Chinese skating updates and reports

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by jjane45, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

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    The fact that someone has a complete lack of projection and performance skills does not mean that this person does not enjoy skating or competing. The simple truth can be that the person is naturally introverted and never learned how to 'act'. Projecting is like acting or pretending. Some are good at it, some struggle with that. I know a lot of people who look miserable when skating even though they enjoy it.
  2. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough, maybe she's just a very shy person who finds the performative aspect difficult. Or maybe she gets nervous and 'freezes' in that regard.
  3. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

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    Or maybe it is cultural and therefore much harder to overcome than for Europeans and Americans. Chinese pairs were like that in the past too.
  4. DORISPULASKI

    DORISPULASKI Watching submarine races

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    Me too!
  5. Marco

    Marco Missing Ziggy

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    He needs programs that showcase his flow, not ones that make him do toe steps and shrug.
  6. all_empty

    all_empty Well-Known Member

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    Agree.

    Anyone remember when Fumie Suguri and Shizuka Arakawa first entered seniors? They could not be more stone-faced.

    Suguri ended up becoming one of the most expressive and musical skaters (though declined in recent years), and Arakawa really opened up in terms of projection.

    On an unrelated note, I think Chengjiang Li was totally hosed in his competitive days.

    He had the most spectacular 4T and 4S (with correct entries) and was years ahead of his compatriots Guo and Zhang in terms of presentation. He seems to have a good rapport with his skaters and I hope he does well coaching.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuOTAO9ZeTQ

    Each of these quads would be at least +2 GOE in my book.
  7. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

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    Kexin 'looked' she was not enjoying skating because she is shy to express her personality on ice. Besides, I think she's been struggling in these two seasons. Reading the posts above she's had conflicts with Mingzhu Li. And also she had difficulties to maintain quality of her jumps because of her puberty and disease. She focused on her technical elements and it made her face blank. I kind of hope she'll stick around at least one more season. Her situation will be changed since Li's gone. It can go either way, better or worse. Well, one can only hope...
  8. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

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    Han Yan worked with Lori only last season. I am sure in the coming seasons, it will get better.
  9. Marco

    Marco Missing Ziggy

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    She upped her jumping content to Lipnitskaya level (7 triples, 1 3/3, 1 2/3 and 2 2axels) this past season and she had looked very focused on the jumps all season. Perhaps if she finally becomes comfortable with her jumps and programs, she can shine a little more.

    Shy or not, she has a long way to go to command reasonable PCS.
  10. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    It's most likely also cultural, considering Chinese culture is much less individualistic and being humble is seen as important. Those two things must make it much harder to convincingly embody the EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME NOW! persona on the ice.

    Whilst you're less likely to see a Chinese skater showing the 'charismatic showman' kind of performance, the Chinese Pairs and Chen Lu have proven that you can develop a different kind of performance ability, one that is softer and more romantic, yet still quite elegant and refined.

    The problem with Zhang Kexin is that she hasn't really been going anywhere in that regard. I guess that between puberty and the difficult relationship with her coach, the conditions weren't exactly optimal. So maybe I shouldn't be writing her off just yet.

    Exactly. I'm thinking longato music and long sweeping movements. Not pretending you're a ruffian and are going to get all the girls... :shuffle:

    (Btw, Nichol wanted Li Zijun to 'flirt with the boys' in her tango SP as well so I guess it's something she's particularly keen on :p but I really don't think that it's a good idea for those skaters.)
  11. Dr.Siouxs

    Dr.Siouxs Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for summarizing the values of over 2 billion people. What is the source of your vast knowledge, anyway? The Good Earth? :rolleyes:

    Chen Lu needs to come smack you.
  12. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    I was obviously speaking in general terms, because yes different people are different and whenever you study people and cultures you can only operate with various degrees of certainty and it can never be absolute.

    It is pretty common knowledge that Chinese culture is collectivist and it has been widely described in scientific literature.

    The Basics: http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Collectivist_and_individualist_cultures
    The Numbers: http://geert-hofstede.com/china.html (China's Individualism score of 20 places it in the lowest band.)

    It's also pretty common knowledge that humility is seen as a very important value in Chinese culture.

    An example: http://www.ipedr.com/vol29/24-CEBMM2012-Q00050.pdf

    It goes on, giving more referenced examples.

    So next time perhaps spend 5 minutes on Google before attempting to mock someone. :p

    She was definitely charismatic and outwardly expressive but she was a lone exception in Chinese skating.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  13. babayaga

    babayaga Active Member

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    Sui Wenjing is a star too :)
  14. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    You are right. I was thinking about Sui/Han when writing that sentence and I shouldn't have said 'lone exception' because those two have definitely shown 'a spark' and a lot of attack in some of their performances.

    Lately, however, I feel that this part of their performances has been getting lost and they haven't been living up to the promise they've initially shown. I hope they can get their mojo back because they definitely have the capability to be great performers.
  15. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    I agree that Chinese society is more about collectivism and humility--that said, I don't necessarily agree that humility affects performance. For instace, many Chinese students I know are rather humble about their Math achievements but that does not affect how they perform Math. I know skating is a sport and is different; I do think some of the acting/sexy posing/etc may be a little uncomfortable for some, though I do think Chinese have no trouble with moving with elegance and performing with confidence (like Chinese gymnasts, for instance).
    I guess, what I'm saying is, humility does not necessarily translate into "inwardness", for lack of a better expression.

    eta: I do think it's possible that modesty is an issue, though I really haven't studied this enough to say that with certainty
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  16. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Success in academia is quite different from projecting on stage or in an arena. Many Chinese ballerinas I've seen are technically wonderful, but have needed to be coaxed out of their shells over time, and I've learned to be patient.
  17. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    Perhaps what we are discussing is being uninhibited, which to me isn't necessarily an issue of humility.
    Perhaps this is an issue of modesty though.
  18. Macassar88

    Macassar88 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so - there are a ton of Chinese gymnasts who have/had a ton of performance ability, so I don't see why the figure skaters won't be able to do it.

    And Pang and Tong + Shen and Zhao had amazing performance ability as well
  19. Marco

    Marco Missing Ziggy

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    To be fair, the S&Z and P&T of late 1990s and early 2000s were quite different from those from 2003-4ish onwards. Pairs was China's #1 priority and these pairs only got to improve because they had decent results from late 1990s onwards and therefore resources to justify hiring external advisors. With Han Yan's success, I think men will be #2 ahead of ladies now.

    In the recent 20 years when Chinese skating became more popular / competitive, we have seen about 1 or 2 skaters out there who can naturally perform. I guess in a weaker nation, the more important factor is getting the jumps done because that's how you make it out of Nationals. This was almost the exclusive focus at the expense of spins, stroking and of course, musicality, finesse and choreography.
  20. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

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    To me Kexing's shyness is more individual matter than cultural. She seems to be on the shy side even off ice. On the other hand, Zijun or Yan are not. Especially Yan on weibo is very entertaining. :D I think in more desirable situations she could have been more expressive. Wish she'll know she has international fans including me. But if she feels happy to retire, I never blame her. I just wish her the best.
  21. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

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    I think it's definitely possible to overcome Confucius modesty and become expressive in performing arts. An immediate example would be the Japanese skaters: look at how much star quality there is - and this is a people who may be an even more reserved culturally than the Chinese as a whole. There have also been plenty of outstanding Chinese actors / actresses who are not afraid of the stage and are able to be expressive and perform. I think the problem with the Chinese skaters in the past was that they didn't yet see figure skating as a performing art form, but just merely a sport. The idea and need to express have never been drilled into them when it comes to skating. In the selection process (whatever it may be), they have not been encouraging "performance" so much as "athleticism".
    But I think this is definitely changing.
  22. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Skaters are selected by the state system for their athletic qualities, just as Chinese ballet dancers are chosen for their technique. There's no self-selection like in most Western skating or ballet training, aside from full-time, integrated-with-academia schools like the Vaganova Academy or Royal Danish Ballet School, where they start serious training as early as eight and selection is done by the school. They are not selected for their performance ability. If they have it, great, but that's a bonus, and if they don't, they can only try to develop it.

    Ballerina Darci Kistler, who was cast as Odette in Balanchine's "Swan Lake, Act II" at 15 as a student and within two season of joining NYCB, said Balanchine told her, "Don't look at your partner. You're not in love with your partner." She said she thought (paraphrase) "WTF? Isn't love the point of that Pas de Deux?" She realized that Balanchine told her this because she didn't have the experience to make it real; at that point the best she could have done is an imitation, when he wanted her to be herself, and that was the gift he gave her. (There's a rudimentary video of her school performance, and from the excerpts of it shown in the "Dancing for Mr. B" video, she was ravishing.) Skaters have that luxury if they work with choreographers that give them material that doesn't put them in "fake it" territory, but most of the time, there's an expectation that they project in one of a few narrow ways.

    Ilinykh could make a lot look real from and early age, but Russia, with a parallel performing tradition, would encourage a skater with performance quality. I don't think it's coincidental that Dance has been the weakest discipline for China: there's little reward for pure athleticism, which can make a Pairs team jump up in the ranks early. Kexin Zhang might not be competitive with Asada or Kostner because of lack of expression, but she was still close to being seeded based on athleticism.

    Certainly the trauma of the Cultural Revolution for decades after the duration itself, when practice of Western arts was illegal -- and skating performance is based on Western arts -- and the era of Mao suits, where being tiffed was considered subversive, mostly has been mitigated, although their are often remnants of frightened and repressive behavior that get perpetuated, even without being conscious of their origin.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  23. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

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    Judging by seeing photos on Weibo(Chinese Twitter) posted by Cheng Peng and Han Yan, Team China is in Canada now. I assume they are there to work with Lori Nichol like they did last spring. I recognized Han Yan, Nan Song, Zijun Li, Peng/ Zhang, Sui/Han, Yu/Jin and Wang/Wang. Hope Kexin was in the bathroom when they took group photos. :shuffle:
  24. eurodance2001

    eurodance2001 Active Member

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    What's the deal with Li Mingzhu ? It's seems like she teaches bad technique and breaks people before she moves on.. Any info on her?
  25. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    The article about Zhang mentioned he was going abroad soon after the wedding, so no surprise there re him in Canada
  26. feraina

    feraina Active Member

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    I wonder what hand Mingzhu Li had in modifying her students' choreography. I wonder without her around, whether the programs would end up looking better or worse... I would imagine that Chenjiang Li probably would be more hands-off in terms of the actual choreography. I wish the Chinese skaters could stay longer to train in Canada. It'd be amazing if they could train for a while with Brian Orser. I feel like he could really help them gain better basic skating skills as well as more polish in general. Of course, having more of Lori Nichol would help too, but I imagine she's very busy right now with the new programs for everyone.
  27. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    Reportedly Han YAN is scheduled to spend six weeks in Canada (May 10-June 20), according to the "Han Yan Fan Van" Twitter account, which posted Han's off-season schedule plan: http://pic.twitter.com/bBsbfBlCAL
  28. feraina

    feraina Active Member

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    Oh, that's fantastic! I wonder if Zijun Li will also have the same opportunity. The pairs would benefit as well, but they are not in as dire a situation as Zijun Li.
  29. iceflame

    iceflame New Member

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    Actually all the Chinese team has arrived Toronto, including Han Yan, Nan Song, Zijun Li, and 4 pairs(P/Z,S/H,Y/J and W/W). They will work with Lori for choreography, and have some lessons as well.
  30. iceflame

    iceflame New Member

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    It's rumored (from twitter) that David Wilson will also choreograph for the Chinese team. Han Yan, Zijun and P/Z will have two programs from Lori, Nan Song will have one from Lori and another from David, the rest 3 pairs (S/H,Y/J and W/W) will all have both SP and LP choreographed by David.
  31. feraina

    feraina Active Member

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    Interesting. I wonder how that's determined. Maybe Lori charges more, and they chose choreographers based on team ranking. I guess this means they continue to see P/Z as #1. S/H will really have to work hard this season to prove themselves; sad that they got put into the same category as Y/J and W/W. They didn't even give them one program from Lori, as they did for Nan Song, who hasn't had nearly the international success as S/H have. Oh, well...

    As for the actual choreography, I don't think having David is necessarily worse than Lori. I've really liked some programs with David, and many of them have scored quite high too (e.g. Yuna's). He did a great job with that flamenco SP Caroline Zhang had in her first senior season, and managed to bring out her best qualities (and take her performance to the next level) while cleverly covering up some of her deficiencies.
  32. fan

    fan Active Member

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    The pairs teams are currently working wih Lori at the Scarborough rink in Toronto (where Gilles & Poitier skate). I have heard that they are very respectful of all skaters, no matter their level, and are very good about getting out of the way for whomever the music is playing.
  33. halffull

    halffull Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like lots of promising programs ahead for the Chinese team :)
  34. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

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    You seem to imply that Lori is a better, or more 'important' choreographer than David. Or that the Chinese Fed thinks so. I find that puzzling. I don't think Lori is either better or more 'important'.
  35. feraina

    feraina Active Member

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    No, I said I personally don't think DW is any worse than Lori. However, I did hear Lori charges about 1/3 more than David, so from Chinese Fed's point of view, they probably decided to only allow the "top tier" athletes have programs from Lori. I would love to see S/H get one program each from Lori and David. It'd be good if they could work with more choreographers, learn more from everyone, and get a little more diversity in their style (for that matter, I think it would've been better for both Zijun Li and P/Z to also get one program each from Lori & David). However, two programs from David is definitely not bad either. I'm more bothered that the Chinese Fed is treating S/H at the same level as Y/J and W/W, and not even as highly regarded as Song Nan. :(:mad: Last year it was about participating in the Olympics, right now it's about choreography. What about next time? Worlds spot? Off-ice training/dance lessons? Who knows how they're prioritizing resources in other, perhaps less visible, ways.

    The problem is that Song Nan's coach politicks hard for him, while S/H's coaches don't (they politicked for P/T and now for P/Z); they're treated like Yao Bin's step kids that he only begrudgingly bestows the most basic resources on; and Yao Bin is the most powerful person in Chinese figure skating. If Yao Bin fully retired, I think S/H would have a better chance; because even though S/Z have always been Yao Bin's favorites ("first borns"), I feel like Zhao goes out of his way to show fairness (certainly that's how he came across in a long interview prior to the Olympics). I feel like he probably has some moderating influence in these matters. I wouldn't be surprised if he advocated the idea of having a pre-determined point-system to choose the Olympic teams (though P/T were exempted) -- which is the first time the Chinese fed has over done this. If it was only up to Yao Bin, I'm sure he would've picked P/T and P/Z at the start of the season without a second thought. S/H were lucky that Yao Bin was having surgery and then going through recovery most of the Olympics season, so that they at least had a faint chance of beating out P/Z, thought it would always have been an uphill battle, because the 1/3 points from domestic competitions were always going to go against them.

    There's a real conflict of interest in the Chinese skating system. There is no separation between the coaches and the federation. The national team both trains the top athletes and decides whom to send to which competitions, and whom to send abroad to get choreography/training and to which coach/choreographer. Yao Bin was/is both the head coach for pairs in the national team, as well as the head of the National Team. Usually the better young skaters get sent onto the national team at an early age, but S/H's coach has been on bad terms with Yao Bin ever since they split as former partners (he has blamed their lack of success to her technical deficiency to the media over the years), and probably by mutual agreement S/H (and Y/J) didn't enter the national team until after both had already competed on the senior GP's, and only after Zhao took over the daily training of the pairs group at the National Team. So Yao Bin never directly trained S/H, and was always cool about them when asked by the press... Something similar has happened to the Men's team. Song Nan has managed to hold on to #1 status and then joint #1 status for far longer than his results would warrant. I still think how unfortunate that Yan Han wasn't sent to Worlds' last year. He could've probably gotten two spots and both of them would've profited: he would've gotten more senior experience before the Olympics, and Song would've gotten to go to the Olympics. Sad. I don't really know much about Song Nan's coach, but he must be quite powerful politically. Yan Han's coach is definitely not powerful. He is her first really good skater, and she has said in interviews she grew up as a coach while coaching him; they have a story much like Jason Brown and Kori Ade. I'm really happy that he was not discouraged by being kept in the junior level for so long (after he won JW when Chinese has so few top men, come on!), and kept on working hard and bringing home results, to rise above the odds against him. If S/H wants to ever be recognized as #1 in China, they would probably have to beat P/Z consistently for two seasons first. But at least Yan Han always had his coach's moral and practical support. I don't know that S/H really have anyone like that to depend on. They were seen crying/looking really glum together a few times by just themselves after some domestic competitions and training sessions in the past year. Well, I can just hope that Yao Bin retires soon, and that Zhao treats everyone fairly even though he and Zhang Hao go way back... Although in Chinese politics, it seems formal retirements don't mean much. And I can't imagine Yao Bin would really take his hands off on the important decisions, even if he lets go of the daily training stuff.
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  36. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

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    Okay now I understand. Thanks for all this info about what's going on in China :respec:
  37. spikydurian

    spikydurian New Member

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    Thanks feraina. I hope those who got to train in Canada will make the best use of their time there. Don't be shy! Pick the brains of these brilliant choreographers. Looking forward to their programs.
  38. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    Caroline Zhang's 2008-09 short program was choreographed by Tom Dickson.

    ETA:
    Are you referring to this interview? (summarized by you earlier in this thread) http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/sho...-and-reports&p=4094501&viewfull=1#post4094501
    Or another one?
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  39. feraina

    feraina Active Member

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    Sylvia, yes that's the interview. And you are right about tom dickson. You remember everything!
    I think David Wilson gave p/t some really nice programs, no? Like their 2010 FS which broke the isu record. I loved that program.
  40. Sedge

    Sedge Active Member

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    I thought Berton Hotarek's FP this season, by David Wilson, was terrific.
    Sadly they were not able to deliver it to perfection after Skate Canada.I so wanted to watch that program grow.