Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by judgejudy27, May 23, 2011.
I don't think V/V are underrated just under acknowledged.
That's probably more accurate.
V&V had some really excellent programs, besides their Olympic season programs, I also enjoy their 1987 LP, 1985 LP (from the excerpts that I've seen on youtube), and this beautiful program-their very last performance together from 1994: http://youtu.be/WhCG3MoIuxA
V&V did a twist lift that wasn't the same as everyone else. It's been a lo-o-o-ng time since I've seen any of their programs, but IIRC it had a forward entrance, like an axel. Anyone remember/know?
^^ Was it this ?
Yes, that's the move I remember. Thanks, orbitz! Is that considered a twist lift, like the triple (and occasionally quad) twist we're used to seeing now that has, IIUC, a lutz takeoff?
I always really enjoy this program.
Valova & Vasiliev (URS) - 1984 Sarajevo, Pairs' Short Program
IIRC when this move came about in the 1970's it was thought of as a throw double axel catch but became known as a twist lift from an axel entrance. Rodnina did it in the early 1970's but dropped the move after 1975 as she had the triple twist by then. Cherkasova/Shakhrai and Pestova/Leonovich took the move a stage further and did triple axel twists.
Thanks for the info, and video clip floskate.
I remember seeing those on tapes. It looked a little like a throw 3A, but not quite (a throw).
Cherub721 may be a rarity.
But I am just as rare as she/he is:
I actually stopped watching pairs once G/G started winning competition after competition. I got so tired of watching one and a quarter people dominating the scene. It was years before I resumed watching pairs.
I do enjoy a lot of G&G's professional programs, and Moonlight Sonata as well. In fact their pro routines such as Vocalise, Requiem, OOT, Medi and Scharenzade (too lazy to look up the spelling ) are among my all time favorite pair programs. But, yeah, head to head G&G vs. V&V-I much prefer V&V.
It was difficult for anyone to outshine G&G in the LP in Calgary. They were sublime (even with the big fake flowers on one side of their costume, LOL).
G&G, IMO, absolutely deserved to win the OGM in Calgary, no question. Their LP performance was one of best Olympic performances in skating, and Katia Gordeeva was absolutely adorable. But, for me, as far as program content & choreography is concerned, I much prefer V&V's programs that year, and in 1987 as well (I haven't seen V&V's programs from 1986 yet, but from the programs I did see from 86 Worlds, my favorite was Selezneva & Makarov's.)
Also, Elena Valova not only skated in Calgary with a hole in her foot, she also rocked out in a headband years before La Navka.
I am also a rarity if that is the case. I have always found G&G dull as hell, and I found their pre-professional choreography to be non-existent. Give me a Moskvina pair anyday
G&G's strength was their consistency and clean performances, which were way more rewarded under the 6.0 system than the IJS ... and I like clean performances.
However, I can now, with IJS hindsight, appreciate and DESCRIBE the innovative and intricate choreography of V&V and see how they could have thrived as competitors with S&S rather than G&G, and the failing of the 6.0 system to reward programs in a similar way that it failed to reward difficult programs in other disciplines. Although the 6.0 system did not fail V&V as much as, let us say, Midori Ito but more like Brian Orser.
Moskvina in a genius. Even her "2nd tier" teams, like Bechke & guy-she-skated-with-before-Petrov had really interesting moves in their programs. V&V had wonderful qualities to their skating, I'm watching their 1987 LP and they appear to have great speed and a smoothness to their skating.
Did Moskvina continue to choreograph for V&V as pros?
I think the early G&G programs had a very "paint by number" quality to them. I did like their 1987 SP, and they had superb unison, skating skills and pair skills and all that, but I found their early programs to all be pretty much interchangeable with each other. I'm getting a bit off topic here (poor, V&V, overshadowed by G&G, even in their own thread! ), but I think going to Tarasova early in their pro career was a great decision by G&G, and if Requiem was any indication, I think they were really moving in a whole new direction artistically before Sergei's death.
"Paint by number" ...
1. Short Programs, which originated in pairs competition, have always been paint by number.
2. Carefully calculating how to win is hardly shameful when the goal is to win.
I don't think calculating the best way to win is shameful at all, it's smart; but I still found their early programs dull from a choreography standpoint.
ETA: Did Moskvina choreograph all of V&V's programs, or did she seek outside help? I know with B&S, M&D, and K&D and of course her later teams she worked with other choreographers such as Aleksander Matveev, etc.
^Dull ... fair enough. Circa 1988, I don't even think G&G had the maturity to pull off the choreography of a Moskovina pair. Instead of intricate, it would have looked busy.
I think they could have pulled it off, but there was a big difference between the Moscow school and the St.Petersburg school of figure skating. The latter was always more innovative than the Moscow one. G&G's strength was in their perfect technique, and their consistency. With their strong basics, they could have mastered different moves, had they been required in order to win. The 6.0 system was structured differently from IJS, with each system having its own positives and short comings. I complain about the IJS taking away the simplicity and musical expression. The 6.0 system had those positives. Now it's hard to see a perfectly done move (e.g. a simple camel spin or a simple spiral). G&G thrived under the 6.0 system, but there is no reason to believe they would not have succeeded in the IJS. As pros they experimented more, and developed more as a result. I never found them boring as eligible skaters because I appreciated their great basics.
OTOH, I always enjoyed the creativity of the St. Petersburg pairs, and particularly Moskvina's pairs. Even Bechke & Petrov who were a notch below G&G and M&D at that time, were a very good pair. M&D and B&S were the best pairs she coached and they both thrived with her creativity, regardless of who the actual choreographer was (Matveev or Bobrin or Tamara herself). In 1988 I found V&V's choreography more interesting, but their technique was not as perfect as G&G's and they were not as pretty to look at as G&G. I was happy that they won the 1988 world title, and that the judges did not deny them in that competition. because they clearly skated better than G&G. I do believe that V&V laid the foundation for future St. Petersburg pairs to become strong both technically and artistically.
We could go on and on about the difference between judging systems and schools. I think I already said half of what you said. However, I still don't think a 17 and 21 year old G&G would have had any business doing similar choreography as a 25 and 28 year old V&V, or a 21 and 24 year old V&V for that matter, because the maturity was not there, despite having more reliable and finished technique.
^^ What type of programs/performance/ choreography were a 21&24 or a 25&25 V&V doing that a 17&21 G&G couldn't have handled? I can't think of one program that V&V did that the younger G&G couldn't have done.
The themes in G&G's programs mostly were brother/sister or beauty/beau related from the romantic movement with costumes to match.
The themes in V&V's programs were these collages, hence strange (dreadful) music cuts and costumes, that were political in nature from the existential/modern/post modern movements.
When I see G&G, I see accessible ballet. When I see V&V, I see intellectually difficult modern dance.
I don't think the young G&G would've been able to do V&V's programs because V&V consistently did sbs triple jumps in their routines, which G&G struggled with, and V&V's programs always had complex transitions, whereas G&G barely had any. I mean G&G's R&J program was gorgeous, but totally empty, and even then they couldn't land the jumps. They had the talent, and maybe if they had pushed themselves/trained with Moskvina or a coach with a different style they would've been able to do those programs. But IMO if you gave G&G one of V&V's programs and said "skate this" it would have been a hot mess, or at least a huge learning curve. (Obviously though, there were things G&G did that V&V could not, like a quad twist).
By applying that style to G & G, I am thinking the end result would be a pairing like Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze.
Ooo ... Interesting thought, EOS.
I hadn't really thought of the ballet v. modern dance dichotomy before WRT to G&G v. V&V, but that's a really astute observation.
That's an interesting observation, I've wondered what G&G would have looked like under Moskvina's tutelage. Regarding B&S, I see them as being a bridge between G&G and the Moskvina school. They had amazing speed, excellent stroking, edges and beautiful lines, with complex choreography and original connecting moves. In addition, I think B&S had an even more ethereal, balletic quality to their skating than G&G, what they didn't have was the same degree of consistency as G&G.
B/S were the only Moskvina pair I can think of off hand that actually TRIED for unison, and not these discordant, possibly intellectual, sometime choreographically WTFy programs. I can see G/G doing some of B/S's programs.
As for V/V's programs, sometimes two wrongs make a right. Or something is so wrong, that it must be somewhat right. A personal aside, which reminds me of this, is my b/f and I were going skiing in Idaho. I didn't have ski clothes so we went to the ski shop in town to get me some clothes. In the men's section was this rack of faux fur PINK ski jackets. My b/f is a 'manly man', former FB player, and wants me to butch up (hardly). I couldn't stop staring at that pink jacket. I mean SERIOUSLY???? It was SOOOOO wrong, so so so wrong, that I thought I was missing something here. It was so wrong, I felt it somehow had to be right. I walked over to him and said "Isn't this perfect?" He turned bright red and was so embarassed by it. Since we were going to Idaho, I said "Oh don't worry, the red blood stains will match perfectly with the pink when I'm tied up to a fence and slaughtered". Anyway, that's kind of how I feel/felt about V/V and Moskvina's teams in general. So much wrong that it somehow must be right. Or, it's just wrong. Your tastes may vary. Then again, I've never understood Plushenko's choreo and most of Mishin's students either. So bad it must be good? Otherwise why skate so badly?
A bit off topic: How would you characterize Bechke & Petrov's style, in terms of what is traditionally seen as the Moskvina style of pairs skating: strong use of oppositional pairs skating, avant-garde moves and complex choreography?
I'm asking this because when talking about Moskvina's pair teams, or Moskvina's style of choreography, posters (myself included) will mention V&V, M&D, K&D (especially) as well as B&S's programs as being emblematic of Moskvina's choreography/ St. Petersburg school of pairs skating, but not necessarily B&P. Is this because B&P in terms of their style, were less recognizable as a "Mosvkina" pair, or simply because B&P aren't as well known as the other pair teams?
I'm jealous, I totally want a pink faux fur ski jacket.
I think B/P aren't mentioned as often because they were the "second tier" team behind M/D. Everyone talked about M/D at the time because of their charisma, Natalia's wonderful flexibility which led to interesting moves, and their consequent success. B/P, to me, did have that Moskvina choreography, but it wasn't quite as creative as M/D becuase it wasn't as flashy and "interesting" and would often have mistakes in their programs. Elena, IIRC, was known for her nerves. I don't they think really performed up to their potential until 1992 when they were at the Olympics and after that they never looked back. For them, their real success came as pros where that style kept progressing and they became very consistent and successful.
I think V/V are not underrated, but yes, are kind of ignored when you talk about great Soviet/Russian pairs. But, while i was a huge fan of the youthful G/G (I was just younger than Katia), I always appreciated V/V, particularly for their exhibition numbers in 1986, which were wonderful and majestic and showed their great creativity. I think the Moskvina style of choreography with its opposing moves was growing at that point and M/D were the culmination of that style. I always think of B/S as being a mix of Moscow and St.Petersburg styles, but without the unison and perfection of G/G, and without the same level of interesting choreography as M/D.
As for teenaged G/G, like Brian Pockar said, that was their weakest link. They had awful long programs until 1988, when their unison and perfection really came to be the focus. As for their choreography, their 1990 Romeo and Juliet program was brilliant and that was the program where you could really see that they had started to develop a style beyond their signature "simplistic" perfection. Toller Cranston raved about that program and that was always a rare stamp of approval. I think because it wasn't performed perfectly, people often forget how incredible it really was. I think it would even stand up under COP. When you look at much of G/G's amateur stuff, they were teenagers... while other amateur teams achieving similar success were usually in their 20s or beyond, with a maturity that enabled them to do much more. We really only had G/G for 5 amateur years, +1 for 1994, and Katia was only out of her teens for that year. Imagine what they could have done if they'd had the time everyone else had.
But, whatever else, V/V's 1988 world long program was an outstanding performance when most had written them off and they deserved that title more than any other, IMO. If they had had even one flaw, I think the judges would have given that title to G/G, but instead, they rose to the occasion and delivered.
Valova & Vasiliev are probably the only skaters in any discipline who have both lost the World title to someone else directly after winning Olympic Gold (1984), and won the World title by beating the Olympic Champions after losing to them at the Olympics (1988). From 1983-1988 they won atleast 1 major title every year. In 1983 they won Worlds after losing to Baess & Theirbach, the defending World Champions, at Europeans. In 1984 they won the Europeans and Olympics, but lost to the 7th place finishers at the Olympics Underhill & Martini at Worlds. In 1985 they won Europeans and Worlds. In 1986 they won Europeans, beating Gordeeva & Grinkov, but then lost to them at Worlds. In 1987 they won Europeans with G&G disqualified and not marked for their performance, but lost to G&G at Worlds. In 1988 they lost Europeans to Selezneva & Makarov, Olympics to Gordeeva & Grinkov, but won Worlds.
Thank you so much for your detailed response liv
Elena did struggle with her nerves. I've seen a version of their Olympic LP from a Russian feed, which shows a different camera angle than the CBS version, and Elena is just so incredibly happy after she lands her throw jumps. From what I've seen, their 1992 LP was on a whole different (and better) level than any of their previous LPs. I'm sure that the OSM was a huge boost to their confidence, and I think that the professional life suited B&P much better than the eligible ranks.
Re: G&G: I do think that there is something to the point that as technically sound as their skating was, their youth was a hindrance when it came to being able to perform more mature choreography.
For me at least, I notice a similarity with some aspects of Klimova & Ponomarenko's career trajectory. Or to put it more succinctly, I notice a similarity between how I view their careers.
K&P were also well regarded for their excellent technique and pure style. I think K&P had some wonderful early programs, such as their 'barre' exhibition, and their ODs & CDs. When it comes to their early FDs though, I personally much preferred B&B's more dramatic and 'frantic' style, even if K&P did have a more refined technique and greater difficulty. Lawrence of Arabia took K&P to new heights artistically. Then, the next year, they performed their masterpiece to Bach. Which, still stands up today as being one of the greatest routines in figure skating history, and fwiw, my favorite free dance ever. K&P's growth as artists just between "My Fair Lady" and "Bach" was incredible. As pros, they constantly churned out excellent, iconic routines: black scarf, Dracula, R&J, Spartacus, and in my book, really became unsurpassed as a professional team.
With G&G, I see a similar pattern of how I view their programs over the course of their career. I do think their R&J routine, although they had trouble with the jumps that year, was more artistically advanced than anything they did before, and a turning point in their skating. In the 80s they had excellent technique, but not the best programs, but as professionals, I do think they also grew as artists, with their own iconic routines: TMIL, Vocalise, Reverie, Requiem. Even if they were capable of performing the moves in a technical sense, I don't think a 1988 era G&G or even a 1990 era G&G would have been able to perform a program with the emotional depth of Requiem.
V&V's LP performance was one for the ages.
From memory, Selezneva and Makarov may have won Europeans in 1987. Valova and Vassiliev were second.
Yes, you are right. So that is the only year from 1983-1988 they did not win atleast one major title, and each major title they won they beat their main rival at the time to do it.
I do wonder about Vassiliev as a coach though. He has had some great success, but he often seems to end up dating the female partner of his teams, almost like the new Morozov, a bit of a creepy vibe about it, and Trankov did not seem to think much of him after he was no longer with Vassiliev as a coach.
Thanks, for a very interesting discussion.
It should be remembered that, in 1990 Ekaterina Goordeeva was adjusting to her "maturing" figure.
Most skaters aren't faced with that while already World Champions.
AFAIR, moskvina longed for a pair that could at least come close to the beauty of g/g while being capable of handling her style of choreography, and thus b/s was born.
Good point. Not only was Gordeeva going through her growth adjustment, but, that was also the season G&G were attempting sbs triple toe loops in their LP as well. In addition to the growth spurt, I'm wondering if having to perform the triple jump might have thrown Katia off her other jumps a bit that year. They never, IIRC, attempted sbs triple either before or afterwards.
You pose a good question. I was already following skating at that time, and your assessment of a generally weak pair field matches my perception. I know folks from different countries had their favorites, but, kind of like today, I don't much enjoy watching any of them. I remember thinking at the time that their win in 84 Olympics was deserved, as were their 88 silver in Calgary and win at 88 Worlds. I don't even remember the German pair, so I guess that says something. I never got the love for Underhill/Martini and assumed it was mostly because they were North Americans. I think their performance quality improved vastly as pro skaters because I did really like some of those numbers.
I assume skating while Russian did help some of V/V's results, but they were doing SBS triple toes when some of their competitors were not. (I think of them as the pair that really upped the ante on jumps.) I don't know how much importance was placed on that in the early 80s, as G&G won as recently as 94 with only SBS 2A to M/D's 3 toes. While V/V had good unison, she was so short and inelegant and he so tall that they never really reached the skating as one performance quality of some of the other great Russian pairs you list. So yeah, I think it's this
Then again, I never found anything special in Rodnina and either partner, just clean technical elements delivered with mechanical proficiency.
I don't know if she longed for such a pair or not, but Elena & Anton kind of fell into her lap. They were both skating with different partners earlier, and we know how it turned out with Elena-Oleg (disastrous). Anton-Maria was a lovely pair, but they were coached by another coach. Nobody could have predicted early on that both pairs would break up and Elena-Anton would create such a beautiful pair. With Moskvina's choreography, their strong basic skating skills and Elena's flexibility they developed very quickly into a great pair. However, I don't believe this was planned or that it was something that Tamara longed for. She coached whoever came to her- even Ina & Zimmerman, and she made them look pretty good, although they did not have the talent of B&S.
I mostly agree except there was one thing special about Rodnina & Zaitsev, the incredible speed and attack they skated with. Without that they would have been basically the 70s version of Brasseur & Eisler with a bunch of complicated lifts and the triple twist and not much else, but with that it make them a devastating force.
The amazing thing about Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze though is they were the first time I think that was as fast or faster than R&Z but they did it quietly and with beautiful soft edges, unlike R&Z who were pushing and pushing. R&Z's agressiveness and attack of everything, every element, every step, and every crossover though was spectacular in its own way.
Separate names with a comma.