Jayne

Winter Olympics, Vancouver 2010

65 posts in this topic

the purpose of this thread is to offer a place to comment on artistic aspects of the Olympic games.

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"my thoughts on the Ice Dance Folk Dance portion of the competition! "

Ok, I'm waiting...

My partner asked me last night if they were required to perform something with an ethnic or world dance element, since they all seemed to make that choice.

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"my thoughts on the Ice Dance Folk Dance portion of the competition! "

Ok, I'm waiting...

My partner asked me last night if they were required to perform something with an ethnic or world dance element, since they all seemed to make that choice.

sorry, had to field a phone call for work. But now it's lunchtime....

Yes, the original dance was chosen last spring, must be a "folk" dance, some translate better to the ice than others...

I actually preferred the Indian Dance by USA's Davis/White over the Flamenco by Canada's Virtue / Moir, but I do agree the flamenco looked technically amazing. The 3rd place aboriginal dance by Russia's Domnina / Shabalin looked messy, I lack expertise in aboriginal dances to say if it was authentic, or the costume. I would have placed the Moldavin dance by USA's Belbin / Agosto in 3rd.

I do think the aboriginal dance was a poor judgment, in the Compulsory Dance, the Russians dominated - rightfully so - and they perform classical numbers very well. They should have chosen a European folk dance, then they would be in the hunt for the gold medal.

The great thing about CoP for dance is the fluidity in placements over the past 3-4 years, people are really being rewarded by their dances, not their reputations.

FREE DANCE PREVIEW:

Tonight - seriously - everybody needs to watch, because Virtue / Moir have a perfect free dance. It will bring down the house, and people will refer to it in the future in the same class as Torvill & Dean's Bolero, or the Protopopovs' Moonlight Sonata. If you want to see what it looks like, here is the

. You will feel your soul alight watching this.

I do like Davis / White (USA)'s

, but it is not as sophisticated. At the Grand Prix earlier this year, this program outscored the Canadians by about 1.5 points, based on superior technical difficulty. But right now the Canadians are leading by 3 points, so even if they place 2nd in the free dance, they can still win the gold medal.

For Bronze, I think Beltin / Agosto of USA could move up, although I hate their USA Nationals free dance costumes. It's like Vegas vintage 1977! Here's hoping they make a change!

Additional comments:

at the European Championships in their Free Dance to Requiem for a Dream. Powerful music, but the costumes don't help, and it still looked sloppy compared to the Canadians and USA's Davis / White. I don't like that he swings her around by the band in her costume. technically the steps look hard but it looks like they are working too hard, there isn't the sense of effortlessness that we get from the other top contenders. At Europeans, this scored in the low 90's, while the other couples scored in the 102-105 range on their free dance programs at the Grand Prix finale. I'm putting them in 4th place for now.

Sad, because I adored their free dance last year to Spartacus, which emphasized their strengths. Amazing how much comes down to choreography choices in the new system. Maria Zueva choreographs for the Canadians and USA Davis /White. Would love to see what she would do with a ballet company!

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Thank you for starting the topic, Jayne. Normally we don't have a lot of posts related to sporting events, including figure skating, but the Olympics are a special occasion (and we did have one related to the Summer Olympics). So I open to this thread to any comments people may have on this year's Winter Olympics in general. Thanks.

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Okay, Tim Horten's have been knocked off the top pedestal of things I love about Canada by Virtue/Moir. :devil:

Their free dance was elegant, musical and deeply felt without being over the top (I'm looking at you Russian ice dancers!).

Speaking of the Russians, is it even legal to use part of the costume as an assist to lifts? When I watch the Russian ice dancers I feel like I'm seeing the same program over and over again. The programs look the same as they did in the late eighties and early nineties. Unattrative costumes that consume the dancers in flying strips of garish fabric and overwrought music and choreography.

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Speaking of the Russians, is it even legal to use part of the costume as an assist to lifts? When I watch the Russian ice dancers I feel like I'm seeing the same program over and over again. The programs look the same as they did in the late eighties and early nineties. Unattrative costumes that consume the dancers in flying strips of garish fabric and overwrought music and choreography.

Are you implying that they're COASTING??????? SHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Don't say that! It's a SECRET!

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Review of last night - have to agree with the others, V/M were amazing and deserved their win. Ethereal was the term that came to mind. They made it look effortless, when we all know it is not!

Today in the papers, some of the lower-scoring teams implied V/M received 'homer' scores, because of the standing ovations, etc. None of the reporters have mentioned this, but V/M put up amazing numbers at all their competitions all season long for their free skate - at Trophee Lalique in Paris, Cup of China in Beijing and Grand Prix Finale in Japan. Everyone saw score inflation at the Olympics compared to prior competitions, so I think what we saw last night was right in line with that.

Tracy Wilson (commentator for NBC) noted last week that the judging panel for this Olympic Ice Dance competition is heavily Eastern European. The way it works is that 2 judges have their marks thrown out by a computer that picks them at random, the remaining judges' marks are averaged in each category. My point being - this was a heavily Eastern European judging panel that chose two North American teams over a Russian team. So I think it was judged fairly. Maria Zueva is their Russian choreographer, so perhaps her style appealed to the Eastern European judges as much as the Russians D/S program did.

Obviously if you train for four years and don't make the podium - or make it in bronze position when you were the world champion last year - you will feel disappointed and say things that sound like sour grapes to our ears.

I really didn't get the point of the Russians' program. It was set to Requiem for a Dream, were they portraying heroin addiction? I couldn't figure it out. And yes, it did seem like a regurgitation of prior programs. This is a beautiful team of ice dancers, had they chosen a classical theme and music for their folk dance and free dance - they would have scored better. I thought the lifts where he swung her by the waist band was essentially bending a rule that isn't in place. Look for a new rule next year. BTW, there is an ISU rule about tasteful costumes - obviously not enforced. ;0)

I know the Code of Points has really limited choreography in search of points, but V/M and D/W seemed to transcend those limitations with their programs. Dancing is by it's nature emotional - it can express romance, grief, humor, love, longing, among other things. But it is a difficult venue to tell a sophisticated story, without 2 hours, an intermission, and program notes to help your audience. I think this is why the programs for V/M and D/W were successful, they found themes that could be related to the audience in 4 minute programs.

I did not like the B/A program. I think she was a fallen angel and he was trying to revive her spirit, but whatever it was - too deeply buried in ruffles, sequins, flying capes and skin colored fabric for me. B/A and the Russians D/S are both coached and choreographed by Natalia Linichuk.

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oops - to finish my thought...

I think Linichuk will have to re-evaluate choices in music, theme and choreography under the Code of Points, especially when trying to get audience reacton in North America - although I think the aesthetic is similar in Asia. All in all, a satisfying evening. Did it seem like there were 3 or 4 programs to "Requiem for a Dream" music???

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I think I know who is enforcing the ISU costume rule, Bob Mackie, Cher and Bjork. :off topic:

Elite Figure Skating has always grown and harvested sour grapes no matter the country. I still remember Nancy Kerigan's disdain after being shut out of a gold by Oksana Baiul.

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Speaking of the Russians, is it even legal to use part of the costume as an assist to lifts?

There's no rule against it, although next year, there might be.

Virtue/Moir were divine last night.

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I think I know who is enforcing the ISU costume rule, Bob Mackie, Cher and Bjork. :off topic:

Elite Figure Skating has always grown and harvested sour grapes no matter the country. I still remember Nancy Kerigan's disdain after being shut out of a gold by Oksana Baiul.

This is why I was so proud of both American teams last night - both of them were 100% gracious to the media and on the podium. I'm sure it helps that they train / have trained with V/M in Detroit. Nevertheless, if you looked up good sportsmanship in skating in the dictionary, you will soon find youtube clips of their media responses. I'm sure in private they all wish to win gold, but I think their good behavior last night will only help them win more fans, as Michelle Kwan's grace after winning Silver in Nagano only made us love her more.

A point of irony: in the original article that sparked this thread - there were quite a few comments from the dancers that they loved to see all the skating costumes. So maybe it wouldn't be the same sport if they weren't as colorful. I actually oddly liked the firebird costume on the second russian team, but all the skin-toned fabric is just low class. They're paying a lot of money for those dresses, $10-20k each - all for skin toned body suits with strips of ruffles tacked on??? The Protopopovs and Torvill & Dean never needed all that flash to win medals!

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I actually oddly liked the firebird costume on the second russian team, but all the skin-toned fabric is just low class. They're paying a lot of money for those dresses, $10-20k each - all for skin toned body suits with strips of ruffles tacked on??? The Protopopovs and Torvill & Dean never needed all that flash to win medals!

No, but costumes have become a lot flashier since then. Think of the beautiful dresses Kwan wore and that Kim Yu-Na wears now. These would have been unheard of in Hamill's time, and even the lace on Peggy Fleming's collar in 1968 would have been outrageous a few decades earlier. Torvill and Dean had some over-the-top costumes in their professional competitive days. In 1984, there already was a controversy over their music, "Bolero".

Khokhlova's Firebird costume was spectacular, in my opinion, and she looked delicious in it.

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Think of the beautiful dresses Kwan wore and that Kim Yu-Na wears now. These would have been unheard of in Hamill's time, and even the lace on Peggy Fleming's collar in 1968 would have been outrageous a few decades earlier.

I would be happy to have those modest and simple dresses worn back when return in some form, or perhaps have the skaters wear versions of their practice gear, at least in the short program. I am mildly appalled at the amount of real skin and fake skin the women feel it necessary to expose these days. A couple of Olympic cycles ago a sportswriter commented on how beautiful and sleek the women looked in practice without all the junk on and what need for the sequins and the bugle beads? The skaters could save a lot of money, too.

Today in the papers, some of the lower-scoring teams implied V/M received 'homer' scores, because of the standing ovations, etc.

The nationalistic bias is still very much operative in figure skating judging, and although I doubt the audience made the difference here, it is generally acknowledged that there is such a thing as home field advantage in skating. Virtue and Moir needed no such help last night, however.

Some figure skating habits to be spreading to other sports, however. Lindsey Vonn won gold in camera ready makeup, not something you usually see on female skiers.

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Just out of curiosity, where do figure skaters find these muzak renditions of classical music: Mahler with tinkling piano ornamentation, Rossini with tambourine accents, and so forth? I hate to sound like such a snob, but it really bothers me.

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The rules state that ice dancers have to skate to the rhythm and beat. Often this means superimposing a rhythm box on the music, so that the music doesn't get disqualified or a deduction.

I was so mesmerized by Virtue and Moir that I didn't even notice a piano.

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Going back to the subject of the outfits worn by women skaters, I think Nancy Kerrigan had a lot to do with skaters choosing beautiful dresses, some made by important fashion designers. If you recall, Kerrigan skated in Vera Wang outfits. After that, Vera Wang became a household name,and the go-to boutique for wedding gowns. Carolina Kostner has worn Roberto Cavalli dresses in competition.

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Well, here is one who hasnt been mesmerized at all :(

To date I have seen nothing - nada - not a single skater :(

I try to follow what is happening in the newspapers and on the web, but it is not the same thing. The fault is entirely with the Swedish TV (not the first time in history for that matter). The real problem is the time difference and I can appreciate that they have to broadcast all night. But at least there ought to be some kind of schedule and never mind if they cant adhere strictly to it, I for one dont mind waiting for half a hour, but I am damned if I keep the DVD going from midnight to six in the morning, just in order to sit and trawl through all that for maybe five minutes of figure skating.

There is ice hockey, skis and ski jumping and all other ways of skiing - OK, I know people here are interested, but there is actually a big interest in figure skating here as well. As far as Sw.TV. this must go down in history as the most badly organized broadcasts of all times :off topic:

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On another topic, I found the following -- from the NY Times today -- helpful in understanding some of the less obvious (for an outsider) flaws in figure skating performances. Things like "under-rotation" -- like "sickling" in ballet -- are not always easy for the inexperienced viewer to notice.

The Moves They Don't Want You To See

I have often wondered about such things.

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There have been complaints over here about NBC's coverage of all the sports, mainly because of the tape delay. (It sounds like you would benefit from some tape delay, though, Pamela.) However, NBC does use its affiliate cable channels for broadcasting as well, so fans can get their fill of as much curling and hockey as they can handle. I enjoy a number of the winter sports, though. I especially like curling, although I probably wouldn't get around to watching it at any other time, and those maniacs on the luge.

I'd also say that NBC is doing a pretty good job this year. The proceedings move along at a reasonably fast clip and the soft focus human interest stories aren't as lengthy or as cloying as they have been in the past.

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I haven't been on the boards as much as I used to be, and I have to say, Jayne is a VERY WELCOME addition to all these conversations. Thanks for starting this topic, and thanks for all your thoughtful and informed comments.

In particular, I appreciate your sense of the choreography for these dances. I'd like to know a LOT more about what's her name -- Maeva? the choreographer for both the Canadian and American couples --especially since not only does she put together very interesting combinations, she can build interest over the long haul, and also it looks very much like she requests fine points of execution that result in the look of ease the dancers bring to these very challenging moves.

In the Canadian dance, there were two spectacular chains of steps, the first one with lifts that took her over his shoulder etc through MANY positions before it was all over,, and the second even more spectacular that used the "I'll just stand on your thigh a moment, don't you think?" pose from Act 2 of Swan Lake (which I saw Monica Mason attempt unsuccessfully dancing with Nureyev back in 1970) -- which must be difficult in a pointe shoe but how much more so with an ICE_SKATE biting into your thigh -- beautifully sustained while he held a grand plie a la seconde, hands on knees like the arms on a park bench, and then jumped off with a pirouette yet into a lovely arabesque fondu....

Yeah, her choreography is TERRIFIC! I agree, I wouldn't mind seeing what she could do for a ballet company somewhere, and before too long.

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Back to the subject of costumes. I have a pet peeve - too much frou frou on the shoulders and neck that shorten the line. Some of the skaters don't naturally possess a beautiful long neck/shoulder line but instead of helping to disguise this flaw with a v-line neck you will often see added business on the shoulder tops, or large collars or too much ornamentation on the neck. Even the choker-style neck pieces on Asada and Kim's costumes detracted from the overall line. Anyone agree?

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A major aspect of Olympics tv coverage that hasn't been discussed: the frequency and placement of commercials. I liked this overview by Stuart Elliott in the NY Times:

That Triple Salchow Was Great. Now for More Ads.

OLYMPIC ADS OR AD OLYMPICS? In watching the coverage of the Games, it sometimes seems as if snippets of sports events are occasionally interrupting commercials rather than vice versa.

It is hard to blame NBC Universal for wanting to put a dent in the loss it expects to incur in covering the Olympics, estimated at $200 million to $250 million. But the plethora of commercial interruptions is often hard to take.

Has this bothered anyone very much? Do people actually sit in front of their sets and and watch the ads as closely as the sponsors hope they will? This has deterred me from watching all but a few events I was really interested in, and only bits and pieces of those.

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There are too many commercials, although I understand NBC has got to find a way to make money. I deal with it by finding something to do during the commercials – flipping through a magazine, reading a book, or switching back and forth between another channel. Towards the end of the night and during particularly tense moments they do cut down on the breaks as well, so that you could see the conclusion of the ice dance competition, for example, virtually uninterrupted.

However, I also watch the commercials, too. There are some well made and well written ones out there. When watching cable channels I admit to getting a kick out of the Slap Chop guy. I do get testy when they show the same commercial too often in a short space of time, which smacks of brainwashing techniques, but there is such a thing as the mute button.

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Just out of curiosity, where do figure skaters find these muzak renditions of classical music: Mahler with tinkling piano ornamentation, Rossini with tambourine accents, and so forth? I hate to sound like such a snob, but it really bothers me.

No, you’re not being a snob. Figure skating is competition, and the music has to suit the rules of the competition and the special requirements involved with sporting arena performance. This doesn’t always make for pleasant listening (or pleasant viewing). It used to be far worse, though.

As to where the music comes from, in the days of yore it was usually the coach who chose the music and set the choreography, although there were a few skaters who did for themselves. Nowadays with the larger talent pool and overall high technical level among skaters, music and choreography are more important and there are people who specialize in selecting music for skaters as well as skating choreographers like David Wilson.

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Like volcanohunter, I've wondered about the sources of this musical sound. It was once quite common in pop culture, a time when what was called "semi-classical" music was widely played on the radio.

I'm astonished there is still a market for it in these days, let alone musicians who arrange and play it. Volcanohunter mentions "muzak," a powerful aesthetic a generation ago Driving down to West Palm I pass an Art Deco building once occupied by Muzak. It's sadly derelict and has been vacant for years.

The term "Mantovani-like" also came to mind, so I Googled it. I got "about 662" results. Perhaps the answer lies there. Or is there a better search term?

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