Valova & Vasiliev- underrated or not?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by judgejudy27, May 23, 2011.

  1. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  2. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    ^^ 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.
     
  3. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
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  4. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    :respec:

    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).
     
  5. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    By applying that style to G & G, I am thinking the end result would be a pairing like Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze.
     
  6. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Ooo ... Interesting thought, EOS.
     
  7. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    :respec: 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.
     
  8. Alex Forrest

    Alex Forrest Banned Member

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    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?
     
  9. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    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. :drama:
     
  10. liv

    liv Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  11. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  12. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Thank you so much for your detailed response liv :respec:

    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. :)
     
  13. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    From memory, Selezneva and Makarov may have won Europeans in 1987. Valova and Vassiliev were second.
     
  14. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  15. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  16. zilam98

    zilam98 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  17. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  18. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  19. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    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.
     
  20. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  21. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    Or Kavaguti and Smirnov for that matter. However, Moskvina's choreography on them makes Alexander and Yuko looks like Popeye trying to swat a spider.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  22. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Are you trying to say there was no conveyor belt at the Moskovina Factory of Pairs Figure Skating? :shuffle: So much for all the language used in those old fluff pieces.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  23. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    I'm so glad Elena & Anton paired up, at their very best they were magical. I'm also glad that the Petikhs were paired and had their own success in the sport. I do wonder though, how the pair of Petrova-Sikharulidze would have fared had they stayed together.
     
  24. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

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    Placements - wise, Petrova and Sikharudlize seemed to be neck and neck with Berezhnaya & Shliakhkov for a while.

    However, as the third Russian pair in 1995 behind Shishkova/Naumov and Eltsova/Buskov, Maria and Anton may not have even made the World team from 1996 onwards with Kazakova and Dmitriev's immediate success on the international scene.
     
  25. zilam98

    zilam98 Well-Known Member

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    i do remember reading an article before where moskvina was quoted as saying she has wanted a pair similar to g/g. of course, i cant remember where to find it now, but it was more of an article praising the merits of g/g to a point where other coaches even wanted to shape their students in that fashion.
     
  26. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    I disagree about Petrova/Tikhonov, at least from 2002 on, when I saw them compete live regularly. Their lines and way of skating did not match very well, and he had the worst stamina: by the last 2/3 of their programs, he was usually winded, and while she had wonderful lift positions, their lifts, especially the last ones, would end at almost a complete standstill. Watching them in warmup and comparing their side-by-side skating to Totmianina/Marinin was a huge let down. I found P/T hugely disappointing when I saw them live.

    T/M learned to move in a similar way, as V/V did before them.

    They never married, as far as I know. At least for part of their relationship, he was married to the wife after Valova. AFAIK the relationship lasted while they were working together, but after Totmianina left for Russia to do a lot of post-Olympic shows, and he took on other pairs, it took its natural course. I think she was briefly linked to Plushenko after the Olympics, but I don't know the exact timing.

    Vasiliev was quoted in the book "The Second Mark":

    The reason Vasiliev could take two teenage singles skaters and turn them into World and Olympic champions, skaters he said didn't know rockers from brackets because they had come up after compulsories were eliminated, was that he learned how the system taught him and made a pair, and he made T/M into a pair. (I think that's why he had so much trouble with Trankov, who was a lot more gifted, but was not interested in being manufactured.)

    That is such a great deduction!

    While I respected Rodnina, I never liked either pair she was in. I found her mechanical, and both hims almost non-existent. Pestova/Leonovich were my favorites after the Protopopovs. Gordeeva/Grinkov were terrific skaters, but I was crushed when P/L no longer competed.
     
  27. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Word to everything you said. B&S's speed and flow over the ice was incredible, even by the very high standards of the top pair teams in history. G&G and B&S had gorgeous skating skills. They were probably the two greatest pair teams in history in terms of their basic skating and mastery over the sweet spot of the blade.


    In addition to R&Z's speed and attack, they also had great unison and their consistency was very impressive. Has there ever been a pair team as consistent as R&Z? I don't just mean in terms of medals, but in terms of clean performances. Granted, I haven't seen every single performance of theirs, but I very rarely remember R&Z making even a minor error. When they did make an error, it was usually a slight flub, that probably would have gone almost unnoticed.

    I admire R&Z for their singular power on the ice, and for their (especially her) contribution to pairs skating. Their programs, on their own, never stood out to me as being particularly special or impressive. The exceptions are their final Kalinka exhibition, this 1977 LP (some unique moves in this one) and that one year at (Euros?) where the music stopped, but they continued to skate-in perfect unison.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  28. shan

    shan Well-Known Member

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    This thread makes me miss B/S. I've been rewatching their competitive programs and still say wow. Even 10+ years later, they do not disappoint. Just watching them do crossovers before elements is :swoon:
     
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  29. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    They were beautiful weren't they? :swoon: Even in their exhibitions, their speed, power and flow over the ice is apparent: http://youtu.be/5AB1icW8rOg.
     
  30. shan

    shan Well-Known Member

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    That routine makes me smile. The sbs choreography makes me :lol: but I love it!