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  1. #21

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    I adore this team because of their committment to their choreo and for mental toughness, doing it when it counts, as much as for upping their technical difficulty each and every season and changing things up by painting different pictures with their bodies and music choices.

    What I find so hard, is that people feel the need to protect old favored teams by always putting down new up and comer's, instead of just appreciating teams for what they are all doing right.

    Just for once it would be nice to say something positive about teams other than the one's whose bandwagon, you ride on. My mission that I set for myself every season is TO TRY AND FIND AT LEAST ONE THING I LIKE about every single dance team I see and not to just concentrate on the flaws.

    It's too easy, just to hate everyone other than your own fav, because one is worried they can be beat by some other team.

    Just because a team did well the previous season, does not automatically mean they should be stuck in that spot, that's how things used to be, but hopefully that mindset is no more; it's a new system, with new rules, and perhaps more knowledgeable judging practices are being used to determine results, and hopefully the fans are taking time to educate themselves too, it's not always what one personally like's, it's about the actual skating skills on display, a performance, athleticism and artistry, emotion all being married to music, costuming, and everything working to-gether in a seamless package.

    One has to understand perhaps other factors are always in play, maybe this season's programs are not as strong, as they were previous season, or team did not train as hard, or an injury happened alsong the line; whatever the reason, rank should not be set in stone, but allowed to change, even from one comp to next! Yes folks, even in same season, it should be possible now, for a dance team, to move a few spots up, or down, more like what happens in singles and pair skating; where one day, a low ranked skater, just has a great day and nothing goes wrong; the planets all align. Or, a top ranked skater just has a really really bad day at the office when even a world champ can tumble down from the podium step, then dust off and climb right back up the steps next time out. That's all I am trying to suggest.

    Can't we all just spread the love around a bit more, see what's good about a skater, team, what's the point of everyone showing up to do grand prix, if results are set in stone by where team finished at world's the previous season?

    I also say having to wait for turn in dance event, is also crap, everyone should be out now to do a personal best, to improve, or entertain the best they can and let chips fall, or why put oneself out there to compete?

    I feel one can allow applause, and knowing one did the very best possible on the day, as much as rank, or a medal, be the thing to feed the soul. As a fan, I love seeing the skater get that new personal best score, as much as seeing when they win something more tangible. I think one can be allowed to like apples and oranges and not always have to stick with one choice, every single day of the season, maybe today pears are fresher and look jucier than the tried and true plum, hmmn, even fruit salad can be fun to try from time to time...

    Sometimes teams behind get great material they train their butts off and do whatever it takes to improv, and it irritates me when people just parrot what they heard 2 or 3 seasons ago about a team, as the reason they should be held down in favor of so, and so. Wake up, and watch the teams skate; really try to appreciate the growth of each team over the course of their career journey and YES you can love direct competitor's and root for them both to do their best! I hope that the people judging them do know what they hec they are doing and I trust they can be less biased and thus more appreciative of what the team did that day on the ice, rather than just prejudge based on the fact one liked the idea, music, costume, choreo, whatever it happens to be that floats the boat.

    What I enjoyed more that anything about last season, was the fact that I appreciated the talents of both D&W and V&M and felt depending on the day and what energy, luck, was brought to bear, the gold could have gone either way; and been deserved. I happen to think the best team on the day won, but it doesn't make me think they are invincible for the rest of their career, but neither are D&W, they were silver medalists last season, it sure doesn't mean they automatically grab the top spot now that V&M are not competing, D&W have to work for it all over againjust like every other dance team, only they have some extra confidence and history of excellence to help them along. That's what Crone & Poirier have done, they too worked hard, took some risks and they have to hope that other's will eventually see their improvement; I sure do.

    I also see that P& B have improved, while F&S and a few other teams likely have a big big hill to climb.

    D&W who thrilled me so much last season, did not look as sharp at NHK, nor do they have the same thrilling choreo they had, this season, maybe they can't really count on the power of the music, or known story line, great bollywood costumes, or fun trend to carry the day, they are back to square one and they too need to shed the summer rust, and get back to work, maybe tweak things up a notch.

    I think that if they take C&P for granted (by thinking of them as just a 7th ranked team, while they are world & Olympic silver medalists skating on home ice with crowd behind them), then they might be in for a surprise, just like the higher ranked Kerr's were.

    F&S were surprized by P&B, who also had visibly trained and prepared for the encounter. It's a new season folks, and some teams are readier than others to forge ahead. I happen to think that C&P are one of those teams, who were very inspired by home olympics and V&M's success, and saw what it takes - hard work, great material, and so they too have done everything they could to take advantage of the opportunity given to them by V&M being out of GP play. I applaud their efforts.

    Gosh, seldom have I seen such an amazing turnaround and regardless of the outcome at Skate America, as I know it will take a miracle to beat a higher ranked team on home ice, but I also think if any team today has what it takes, to do it, or a least come very, very close, and make it a real hard fought contest, it is Vanessa and Paul!

    What is so awesome, is they can't rest themselves, as they are clearly being pushed by the also improving W&P and uber talented P & I, and with the possibility of the return of V&M, WHEE, lesser talented teams might crack under the strain, instead all the CDN cream is rising up and announcing they all want to play to win!

    I have always loved C&P programs, but this season, the image and talent, the total package being created and danced, actually matches the quality choreo. If I could make one tiny change, then I would suggest Vanessa change her hairstyle for SD, to something more loose and free falling, sexually flattering style, not quite so uptight, more in keeping with the music.

    What I also love this season, is how great her body looks in the FD dress, that fitted style looks amazing on her, she should burn all dresses with the layered ruffled flounces like example her violet gala dress, that hits her in all the wrong places. Think some of her posture issues, body lines, were as much about poor costuming, than anything else...

    I am wishing C&P all the best this season, I'll be rooting for them to make their own unique mark this season; a breakout from the pack and jetting way way up the ranks, their performances at Skate Canada were mesmerizing, can't wait to see the programs progress over the course of the season...

  2. #22
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    The first time I saw them skate i was, like with many young teams, drawn by their brawny athleticism. Last year i thought they had made the biggest improvements. With two teams out this season should be very good to them. Go Canada!
    That being said i can't say i love this team very much, almost the same i felt about Pechelat/bourzat when i first saw them. Kudos for going with a different approach with their programs, though.

    I remember when people were gushing about their programs at the start of last year's GP.. I didn't find it great at all. Interesting choice of music by Queen, but it was hard for me to grasp what exactly they were trying to interpret, and it was err...incohesive, if i may say so. This year's FD is....ok, but not brilliant. The problem i have with some of their programs is whether the sound is on or off, i don't see much difference in their skating. Their SD is an example. But maybe i need to watch their FD more times to see what exactly is so special about it. :
    Quote Originally Posted by DORISPULASKI View Post
    ...found their Ragtime OD mildly annoying
    even more so than Belgosto's "tap" dancing OD that year...?

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    No offense to Beatles fans, but pop songs are not designed for musical intricacies and complexities. The material is pretty thin for abstract, modern, detailed dance interpretation, IMHO.
    Sorry but that is a ridiculous generalisation.

    There is plenty of intricate and complex pop music. Beatles being one example.

    And if you don't see this song as intricate and complex, then you should get a hearing aid.

  4. #24

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    I had the pleasure of watching C&P live at Skate Canada and was enormously impressed with their improvement from last season. Their FD is a masterpiece. Kudos to Carol & Yuris for knowing when to bring someone in to really give them a challenge. Very complex with lots of interesting choreographic details. I literally got goosebumps every time they did a run through. It’s still a little rough in places, but that’s to be expected so early in the season. I chatted with Paul’s dad briefly during the medal ceremony, and he commented on how amazing it was to see the progression of the program from where they started to where they are now. They had to video tape the sessions so that Vanessa & Paul could go back and look at them because there was no way they’d remember everything. But he said that Dean told him the kids were able to do everything he asked of them, and also that they reminded him of he and Jane at the same ages. What a huge compliment.

    As for their SD, I’m not quite sure what the SD is supposed to look like yet, so it’s hard to make comments. Loved the opening lift, and the excellent integration of the GW sequences. They skated it beautifully, probably better than their FD. Smart choice, IMHO, to go with just the one rhythm and a single piece of music.

    Costume wise, I loved the FD outfits. Simple, but striking, with a bit of a retro feel. I was a little surprised to see them go so formal for the SD. I was expecting something a little more casual to go with the bluesy feel of the music. Like Debra, I’d love to see Vanessa wear her hair down for this number just to loosen up the look a little bit. And she definitely does not need the frouffy hair piece if she is going to wear it up. I actually found it a bit distracting. The biggest issue with her dress is the strap across the top of the back. It’s in a really unflattering place that would make even a girl with perfect posture look slumped.

    Overall though, a great debut. Big step up from last year, but still lots of room for growth and refinement.We’ll get a better idea of where they stand later this week at Skate America, but I think their goal of top 5 this season is very doable.
    images on ice - Figure Skating Photography

  5. #25
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    I thought it was refreshing to see the clean lines of the more plain outfits too; even though I wasn't sure why they picked those colors. They really were pretty and bright on the TV. Finally, no garish costumes. No excessive cleavage or bottoms that aren't made properly to stay in place. Gosh, I don't even remember seeing any OTT expressions (but I definitely could be wrong). For some reason, Paul just seemed great, especially this time. This competition kind of made me picture him as being a good pairs skater and I bet he'd have done that well also since he skates singles (or used to).
    Last edited by smileyskate; 11-09-2010 at 01:03 AM.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Sorry but that is a ridiculous generalisation.

    There is plenty of intricate and complex pop music. Beatles being one example.

    And if you don't see this song as intricate and complex, then you should get a hearing aid.
    Hearing aids do not help one see. I am myopic but I wear glasses.

    Self-repetition does not art make. (And a tone of absolute certainty does not make a statement any truer than it actually is.) In this case, I cannot tell what the choreography means or how it relates to the song, or the music, or something else entirely. It seems to be a collection of movements that remind me of Dean's old choreography. (For example, the curved lift is a modified version of a lift Summersett/Gilles did for years, for whom Dean choreographed with little fanfare.) If you have a more coherent explanation I'm all ears -- and I need no hearing aid because I have glasses to read it.

    It's not a bad program, but it lacks coherence or originality, IN MY OPINION. Of course, it may be very meaningful and delightful and moving to another viewer.
    Last edited by Jun Y; 11-09-2010 at 01:15 AM.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    I spotted quite a lot of modified Torvill/Dean signature moves in this FD. Modified but recognizable. To be completely honest (and blasphemous), I personally have not seen a substantial amount of progression or innovation in Chris Dean's choreography, musically or dance-wise, in the past 10 years. I admit that my eyes are pretty myopic, so I could be wrong.
    I agree. He plagiarizes himself as much as Shpilband/Zueva, it's just that he doesn't choreograph as many programs as they do so not as many people notice it. I laughed when the program opened with Pual dragging a fully extended Vanessa around in a circle becuase I always joke about Dean's tendency for "pulling the girl as if inanimate object" choreography.

    The choreography of C&P FD isn't particularly inspired or as detailed as their past 2 FDs, it's just that so many other teams have generic cookie cutter choreography that this FD still manages to stand out. Like I said before, I think C&P's team could have done a better job choreographing to this music than Dean.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallcolor View Post
    even more so than Belgosto's "tap" dancing OD that year...?
    No, about the same. B&A's tapless tap dance to music from a bad film that was not even of the designated era 20's/30's/40's give me a fine case of curmudgeonly dyspepsia.

  9. #29
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    Jun Y - we're in postmodern times now. Interpretations do not have to be literal anymore.

    And if you watch any contemporary dance, they very rarely - if ever - are.

    Quote Originally Posted by casken View Post
    The choreography of C&P FD isn't particularly inspired or as detailed as their past 2 FDs, it's just that so many other teams have generic cookie cutter choreography that this FD still manages to stand out.
    I think exactly the opposite. Their past FDs were quite simple and whilst they worked very well to show off their basics, I always wished something more interesting with the choreography would have been done.

    And it finally has.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Vanessa's posture is better but still weak for a team at this level.

    I think their FD is an absolutely stunning program. SD is ok, although not outstanding.

    ........
    I agree abut Vanessa's posture. Perhaps there has been improvement but after reading some of the glowing reviews about her improvement I was surprised to find that her hunching was distracting even in the FD as much as I loved it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DORISPULASKI View Post

    I alternate about this team. I really, really like that they have determined to have their very own, distinctive style. I think that's the way to go about any artistic endeavor. It is not necessary for me to like their stuff to really respect what they are trying to do. ....... I like this year's FD, but they still haven't showed it to us in its very best version, and I can't wait to see it! In one sense it's like last year's program. It is totally not about Eleanor Rigby or the Beatles, any more than Bohemian Rhapsody the music is about Orpheus, and really the choreo was bogus and not about Orpheus or Queen, or Bohemian Rhapsody either, in any discernible way for me. I really hated their Bohemian Rhapsody/Orpheus/WTF FD.

    ......OTOH, I detested their non-Flamenco OD, found their Ragtime OD mildly annoying, and I can't stand the version of Fallin' in their SD, and the skating doesn't make it any better for me.
    Usually with C&P I have really liked their OD's but never was crazy about the FD's. This season is the reverse. When I read C&P were skating to "Fallin" for their SD I was excited and interested to see it; I wasn't impressed. I agreed with Gannon and Belbin that aside from the opening lift the dance seemed on one level and went nowhere. Hopefully things will look different as the season progresses.

    Love the FD inspite of being distracted by Vanessa's skating from the waist up. I agree that C&P's version of Eleanor Rigby is reminiscent of the Dushesnay's Missing program, the choreography and Vanessa's dress in particular made me think of the French team. I do think that this new FD is a step forward for C&P and in will probably serve them well this season.

    Quote Originally Posted by semogal View Post
    I am not in love with this team or their FD this season. I applaud them for going in a different direction than V/M but now they are compared to the Duchesnays (not sure I spelled that right, sorry). They need to find THEIR identity.

    As to costumes, they really didn't bother me until I saw the podium pictures from SC. It is extremely unflattering on her.
    I thought both the SD and FD costumes didn't flatter Vanessa as much as they should have.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by semogal View Post
    I applaud them for going in a different direction than V/M but now they are compared to the Duchesnays (not sure I spelled that right, sorry). They need to find THEIR identity.
    C&P are very different skaters from the Duchesnays, much stronger technically and much more athletic. They're still very young, especially Paul, and I'm glad to see that their coaches are experimenting with different ideas and pushing them to try new things as they grow. This team is still a work in progress. With time and maturity, I feel that their own identity will come.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Debrah View Post
    I think that if they take C&P for granted (by thinking of them as just a 7th ranked team, while they are world & Olympic silver medalists skating on home ice with crowd behind them), then they might be in for a surprise, just like the higher ranked Kerr's were.
    I don't think the Kerrs were taking anything for granted; they knew they might run into trouble because Sinead's injury made it difficult for them to train prior to SC and to perform at full strength. I noticed that they're now crossed out of CoR, so maybe it's more serious than originally thought?

    I admire Vanessa and Paul's commitment to finding their own unique style, but I have to say that so far I've not really enjoyed the process; I'm still hoping that they'll change my mind at some point. Maybe they need to embrace their quirkiness more - they do have all these cool-sounding concepts, but I don't feel the programs really reflect these intentions.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    Jun Y - we're in postmodern times now. Interpretations do not have to be literal anymore.

    And if you watch any contemporary dance, they very rarely - if ever - are.
    Contemporary dance is not literal, but it is about something, if it's any good. Just because dance is abstract and modern does not mean it has nothing to say --- On the contrary, abstract movements are often intended to intensify their effect on the viewer and accentuate the music. I don't watch modern dance very often, but Pina Bausch, for example, makes me feel something every time. A good piece has a very clear and strong intention, or mood, or effect. The best of modern art goes directly for the jugular of the viewers' feelings and emotions without the classic medium of a story or context. There may not be a story to tell, but the intended effect on the brain and gut is unmistakable. Otherwise it's just empty posturing of "Look how clever I am." (Obviously that is my own idea of what is good in modern dance/art and may not be a universal opinion. Some may consider detached cleverness the ultimate ideal.)

    In this case, a mere compilation of Christopher Dean's old hits, taken out of their original context, does not do anything for me. I felt nothing but bored. At least Zueva/Shilpband invent a couple of crazy new lifts every season. In the years after the Duschenays, the only work by Dean with any new idea, as far as I can tell, was the House of Flying Dagger FD he did for Trina Pratt and Todd Gilles. Musically, too, he has mostly recycled his old programs, including Eleanor Rigby, as well as Missing (for the Nth time).

    But if others love it and are moved by it, who am I to say the reaction not valid? Maybe I have simply seen too much of Dean's old stuff and am too tired of it to get a reaction in me. Maybe the greatest and infallible Mr. Dean is making a postmodern comment on his own brilliant career through Crone and Poirier and therefore this program is profound beyond my comprehension.

    Sorry about veering off from the topic of Crone and Poirier. I am all for going the abstract route and doing something they feel fits their own preference. The principle is sound. Good luck to them.
    Last edited by Jun Y; 11-10-2010 at 04:44 PM.

  14. #34
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    It does speak to me and I found the choreography very interesting.

    But then I've only been closely following skating for around 12 years so I haven't been exposed to as much of Dean's work as you have Jun Y.

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    Speaking up for Christopher Dean - to me he is the Balanchine of Ice Dance. Just as Balanchine changed the face of ballet [I still remember one dance historian opening his chapter with "Modern ballet was born the day Balanchine came to America."] Well, paraphrasing him, modern ice dance was born the day T/D started competing.

    And because his ideas and artistic vision had such a huge impact - again just like Balanchine - his style and ideas have consciously and unconsciously influenced many other choreographers. Even to the point where they now are almost taken for granted and may not look "different" or "original" to people who are used to seeing his concepts - [and even individual moves!] - being embraced and used by almost everyone. Price of success I guess.

    Balanchine suffers from this as well. Watch his ballets now and you may not appreciate how unique and different his approach was. But grow up with Balanchine as these dances were first being performed and you cant help but be impressed by the innovation and originality.

    IMO Christopher Dean is an artistic genius [which doesnt mean I like all his stuff, but he is head and tails above most of the coach/choreographers working today.] His dances always have some overriding theme or visual unity or vision - something that makes the program work. And they always interpret the music well - something that gets high marks from me.

    I only got to see C/P FD once - on radio-canada feed - so these are only my first impressions, as I remember them, from only seeing once. I have to wait til Nov 17 to see this on TV - so my impressions may change - but, I would say that this is an abstract dance [which is probably why it reminds Doris of Reflections a bit] - and by abstract I mean there's no story line, and not a lot of emotion - deliberately. He is trying to reflect in movement the feeling that he gets from the music.

    Obviously, this is subjective to some extent. What he gets from this music might not be what you get. [I remember the big discussion here last year about whether or not that Mahler music fit with the romantic mood of the program]. For him - and for me - that music is stripped down, spare, lean, angular [it's hard to put feelings and impressions into words] - and that is the kind of concept/impression he is trying to create in this dance by using the lines and positions of their bodies.

    This is a huge undertaking for them - and I congratulate them for embracing the challenge and not going the safe route. Another coach might have kept this program til they were more mature. But I think by working on this concept and trying hard to get it across to the audience they will learn so much - about posture, line, style, presentation - that it will be worth it.

    Whether people like this program or not, is just individual taste. I think with more work it will stand out a mile at Worlds. And I think they will improve dramatically as skaters by being forced by this program to address their weak points. I really can't wait to be able to watch this on TV [Nov 17 cant come soon enough!]

    I also think C/P are nowhere like the Duchesnays - I dont understand the comment at all. How exactly are they like D/D? And I dont see anything derivative in this choreography. If anything, this is an atypical Dean program, as it doesnt tell a story or create emotion. His only other truly abstract piece [that I've seen] was Reflections, but the emphasis there was on mirror-imaging and androgynous sexuality. Completely different PoV from C/P program. IMO.

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    Certainly C/P were taking risks being different. When Vanessa & Paul skated out in their costumes, I wondered how the plain outfits would affect their scores compared to all the other couples who sparkled with matching sequin covered costumes. I must admit the bright red does make Vanessa's body lines stand out when skating next to Paul's blue. I assume that was the intended artistic visual purpose for choosing those colours. Also, they matched the rink. .

    I can't remember if it was during the commentary at Worlds, or the Olympics, or who made the comment, but another pair of Ice Dancers were being criticized. The commentator explained the skaters should not appear as two separate people skating, but rather as one. By using red and blue costumes instead of matching outfits, Vanessa & Paul risked being viewed as two separate skaters instead of a single unit. It would be much more important for them to "skate" as one.

    I can understand why people have criticized Vanessa's outfit, since it was not the best fit in the chest area. The solid colour dress does tend to expose those types of flaws. However it was mostly noticeable when she stood still on the podium, not while skating. I guess they should try not winning to avoid the podium. By using design patterns in appropriate places, they could have hidden the flaws. However, that would likely detract from the planned artistic simple imagery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tak View Post

    I also think C/P are nowhere like the Duchesnays - I dont understand the comment at all.
    It's just a comment from Tanith Belbin, who seems to be continuing the Susie Wynne tradition of commentary.

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    Just fyi it's spelled 'Poirier'...

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    I dont think C-P skating like D-D. But in this FD all elements is from D-D and T-D programs. Wich isnt bad, because this was long time ago.
    C-P skating skills much better, then D-D had. (at list then Isabel SS).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tak View Post
    I only got to see C/P FD once - on radio-canada feed - so these are only my first impressions, as I remember them, from only seeing once. I have to wait til Nov 17 to see this on TV - so my impressions may change - but, I would say that this is an abstract dance [which is probably why it reminds Doris of Reflections a bit] - and by abstract I mean there's no story line, and not a lot of emotion - deliberately. He is trying to reflect in movement the feeling that he gets from the music.

    Obviously, this is subjective to some extent. What he gets from this music might not be what you get. [I remember the big discussion here last year about whether or not that Mahler music fit with the romantic mood of the program]. For him - and for me - that music is stripped down, spare, lean, angular [it's hard to put feelings and impressions into words] - and that is the kind of concept/impression he is trying to create in this dance by using the lines and positions of their bodies.
    According to what Tracy Wilson said on CBC, C&P are portraying the life of Eleanor Rigby -- she said with the new rules oplifting music" it's a challenge skating to ER when it's about the story of a person who lived and died invisible to the world -- so they open and close the program in the identical pose, "portraying her death not as sad but as liberating from the life she led".

    Re: the costumes, I hope they don't change them. I love Vanessa's costume and I think the blue/red contrast really works for this program and this couple. I just wish they'd change the SD costumes.

    I also don't get Tanith's comment about C&P being like the Duscheney's. I don't see that at all. Weird comment IMO.

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