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Ice Dancing


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 18 February 2002 - 05:48 PM

No one's posted about the ice dancing? I missed it because I was at the Kirov (and then writing about the Kirov. I just finished with the editor as it ended.)

I don't even know who won! Reports, please.

#2 sylvia

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Posted 18 February 2002 - 06:36 PM

No winners yet, at least for another few hours or so. I can list who's leading after the compulsory and original dances though.

1 ANISSINA, Marina PEIZERAT, Gwendal
2 LOBACHEVA, Irina AVERBUKH, Ilia
3 FUSAR POLI, Barbara MARGAGLIO, Maurizio
4 BOURNE, Shae-Lynn KRAATZ, Victor
5 DROBIAZKO, Margarita VANAGAS, Povilas
6 CHAIT, Galit SAKHNOVSKI, Sergei
7 DENKOVA, Albena STAVIYSKI, Maxim
8 WINKLER, Kati LOHSE, Rene
9 NAVKA, Tatiana KOSTOMAROV, Roman
10 GRUSHINA, Elena GONCHAROV, Ruslan

with
11 LANG, Naomi TCHERNYSHEV, Peter

It's been a little depressing. I don't think the judges have learnt a thing. Not one of the top 10 changed places between the compulsaries (quickstep and the blues) and original (Spanish - 2 chosen from flamenco, paso doble, tango, etc, etc).

Compulsaries are always so hard to tell but I'm pretty sure the judges got it right. The Russians Lobacheva and Averbukh were surprisingly good - they've really improved in terms of dance quality since last year. They've always hovered just outside the medals so it's fantastic they've jumped to 2nd now. There was no doubt that the French were rightfully first.

The Original dance I have some issues with. I preferred the Russians who had a really innovative spin and fabulous and difficult footwork. They actually earned a 6.0 from the Polish judge who was the only one to put them in first. Pretty much unheard of outside the leaders and in the ODs.

But Annissina and Peizerat were VERY impressive, with so many changes of holds, use of edges, a lovely head-to-head lift, and probably had a greater feel for Spanish dances than the Russians. I read they spent the whole summer learning to dance flamenco. They, according to Jayne Torvill, kept the difficulty and feel going throughout the whole dance, and didn't just have highlights and lowlights as the Russians did.

My other favourites, the Lithuanians Drobiazko and Vanagas were passionate and brill as usual, lovely spins but they were seriously undermarked and ended up in 5th where I thought they should have moved up to 3rd.

It was the Italians who got 3rd in spite of Fusar-Poli slipping on her dress (honestly, at that length it was an accident waiting to happen). It could have been a disaster but she recovered very fast though it doesn't look like she was deducted for it. It's a little reminiscent of Grishuk and Platov's slip in the 1998 CD (including the lack of deductions). It wasn't very good overall. The Italian judge of course gave them 5.9 for technical merit. I would have moved them down to 5th.

The Canadians were in the right spot in 4th. Very different, a little tongue-in-cheek but overdone to Chicago's "Cell Block Tango" - the applause wasn't as warm as one would have expected. It wasn't very Spanish, but it did end with a very cute kiss Bourne planted on Kraatz's nose (and she got purple lipstick all over it too!).

The Israelis were incredibly fast, even on tv you could see. But intricate footwork was compromised for that speed, too much in the way of running steps in the footwork sequence. Great choice of music to Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge.

US Lang and Tchernychev were quite a treat. They had a smashing start with a wonderful lift that went straight up, then dropped her into his arms. Very dramatic. I think they're very promising, though I hestitate to think that they belong with the best as Naomi has said. A top 10 finish would be excellent. Peter's already 30 though (to Naomi's 22). Don't know how many Winter Olympics he has left in him.

Another example of bad judging - the Bulgarian girl had a major error falling really behind in the footwork sequence. You couldn't have missed it. But I don't think there were any deductions as the Bulgarians stayed in 7th place. Throughout the evening the judging was occasionally split, but as a whole they didn't budge from the CD placings. Very disheartening and very boring! Why even bother with CDs or bother with an OD if no one ever moves apart from the occasional flip-flop outside the top 10.

My other complaint - the choice of music. Why did practically everyone outside the top 6 pick Carmen when there is so much lovely flamenco/tango music available! The elite skaters had some really good and original choices.


As for tonight's Free Dance to come, here are some thoughts.

The Russians are a little uncoventional in their free but are otherwise quite brilliant. Barring a miracle I doubt they'll move into first. I hope they at least stay 2nd.

The Lithuanians have gorgeous free dances, very musical. They aren't as technically gifted as the French and don't normally have the votes to back them up. I'm disappointed but they aren't going to medal.

The French I usually love but their FD this year I absolutely detest. It's probably very difficult and intricate and demanding but I can't get past the awful music. And the bad taste in trying to suck up to the US audiences by using Martin Luthor King's "I have a dream" speech.

The Canadian's are going to duke it out with the Italians for bronze. I think they have the best free dance out of everyone to a Michael Jackson medley though it's probably not as complex as some of the others. In any other year I'd say it was impossible, but with the Grand Prix Final win under their belts they still have a glimmer of a chance.

The Italians are grousing that the pairs controversy cost them the gold medal (looking at their skating so far, I don't think they ever had it). I don't mind their free dance to "I will survive" - very energetic and dancey, but not as interesting as I've seen in the past.


Anyway here's the starting order for the Americans...

11 LANG Naomi / TCHERNYSHEV Peter USA 11
(2nd in the 3rd group)

...and the last group
20 ANISSINA Marina / PEIZERAT Gwendal FRA 1
21 DROBIAZKO Margarita / VANAGAS Povilas LTU 5
22 FUSAR POLI Barbara / MARGAGLIO Maurizio ITA 3
23 BOURNE Shae-Lynn / KRAATZ Victor CAN 4
24 LOBACHEVA Irina / AVERBUKH Ilia RUS 2

Really excellent for the Canadians and the Russians (it's Lobacheva's 29th birthday btw) and really terrible for the French. No chance of any 6.0s for them.

[ February 19, 2002: Message edited by: sylvia ]



#3 Alexandra

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Posted 18 February 2002 - 07:10 PM

Thank you, Sylvia!

#4 sylvia

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Posted 18 February 2002 - 07:13 PM

You're most welcome!

I'm not optimistic. The ODs were judged a little unfairly and I think the FD won't be any different. But these Olympics are a little different from the last few, with several spanners thrown into the works - the small changes to the judging, B&K's surprise Grand Prix Final win, L&A's sudden vault into medal contention and the pairs controversy.

What I'd love to see:
1 Lobacheva & Averbukh
2 Drobiazko & Vanagas
3 Bourne & Kraatz

[ February 18, 2002: Message edited by: sylvia ]



#5 sylvia

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Posted 18 February 2002 - 07:44 PM

I forgot to mention that after the ODs was the medal ceremony for the Pairs. B&S walked in wearing theirs, S&P received their medals on the podium. The Chinese declined to attend. The Russian anthem was played first (Elena singing very happily), then the Canadian one. It was all very friendly - they were chatting beforehand, with Elena and Jamie, and Anton and David stepping onto the podium hand in hand. The Canadians gave gifts to the Russians.

All very nice - a big soothing plaster to heal the cracks in figure skating. Hah! We'll see after tonight.

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 18 February 2002 - 09:10 PM

Thank you for that, Sylvia. That's much more than I got from CNN today smile.gif

#7 Colleen

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 12:52 AM

Well, the OD wasn't totally fair with the Italians not really being penalized for an obvious bobble in their program but generally it was pretty decently judged. But tonight's FD, I was so disappointed. The Canadians skated a brilliant program and were one second (literally) from a bronze or maybe even a silver and then they FELL! I can't even begin to express how I feel about this. First denied in 1998 due to unfair judging and now they handed their medal away. But the Frech pair was great and got gold as expected, the Russians were nice and got silver, and the Italians, with another bobble but a decent program got bronze. When I'm more recovered I can go into more detail, but for now I must go take a Tylenol!

#8 sylvia

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 05:36 AM

Really interesting bio on the French winners. I'd forgotten that Anissina and Averbukh used to skate together. More thoughts on the comp later.

http://news.bbc.co.u...000/1828494.stm

#9 sylvia

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 09:39 AM

Again, after the FD no change in the top 8 and very little anywhere else apart from a few flip flops.

1st
I thought the French were really uninspired. The technical content is there, the lifts are amazing, especially where Anissina does the lifting. But their unison wasn't spot on, especially with the twizzles, which probably explains the 5.7s in technical merit when they usually expect 5.8-5.9s. And I still dislike this program.

2nd
The Russians did a fine job. They came very close. The judges were split 5-4 and the Russian judge actually voted the Russians first. So much for conspiracy theories about vote-trading!

3rd
Margaglio fall in the footwork sequence was quite terrible! The first 1/3rd I thought was terrific, really fast and full of energy, but it went downhill from there.

4th
The Canadians probably were in with a chance for bronze after the Italians fell and they looked fantastic. The deductions were justified - it was a fall on a required element, a lift and they ended the program lying on the ground which means another deduction. But I preferred them to the Italians.

5th
I am so disappointed that the Lithuanians didn't move up. It was kind of funny as the commentators for Eurosport Simon and Chris were saying that if the next few slip up, they would have had a chance for bronze or maybe even silver. Well the slips happened and there was no movement. D&V may not have been quite as technically strong as the others but their unison was excellent, their spins original without being over the top and their artistic expression is second to none. They work hard on the choreography to ensure every movement fits every part of the music. It's intricate and flowing, very passionate and devoid of the gimmicks that all the elite dancers use. I really think they should be a model for all of ice-dancing. Now they're turning professional with only a world bronze. They just don't get any recognition from the judges. I would have put them 3rd.

I also loved Lang and Tchernychev who held onto 11th. The skated like champions with so much confidence and beautiful and original lifts. I would have had them a lot higher. With the number of dancers leaving amateur competition this year they're sure to break into the top 10.

It was mostly disappointing skating with very disappointing music choices. Very few highlights. The overall standard of skating wasn't as high as it was in Nagano or Lillehammer.

Oh well, looking forward to the ladies.

[ February 19, 2002: Message edited by: sylvia ]



#10 OttawaMom

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 09:57 AM

I was so disappointed with the ice dance last night as of course me being the patriotic Canadian, was rooting for B&K and after the Italian stumble, that bronze was theirs to be had. Could not believe their fall in that last few seconds and cannot imagine how bitterly disappointed they must be. Then when I watched the medals and saw Fusar-Poli's big pout on the podium, I really wished I had gone to bed early.

#11 vagansmom

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 10:22 AM

I thought the French were holding back too. Still, their FS was clearly the strongest and they deserved to win. The Russians however seemed slow. I thought their skating was uninspired. There was a sameness throughout it that quite frankly bored me.

I wouldn't describe the Lithuanians' program as "flowing". Intricate, yes. But the more apt word would be spastic. I didn't think she ever held any arm or hand position for more than a second or two. It gave a jumpy feel to their skating which had me disliking the choreography intensely.

It's always funny how we all read people differently. I wouldn't have called Fusar-Poli's expression a "big pout" but rather a look of crushing disappointment. You just know it wasn't aimed at the judges - it was simply shock and frustration at how quickly her hopes of a gold were dashed. I thought she was very sweet, despite her utter sadness, in taking Margaglio's hand while awaiting what they both knew would be the inevitable lowered marks due to his fall. We North Americans - our Brit cultural heritage? - always want people to buck up and show no emotion with defeat. I do agree that their marks were higher than they should've been as the result of his fall.

But nothing was more shocking than the Bourne and Kraatz crash at the very end. Everyone in my house was shrieking in surprise. I feel so very sorry for them. Up till that point, they were skating with great speed and flow. I was so SURE they'd medal. I bet they could just taste it too.

In all the years of watching figure skating, I don't ever remember people falling in the last second of their skate. But at these Olympics, the Canadian duos are two for two (Sale/Pelletier fell at the very end of their short program).

#12 sylvia

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 10:32 AM

[quote]Originally posted by vagansmom:
In all the years of watching figure skating, I don't ever remember people falling in the last second of their skate. But at these Olympics, the Canadian duos are two for two (Sale/Pelletier fell at the very end of their short program).

I can think of one big one - when B&S collapsed after a lift at the end of their free program in Nagano. They gave away the gold right there.

I agree about Fusar-Poli - she looked so sad and teary on the podium. As reigning world champions they must have thought they had a shot at gold so to settle for bronze is quite a blow.

#13 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 10:42 AM

I was very disappointed in the overall quality and in the choreography of the programs last night. While there were some fine moments, I felt way too much of the content in the programs was spastic and lacking flow and connectivity.

I liked the Canadians best, and felt that they would have medaled were it not for that most unfortunte last moment. Also thought the American couple should have placed much higher.

Bring back Torvill and Dean!!! biggrin.gif

#14 vagansmom

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 10:51 AM

Sylvia, That's RIGHT - how could I have forgotten about that fall in Nagano!

Victoria - yes, I think that Torvill and Dean set the bar so high that everyone else is still struggling to reach it. I miss them dearly.

#15 sylvia

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 11:11 AM

I missed out on Torvill & Dean unfortunately. All I've ever seen are snippets of Bolero and of course Lillehammer.

I guess it's just the way ice-dance has progressed, the way they're trying to come up with more acrobatic lifts and more original spins and fit in more changes of hold and the judges are rewarding them for it. And there's the changes in the rules as well. I remember reading that Bolero would break all sorts of rules if it was performed now.

Pairs and singles skating have progressed as well, but when you look at the top 5 you can see it's not at the expense of great artistry, and as Ms Leigh said, flow and connectivity (well, almost...you could make a case out of mens programs front-loaded with jumps.)

But it doesn't seem to be the case with ice-dance. The greatest ice-dancers I ever saw were 1992's gold medallists Klimova and Ponomarenko. I read on a skating board one optimistic opinion that music and choreography move in cycles. That if one really great team comes along, it could start the trend back to quality ice-DANCING. I don't know about this - I wonder if we can ever go back.


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