Last edited by Coco; 11-09-2011 at 02:53 AM.
"Puccini cries out for spirals, but really good ones." ~ Dick Button, 1998 Worlds
I don't think anyone would ever accuse Rochette of being a 'pwetty pwincess'...
Haunting the Princess of Pink since 20/07/11...
But was Mao's not well-received because it wasn't pretty princess or was it because it was super heavy, monotonous, and many felt the music and choreography did not match her strengths which is great bodyline and lightness of her blades?
And she worried that she built muscle too quickly - something I doubt a man would worry about.
IMO it was more so because it was such an unorthodox program for a lady. The standard criticism was that it did not suit her style, but I don't think anyone gave her much of a chance to develop it - and to create a new style for herself. Dancers, pairs and men are encouraged, even applauded for trying out a new style.But was Mao's not well-received because it wasn't pretty princess or was it because it was super heavy, monotonous, and many felt the music and choreography did not match her strengths which is great bodyline and lightness of her blades?
I felt the same criticism could have been made about Johnny Weir's 'Love and Hate' free program in the Olympic season. In fact, I see Weir's style as equally soft and lyrical as Mao's. But he wasn't criticized for skating to heavy music (I thought it was heavy, anyway).
I do agree with you about Rochette. A lot of the time, I think her packaging was off because her whole look didn't quite matching her skating or style or even her routines to me. She was able to rise above it though and I do think it's a shame she had to "apologize" or explain her muscles. That's where I see the feminine-mold come into play.
Regarding Mao, I think that's where we disagree. I truly think it really was the routine (mostly the music). Had she done a dark routine but had a better music cut (or choice according to some) then it would have been better received.
Also Johnny's programs have been criticized in the past, especially the ones choreographed by Marina Anissina where she tried to make him more masculine. I think those were his most critically-panned routines of his career.
QUOTE=Japanfan;3360177]IMO it was more so because it was such an unorthodox program for a lady. The standard criticism was that it did not suit her style, but I don't think anyone gave her much of a chance to develop it - and to create a new style for herself. [/quote]
But did the same people criticize Irina Slutskaya when she used similarly heavy music?
I often did because I didn't like the music, but I think the general consensus was that Slutskaya's skating worked well with heavy music.
Except when it doesn't work for them as well, e.g., Usova/Zhulin 1994.Dancers, pairs and men are encouraged, even applauded for trying out a new style.
And it still saddens me that people still expect an athletic female body to look soft. These women are athletes and therefore their bodies with have well toned and developed muscles. I don't see well developed muscles as been masculine, but then again I strength train with weights, ie. dumbbells, machines and medicine balls.
"This, after all, is opera, opera in New York, not some dainty pastime like professional hockey..." -- Chip Brown, NYT Magazine 24 Mar 13
Not fan of Witt, or her Carmen, but I agree with her sentiments. I rarely see skaters today perform with freedom or wild abandon. Everything is much too calculated and controlled. The few exceptions for me have been Abbott, Buttle, and Takahashi. However, I think they could have been even MORE expressive without being confined by the CoP guidelines.
I just can't imagine choreographing a free program where, instead of listening to the music to design the steps, spins, and jumps to match the music, you simply create elements that will garner more points. If I were a skater, I would want my combination spin to begin and end on a musical phrase, not having to count the rotations on every position and edge change in my head regardless of what is playing through the speakers. I would want to change my position to coincide with a tonal or harmonic change, not simply because I maxed out my required revs. I would want to incorporate spirals and MITF in the most musical way possible, not necessarily in a sequence, and not only before jumps to gain points. What's so "free" about that process? It's an artist's nightmare.
I realize that everybody wants to see fair results, but I think that no matter what we do, figure skating will always be subjective. For me, as a fan, I value the performances themselves much more than the results. So what if Midori Ito didn't win 1990 worlds? At least we have her glorious long program on tape and get to watch it whenever we please on youtube. What about the 92 games where she threw in the 3A? That's what a "free" program is all about. She most likely would not have been able to throw it in today, and even if she had, it would have carried a +SEQ deduction because neither of her 3A were in combination.
I don't like to see people downplaying the role of the audience, and the entertainment component of Olympic sports. They held the Olympics in the Hippodrome for a reason: It was meant to be a public spectacle. The ancient Olympics also honored artists and poets, so creativity and entertainment have always been an integral part. If that audience and the entertainment factor don't matter, why not have skaters just video tape their best performances at their home rinks and send them in to the judges?
I will continue to watch figure skating no matter what, but I have found programs to be on the whole much less creative and that, to me, is not worth the trade off for results that are more accountable.
ETA: I'd love to see a ladies skating program end with a footwork sequence and spin that matches this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZD_N4FY3B0#t=4m03s in excitement. She would have gotten a lv1 for the footwork and the scratch spin would be basically worthless now. I'll take this over a 50-second arm-flailing, unmusical mess that moves like molasses over the ice and then followed by a lv4 combination spin with strained and contorted positions that rock onto unsteady edges any day of the week
Last edited by Triple Butz; 11-10-2011 at 01:26 AM.
I just watched Kostner's CoC FP and it had the natural aspect which I usually found missing to some extent in Joannie programs. IMO Kostner has found a sense of freedom that Rochette never did. She too fits the ladies mold as pretty much all the ladies do, but has found a unique way to work with it and skate out of the box, so to speak.
And I'm more bothered by the packaging of Phaneuf than I ever was with Rochette. It's as if she is still a tiny 15 year old. It doesn't work when she flutters her eyelashes anymore and the mascara is so heavy it might just fall off. . .though of course, it doesn't help that she spends so much time on her rear.
Last edited by Japanfan; 11-10-2011 at 11:11 AM.
I find Yuna intensely competitive (her fans will flame me for this). She trained for years with a sore hip and foot injuries to decimate the competition. She is also known for skating with great speed and being a strong jumper. Her public relations may paint her as a pretty princess, but she didn't get where she is by being dainty.
A lot of these female skaters are teenagers with pre-teen bodies, so mature or edgy programs don't really suit them. Plus, when you are 15, Carmen and Malaguena probably seem new.
I think if you want "mature" female skaters the technical requirements of the sport will have to change from counting jump rotations to maybe measuring height and distance of jumps instead.
Mao is competitive, but Mao does not appear to grasp or embrace skating out of her comfort zone, imo. The program that TAT gave Mao the last 3 seasons challenged Mao to skate differently and try on a different style. I think Mao was very hesitate to embrace that style especially when her poor the jump technique became apparent. However, Mao's performance at the 2010 Olympics and the 2010 Worlds showed that TAT was right, "The Bells of Moscow" pushed Mao and she performed it brillantly at the olympics and worlds.