Last edited by bardtoob; 12-28-2012 at 10:06 AM.
^^ 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.
Last edited by bardtoob; 12-29-2012 at 07:52 PM.
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).
Ooo ... Interesting thought, EOS.
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.
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.
Last edited by lulu; 12-29-2012 at 10:04 PM.
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.Or is there just nothing memorable enough about their skating
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.