Helene

Dance-Related Figure Skating Programs

18 posts in this topic

For the second time this season, Meryl Davis and Charlie White performed their "Giselle" Short Dance, this time at NHK Trophy in Sendai. For those who are unfamiliar with the Short Dance format, it's a poor compromise between the old Original Dance, in which skaters had to perform a program to at least two of a list of pre-defined rhythms, allegedly related, and sometimes to a given theme, and the Compulsory Dance, a set pattern that all skaters had to perform, usually twice in succession, but sometimes three, to the International Skating Union CD for the pattern, which cycled around four-six musical tracks. (The skating order determined which track the skaters would use.) The requirements for the Short Dance are to use the pre-defined rhythms and to included, in addition to a lift, a set of twizzles (side by side moving turns on one leg), and a pre-defined type of footwork (this season non-touching), a Compulsory Dance pattern, to music of the skaters' choice, but to a defined meter. This year's Compulsory Dance pattern is "Yankee Polka," which was created from a longer program by Judy Schwomeyer and Jim Sladky from the '70's.

Choreographer and coach Marina Zoueva, who has a credential from GITIS, created "Giselle" from three Act I excerpts. Davis/White perform the "Yankee Polka" section at the end.

It's remarkable how many Ice Dance teams manage not to make dances out of the material, but here's a lower-ranked team, Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland -- their coach is Evgeni Platov, the 1994 and 1998 Olympic Ice Dance champion (with Oksana Grishuk) -- which performed to a different type of dance, with the Yankee Polka starting before the halfway point:

Daisuke Takahashi just can't stop dancing:

I have a paid subscription to TVTeka to be able to watch the Russian "Sport" channel live, but I love going back to YouTube, just to listen to the Italian commentary. Not that I understand much beyond "Fantastico!" and "Que programma," but they sound so musical and like they like things they see.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you for the videos, Helene. I think Davis and White translate Giselle to the ice very well.

And Tchaikovsky is well represented this season: 1 Nutcracker, 2 Sleeping Beauty, and about 3 Swan Lake/Black Swan programs!

Share this post


Link to post

It's true: I was waiting some better performances of the Tchaikovsky attempts before posting, but Asada ("Swan Lake") had a very weak outing earlier today at NHK Trophy. (Maybe she'll be stronger at the Grand Prix Final in a couple of weeks: it's being held at the Olympic venue in Sochi.)

Share this post


Link to post

I watched again, and while there are a bunch of programs to ballet music -- in the final group at the NHK Trophy Ladies Free Skate last weekend, there were "Don Q," "Sleeping Beauty," and "Swan Lake," none of them convinced me that they had to be using those scores. Two small exceptions were Elene Gedevashvili's circular footwork, in which the combination of steps and interpretation matched the music beautifully, and some swan arms by Asada that were subtle and well done.

The only program that I think matches the music and tries to do a figure skating version of classical ballet, in this case "Sleeping Beauty," is Gretchen Donlan/Andrew Speroff's Pairs FS; unfortunately, they haven't performed it that well this year, but here was their performance from last year's US Nationals:

They've changed it somewhat this season to adjust to the rule changes, but it's substantially the same, with element highlights on the music, which is not the typical murderous collection of death by 1000 cuts.

Share this post


Link to post

Not a program, but I was tickled to discover that Daniil Simkin is tied via Twitter to a number of figure skaters, re-tweets some of their tweets, and recently re-tweeted a photo of him and Japanese figure skater Tatsuki Machida (who won Cup of China earlier this season) after a performance of "The Nutcracker" with Tokyo Ballet.

Share this post


Link to post

I was wondering what you all thought of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's Carmen FD. In interviews they have mentioned how they are going for a more modern approach and that they've worked with a modern dance choreographer, Jennifer Swan. If I have done the link properly, here is their program from the Cup of Russia:

I think this program has the potential to be great. It's extremely difficult, but quite different from what they have done in the past.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for posting this clip. My TV station (NBC) only shows the singles competitions. As a result, I have not been able to see any pairs or ice dancing performances this season.

Share this post


Link to post

There's been a lot of discussion about how much input coach Maria Zoueva had on the program, or if it was mostly Swan, and whether Alonso's version for Plisetskaia or Ek's version were influences. (Swan isn't listed as one of their choreographers on their ISU biography, although their work with Swan has been discussed in print.)

In a separate interview, Igor Spilband, Zoueva's coaching partner until this year, said that he was influenced by the ballet for Plisetskaia in his version (also using the Shchedrin score) for Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, but I don't see it.

There are many clips of the Grand Prix series on YouTube, mostly from Russian Eurosport and Italian RAI, and just about every competitor in each event has at least one video.

Share this post


Link to post

Looks like there will again be a fair amount of dance-related programs for the 2013-2014 season.

Romeo and Juliet

Swan Lake

Nutcracker

Sleeping Beauty

Giselle

Riverdance

Firebird

Don Quixote

Coppelia

Scheherazade

The Seasons (Glazunov)

Spartacus

Should be an interenesting Olympic season!

Share this post


Link to post

A number of the dance-related programs were seen this past weekend at the Grand Prix of France. Elena I. and Nikita K. of Russia with their Swan Lake program pulled off an unexpected upset by finishing ahead of Nathalie P. and Fabian B. of France in France to get the silver with Virtue and Moir taking gold.

The Russians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBDWI0SnbLA

Virtue and Moir's Seasons, not perfect here, but on its way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xCHeotq0h4

And for sheer entertainment and joy, Jason Brown's bronze medal long program to Riverdance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY0WJ8PZD94

Share this post


Link to post

I'm a fan of that Swan Lake - Elena is a very effective Odile.

Here is Ashley Wagner skating to Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40rKETWhuxw

All through it, I kept wondering "where is Juliet?" This choreo needs some iconic MacMillan or Lavrovsky movements.

Share this post


Link to post

Evan Lysacek says he will not attempt to compete for a spot on the Sochi team due to injury. This comment of his struck me during his interview on Today:

The jumps and the physicality of the sport are incredible, and I think people don't know that,'' Lysacek said. "They think it looks like ballet, but really it is among the most difficult and physical sports in the world.

http://www.today.com/sochi/exclusive-evan-lysacek-reveals-he-wont-compete-sochi-2D11717316

Does Lysacek think that ballet does not have incredible physical demands? It struck me as an inane comment. He appears to have no clue regarding the physical demands imposed upon top tier ballet dancers.

Share this post


Link to post

Particularly coming from a skater who was runner-up on Dancing with the Stars and commented about how physically strenuous that was in interviews during the competition.

Share this post


Link to post
A quick look back at the man probably most identified with skate/dance/artistry -- John Curry.




"“If Fred Astaire could skate,” Ms. Starbuck said, “that’s how he would love to skate.”


"But Curry’s legacy doesn’t have to be a memory. It feels like a transitional moment in figure skating. While rules in competition haven’t destroyed all performances — there is always an anomaly like the South Korean skater Kim Yu-na, whose etherealness goes beyond checking off points on a scorecard — the sport has overshadowed the art. Ensemble groups like Ms. North’s Ice Theater may be the best hope for the future simply because they recall what skating has the potential to be: dancing on air."



Share this post


Link to post

This is a quick overview comment.



I now do my years of perpetual beginner figure skating (always wear a helmet!) at a rink in California that formerly featured Frank Carroll as Coach (Michelle Kwan’s) and is run by Anthony Liu and owned by himself and his family.



(Anthony Liu (born Liu Yueming on 4th July 1974 in Qiqihar) is a Chinese-Australian figure skater. A seven-time Australian national champion, he represented Australia at the 1988 Winter Olympics, where he placed 25th, and at the 2002 Winter Olympics, where he placed 10th.)



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Liu



In a rink that trains Olympic level skaters what goes on does have repercussions. I, like many, have noticed a drift from the more artistic world of John Curry and Michelle Kwan towards ‘high’ athleticism in the last ten years. I love artistry. I love the flow that can go way beyond what the ballet stage allows. Yesterday I noticed two young ‘high athletes’ just gliding at the end of their practice, and thought, “How lovely!”



Today I watched one of these young girls, named Gabby, (you might hopefully see her someday at the top of the list), who had the loveliest flowing grace and expression that I’ve seen on a rink in years. (I haven’t followed competition much on TV since the days of Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen).



I told her and her coach that I go to a lot of ballet performances and think that she is lovely. I then mentioned to her coach that figure skating seems to have become very technical. He responded that there is now a definite “hidden(?)” drift towards more artistry because the technical stuff has ‘pretty much maxed out.’



This is the first time that I ever heard anything like this. I’d love it to go more in that direction. Let’s see what happens.




And by the way, there's another little girl who has a constant little girl's bright as the sun Smile. My hope is that whatever difficulties they present her that her Smiling Self stays just the same.


Share this post


Link to post