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Ice Dancing


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#16 vagansmom

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 11:23 AM

Even in its day, "Bolero" was considered risky in terms of rules. It was one unbroken piece of music. It barely qualified legally and there were so folks at the time who thought it didn't. I think the only reason why it was so well-received by all the judges was because they KNEW that this was so remarkable, so inspired, and so incredibly well-skated that they too fell under its spell.

Torvill & Dean truly skated as one. I haven't yet seen a couple who comes close. Their edges were deep and talk about flow! They were a hypnotic presence on the ice. They brought a calmness to their skating that enveloped the observer as well. You really felt as though you were being drawn into their world. The closest comparison I can make in that regard is to Suzanne Farrell.

Ice dance changed their rules following "Bolero". I've always felt that it was a step backwards rather than forwards.

#17 Alexandra

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 11:33 AM

Vagansmom wrote: "Ice dance changed their rules following "Bolero". I've always felt that it was a step backwards rather than forwards."

I am by no means an expert on ice dance. I watched those Torvill and Dean Olympics and was enchanted by them, too. They appeared in DC several times, with their own ice shows and at what was then the NutraSweet Professional Championships. I got to write about them a few times for the Post, but I never pretended to be a sports writer, just a dance critic.

I do remember the controversy, though, and vagansmom's statement raises an interesting question. As I remember it, people were worried that ice dancing would move away from "sport" to "art" with everybody doing what were essentially concert dance numbers. The rules had been built, as I understand it, on ballroom dancing. That's why there are specific rhythms, and that's why there was the rule that the music had to be something you could dance to in a ballroom. I think that was what was controversial and rulebreaking about "Bolero." They got by, technically, that it was a bolero, i.e., a dance rhythm. Bloomberg and Seibert (sp?) did Scheherezade, which could not be danced in a ballroom.

Which brings us to the question, is it a step forward or backward? As with most things, I can argue both ways smile.gif Backward for art, but probably forward for sport.

#18 Colleen

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 12:40 PM

Yes, where would the world be with too much art wink.gif .
But Sylvia you did touch upon one of the problems with judging. I don't particularly care for the French FD, but it is fast and intricate and when they're on, probably better than most. So as a judge I would have to be able to get past my personal feelings and try to focus on the actual merits and demerits of the program. Because contrary to the opinion of many judges, it's not about pleasing them but about skating well.
And I found the Russians really slow last night and weren't particularly dazzling. Like I said before I thought they were good but they weren't great. And the Italians should've been out of 3rd place with their bobble in the OD and certainly out of 3rd with their fall in the FD, but apparently the judges 'missed' those mistakes. Then again the rest of their program seemed more difficult than that of the 5th place team, so even with the fall they probably deserved higher marks. It was interesting though that their fall, worth a 0.2 deduction, and the Canadian fall, worth a 0.3, weren't penalized to equal degrees. Like Barb Underhill said, if the judges were looking for an out there it was frown.gif

#19 dirac

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 02:42 PM

I used to think that I liked ice dancing after watching Torvill and Dean, but in retrospect I realize that I may have just liked Torvill and Dean. My own feeling is that ice dancing falls between two stools -- the literal adherence to dance styles denies the most interesting possibilities in skating and dancing. You lose the more striking effects skating can produce without gaining the rhythmic variety and detailed footwork effects achievable in a ballroom.


This year, I was struck even more than usual by the aggressive tastelessness of the makeup and costuming. The ladies sported florid hair colors not found in nature, along with exaggerated stage makeup (Girls, please. People are going to start asking you what you charge) and nail polish of a color best described as Toxic Shock Purple. The men, for their part, displayed long, flowing Ted Nugent locks and outfits that would have left the late Liberace wondering who made off with all his sequins. Music, choreography -- yecchh. I'm afraid I thought it was all pretty awful, and the kind of thing that makes sports enthusiasts deride skating competitions.


As for the discussions of judging -- recent events make it all very surreal, to me anyway. ("Our system of judging is inherently corrupt and requires a complete overhaul. Go ahead and enjoy the rest of the Olympics. Happy viewing!") Uh, okay....

#20 Alexandra

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 02:54 PM

dirac wrote:

Music, choreography -- yecchh. I'm afraid I thought it was all pretty awful, and the kind of thing that makes sports enthusiasts deride skating competitions.


For a few examples of said derision, see the links I posted on the Fragility of Judging thread.

#21 sylvia

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 03:27 PM

[quote]Originally posted by alexandra:
Which brings us to the question, is it a step forward or backward? As with most things, I can argue both ways smile.gif Backward for art, but probably forward for sport.

That's a good point. And when it comes to the Olympics (leaving all other skating competions aside) isn't it in the direction of sport that ice-dance should be headed it if wants to silence it's critics?

Still watching the replays on the BBC makes me long for more 'dancey' programs like the Americans, Italians (well part of it) and Canadians rather than the big 'epic-style' programs. It makes me wonder where these all come from - the skaters who, on reaching the apex of their careers, are bored with traditional styles and start to experiment, or the judges who reward them. I desperately hope the US couple don't go down this route the closer they get to the top. The Canadians seem to have avoided it more or less.

A final bit of news - the Lithuanians have lodged a protest at the judging. Not sure if it's just for the FD which I don't think would have any effect on their overall standings, or the judging for all their dances. They deserved 3rd for the FD, but I don't think I can stomach another judging controversy.

#22 sylvia

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 03:40 PM

[quote]Originally posted by Colleen:
And the Italians should've been out of 3rd place with their bobble in the OD and certainly out of 3rd with their fall in the FD, but apparently the judges 'missed' those mistakes. Then again the rest of their program seemed more difficult than that of the 5th place team, so even with the fall they probably deserved higher marks. It was interesting though that their fall, worth a 0.2 deduction, and the Canadian fall, worth a 0.3, weren't penalized to equal degrees. Like Barb Underhill said, if the judges were looking for an out there it was frown.gif

The deductions confuse me a little. I thought a fall on an element meant an automatic 0.2 deduction. The Canadians would lose an extra 0.1 because they finished their program lying on the ice which isn't allowed (anymore). Plus it's one person falling vs. 2 people which may explain why the Italians did better than the Canadians. I agree about the judges looking for an 'out' though. But Robin Cousins said that the falls meant a 0.4 deduction! So were they both held up (over the Lithuanians)? Actually forget that. Cousins had so little to say about the dancing I suspect he knows nothing at all. As for the presentation marks I couldn't believe how highly the Italians scored. 5.9 from Russia? - there should have been deductions for disrupting the flow to the program.

Such a mess! I can't wait for these new changes to the judging to be put in place.

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



#23 Colleen

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 04:21 PM

The way I understand it is that the deduction would be for the fall of both skaters, so 0.3. And the fact that the fall was at the end of the program did not change the fact that it was a fall and not really deliberately ending the program on the ice (i did not realize that that was a rule since many programs seem to end at least partially on the ice. but maybe that's the distinction, full vs. partial). So the penalty would be for the fall alone. But I think on the whole the marks for the Italians were generally inflated and the 5.9 was ridiculous. I hope the proposed changes to judging are positive.

As an aside, I did not particularly care for Torvill and Dean all of the time. I rather enjoyed the Ducheney's, Canadians who skated for France, and felt they were very unfairly judged when the competed. Too new age for the judges.

#24 Melissa

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 04:31 PM

'Music, choreography -- yecchh. I'm afraid I thought it was all pretty awful, and the kind of thing that makes sports enthusiasts deride skating competitions.'

Thank you, dirac, I couldn't agree with you more.
smile.gif

#25 dirac

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 04:52 PM

I hope I wasn't too harsh. But last night was really unpleasant for me to watch.


I liked the Duchesnays also, now that I recall. (Christopher Dean, who was married to Isabelle briefly, used to choreograph for them, I think.) They were indeed a little too far ahead for their time, and they were brother and sister, which never helps.

#26 sylvia

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 05:06 PM

Christopher Dean did some fantastic choreography for the Duchesnays. I just loved their West Side Story in 1992 in which he actually utilised their brother-sister releationship. I think they were a little unlucky to peak at the same time as husband-and-wife Klimova and Ponomarenko who were very passionate skaters.

I also thought Torvill and Dean really oudid themselves in making Carmina Burana for A&P to win the 2000 Worlds. Technically and choreographically it was a masterpiece and I wish to God they'd used for the Olympics. Why more ice-dancers don't employ them is beyond me.

#27 Natalia

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 06:39 PM

I watched it on tape, late last night. Not a banner year for Olympic ice dancing. The placements were fair, especially after the falls by the Italians and Canadian teams.

Gold - Annisina/Peizerat (France) - skated with more 'oomph' at Europeans but still the best of the lot last night

Silver - Lobacheva/Averbuch (Russia) - big surprise; they have really improved this year. I loved their quick footwork & passion.

Bronze - Fusar-Poli/Margaglio (Italy) - I loved the first minute of the programme, as they went 'gangbusters' speeding down the ice. such energy then - plop! down went Maurizio. They went for broke...but it broke.

4th - Bourne/Kraatz (Canada) - always an audience-pleasing team but nowhere near the difficulty as the top three teams. Yet they always try so-so hard, that the effort shows & that may be hurting them. Also...I've always had a problem with Shae-Lynn's sassy smirk; something harsh/arrogant in her otherwise-lovely face. Is it just me? Maybe she has developed this 'fighter's harshness' due to the bad luck & low markings through the years? Yet her partner Victor Kraatz is not like that; he comes across as a sweetie, although I'm sure he's tough as nails, too.

#28 dirac

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 07:28 PM

It isn't just you. It may be the determined set of Bourne's jaw, but I always get the feeling she's muttering, "Now don't screw it up THIS time, Victor" through her teeth at her hapless partner.

#29 vagansmom

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 07:30 PM

LOL, my daughter sat through the beginning of the Canadian's skate and suddenly exclaimed, "NOW I know who she reminds me of - Paloma Herrera!" I think she nailed it - same expression on her face.

I liked the Duchesnay's as well, but only while Dean was their choreographer!

Re the issue of ice dance remaining true to its ballroom roots: I have a problem with it now accepting Michael Jackson routines and NOT accepting Bolero-type skating. I suppose the rationale is that they're dancing disco but I quite emphatically believe that wasn't disco I was watching. Unlike many other folks, I LIKED the programs that weren't strictly ballroom. But to allow them and NOT to allow Bloomberg & Siebert's Scheherezade is where I think they get into trouble.

I really do think that the free skate should be precisely that: a free skate. It can still be bound by certain rules such as time spent in side-by-side skating, rules about lifts, throws, etc. They've proven their ability to skate to ballroom rhythms in the compulsories and the original dances - now let them just DANCE! So, yes, to me it's still a step backwards.

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




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