuto and Tetsuya Tsurugi have distinct ways to pilot their respective Humongous Mecha. Kouji is the Technician, who uses his weapons in a normal way -such as Mazinger's Photon-powered Eye Beam as a long range weapon-, combining them with pure brute force and Combat Pragmatism. Tetsuya is the performer who combines his own Combat Pragmatism by using Great's wide arsenal of weapons in an unorthodox way -such as shooting Thunder Break with both weapons or using it to turning his swords into Lightning rods, his surprisingly weird way of handling swords, or covering Great with Breast Burn heat energy (a movement which later would be adapted in Super Robot Wars Alpha and turned into Mazinkaisers Kaiser Nova).
  • Duck, in Princess Tutu, is so inherently clumsy that not even her passion for ballet can land her a leading role, but her performance does inspire a melancholy yet brilliant ballerina to find her own style rather than mimicking others.
  • Briefly mentioned in a volume or episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, where Winry and Cheska debate over whether cooking is a science or an art.
  • The Swan manga takes a different approach to this - heroine Masumi's originality and enthusiasm take her quite a long way, true...but it doesn't always triumph against her rivals, who often have superior skill on top of originality.
  • Played in Skip Beat! with Kyoko and Kanae. While in the beginning it seemed that both were going to develop a Performer/Technician rivalry, soon it's revealed that Kanae, while more of a Technician actress than Kyoko, is able to pull Performer-like stunts when needed... and for a while, is Kanae who loves more her selected career (Kyoko was there more for the fame-making potential she needed for her revenge, until she grows out of that). 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 like them.
  • Nodame Cantabile initially seems to set up this kind of conflict between uptight perfectionist Chiaki and quirky free spirit Nodame, particularly when their mentor Stresemann criticizes Chiaki's performance of Rachmaninoff for lacking "sexiness." The conflict never quite 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.
  • This trope is brought up in the Battle Royale 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".
  • 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.
  • 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—if only because Kiriko is the only thing keeping Jan from being a Jerk Sue.
  • Inverted in Captain Tsubasa, Hyuga Koujirou is a Performer who uses raw power and hot blood as he plays, whereas Ohzora Tsubasa is a devoted Technician who focuses on his skills. They quite clash as a result, but later Hyuga finds himself landing in quite the trouble when he plays abroads and sees that his Performer traits are a hindrance on his playing style...
    • It could be argued that Hyuga is the technician and Tsubasa the performer in the sense that Hyuga only plays to be the best, to get noticed so to land a contract in a major club to provide his family with money, and spends countless hours in training from hell while Tsubasa plays mainly for fun, is enthusiastic 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 between 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 won the duel (matches in that show usually relies mainly on two men with the rest of the team being useless) through his creativity and 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 for both enjoying himself and winning.
  • Glass Mask has heroine Maya Kitajima as a Performer who pours her soul 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, as well when Ayumi thinks Maya can reach emotional depths that she simply can't equal.
  • The many many episodes of Pokémon did this a few times, once with two rival restaurants, one where the chef was a Mr. Mime and the other where the chef was a Sneasel. The Mr. Mime cook put a lot of flash into his cooking, turning even the cooking itself into a performance of sorts with his psychic abilities, and the presentation of the meal could not have been nicer...but the food itself was virtually inedible, as the flavor was nightmarish. The Sneasel, by comparison, was an unimpressive minimalist, cooking in the backroom and bringing out extremely ordinary-looking, even ugly-looking dishes...that turned out to be mouthgasmically delicious. After a Cooking Duel, the two rival restaurants teamed up, with Mr. Mime teaching Sneasel about presentation and Sneasel teaching Mr. Mime about how to make food your patrons can actually eat.
    • This also happens a lot with Ash in Pokemon battles. Ash is a Performer whose Pokemon are ultimate because of the Power of Love, and often gets paired up with Technician opponents who go for type advantages and such and aren't as inspiring to their Pokemon.
      • Ash does have a certain amount of Technician, especially in Sinnoh (taking Dawn's Spin Dodge and Ice Aqua Jet ideas, meant for contests, and turning them into valid Battle techniques, for example), though how much strategy he'll get to use varies Depending on the Writer.
    • One other episode features a Hitmontop trainer who relies too much on being a Performer and has to tone it down and balance it with being a Technician.
    • Being a Coordinator requires a higher amount of Performer than being a regular Trainer, as points are lost if your performance isn't flashy enough (or your opponents performance is flashier).
  • Yusei Fudo and Jack Atlas of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's fit this trope perfectly. Whilst Yusei is a master of gadgetry and engineering and calm and calculated as a result, Jack on the other hand appears to have no technical skill but is a hugely talented entertainer, and arguably a better duelist than Yusei with his only two loses capable of being chalked up to overconfidence in the first case and an obsessive desire to defeat Yusei by conquering the card combo he lost to in their last match during their rematch.
    • Not necessarily. Those were losses in his professional career. And Jack's specialty, akin to Kaiba in the original, is that he favors beatdown. Yusei counters this with strategies often centered around weaker monsters with protective abilities.
    • And take into account the definition of 'technician' in the Yugiverse:For example: Yusei's combos for summoning Stardust Dragon, his level 8 Ace Monster, are truly numerous, with some marvels as Junk Warrior(5)+Junk Synchron(3), Debris Dragon(4)+Bolt Hedgehog(2)+Speed Warrior(2), and Junk Synchron+Bolt Hedgehog+Speed Warrior+Tuning Supporter(1). As for Jack and his Monster of equal level, Red Demon's Dragon, his usual is a Vice Dragon(5)+ Dark Resonator(3), and very few times does he deviate. In terms of combo and strategy creation, Yusei is the Performer and Jack is the Technician, because the former uses every card's effect to its fullest in near unheard of ways whilst he latter uses mainly tried and tested methods which tends to bore the audience, Truth in Television when looking at the "Stop Having Fun!" Guys who look down on those not using Top-Tier Decks. Can be an Irony judging by the metagame. Yusei's flashy, interesting and complex combo is the basis on one of the most successful deck at the time, yet while decks that uses simpler tried and tested combo while successful (such example being Six Samurai and Dragunity) never manage to be as successful as the former.
  • Bakuman。 has an interesting version of this, making the Technician(s) the protagonist, yet also putting both sides on equal ground. The main characters, Takagi and Mashiro, are clearly the technicians, being praised for their calculating intelligence and technical skill at writing manga together, yet get bogged when trying to write something mainstream because they can't come up with an exceptionally interesting premise. Their main rival, Niizuma Eiji is presented as a natural genius who simply draws whatever he feels like and cranks out hits, yet is also criticized for the lack of depth in his work. Then it turns out that the Performer is a total fanboy of the Technicians' work, and later on both parties end up improving from the influence of the other.
    • The trope is still mostly played straight, since Eiji's work (especially Crow) consistently outperforms every other named character's manga, including the main pair's. But they're much closer to Eiji's level than most instances of this trope.
      • Lately in manga Eiji also came closer to Technician side, especially with his new series, "Zombie Gun", that is far more plotted than previous.
  • One episode of Fushigiboshi no Futagohime 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.
  • The Manga Piano no Mori exemplifies this trope in the relation between friends and competing pianists Shuhei (the technician) and Kai (the performer).
  • Played with in Hikaru no Go, with Hikaru (Performer) and Akira (Technician). The twist is that while Akira thinks Hikaru is good enough to play at his level from the start, that's actually not true, and it takes Hikaru years to reach a level where he can compete with him. Even then Akira is always seen as the better Go player, and Hikaru never beats him, though he comes close.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula has Hayato Kazami (performer) and Naoki Shinjyo (technician). While Hayato races with the help of an AI computer, Shinjyo has been racing for years. In the latter half of the TV series, Randoll plays the technician to Hayato's performer. Asuka lampshades this when she has a conversation with him.
  • Macross Plus features a literal chart graphing the performances of test pilots Guld (the Technician) and Isamu (the Performer), with Isamu's wildly inconstant numbers nonetheless surpassing (most of) Guld's steady and even progression.
  • Samurai Champloo features Mugen the performer, and Jin the technician. Mugen's style is entirely self-taught, and relies on creativity and unpredictability, while Jin's style is disciplined, relying on traditional moves. Played with a bit as Mugen and Jin both learn from each other. Most evident in their respective final fights.
    • Mugen, after easily being defeated by Kariya for "relying on his instincts too much", logically works out how to beat Umanosuke's unique weapon, overcoming his weakness of never really thinking about how to fight an opponent.
    • Likewise, Jin overcomes Kariya (who had, at this point, easily beaten Mugen and Jin in a 2-on-1 battle) by abandoning the orthodox style Kariya was better at, and using a highly unorthodox (suicidal) technique to fell him.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has the Negi and Kotaro. Negi is the technician, Kotaro is the performer. Several of Negi's teachers try to show him the value of being a performer.
  • Barnaby and Kotetsu in Tiger and 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. Meanwhile, Oishi is the Technician: reliable, methodical, rational. 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 sync 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.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice gives a thorough examination on this duality, given that it revolves around figure skating, a sport that has both artistic and technical feat components:
    • One of the first things we learn about Yuuri Katsuki is that he got to his current level because he practices constantly, making people inside and out of universe initially believe that he has a Technician-type of skater... except that, actually, Yuuri's actual strengths are in performer-like type of moves, like step sequence and figures, as he tends to choke while doing jumps and other highly technical moves, with only his presentation points to save his score. As Victor points out, Yuuri is "capable to create music while skating" but is held back on his potential by his comparatively lacking technical points, so when Victor coaches Yuuri he specifically goes into ironing those kinks (read, improve his jumps and make his performing anxiety under control) to increase his chances to medal.
    • Victor Nikiforov is so incredibly skilled (he regularly gets technical scores that in real life would give anyone who gets them a world record), that we could peg him immediately as a Technician. His actual mentality, however, is of a Performer, constantly pushing himself to give more surprising performance each year. But after years of this, he has become extremely tired of the mental effort of speculating what could surprise the public this time and fears that he is getting Creative Sterility, which, along with him getting old for competitive skating standards, factors on his retirement decision at the beginning of the series.
    • This also becomes the problem with Yuri Plisetki. He was so accustomed in his Junior days to act as a Technician and steamroll his competition with his physical abilities, he isn't really prepared for the increase in physical exigences and performing abilities he needs for making the jump to the Seniors category. Most of his Character Development consists of him finally getting in the mental state to give a performance that can get to the public's hearts instead of merely skating very well.
    • On the extremes on Performer and Technician mindsets among the rest of the skaters, we have Pitchit Chulanont, which is described as "a natural crowd-pleaser" and deliberately chose a popular song from a famous movie because he wanted to overwrite every other skater that previously skate to that, and Lee Seung-gil, whose mental dialogue while skating is him calculating his score with each move he does.


  • Drumline. Played with, as the only reason the main character and The Rival manage to work together is through a compromise of styles.
  • Center Stage: Maureen is the technician, Jodie the performer. The movie also adds a third element with Eva, who has The Gift like Jodie but also the technical potential of Maureen, but is hampered by her rebellious attitude. Eva is the only one of the three main girls to find success in the American Ballet Company--Maureen realizes she's destroying herself and quits, Jodie goes to a new company that values her performance skills over her ability to technically conform.
  • This will often be part of the dynamic of a Buddy Cop duo. One's uptight and goes by the rules, skilled and knowledgeable. The other is passionate and vigorous, but either doesn't know the rules as well or just disregards the ones he considers stupid. Coming to a theater near you this July.
  • Blades of Glory has rival figure skaters, John Heder's Technician and Will Ferrell's Performer, forced to skate together in the pairs event.
  • If one extends this to teams, any movie with a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits versus an Opposing Sports Team with a Drill Sergeant Nasty coach qualifies.
  • The Cutting Edge is a love story between harmony and discipline. The boy was a hockey player who was disqualified and got a new career as a figure skater. A weird example of harmony as hockey is associated with brawling but he was a bit of a Blood Knight, and had an almost mystical love of ice. The girl had no love for ice despite being a beautiful ice dancer: she learned it by years of getting slammed on the ice. She was a definite Tsundere and intolerant of any skating partner who she felt wasn't worthy of her and had every right to be for she had tortured herself enough to get where she was. In this movie sympathy is with both of them.
  • Rollbounce
  • In Amadeus, Salieri interprets his nemesis's (who is Wolfgang frickin' Mozart) personal style and thus believes he is a performer while Mozart is both.
  • In The Prestige, Angier is the showman in love with the audience and Borden is the technician in love with the gadgets needed to perform a trick. Unique in that in this case, both the technician and the performer have their sympathetic moments. The Borden twins follow along this line as well in a more subtle way: the one who dies is a performer and the one who lives is a technician.
  • 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 (performer) 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 are basically Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Of course Iceman takes the trophy at Top Gun, but when it comes down to the wire Maverick is the one who saves the day.

(on Iceman) "It's the way he flies. Ice cold, no mistakes. He wears you out 'til you do something stupid, then he's got you."
(on Maverick) "You are dangerous. I don't like you because every time you fly you're unsafe." (later) "You are still dangerous. (Beat) You can be my wingman anytime."

  • Deconstructed in Black Swan, which asserts that the White Swan character must be a technician, while the Black Swan must be a performer. The director wants to cast the same dancer in both roles. The main character is a technician, and struggles greatly to embody the easy confidence of a performer while playing the Black Swan. Her rival is a performer, whose dancing is not flawless, but who displays natural confidence in her dancing and in life.
  • Referenced and played out somewhat in Inception while making the actual inception plan. Arthur is the technician and Eames is the performer.
  • In The Legend of Bagger Vance, the two rival golfers competing with the main character are portrayed as a technician and a performer.
  • Bethany Hamilton is definitely a performer in Soul Surfer. Her rival's technician qualities are not made explicit, but she does carry that vibe.


  • In Piers Anthony's Blue Adept this is played straight and then averted. Protagonist Stile, during his run through the tournament, is matched against a talented musician by the name of Clef, and has a harmonica duel with him. Stile quickly sees that Clef is far more technically skilled, so he plays for a tie (and therefore a return to the computer to select a different category) by winning over the audience. Instead of getting a tie, however, the competitors are instructed to play a tie-breaker round... as a duet. After a little coaching from Stile, Clef quickly picks up Stile's tricks and also begins drawing in the audience, resulting in him becoming an even better musician.
    • And then the trope played straight when the judges, fellow musicians who know Clef, award the victory to Stile, on the grounds that if Clef's improvement was due to Stile's instruction, then Stile was the better musician; he contributed more to the duet. Becomes more than a little heartwarming when Clef himself immediately understands the decision, thoroughly approves, and explains this to Stile: the two become friends for life.
  • Played with a bit in Ballet Shoes, where it's mentioned at one point that the sister who hates dancing ends up being one of the most technically proficient dancers in the school because she hates dancing, so she ends up taking basic classes year after year and gets all the core moves completely ground into her mind. But her performer sisters are the ones who always get major roles in ballets and plays, while she's always (gladly) stuck in the background. Although in this case her sisters aren't bad at technique they just never learn it by rote the way she does (and when one of them does end up stuck in that same situation, her performer side comes out more strongly than it does at any other time in the book).
    • Dulcie (Technician) and Hilary (Performer) in Dancing Shoes play out the above description almost to the letter.
    • In White Boots (known as Skating Shoes in the US), Lalla is the Performer, Harriet is the Technician. Slight subversion in that it's Harriet, the newcomer to ice skating, who's the more precise skater (usually, the Performer is the rookie) and that the book comes out on her side - Lalla is sympathetic and charming, but also a bit of a spoiled brat, while Harriet is modest and loyal.
  • Discworld stories involving the Witch Trials: Granny Weatherwax is the Technician and she always wins. But Nanny Ogg is the Performer, and people buy her drinks and say "It was a good try". Both of them are happy with this.
    • It should also be noted that Terry Pratchett stated in one of the Discworld art books that he "always believed, deep down, that Nanny Ogg is the most powerful of the witches."
  • In Pride and Prejudice, both protagonist Elizabeth and her bookish younger sister Mary play the piano and sing. Mary is a technically accomplished musician (with a terrible singing voice) who practices hard and works for accomplishments. Elizabeth isn't as skilled technically and often makes mistakes in her playing, but her performances are cheerful and pleasing, and on the whole people much prefer to listen to her.
  • 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 is somewhat of a subversion, however, since Jeremy has his own problems.

Live Action TV

  • Show examples, The Wire is the technician, removed, objective, and uninflected. The Shield is the performer immediate, subjective, and emotional.
  • Tends to show up in Strictly Come Dancing and similar series - some of the competitors will be technically skilled, but not really able to sell a dance and perform - they tend to sail through the early stages. Others will struggle on technical skill early on, but be able to perform really well - as their technical skill increases through practice, they start to provide serious challenges to the technical dancers, whose skill has plateaued, and who still can't act. The case in point this season is 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.

  • Glee makes Vocal Adrenaline out to be the "technically-perfect team with no soul" whereas New Directions are the plucky underdogs who make up for their lack of polish with their bleeding hearts. But the Regionals judges don't see it that way.
    • Neither did the Nationals judges a season later.
    • For some viewers of the series, Technician Versus Performer in some form kicks in within New Directions itself, particularly with regard to Rachel, who tends to be technically adept but an imitative and immature performer whose goal is winning approval and applause, and the rest of the girls (plus countertenor Kurt - they're in competition because they share equal ranges and song preferences), who sing with more originality, authenticity and emotion. However, it also applies in reverse to the boys. Finn, as by far the least accomplished of the male singers and dancers, looks like he should be an underdog Performer type - but he's resented for getting solos while other (far more accomplished and enthusiastic) singers such as Artie, Kurt and Puck, and dancer Mike, are undeservedly stuck in his shadow - largely because of Technician Versus Performer favoritism from Will Schuester.
  • Often happens on So You Think You Can Dance, especially with breakdancers. While technically wonderful dancers are often competent enough to stay on the show for a while even if their performance isn't too amazing, dancers like season 7's Jose sail through because they're fun to watch even if they don't dance very well.
    • It also has a major part in deciding who wins- there's a reason the winner is '[Country's] Favourite Dancer'. People with bright personalities may well win over more technically gifted dancers.
  • Top Chef is a strange case, since there's so many sides to it, but it qualifies. It's why people like Fabio and Carla were so well liked, since they more qualified as performers than technicians (while Carla was classically trained, her food was more soulful than anything else).
    • Occasionally, competitions will play out where one side chooses to make food that isn't terribly suited for the occasion, but showcases some culinary skills, while the other makes food the audience will enjoy. The judges tend to prefer the former.
  • Can happen on Project Runway, too; the people with the most skill at sewing or the most experience in the fashion business aren't always the ones with the most creativity and innovation. Again can go both ways; a creative person who can't sew at all will probably be auf'd, but so will an impeccable seamstress whose designs are boring.
    • The two frontrunners of Season 9, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Viktor Luna, are a textbook example of the trope. Anya is badly inexperienced at sewing but often turns out very striking outfits, while Viktor is an extremely skilled garment-maker most often criticized for lacking "the wow factor."
  • Some of the weapons on Deadliest Warrior can fall into this. Oftentimes, a debate between two similar weapons (cannon, crossbow, older guns) will boil down to one of them performing better (better accuracy and more power) versus a technician (faster reload time, less likely to misfire.) Often, the Performer wins under the defense of "it doesn't have to reload fast if you kill them the first time."
  • The whole point of Smash.


  • One word, Rap. From the technical geniuses that dominate the underground but don't have the charisma to achieve superstar status (Talib Kweli, Nas, Common, De La Soul, sadly, a lot of political rappers fall into this), versus the loud, dumb, party lyrics backed by incredible stage presence (50 Cent, Flo Rida, Lil Jon, basically all Crunk), there are those that can rise above this dichotomy, and they soak in money and critical acclaim, (Eminem, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G..)
  • Among 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 Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen are considerably lower on the list.
  • Robbie Williams (performer) and Gary Barlow (technician) from Take That, and more notably their solo careers. Most people agreed Gary was the better songwriter and singer but he was quiet and reserved with a fairly stable personality, whereas 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).
  • 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.
    • Similarly, the animosity between career singers (particularly the Singer-songwriter type) and Idol Singers is a variant of this trope. Idols, specially in Asia, are expected to not only sing and/or rap, but also dance (while singing, even!), act, model and keep a fan-pleasing persona, and as such they are seen as Jack of All Trades, not particularly capable in a single area but as all-rounders Performers, while career singers (even those in the pop spectrum) are seen as Technicians that only focus on developing their singing, with the spectacle merely as a support of their vocal abilities and not needing to add "gimmicks" to their art.
  • 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.
  • 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 know, man...
  • The video for Lionel Ritchie's "Ballerina Girl" is a perfect depiction of this trope.

Professional Wrestling

  • There are countless wrestlers of each type, and just as many arguments about them. Some examples:
    • Technicians: Dean Malenko, Lance Storm, Furnas and Lafon. Startling degree of talent, wide knowledge of moves and countermoves but usually never really catch on with the casual fans at-large.
    • Performer: The ur-example here is probably Hulk Hogan. Never a solid performer, but he knew how to put on a show and the fans adored him. More modern examples would be Mick Foley, The Rock, Triple H (who is a pretty incredible technician to boot), 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, Chris Benoit, and Kurt Angle come to mind immediately.
    • 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. When he became "Stone Cold", he changed his style to highly entertaining brawler.
    • The Bret Hart / Shawn Michaels rivalry is arguably the quintessential example. You can practically rename this trope "Excellence of Execution vs The Showstopper".
    • Daniel Bryan and The Miz's feud over the United States Championship in WWE - Bryan widely considered the flat-out best in-ring technician in North America (winning the Wrestling Observer awards for "Best Technical Wrestler" five years in a row, "Most Outstanding Wrestler" four years in a row) pitted against The Miz, a charismatic Heel who got his start on reality shows.
  • Some people says that two main WWE shows—Raw and Smackdown—are based on this dichotomy, with Raw putting more emphasis on storyline and spectacle while Smackdown is seen as the "wrestling" show.
    • Similarly we had the old WCW (technician) vs. WWF (performer) rivalry, epitomized by the two companies' top stars, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan respectively.
  • Some even blame WWE's current reluctance to use the phrase "Professional Wrestling" on this trope.


  • In the past, tennis had Andre Agassi (performer) vs. Pete Sampras (Technician).
  • Steve Nash shows his passion every second of every basketball game. Steve is not a good rebounder or defender, but his passing game and scoring is beautiful to watch. Jason Kidd is more reserved, he is not a terrific scorer, but otherwise in his prime he was perfect in every way, not nearly as flashy as Nash but a deadly passer, defender and rebounder.
  • Karl Malone (Technician, no flash at all) vs. Charles Barkley (Performer, polarizing on and off the court)
  • Blake Griffin (performer) vs. Kevin Love (technician).
  • The artistic Barry Sanders (performer) vs. the consistent Emmitt Smith (technician).
  • Calvin Johnson (performer) vs. Larry Fitzgerald (technician).
  • Joe Montana (performer) vs. Dan Marino (technician).
    • Peyton Manning (cerebral, record-setting technician) vs. Tom Brady (performer with a winner's mentality). Interestingly, Brady has become more of a technician in the last few years (and stopped winning Super Bowls)
      • Peyton also has this dynamic with his younger brother Eli.
    • Brett Favre (performer) vs. Aaron Rodgers (technician).
  • Shaquille O'Neal (performer) vs. Tim Duncan (technician). Despite having a much more fundamentally sound and complete game, Duncan was always considered boring while O'Neal always got the crowd cheering wildly.
    • Duncan also has this with Kevin Garnett.
  • In Formula One, Ayrton Senna (performer) vs Alain Prost (technician).
  • In The World Cup, historically the South American teams are the Performers and the European ones the Technicians, with Brazil and Germany being the best examples of each respectively.
  • Partially true in modern roller derby; while it is very much a sport, and if you can't keep up technically you will be cut from the team, rollergirls are also strongly encouraged to play to the crowd.
  • In the English equestrian world: Showjumpers (performers) versus Hunter-Jumpers (technicians). The rivalry is - intense, as showjumpers yell that hunters are robotic and too focused on minutiae, while hunters wail that jumpers care more about leaping ridiculously high fences than they do about correct equitation. (From someone who has ridden both - both sides have a point.)
  • In Alpine Ski Racing, Bode Miller, despite having cleaned up his 'rockstar' behaviour from a couple of years ago, still skis with a far less pretty and orthodox technique compared to other giants such as Didier Cuche. But *my god* the man is fast...
  • Boxing: Roy Jones Jr. (performer) vs. Bernard Hopkins (technician)
    • And currently, Manny Pacquiao (performer) vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (technician)
  • Ice hockey: Alexander Ovechkin (performer) vs. Sidney Crosby (technician)
    • Mario Lemieux (performer) vs. Wayne Gretzky (technician) in the 1990's.
  • Spanish football: Real Madrid (technician) vs. FC Barcelona (performer).
  • 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, men's figure skating free skate: Ilia Kulik (technician) vs. Philippe Candeloro (performer-- and how!)
  • 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the controversy over men's singles figure skating gold medal. Charismatic performer Evgeni Plushenko skated higher risk program which is filled with small errors [1], versus collected technician Evan Lysacek who skated clean on a lower risk program [2].
    • This is true of figure skating in general. The best can find a balence between crowd-pleasing performance and technical precision, but many struggle and veer too far one way or the other. In the worst cases, it either becomes just an entertaining show and not a sport, or it's technically perfect but emotionless and boring to watch.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition Wizards (technicians) and Sorcerers (performers). Tends to be inverted though, because wizards end up with much more versatility, more spells per day, and easier access to metamagic feats.
  • Magic: The Gathering‍'‍s Player Archetypes have the Timmy and Johnny types as performers and the Spike type as the technician. Timmies play to use powerful cards, Johnnies play to set up interesting effects and combos, and Spikes play to win.

Video Games

  • Street Fighter: Ryu and Ken. To elaborate, Ryu is something of a Blood Knight-Spirited Competitor mixture whose main purpose in life is to perfect his fighting skill and have the perfect match. In that sense his fighting style is at its purest form and therefore does more damage without the focus on flash. Ken, on the other hand, is a showy combatant with a focus on fast kicks and punches and only cares about winning and putting on a good show. In this sense, he is more combo oriented and therefore, while not as damaging as Ryu's, his move do a lot of damage if comboed into. This is best showcased in the UDON comic, where Ryu and Ken are both studying the Dragon Punch. Ken, with his natural abilities, gets the basic gist of the move, pulls it off perfectly and then throws some fire on it and calls it a day. Ryu on the other hand, continues to practice that one basic attack over and over with no variance in form or routine. In the end, Ryu ends up with a stronger, harder-hitting Dragon Punch while Ken winds up with a weaker but flashier one supported by other unique attacks and combos.
  • Sakura Wars plays it straight in the fifth act of So Long, My Love when the protagonist has to take Subaru's place on stage after losing a contest to them. Subaru is the ultimate technician, while Shinjiro is the ultimate performer. Subaru also has a similar moment when she first tries to play Jazz music at a club. While she is technically proficient, it takes her a while to understand the performance aspect of the genre.
  • Fatal Fury‍'‍s Kim Kaphwan and King of Fighters‍'‍ Jhun Hoon. Kim is a very traditional Tae Kwon Do practitioner and his moves, while pretty flashy themselves, are fairly traditional and get the job done. Jhun Hoon, Kim's rival since childhood, is very much pure flash: he fights with only his feet 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.
  • 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 Shonen Serious Business tropes.
  • Street Fighter vs Tekken. Street Fighter is the 'technician' role, a game largely focused on trying to balance characters, but its very difficult to get into 'casually' vs Tekken, the performer, a fighter game which is easy to play but has fewer special moves. Though considering that the 'Technician' here has spectacular special attacks and characters shoot fireballs, while the performer is focused largely on hand to hand combat, the lines can be blurred. There's going to be a two-game crossover series according to the other wiki, with one game built on each engine.
    • Tekken is more realistic in terms of the way the characters fight. Although fireballs are present, they haven't been that common in recent years. Many people believe Street Fighter‍'‍s retro appeal is the only reason it remains so popular, as it has not made use of technology like Tekken has. They did try with the Ex series, but it didn't work that well.
  • For a game as wacky, stylized, and generally amusing as Team Fortress 2, the eight major damage-dealing classes can usually be assigned into Technician and Performer categories. Classes such as the Soldier, Heavy, Sniper, and Engineer are typically Technician-style classes. They are slower, fairly straightforward classes that are consistent and play in largely the same fashion, with less variation in tactics and equipment. The Pyro, Scout, Demoman, and Spy are Performers. They are faster and fun to watch, and often have unusual options available to them that can radically change their gameplay. Examples include the Demoknight loadouts and the Spy's variety of invisibility watches and knives with special effects.

Western Animation

  • In Hero 108, episode "Camel Castle", Lin Chung's drawing of Ape Trully turns out to impress the Camels by being considered unique.
  • Rainbow Dash (performer) vs. Applejack (technician) in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Dash loves to show off and create flashy moves, while Applejack simply relies on hard work and grit. Each one has her fans, both in real life and among the show's characters, and the writers seem careful not to favor one over the other. Similar parallels can be drawn between Pinkie Pie, who bakes for the hell of it, Fluttershy, who works with animals because that's what she's good at, and Rarity, who designs clothes out of aesthetics, and is annoyed when she has to make inferior dresses for her friends because they are what they want to wear.
    • The most explicit Technician vs Performer argument in the series though would be The Great and Powerful Trixie (performer) vs Twilight Sparkle (technician). Twilight has the natural talent and ability of the Performer, but with a slant of constantly learning new spells and being trained by Celestia. Trixie has a natural affinity to magic as well, and is about as Performer as they come when it comes to desire and charisma, but while she has a more limited bag of tricks than Twilight, she seems to have them more adapt and flexible with her spell craft, getting through her complex spells about as fast as Twilight can go through a TK cantrip. While Twilight is a main character, and Trixie is a Jerkass Fake Ultimate Hero in her one episode, the two have an interesting dynamic in fanon when all other things are equal.
  • 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.

Real Life

  • Columnist John Derbyshire once said that the Deep Blue vs Kasparov match was really between a "toolmaker"(technician) represented by the programmer, and a "virtuoso"(performer) represented by Gary Kasparov.
    • Except that analogy is almost entirely backwards. Anyone who knows anything about chess will tell you that becoming grandmaster level requires not only raw analytical talent, but also obscene amounts of training and memorizing tens of thousands of maneuvers and responses by heart. The computer, meanwhile, needs only to know only the rules, and basically improvises in response to the human player. If anything, Deep Blue was the Performer, and Kasparov the Technician.
      • Only if you choose to disregard the opening and endgame databases usually used in computer chess (Deep Blue had those too) - which is one factor contributing to the fact that chess programmes are often weakest in the middle game.
  • 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.
    • The subversion here is that Napoleon simply did not act as his usual Performer self and instead 'phoned in' most of the battle by letting his subordinates run most of it. Not only was his technique weak but his performance was lackluster.
  • US Navy (Technician) vs Imperial Japanese Navy (Performer) in World War II. Subverted in that the technicians won, largely because of better strategic intelligence and battle-action, even during the early years of the war when they were often outnumbered. Meanwhile, the Japanese's most audacious attacks, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor (which inflicted little lasting harm, while provoking an overwhelming response from the US) or the use of Kamikaze suicide missions (which sacrificed planes and experienced pilots at exactly the moment they were both in shortest supply), backfired.
  • The El Alamein campaigns stands out: Rommel (performer) versus Montgomery (technician). Rommel was a tactical genius with a penchant for risky but brilliant maneuver warfare, conducted on a shoestring logistical line; Montgomery was excellent at organization and attention to detail, arranging for every shell to reach its destination. In a subversion, Montgomery won. Second El Alamein was not known for British maneuver genius but for meticulously-planned attacks that smashed through Rommel's depleted lines; Rommel had no fuel to maneuver with thanks to British air attacks, while Montgomery had even forecast the length of the battle successfully.
  • The entire chain of political events which ended in World War Two 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 Two 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Of course, Your Mileage May Vary...a lot.
  • Many people who audition for The X Factor or American Idol are either overconfident people with no singing ability, or people with good singing ability who are too nervous to sing well in front of people. People who pass their auditions are usually humble people with good singing ability who can take criticism. They are usually attractive as well, but this isn't always the case.
  • At some culinary schools, this is described as Baker Versus Cook - the former are generally considered to be much more precise in their directions and timing, while the latter improvise a considerable amount more (in part due to the comparative uniformity of baking ingredients versus the different shapes and quality cooking ingredients, although neither side is without the other's concerns). The differing skillsets are why many larger upscale kitchens will have a dessert chef completely distinct from the executive chef handling appetizers and entrees.
  • Many technicians work hard to get a performalist appearance. Dancers are a good example, but holds for musicians as well.
  • The rivalry between skaters Robin Cousins and Jan Hoffman boiled down to could Hoffman win by more on the technical figure tracing than Cousins could on the free program.
  • In Spain, at The Cavalier Years, Cervantes was a technician, mediocre playwright and poetthat wanted to establish rules in playwriting so every author in Spain could publish without fear to be arrested and set a standard for quality in entertainment. Lope de Vega, the performer, was a accomplished natural poet and incredible successful playwright who was convinced Viewers are Morons and that the must create art with Lowest Common Denominator becauseis that 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 genius, 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.
  • Whenever they work together, George Lucas (technician) and Steven Spielberg (performer).
  • In general, Beauty Contests at national levels are very technician-minded environments, with coaches, trainers, and plastic surgeons engineering dozens of beauties every year, which often brings the complaint in several countries that most of the national pageant contestants tend to look too alike. But once on international contest categories, the requirements become more in the performer side, particularly on contests like Miss World that have Talent Contests and the like. It can be noticed that, if an ex-miss becomes an entertainer, she was either among the disqualified, or she went into international contests with more emphasis on performing over mere beauty.