dirac

2012 Summer Olympics, London

145 posts in this topic

If they have to dance, I wish it were more like this:

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Thanks for the "early floor exercise" videos. The sport has clearly taken a different direction. I'm curious about the music for the first two exercises. It sounded like the piano was "live". Does anyone know. Was that the case? Also, you could actually hear the music, which doesn't always seem the case now. There are so many other things going on at the same time it's difficult to distinguish the music from the "noise". It's fun to look back.

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Yes, thanks to everyone that posted the older clips. They make what has been a gradual but consistent shift in the sport very clear. I think it's very telling that, in the Turischeva clip, despite its many examples of extended dancing, it is the more sport-oriented tumbling runs that gets the big response from the crowds. And if you compare these examples to the work we've been seeing this week, dance is even more vestigial in the current examples, and that dance work is stylistically much closer to hip hop and jazz (or even cheerleading) than to ballet or modern dance. It seems to me that dance in gymnastics has become just what they call it in that sport, an "element," one component of many that a performer will be judged on. It also feels much more like a separate item, a section of a routine rather than something that binds all the gymnastic feats together.

I think that it would be much more exciting if coaches and gymnasts would lose the little shimmies and photo-shoot poses and work within the actual gymnastic material to find connecting phrases and more sustained movements that complimented the majority of the action. Men have a repertoire of "power moves" that give a great contrast to their explosive tumbling runs. I know that the differences in women's anatomy make some of those activities unrealistic, but I'm sure that they could develop some analogous movement that didn't make their athletes look schizophrenic.

I'm behind on my Olympics history -- when did rhythmic gymnastics reappear in the summer games?

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Was that Caslavska's hair? Damn, she deserved to medal just for that -- although I do love those little Eastern-bloc pigtails.

Better ... but I remain unconvinced. The 60's-90's dancing looks like Dolly Dinkle and the current dancing looks like the half-time show on the Tinytown High basketball court. I think the "dancing" demeans these superb athletes. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not trying to ridicule these obviously accomplished women -- but the lowliest member of the corps of just about any regional ballet company does the dance moves better. What distinguishes top gymnasts like these from everyone else, including dancers, is the power and fearless aplomb with which they dispatch--and recover from--their gravity defying gymnastics maneuvers. It annoys me no end that they have been expected to incorporate into their routines material in which they'll likely never look better than second rate (through no fault of their own, I hasten to add) -- especially because I can't get over the suspicion that the music and the dancey bits were imposed to make the sport seem more "ladylike."

Watching Caslavaska with the music turned off brought home to me the fact that eliminating the music and dance elements from floor routines needn't make them artless. So much could be done with the internal rhythms of each pass and its attendant preparation and recovery, and I'm sure there are ways to score that. Caslavaska especially was as thrilling hitting the mat as she was in the air -- no dance required.

OK, rant over.

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It seems to me that dance in gymnastics has become just what they call it in that sport, an "element," one component of many that a performer will be judged on. It also feels much more like a separate item, a section of a routine rather than something that binds all the gymnastic feats together. I think that it would be much more exciting if coaches and gymnasts would lose the little shimmies and photo-shoot poses and work within the actual gymnastic material to find connecting phrases and more sustained movements that complimented the majority of the action. Men have a repertoire of "power moves" that give a great contrast to their explosive tumbling runs. I know that the differences in women's anatomy make some of those activities unrealistic, but I'm sure that they could develop some analogous movement that didn't make their athletes look schizophrenic. I'm behind on my Olympics history -- when did rhythmic gymnastics reappear in the summer games?

Exactly! Sandik, I think you just said what I was trying to say, but couldn't seem to articulate! If I'd seen your post first, I would have just stopped typing ...

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There used to be a live pianist off to the side. I can't find any references to when there was a switch to instrumental recordings, but I would not be at all surprised if current "dance" styles -- just as second-rate (I'm being kind here) in hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, and even cheer leading -- became the norm soon after they were no longer limited to piano transcriptions.

I never understood how Caslavska's hair didn't knock off her balance, but she was the most dominant gymnast ever, with two all-around Olympic titles in 1964 and 1968 and every major championship in between. Olympic titles in the same years were not the only thing they had in common with the Soviet Pairs team the Protopopovs: the coming of the more athletic -- and young -- Tourischeva was considered doom to the lyrical and balletic style favored until then, just as Irina Rodnina and partner's dominance was considered the end of lyricism in skating. Apart from doing point work, I also don't think that every corps member of a regional company in 1968 was a better dancer than Caslavska, from what I saw of regional companies from the '60's.

I think the change of music was a nightmare, but death came when the judges started to accept the broken wrists and splayed hands in floor ex and balance beam. Shannon Milller is one of my top 3 all-time favorites, with Tourischeva and Caslavska, but her hands are cringe-worthy.

Balance beam is the event in which the internal rhythm becomes clear, even with the floor ex competitor's music blaring in the background and crowd cheering for the other three events running simultaneously, but they still are required to do at least a full turn and leaps, just like in floor ex, and while they don't shimmy, they do all kinds of cutesy poses in between the tumbling and other elements. There's rhythm in vault and uneven bars, but not the same physical momentum and continuous movement in floor ex and beam, due to those pesky laws of physics.

Rhythmic Gymnastics debuted at the LA Olympics, sadly boycotted by the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, except Romania, and the field was very diluted. There was a question in a recent ballet thread about what makes you think of pain while watching, and in addition to when gymnasts on the beam tumble and land with the beam between thighs -- thankfully rare these days -- watching rhyming gymnasts extend to a minimum of 190 degrees makes me queasy. Artistic Gymnastics has a much longer history, competed first in the Olympics in 1928.

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What distinguishes top gymnasts like these from everyone else, including dancers, is the power and fearless aplomb with which they dispatch--and recover from--their gravity defying gymnastics maneuvers. It annoys me no end that they have been expected to incorporate into their routines material in which they'll likely never look better than second rate (through no fault of their own, I hasten to add) -- especially because I can't get over the suspicion that the music and the dancey bits were imposed to make the sport seem more "ladylike."

I agree, I think the 'artistic' bits were a concession to the fundamental distrust that people seemed to have about women participating in sports.

Watching Caslavaska with the music turned off brought home to me the fact that eliminating the music and dance elements from floor routines needn't make them artless. So much could be done with the internal rhythms of each pass and its attendant preparation and recovery, and I'm sure there are ways to score that. Caslavaska especially was as thrilling hitting the mat as she was in the air -- no dance required.

Or perhaps that is the dance -- the infinite variations of the human body and its response to physics.

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I've just watched (on TV) the British Men's Sprint Team win gold in the cycling velodrome. It was breath-taking to watch!

Having watched a couple of hours this afternoon, I can't make head or tail of the rules though!!

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I never understood how Caslavska's hair didn't knock off her balance, but she was the most dominant gymnast ever, with two all-around Olympic titles in 1964 and 1968 and every major championship in between. Olympic titles in the same years were not the only thing they had in common with the Soviet Pairs team the Protopopovs: the coming of the more athletic -- and young -- Tourischeva was considered doom to the lyrical and balletic style favored until then, just as Irina Rodnina and partner's dominance was considered the end of lyricism in skating.

You know far more about skating than I do, but it seems to me that you've identified a significant thing here -- I never noticed the relationship between skating and gymnastics in their changing aesthetic, but I've certainly seen the changes in both of them separately over the last 20+ years. I think about it in terms of phrasing, and of the differences between making a long string of movement and making a dance phrase with internal logic and connections. We're in the middle of a style with infinitely moveable small bits, rather like Lego blocks, that are arranged and re-arranged, but don't necessarily connect with each other except physically.

There's rhythm in vault and uneven bars, but not the same physical momentum and continuous movement in floor ex and beam, due to those pesky laws of physics.

Indeed!

more on rhythmic gymnastics later...

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Yes, eliminate the music and hooky "dance" movement in the women's floor event. Even more annoying are the cutesy poo twitches on the beam. I do think this is a gender issue. Let these wonderful women athletes be powerful and aggressive with no apologies.

While I"m on the subject, why are the men in beach volleyball wearing baggy shorts and T-shirts? If the women are wearing bikinis, the men should be wearing little Speedos!biggrin.png

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What distinguishes top gymnasts like these from everyone else, including dancers, is the power and fearless aplomb with which they dispatch--and recover from--their gravity defying gymnastics maneuvers. It annoys me no end that they have been expected to incorporate into their routines material in which they'll likely never look better than second rate (through no fault of their own, I hasten to add) -- especially because I can't get over the suspicion that the music and the dancey bits were imposed to make the sport seem more "ladylike."

I agree, I think the 'artistic' bits were a concession to the fundamental distrust that people seemed to have about women participating in sports.

True. "People" includes women as well, of course. I've read another article lamenting the decline of "artistry" in gymnastics and like the Slate piece it was written by a woman. Figure skating and women's gymnastics attract a predominantly female audience and they are both sports which tend to reflect traditional expectations regarding how women should look and move. (They're also sports in which the women's events are the marquee events - unusual. Probably not a coincidence.)

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Yes, eliminate the music and hooky "dance" movement in the women's floor event. Even more annoying are the cutesy poo twitches on the beam. I do think this is a gender issue. Let these wonderful women athletes be powerful and aggressive with no apologies.

While I"m on the subject, why are the men in beach volleyball wearing baggy shorts and T-shirts? If the women are wearing bikinis, the men should be wearing little Speedos!biggrin.png

Wait till we get to track and field, LiLing. The men wear normal outfits while many of the women are decked out in modified bikinis. Enjoy the swimming events while you can. :)

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While I"m on the subject, why are the men in beach volleyball wearing baggy shorts and T-shirts? If the women are wearing bikinis, the men should be wearing little Speedos!biggrin.png

Word.

I'm sure that Speedos would be just as comfortable to play in as the women's bikini bottoms.

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Congratulations to Michael Phelps on winning his 20th Olympic medal - surely the greatest of Olympians.

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While I"m on the subject, why are the men in beach volleyball wearing baggy shorts and T-shirts? If the women are wearing bikinis, the men should be wearing little Speedos!biggrin.png

Word.

I'm sure that Speedos would be just as comfortable to play in as the women's bikini bottoms.

Re those bikini bottoms: you might find this little photo essay amusing: What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball? Be sure to scroll down. Not many speedos, but then the author is making a slightly different point ...

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surely the greatest of Olympians.

Not according to Sebastian Coe, who, called Phelps the most "successful" Olympics athlete (after Phelps' 19th medal), and when pressed, came up with other possibility and settled on Jesse Owens:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/olympics/sebastian-coe-says-michael-phelps-up-there-but-not-the-greatest-olympian-of-all-time-164592226.html?viewAllComments=y

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I understand the bikini bottoms are mandated by the beach volleyball league. Presumably the athletes aren't complaining -- at least I have not heard of any protests -- because of what I assume is the additional exposure, as it were, and income gained by the women showing more skin. (I don't blame the athletes.) I see the point of the photo essay and it's a valid one, but then it's not hard to understand why public displays of butt cheek draw the eye and thus the camera.

It seems that as years go by the women show more and the men show less. In tennis the men were baggy tops and shorts while the women tend to go for form fitting and very brief tennis dresses, and old footage shows that it used to be quite different, with the women wearing more modest gear and the men showing lots of leg. I was watching an old Borg match recently. He favored Fila pinstriped shirts that looked painted on and of course the short white shorts were standard wear. As Borg crouched to return serve the camera parked itself directly behind him, offering a no doubt appreciative CBS Sports audience a prime view of the Borg buns and thighs. Those were the days. But I digress.

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Pleeeease, post Spoiler Alert before announcing the days Oly outcomes! Thanks!!!

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Sorry, Barbara: the point of the thread is to discuss the Olympics, and that goes for things that finished 2 seconds ago. If you want to remain unspoiled, please stay out of this thread.

This has always been true for our Olympics and figure skating threads.

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Just a note that as a rule threads related to sports are not encouraged (including figure skating). The Olympics are the exception, not the rule. :)

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Figure skating has long been another exception by practice, but skating-related threads are not to rehash what's been said on figure skating boards, but to discuss movement to music and its relationship to the sport.

Dressage, horses moving to music, can't come soon enough. We still have the Ladies' floor ex, rhythmic gymnastics, and synchronized swimming, too.

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Figure skating has long been another exception by practice, but skating-related threads are not to rehash what's been said on figure skating boards, but to discuss movement to music and its relationship to the sport.

I had a musician friend who used to maintain that there was no relationship between music and the sport. I watch anyway, though. :)

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Congratulations to Michael Phelps on winning his 20th Olympic medal - surely the greatest of Olympians.

That might be arguable but after today there's increasingly little doubt as to his place among Olympic swimmers. Wow. Congratulations, indeed!

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I had a musician friend who used to maintain that there was no relationship between music and the sport. I watch anyway, though. :)

I could say the same about a lot of dance I've seen :)

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I had a musician friend who used to maintain that there was no relationship between music and the sport. I watch anyway, though. smile.png

I could say the same about a lot of dance I've seen smile.png

I don't think I could. Dancers relate to music very differently, even the least musical, in my experience. (I wouldn't expect it to be otherwise.)

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