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  1. #1
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    National/culture and skating style

    I find it interesting to compare countries' cultures and see a pattern in their respective skating skills. Obviously, not all skaters from a country will be reflective of that country's stereotypical style, but I still find it interesting to observe.

    The Russian/Eastern European style has been traditionally been considered the prototype or the ideal for a long time. The Russians have a classical, elegant, and ballet-influenced style that places a strong emphasis on basics. IMO these influences are seen most strongly in Russian pairs (G/G, M/D, B/S, and T/M for example. And more recently, M/T, V/T and K/S).

    The North American style, in my opinion, often comes in two primary ways. The first is a more casual and 'dressed-down' style that is a respite from the more dramatic flair of the Eastern european school, which I see more in pairs/dance teams (such as B/K, B/A, I/Z, V/M, and D/W). The second is a showy style that places an emphasis on the 'wow' factor, which I often see in singles skaters such as Kwan or Cohen.

    French skaters seem to possess two primary styles. The first is a dramatic style that is IMO a bit lighter than the Russian style, which see in Anissina/Peizerat or Abitbol/Bernadis. The second is an innovative, avant-garte style we see in some of the male skaters, Gusmeroli, Delobel/Schoenfelder, and Pechalat/Bourzat.

    I find that Italian skaters (such as Fontana, F-P/M, and F/S) have passionate styles but can be a bit volatile. I'm a bit lost with German skaters - I'm not sure exactly how to define their style.

    With Chinese skaters I see a big emphasis on big technical tricks. For the pairs, there is an emphasis on big throws/twists and 'grand', powerful styles.
    The Japanese skaters have very diverse styles, so I also find them hard to group. But like the Chinese, their skaters seem to be adept at difficult jump content.

    I know some people might find it offensive that I might be stereotyping different national styles. But I think it's interesting to look at what kind of style patterns are present in different cultures, keeping in mind that each individual skater/team still has a very distinct style.

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    I have always found it interesting that Russia produces such beautiful ladies pairs and dancers, but can't seem to get a singles lady to have a nice spiral or a pointed toe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyWarhol View Post
    I have always found it interesting that Russia produces such beautiful ladies pairs and dancers, but can't seem to get a singles lady to have a nice spiral or a pointed toe.
    I find this interesting too.
    Could it be that coaches designate career paths of their pupils after a couple of years of training? i.e. this girl should go into singles since she can jump, and that girl should go into pairs since she is small and can stretch.

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    ^Perhaps German skating style can be classified as strong technically, with a very competitive spirit, yet more subdued and understated, less drama and 'flair' than the Russian style, less 'wow, look at me' than the American style - look at Jutta Mueller's pupils over the decades. Then again, with reunification, I've seen more erratic performances [Kiehlmann, Szewczenko, Lindemann], except for S/S

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    IIRC during euros Franca Bianconi (Berton/Hotarek's coach and commentator for the italian TV) was talking about the progress of the italian skaters, and she said that Italy was trying to develop its own style, focusing a lot on choreography, interpretation,... She brought Pasquale Camerlengo and Maurizio Margaglio as examples.

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    I just wanted to ask about Italy and how one could define the style there. I cannot find one specific thing that would be visible in all Italy's skaters and different from the other nations.
    maybe Italy is looking for the golden mean between Russian, North American and French styles? Would be interesting to see what comes out of it.

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    I'm also a bit a lost when it comes to defining the styles of Russian women. What I do remember is that somebody noted that late Soviet style, which we see in skaters like Ivanova, Markova, and Butyrskaya.

    The Italian style is a very warm and passionate one - just think about Italian operas. But it can also be volatile and unpredictable. Kostner is erratic in this sense (though she's getting a lot better), but I don't find her style to be predictably 'Italian'.

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    I would say that Canadian singles skaters tend to have good edges but aren't particularly balletic, especially the girls. Japanese singles skaters tend to have deep knees, but usually aren't extroverted in their presentation. Neat thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyWarhol View Post
    I have always found it interesting that Russia produces such beautiful ladies pairs and dancers, but can't seem to get a singles lady to have a nice spiral or a pointed toe.
    ... or a a decent layback position, with the exception of Irina Slutskya.

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    Chinese men use to have superb quad jumps in late 90s and early 2000s. I thought guys like Guo, Zhang, and Li had much better quads than Russians. I wonder who coached their jumping technique and why they failed to produce quad jumpers in latter half of 2000s.

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    I have always found Canadian skaters have really beautiful basic skating skills.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    I still think the Russian "dramatic" style is a myth, an old wives tale. The more people who said it the more it became excepted as the truth. Don't get me wrong there have been Russian teams who have been dramatic to the point of voidy and what some would call over the top but when I think the the Russian skaters who were considered the best, they were very classically influenced but weren't really voidy. And there have been NA and European team who were more dramatic than the Russians.

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    The following are just my opinions.

    The Russian skaters (most of them) have excellent basic skating skills, speed and power. However the Moscow and St.Petersburg skaters seem to have two distinctive styles. I like the creativity of the St.Petersburg skaters, but the Moscow group is also very good in a different way.

    I often thought that the French skaters tend to be creative (Joubert may be an exception)- like Philip Candeloro, for example. The Canadian pairs have always had difficult lifts, but I don't see them paying a lot of attention to posture, lines, etc. In general, the North American skaters seem to go more for tricks, and less for flow over the ice which comes from strong basic skills (Chan is an exception, and so was Buttle when it comes to basic skating).

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    I have always found Canadian skaters have really beautiful basic skating skills.
    ITA. and musicality! When I think of Canadian skaters, there's no one that comes across as a stiff, off the beat, awkward skater.

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