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  1. #1
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    Blumberg & Seibert- always losing spots in the FD

    One thing I find amazing looking over Blumberg & Seibert's career is it seemed they almost always lost a placing in the FD. Back then that was extremely unusual in ice dance, usually teams held their positions. I cant think of any team that as consistently dropped a place in the overall and final standings in the final FD as they did. At the 81 Worlds they were 3rd going into the final FD behind Torvill & Dean and Moiseeva & Minenkov, but dropped to 4th behind Bestiamanova & Bukin after the final FD. Then at the 82 Worlds they were 3rd going into the final FD behind Torvill & Dean and B&B but dropped to 4th behind Moiseeva & Minenkov after the final FD. Then at the 83 Worlds they were 2nd behind only Torvill & Dean going into the final FD, but were passed by Bestiamanova & Bukin for the silver. Then at the 84 Olympics they were passed for the bronze in the final FD by Klimova & Ponomarenko.

    What was it that caused this so frequently. Were they just hugely unlucky often losing close votes in a very competitive and deep time for ice dancing. Was their FD truly their weakness relative to their other dances, and they just couldnt keep pace. Perhaps was it political. At the 81 Worlds they actually fell in the FD so that is easily explained, but the other years.

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    I'm not one who believes that it took so long for Americans in general to return to the podium (post B&S) because of politics but I do believe that in the case of B&S political dealings were an issue.

    I only have to go back to what happened in Sarajevo to illustrate this. B&S missed out on the bronze after a great performance supposedly because one judge gave them a deduction for inappropriate music. Yet, T&D's Bolero was never given a deduction from the same judge although it could be argued that their music should also have been seen as inappropriate. Move forward to Worlds and B&S step back onto the podium with a performance that (if I remember correctly) was not as solid as the Olympic performance. Of course the judging probably wasn't the same. There is that.

    In general I believe that while American dancers were decent/solid, during the reign of B&S as U.S. champions until the late nineties none were quite good enough to win world and olympic medals. At the time, I saw B&S as exceptions to the rule when it came to American icedancers. I wonder sometimes if Judy Blumberg is still a little bitter about hers and Michael's own experiences (she has a right to be unhappy and disappointed if she indeed is) and at times projects that onto some of the competitions she comments on.

    It's been a long time since I've seen any of B&S's performances but I remember back then being really impressed with them and thinking they were just as good as most of the other teams and should have been on the Olympic podium. I actually thought they should have been second behind T&D though I admit back then I knew very little about the in's and out's of dance judging. I just felt watching them and others, that they were comparable to the other top teams except for T&D.

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    Just out of curiosity can anyone think of a team who dropped in the overall standings in the Free dance in ice dancing at 4 straight World and Olympic competitions as Blumberg & Seibert did. I honestly cant think of anyone. It is most unusual.

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    You can't blame politics when an ice dancer fell in the FD.

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    I would say without a doubt FD was their weakness. Technically incredible skaters who, dispite moving really well and giving it their all, never seemed able to hit any note on their music. I find their 81, 82, 83 FDs were able to mask this problem better but when held in direct comparison to every team who passed them in the FD, and skated similar FDs, magnified their weakness. The 84 FD just magnified their inability to use their music to their advantage. Their 85 FD I liken to being stuck on an elevator.

    Who choreographed all those programs? Particularly the 84 and 85 FDs?
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    And one could argue with proper judging, they would've been silver medalists in Sarajevo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nours View Post
    You can't blame politics when an ice dancer fell in the FD.
    Which year did one of B&S fall?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carmen Ovsiannikov View Post
    Which year did one of B&S fall?
    1981 Worlds they took a horrible fall in the FD where both went down.

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    IMO, the criticism about whether or not they skated properly on the beat doesn't explain why they would consistently do better in the OSP & CD's than the FD, . It the problem were skating on the beat, on the contrary, then they should have been way behind from the compulsories and the OSP, where skating on the correct beat was a main criteria in judging.

    Also, B&B in the 1981 to 1984 period were seldom on the beat in their FD's, and particularly so in the Russian folk number they did in 1984. They only managed it in the slow and posing sections of the number.

    At the Olympics, B&S skated their routines perfectly, but what I remember about them was that they were always rather likely to have a serious stumble, if not an outright fall. They certainly did at 1984 Worlds, as well as 1981 Worlds.

    For the purposes of the discussion:
    B&S 1980 Worlds FD (their first Worlds) Canadian coverage
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmPeW-gaVOM

    B&S 1981 Worlds FD with fall (Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blpE6ASW6wQ

    B&S 1982 Worlds FD Fred and Ginger
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FFklij8fO0

    B&S 1983 Worlds FD Puttin on the Ritz
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4dKhA6M_EE

    B&S 1984 Olympic FD Scheherazade
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcmLc_XSp7Y

    B&S 1985 Worlds FD, including a long fluff piece. FD is Fire on Ice.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=-TQj1nEPMzc

  10. #10
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    I didn´t mean anything about skating on the beat in the way you interpreted. They obviously were quite capable to do what you are discussing. Since what I wrote is confusing I´ll try another way. Their FDs were, imo, poorly choreographed and failed to use the music to create mood and/or highlight any parts of their choreography. This is most evident in their 84 and 85 FDs. The 1984 FDs of T&D and B&S with the big ole music deduction controversy should be used to teach choreographers and judges the right way vs the wrong way to use a monotonous repetitive piece
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    Quote Originally Posted by marbri View Post
    The 1984 FDs of T&D and B&S with the big ole music deduction controversy should be used to teach choreographers and judges the right way vs the wrong way to use a monotonous repetitive piece
    Different era, but since you raise the subject (and they did themselves at the time), how would you evaluate Grishuk & Platov's 1998 Memorial free dance by the same criteria?

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    Quote Originally Posted by marbri View Post
    I didn´t mean anything about skating on the beat in the way you interpreted. They obviously were quite capable to do what you are discussing. Since what I wrote is confusing I´ll try another way. Their FDs were, imo, poorly choreographed and failed to use the music to create mood and/or highlight any parts of their choreography. This is most evident in their 84 and 85 FDs. The 1984 FDs of T&D and B&S with the big ole music deduction controversy should be used to teach choreographers and judges the right way vs the wrong way to use a monotonous repetitive piece
    OK, then we have an explanation, because B&B could have cared less about the beat during the 1981-1984 time frame...so they would be taking a hit in the OSP/CD, but not during the FD, where they were more expressive (and better choreographed, repetitiveness aside, than B&S.

    Watching this stuff over again, with the exception of 1984 when B&S were indeed trying to tell a story, their stuff was very pre T&D-pastiches of different dance stylings.

    They had some kool moves though...

  13. #13
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    I can't remember a Scheherazade that wasn't derivative of Blumberg and Seibert's in some way. IMO they defined the music for at least three generations of skating.

    I think their athletic, powerful style would play better today. (For better or worse!)

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    I know that the late Georgina Parkison of American Ballet Theater choreographed their 1984 Scheherazade FD...borrowing a move or two from Balanchine, such as the dramatic circular "donut drop" at the end (from the ballet "Prodigal Son"). I'm sure that Balanchine would have approved. The funny thing is that, every now and then, we can see that "donut drop" move performed by other skating couples, both pairs and dancers.
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    B and S were following the rules in place at the time, while trying to develop a style of their own; a considerable task under any circumstance, but, especially remarkable. considering that they were competing against Torvill and Dean.

    I think that they deserved much more credit then they received.
    They never "imitated" Jayne and Chris; yet produced dances that could be favorably compared.
    I recall Chris saying that they regarded them as worthy challengers, respecting their work and art,

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    ....They never "imitated" Jayne and Chris; yet produced dances that could be favorably compared.
    I recall Chris saying that they regarded them as worthy challengers, respecting their work and art,
    THE IRONY is that, years later, for the 1994 Olympic season, Chris & Jayne performed a FD that was very similar to B & S's "Fred and Ginger," especially the 1982 version in which Judy wore a white dress.

    Speaking of "Fred & Ginger-1982 and 1983 versions," I could not understand how-on-earth a FD that had brought the house down at Nationals did not 'register' with the Worlds audiences...because it did not. I was at both the 82 and 83 Nationals and Worlds, so was witness to the very different audience reactions. I never "bought into" the talk that Euro audiences did not know who were Astaire/Rogers...ridiculous...they knew Astaire/Rogers when Chris & Jayne danced a similar routine in '94 Euros.

    Maybe the problem was not Europe but the Scandinavian region...as both 82 & 83 Worlds were in Scandinavian countries? The pro-UK and USSR fans in attendance were certainly louder. I didn't get it. After B/S's FD in Indianapolis I thought that SURELY they had the program to possibly challenge T/D. (I hadn't seen 'Mack & Mabel' at the time.)
    Last edited by Frau Muller; 09-23-2011 at 07:39 PM.
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    I always liked B/S. They have only themselves to blame for their drop in the standings in 1981 but I would've had them 2nd in 1983 and 2nd at the 1984 Olympics (with K/P in 3rd and B/B completely off the podium). But hey, that's just me.

    Concerning what the Italian judge had said though at the 1984 Olympics, I think it was something along the lines of 'you can dance to Bolero but you can't dance to Scheherazade'. I find that interesting because from my perspective, virtually any piece of music should be dance-able. But I'm no expert so who knows.

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    Judy Blumberg said after the Olympic dance results something along the lines of "it was that Italian judge again". She said it was the same judge who cost them the silver at the 83 Worlds. Apparently this particular judge did not like B&S at all and always voted against them in close decision. Funny how she went down from a 5.8 technical to a 5.5 in presentation. Even a 5.6 on the 2nd mark, already a drop of .2, would have given them the bronze.

    I actually liked B&B and their programs in 82-84 more than I did in later years. Although I felt they were always overrated and in no way deserved to win 4 straight Worlds and the Olympics with Klimova & Ponomarenko having far overtaken them in technical ability, speed and power, and style (even if not in drama on ice) by 1986 at the latest.

  19. #19
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    She blamed only one judge? Thought it took more than that to determine results
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    Not in 5 / 4 splits it doesn't, depending on how you look at it.

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