View Poll Results: Should a purely artistic program be added to ladies/mens singles competitions?

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  • Yes

    24 18.60%
  • No

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  1. #21
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    I fully support things such as Theatre on Ice, but I do not think an artistic only event should be added to standard eligible skating. There would never be a way to fairly judge it. Even ballet competitions are not just judged on artistry, but also on technique.

  2. #22

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    USFigureSkating has Theatre on Ice and a National Showcase competition with categories that can also be included in USFS-sanctioned nonqualifying competitions, and some of them are also offered at Adult Nationals.

    I've heard of similar programs in France and Canada -- where else?

    ISI also offers a lot of artistic-type events as alternatives to their technical events.

    Gay Games uses the ISI model.

    If the ISU would organize or allow another organization to organize a world championships -- or even a worldwide festival that would be competitive to get sent to from some countries -- in these disciplines, it might eventually develop into a prestigious event in which skaters who see themselves primarily as artists could develop a skill level comparable to the best skating athletes but with an emphasis on artistic performance, not technical feats. I think this would be something that would appeal to both skating fans and casual viewers who want to watch skating for aesthetic enjoyment and don't care much about technique or even technical difficulty.

    As has already been said, it would not be accepted as a separate Olympic sport or as part of the existing Olympic sport. And therefore it would not attract fans who tune in mainly for the drama of competition. So it might not attract quite enough viewers to get much television coverage or outside sponsorship. I certainly wouldn't expect it be funded by government funds in those countries that do fund Olympic sports.

    There are plenty of competitive skaters who might pursue both disciplines throughout their careers, or choose to specialize in either artistic or sport skating when they get to the higher levels and need to focus their training more.

    I'm sure there would also be plenty of examples of skaters who get to junior or senior level, even world medal level, in sport skating and then retire from competing in that discipline for one reason or another* and switch over to artistic skating in their later teens or as adults.

    *For example,
    -prefer to perform for audiences than submit themselves the pressure of competing in front of judges
    -prefer training the kinds of skills rewarded in artistic skating than in competitive sport skating
    -don't have the body type (shape, size, muscle fiber composition) to learn triple jumps and can't compete successfully at higher levels without them
    -can't do harder jumps, high-level spins, etc., any more because of specific injuries
    -high-level ice dancer who can't find a partner -- might switch back to ice dance competition in the future if an appropriate partner materializes

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justathoughtabl View Post
    I don't see why the idea of an artistic skating competition seems to odd to some people. They do have ballet competitions, like this one:
    http://www.nyibc.org/

    .....
    Those were soooooooo corrupt during the Cold War period (e.g., Chairman of the Jury was usually Yuri Grigorovich, the head of the Bolshoi Theater, who basically directed the other panelists to vote his way). Even today, outcomes are skewed towards certain academies and/or countries. For years, the IBC in Jackson was controlled by Bruce Marks of Boston Ballet, for ex. Even today, you see a lot of the same "oldie goldie faces" at all ballet competition judges panels. Worse than figure skating, in that no scores are ever shown. Totally in secret!!!

    The one big positive about ballet competitions is that they can serve as a big audition for jobs, as many company directors attend just to look for new dancers without having to hold their own costly auditions. Dancers know that and many enter the competitions caring more about possible jobs than medals.
    Dick Button Historical Quote of the Month: "Good for you, Lucinda Ruh!"

  4. #24

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    I think artistic events are an important part of skater development. I enjoy watching and judging them and they really do bring out a skater's creativity and chance to shine. Skaters who are not necessarily the best technicians can do well in artistic events. There are those in the skating community who look down on them (from my experience it has mainly been the judges) and who think they should be incorporating the artistic aspect already in the competitive programs. If anything though I have seen skaters benefit in their competitive programs through doing artistic.

    I compete in artistic because the technical side of my skating is not what it used to be. However it is a chance to work on a program and get out on the ice. Plus I really enjoy putting something to music.

    But when it comes down to it, it doesn't emphasis the sporting and technical aspect of skating and whilst entertaining to watch, it really doesn't make for good sport.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by centerpt1 View Post
    I think this is already done on the GP, 4CC, Euros, and Worlds. It's called a Gala. You place in the top 3 or 4, you skate in the Gala. Sure, it's not judged, but it is an enjoyable, show type program.
    \

    No need to get all snippy. If you haven't noticed, gala programs have gotten very bad. They are almost as boring as Valentina Marchei. It's easy to forget they are still doing them.

  6. #26

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    Tricky. I agree with the posters who say that there is no artistry without the technical criteria ( so there should be some combination of artistic and technical merit even in an "artistic" competititon). Also, there is no artistic competition without the judging panel who is highly qualified to judge on artistry ( professional dancers, professional musicians, theatre people, as well as professional skaters), which probably means a separate judging panel. All in all, I would vote NO, despite the fact that artistry is what draws me to skating. I don't see a way to jump through those hoops.
    improving my ballad- like lines

  7. #27
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    I think the notion of adding a third, artistic program to the existing events or creating a separate medal event for artistic skating are fairly bad ideas, but I do agree with the basic concerns that started this thread about the audience appeal of today's skating vs skating of a decade or two ago.

    The suggestion of an artistic skating competition got me to thinking about the old ISU-approved competition format that involved a short program and and Interpretive program. The last ones I can recall happened before COP. (The old Japan Open/ Honda Classic from the late 90s used that format.)

    The ISU regulations do still mention Interpretive Free Skate and Interpretive Free Dance as something apart from the regular Free Skate or Free Dance. They are permitted only in Senior events (Rule 305). For Interpretive Dance, the ISU regulations refer to "Ice Dance Regulations 2002". (I don't know what that is - regulations from the year 2002? section 2002 of some document?) I don't think the New Judging System provides any guidance on scoring the Interpretive Skate.

    IIRC, the early discussion about the new ICE open series (eligible & ineligible skaters) that Scott Hamilton is involved with may use a format like the old Japan Open. The ISU are calling for the organizer to submit a "technical package" about the freeskate, which I read (wishful thinking?) as meaning the organizers could use a format different from the ISU free skate content. So maybe there will be some experimenting with how to frame and judge an interpretive program using COP. I really hope so.
    Last edited by Susan M; 08-04-2011 at 06:44 AM.

  8. #28

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    No, there should be no purely artistic program. The skating federations are charged with development of technically proficient skates, and presentation is supposed be an extension of the ease with which skaters perform high quality skills.

  9. #29

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    Back in the late 80s Skate Canada (the international competition, not the federation) had an artistic competition for singles.

    I saw several of these events in person. They were entertaining, but the themes of the programs were all over the place - some were very serious, some were lighthearted entertainment - and so the audience was very confused as to why the programs placed where they did, since they were so radically different from each other. I don't ever remember seeing a clear explanation of the judging criteria.

    Most of the skaters competing in artistic were already competing in other disciplines at the competition (usually dance or singles) so having the artistic competition didn't open up the competition to skaters who otherwise wouldn't have participated. Quite honestly, some of the programs did look like something that the skater had thrown together in an afternoon when they had a break from training their "main" program.

    IIRC the artistic competition didn't get shown on TV either, while most of the other disciplines represented at Skate Canada did. So it also didn't bring in new viewers or expand interest in competitive skating.

    It was an interesting experiment, and maybe it could work better now with the clearer judging criteria that would be available with CoP-based judging, but I think the problems of it being a secondary venture and an additional time commitment for most skaters would still be difficult to overcome.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  10. #30
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    I don't want a purely artistic program. There is already a Gala for this !
    I'd rather see a purely technical program : something like compulsory figures, to show technical ability in term of skating skills.

  11. #31

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    Re Skate Canada Interpretive competitions:

    I've seen Canadian television coverage of the men's event from 1991 and 1992 and ladies from one of those years (I think 3-5 skaters each, don't know if that was all of them).

    What I remember is that in 1991 Daniel Weiss won with a program (Phantom of the Opera?) that relied heavily on costume, acting, and interacting with the audience and less on actual skating skills, but it made a strong theatrical impact, probably even stronger live. David Liu was second with a non-jump version of his short program to The Mission soundtrack, relying mostly on the skating skills, including his trademark one-foot step sequence, and telling a story about a man's spiritual journal, but his presentation was more internal and low key than Weiss's.

    The following year the changed the rules to emphasize the skating and deemphasize the externals, and Liu won that year. Then they discontinued the event.

    None of the ladies from what I saw were particularly memorable.

    I liked the rules from the final 1992 version of the competition. IIRC, jumps of up to 1.5 revolutions were allowed, but no doubles or triples. I don't remember about spins.

    I'd be happy to see a singles event that would be judged on program components and step sequence(s) and other types of elements (spiral sequence and some newly invented ones) involving blades on ice, but no points and maybe deductions for double+ jumps and sustained spins. There would also need to be restrictions on costuming, no props, etc., to keep the focus on the skating. And very clear guidelines on how to score each of the new elements and each of the components.

    I'm not sure that the Transitions component would make sense as such since there wouldn't be big freestyle elements for them to be transitions between.

    There could be no elements at all and the entire score could be components. In that case the Transitions component could be replaced by a component called, maybe, Highlights, in which moves like spirals, spread eagles, split jumps, etc., even step sequences, could be rewarded.

    Or there could be elements, with levels called by a technical panel. For example, 1 Step Sequence could be required, and there could be 2-4 other optional elements, chosen from, e.g.,

    Spiral Sequence
    Field Moves Sequence
    (these might or might not be defined so that a single sustained glide in position could fill these slots, like the 6-second hold in the current Choreo Spiral Sequence)
    School Figures Variation
    Small Jump Sequence
    Twizzle Sequence
    Second Step Sequence

    Anything else?

    In that case, everything between the called elements would count as transitions.

    Or advanced jumps and spins could be allowed but just not earn any points.

    If the rules are clear enough, it should be judgeable and understandable. Of course judging things like Interpretation is always subjective to some degree, so there will surely be disagreements, and controversies once it gets noticed enough.

    I'm sure it would take a number of years for enough skaters to develop the necessary skating and performance skills and figure out what kind of program choices work best for this to be a satisfying event for audiences.

    Would it be better to start more modestly and try to build up the discipline from the grassroots up? Or to start from the top and invite proven freestyle champions to compete in this event as a sideline? That would attract audiences sooner but wouldn't necessarily translate into enough freestyle competitors choosing to put more training time into artistic skating instead, or more artistic skaters who've given up on getting the difficult jumps needed for freestyle success choosing to keep training up to senior/elite level in this lesser known discipline that will never get Olympic exposure.

  12. #32

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    I get where you're coming from Maofan, I think there is a missed opportunity in skating, but traditional skating just has too many rules and most people who are successful under that system just aren't able to think outside the traditional moves or format. Truly creative skating needs to come from outside the system, the way break dance and modern dance evolved outside of classical dance.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    I think there is a missed opportunity in skating, but traditional skating just has too many rules and most people who are successful under that system just aren't able to think outside the traditional moves or format.
    Over the years, the truly creative programs mostly came from the pro skaters, but lately the pro/tour programs have become as hackneyed and predictable as the eligible skater exhibitions. Even when skaters work with choreographers from the dance world, their contribution seems to get reduced to arm and hand gestures. Whatever else they might have had to offer gets absorbed into the traditional format rather than breaking outside the box.

    When I think of pro/exhibition programs that felt awesomely different, I think Nyah probably tops the list, along with the T&D dance done with no music. I think Kulik also tried some weird choreo in his early SOI days, doing some Beacom-esque skating and the tap number, but the skate of his that seemed to take skating to a whole other place was the Liebestraum exhibition from the 96-97 season.
    Last edited by Susan M; 08-11-2011 at 01:39 AM.

  14. #34

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    It is a valid question but it would never work in practice.

    It might be better to create a totally new competition that doesn't conform to the existing COP system instead, marked by judges people respect and knows, that can actually give valid reasons to justify why they mark the way they did.

    The question is if people will want to watch. To do that, you need stars, great programs, challenging themes and ideas.

    If it can be an amazing spectacle that bring new audience to the sport, then it absolutely should be done however controversial or disagreeable the system use to mark it, as the marking scheme can always be improved upon later.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post

    I'd be happy to see a singles event that would be judged on program components and step sequence(s) and other types of elements (spiral sequence and some newly invented ones) involving blades on ice, but no points and maybe deductions for double+ jumps and sustained spins. There would also need to be restrictions on costuming, no props, etc., to keep the focus on the skating. And very clear guidelines on how to score each of the new elements and each of the components.

    -

    I'm sure it would take a number of years for enough skaters to develop the necessary skating and performance skills and figure out what kind of program choices work best for this to be a satisfying event for audiences.
    How is this different from solo dance? Compulsory dances make an excelent test of basic technique (and help keep CD's around)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB4Jldm6Dp4&

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v20U6267nXA

    Solo dance has become very popular on rollers. Originally a way to give females with no partners a way to compete its biggest growth has been among male competitors.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v-yzEYG7aM

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    How is this different from solo dance?
    It's not very different from solo free dance. (And yes, solo compulsories could be used as the first phase of competition.)

    That discipline is still in its beginning developmental phases in the US, even more so at the international level.

    Could the ISU kick start participation by potentially world-class skaters, and to get attention from media and sponsors as a result, by offering international junior and senior events in this discipline, whatever they choose to call it?

  17. #37

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    I too, would like to see a separate discipline for show skating, but I don't think the ISU is the place (too rule bound and political). I think this is something that has to evolve out of recreational skating (like the style skating competitions in roller skating).[/QUOTE]

    I believe It would take a major change in philosophy to make such an event work for the ISU.

    However, there have been US Figure Skating Showcase Events in the US for 37 years. The concept was introduce by the Los Angeles Figure Skating club in 1970 and called “Showcase for Skaters”.

    In 2004 the event became a national event. The categories are set under the basic classification of: Light Entertainment, Dramatic Entertainment, and Extemporaneous. Further definitions of categories are by US Figure Skating Free Skating test levels and age.

    The 2011 National Showcase was held in Cleveland, Ohio with almost 500 starts. Skater may enter more than one category.

    I was pleased to be one of the officials
    Morry Stillwell

  18. #38

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    Didn't Skate Canada Int'l competition include artistic singles events for Ladies & men around 1990? I remember when the VERY entertaining Dan Weiss of WGer won for the men. There didn't seem to be any problems having separate artistic tracks then and the crowd faves seemed to win, no? It's a shame that the artistic track was discontinued.

    I also seem to remember that the now-defunct US Olympic Festival had an artistic track for a while...specifically, I remember a delightful Joanna Ng winning the artistic but not the "regular" competition. I may be mixing things up...it was along time ago and I can't find my tapes/DVDs quickly enough.
    Dick Button Historical Quote of the Month: "Good for you, Lucinda Ruh!"

  19. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frau Muller View Post
    Didn't Skate Canada Int'l competition include artistic singles events for Ladies & men around 1990? I remember when the VERY entertaining Dan Weiss of WGer won for the men. There didn't seem to be any problems having separate artistic tracks then and the crowd faves seemed to win, no? It's a shame that the artistic track was discontinued.
    http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...8&postcount=29
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  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frau Muller View Post
    I also seem to remember that the now-defunct US Olympic Festival had an artistic track for a while...specifically, I remember a delightful Joanna Ng winning the artistic but not the "regular" competition. I may be mixing things up...it was along time ago and I can't find my tapes/DVDs quickly enough.
    Joanna Ng won the ladies artistic event at Skate Canada in 1990:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlDBuOkNfvo

    And she also medaled at the 1991 US Olympic Festival, but that was skating a regular freeskate:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlVbJz0otR4

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