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  1. #61

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    I love Ashley's intensity and grace.

    What made Michelle so special is hard to articulate. But she had a way of bringing a piece of music alive in a way very few skaters ever approach. Songs and singers I would have never paid attention to suddenly become the most amazing pieces of music I've heard in a long time, after Michelle skates to them. And I'm not even a huge fan. Of course, this doesn't work with everything she skated to, and she frequently started with great music. But still, I think it's something about her. She presents music to the viewer like Sergei presented Katia, lol.
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coco View Post
    I love Ashley's intensity and grace.

    What made Michelle so special is hard to articulate. But she had a way of bringing a piece of music alive in a way very few skaters ever approach. Songs and singers I would have never paid attention to suddenly become the most amazing pieces of music I've heard in a long time, after Michelle skates to them. And I'm not even a huge fan. Of course, this doesn't work with everything she skated to, and she frequently started with great music. But still, I think it's something about her. She presents music to the viewer like Sergei presented Katia, lol.
    I love your post, particularly that last sentence.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coco View Post
    She presents music to the viewer like Sergei presented Katia, lol.
    That's a great way to put it. She made even Song of the Black Swan seem approachable. She knew how to make people watch her, she was the one to draw me into figure skating for the same reason. There was something about her where you couldn't take your eyes off of her, and once you became a fan she so rarely let you down that it was impossible for me not to root for her. She had that "pow" to her performance that I've never ever seen another skater have, and she did it without being obnoxious and was a lady the entire time. Your post is also exactly why I'm such a huge fan of "Dante's Prayer", I would most likely hate that dreary song if Michelle hadn't skated to it.

    I can't believe how long it's been since Michelle Kwan was skating. I really lost a lot of interest in the sport after she left, she made me care about skating way more than I should have. Still the best.

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    Hmm, I will be the thinking man/woman's PeterG. Do I think Michelle Kwan had such more innate musicality or "artistry" than Ashley Wagner. Well, no. Michelle was very studied in her competitive career. She had a great team. I get so annoyed when posters say "Kwan skated with HEART". So what? You know what I think Kwan's appeal was? We saw her as a tiny gangly pre-teen jumper who through hard work and discipline created GREAT programs. Was she 'more artistic'? Hell no. She was trained well. I respect that. I could watch her all the way up to Nagano. Her programs were complex and interesting and not just Slutskaya Chorus Line crap. What I object to is this *myth* of a Kwan as artist. The last several years of the end of her career her programs were identical, there was nothing artistic. When her fanwhores claim how much she skated from 'the heart' is really to me how her fans reacted to her skating from 'their heart'. She wasn't doing anything but being Michelle Kwan, and I'm sorry, a "SMIRAL" does not a Bolero masterpiece make.

    This whole crap about Kwan being such an artiste is sickening IMO. It was her fans who fell in love with the girl/woman she is, and she has proven herself to be a wonderful person in society. But to watch her barebones by number Bolero, Rodriguo et al and say she was 'such an artist' is such BS. She landed triple jumps consistently and won an insane amount of titles due to her triple jumps. To say Kwan 'skates from the heart' while dissing Wagner is craziness. I was impressed with Kwan's Salome, Majal, and Angelica. The rest, not so much. I was impressed with Wagner's Swan and this year Delilah, both are skaters who are hungry to win and acquired teams to get them to that point.

    I never saw Kwan as an 'artiste'. She had too many limitations. Her fans saw her skating from THEIR hearts. Kwan really didn't put anything down after maybe 2001 to classify her as an artiste. Big difference.

    PeterG, I match your 100, and raise you 500.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Forrest View Post
    This whole crap about Kwan being such an artiste is sickening IMO.
    I am not a Kwan fan, but sickening? Seriously? I think maybe you're taking it a bit personally if the fact that Kwan's fans think she's a great artist actually makes you physically ill. I mean, it's not like they're claiming that Emily Hughes is the Greatest Artiste of All Time or something...

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    I never saw Kwan as an 'artiste'. She had too many limitations. Her fans saw her skating from THEIR hearts.
    I feel more or less the same way, and the statement I just bolded unravels the whole mystery.

    Still, I respect what she has done for US skating and skating as a whole.

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    You know what...never mind. Someone with that much hate bottled up is sad.
    Last edited by centerstage01; 11-24-2012 at 09:31 AM.

  8. #68

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    I was never a Kwan fan per se but I almost always enjoyed her performances. I just think that Ashley who has massively improved these past couple of seasons has to work on her performance/artistic components while for Michelle it just came naturally. I just don't believe it can be taught. One can improve but if you're not born with it you can only progress so far. I do enjoy Ashley's performances much more than I used to though. Jmo.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanette View Post
    IIRC, she was still her mentor at 2011 Nats. After that, nothing else was mentioned.
    Ah, well maybe after Ashley moved West to work with Mr. Nicks, she wasn't in contact with Tara as much. Isn't Tara based more on the East coast now?


    Another thought re l'etoile's comment about "icon mystery" being solved:

    Ashley being impressed by and looking up to Lipinski and seeing her as a role model, does not exclude Ash from also being impressed by Michelle Kwan's skating and accomplishments. It's fantastic for Ashley that she has been able to learn from the successes of both Tara and Michelle.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Forrest View Post
    Hmm, I will be the thinking man/woman's PeterG. Do I think Michelle Kwan had such more innate musicality or "artistry" than Ashley Wagner. Well, no. Michelle was very studied in her competitive career. She had a great team. I get so annoyed when posters say "Kwan skated with HEART". So what? You know what I think Kwan's appeal was? We saw her as a tiny gangly pre-teen jumper who through hard work and discipline created GREAT programs. Was she 'more artistic'? Hell no. She was trained well. I respect that. I could watch her all the way up to Nagano. Her programs were complex and interesting and not just Slutskaya Chorus Line crap. What I object to is this *myth* of a Kwan as artist. The last several years of the end of her career her programs were identical, there was nothing artistic. When her fanwhores claim how much she skated from 'the heart' is really to me how her fans reacted to her skating from 'their heart'. She wasn't doing anything but being Michelle Kwan, and I'm sorry, a "SMIRAL" does not a Bolero masterpiece make.

    This whole crap about Kwan being such an artiste is sickening IMO. It was her fans who fell in love with the girl/woman she is, and she has proven herself to be a wonderful person in society. But to watch her barebones by number Bolero, Rodriguo et al and say she was 'such an artist' is such BS. She landed triple jumps consistently and won an insane amount of titles due to her triple jumps. To say Kwan 'skates from the heart' while dissing Wagner is craziness. I was impressed with Kwan's Salome, Majal, and Angelica. The rest, not so much. I was impressed with Wagner's Swan and this year Delilah, both are skaters who are hungry to win and acquired teams to get them to that point.

    I never saw Kwan as an 'artiste'. She had too many limitations. Her fans saw her skating from THEIR hearts. Kwan really didn't put anything down after maybe 2001 to classify her as an artiste. Big difference.

    PeterG, I match your 100, and raise you 500.

    Kwan's artistry might be overrated by some, and in general a skater who is famous and been around a long time and skates at the top level a long gets overrated naturally by all, includind judges, fans, experts, etc... However in her own era atleast she is definitely one of the most artistic. The only ones who come close or are argaubly better were Lu Chen and Sasha Cohen. The rest:

    Irina Slutskaya- LOL (at her artistic abilities that is, I do respect she is a great technical skater, and probably the best of the entire Kwan era other than maybe 97-98 Lipinski)
    Maria Butyrskaya- Had some nice artistic qualities but too stiff kneed and too cold in emoting
    Sarah Hughes- too gawky, awful posture, not wonderful artistically in anyway really, although she had decent choreography and extension
    Shizuka Arakawa- some nice programs artistically, nothing that set you on fire though apart from maybe her Turandot program
    Tara Lipinski- still developing artistically when she quit
    Fumie Suguri- cant even straighten her free leg, definitely not a first rate artist or skater

    Nobody else even noteable of the whole 1996-2006 period. It wasnt a very strong one with many elite lady skaters in fact. Maybe it could be argued part of the reason she stood out so much, especialy in an artistic sense, was she skated in mostly a weak era with little competition, but that isnt her fault.

  11. #71
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    Kwan isn't the artistic genius of say Lambiel or Takahashi, but I find her to be an artist. Performers can have great choreography lay the steps out for them, but it takes a special performer to really make them sing.

    Kwan in her later years had simple choreography compared to her programs in her prime, and it is quite evident she was focusing on landing her jumps when her health was in decline, but there was still a purpose to her movement and an innate musicality that existed, even if her transitions didn't express them.

    I agree that she wasn't the most natural performer. Baiul is the epitome of natural...even Bobek. However, Kwan did have something special that let her sense the music (especially lyrical pieces) that I think one can see even in her gawky early years with the ponytail. There was something inviting in her expression and a sense of her feeling something...even if she didn't quite learn how to project that out at that point in time.

  12. #72

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    I agree with Vietgrl to some extent. She is not the natural performer that Baiul, Bobek, and Takahashi are (and I would even add Cohen to that list, but not Lambiel; IMO his was a developed artistry like Kwan's), but she always had the quality deep inside, which was brought out quite early. At age 14 we could see that she had it in her, and by age 15, she could already feel the music and express it. I thought by age 16 when she skated to Taj Mahal, she had already developed artistically. In 2001 I saw a greater maturity in her artistic expression, in Song of the Black Swan. I thought Scheherzade was a tiny step back, but her exhibitions got even better by that time.

    I enjoyed her performances through 2001 more than her later performances (2002-2004), but those later performances had stronger passion. The only Kwan program I disliked was Bolero, but as Vietgrl wrote, she may have diluted it (and probably couple years before that too) to protect her health. Even then, when she skated, she brought the audience into the music, and on to the ice when she skated. She could skate to music that is familiar or totally unfamiliar, and make it interesting.

    Since this thread is about Kwan vs. Ashley artistically, I have to say that I don't see that quality in Ashley, and she may never develop it. At least so far I have felt that it is rather forced, and it does not touch me the way Kwan's did. It does not mean Ashley cannot win competitions or cannot establish her own greatness in the future. I am happy to see her determination and the progress she has made since last year. I just don't feel that artistically she is in the same class as Michelle.

  13. #73
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    New SI article where Ashley talks about how Tara inspired her.

    It is entirely possible to be inspired by more than one person, FYI - especially when you were single digits when those two people were rivals.

  14. #74
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    from that article:

    Even with six clean triple jumps, Wagner says she'll need to add a triple-triple jump combination before worlds and skate as if Kim and Ando are the ones to beat. "It's my time to make a name for myself," she says. "I want all eyes on me."
    Ruh roh - careful what you ask for!

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by centerstage01 View Post
    You know what...never mind. Someone with that much hate bottled up is sad.
    I suppose this comment was to me? "Hate bottled up"? Are you serious? Get a life.

    In no way am I trying to disparage The Kwan. She is a model citizen. She is a role model. No messy affairs/divorces, meth arrests, media foul balls. Anyone would want her as a daughter, friend, spouse, whatever. She is top notch in every way. Sorry Centerstage that you somehow think there is so much hate bottled up in me. Your loss, girlfriend. As Ray Charles would say "You don't know me". Or maybe you are too young to know who Ray Charles is. Google it then.

    As for Ashley, let me put it to you this way. The first 30 seconds of her Delilah is pushing it. It takes someone with 'artistry' or chutzpah to do those first 30 seconds. Imagine Rachael Flatt trying that choreo. So I do think Ashley has an artistic sensibility. Her Black Swan was an eye opener. I am pleased with her success and her growth as a skater.

    A hater these days I am not. Sorry to disappoint.

    Also, I am not posting as JudgeJudy even though he/she and I seem to agree on everything and write the same way.

  16. #76
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    Really? I think there are serious differences between you and judgejudy. I'm surprised people think that.

  17. #77
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    I remember seeing 2001 Worlds in person. What struck me about Michelle versus Slutskaya, for example, was that with Kwan, I was drawn into the performance. Only afterwards, did I realize just how much technical merit it contained. With Irina, all I saw were the tricks.

    Under CoP, Ashley is not only challenging herself by combining difficult choreography and technical content, she is performing and projecting, too.

    I recall Kwan being interviewed about her experience with IJS, and she said, it was more difficult to lose herself in the program. Instead, she found herself counting.
    Last edited by essence_of_soy; 11-24-2012 at 04:08 PM.

  18. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Forrest View Post
    I suppose this comment was to me? "Hate bottled up"? Are you serious? Get a life.

    In no way am I trying to disparage The Kwan. She is a model citizen. She is a role model. No messy affairs/divorces, meth arrests, media foul balls. Anyone would want her as a daughter, friend, spouse, whatever. She is top notch in every way. Sorry Centerstage that you somehow think there is so much hate bottled up in me. Your loss, girlfriend. As Ray Charles would say "You don't know me". Or maybe you are too young to know who Ray Charles is. Google it then.

    As for Ashley, let me put it to you this way. The first 30 seconds of her Delilah is pushing it. It takes someone with 'artistry' or chutzpah to do those first 30 seconds. Imagine Rachael Flatt trying that choreo. So I do think Ashley has an artistic sensibility. Her Black Swan was an eye opener. I am pleased with her success and her growth as a skater.

    A hater these days I am not. Sorry to disappoint.

    Also, I am not posting as JudgeJudy even though he/she and I seem to agree on everything and write the same way.
    Sorry Alex, but when I read that post of yours, I was shocked that it sounded so hateful. I did not think you had so much hatred in you. The post did come out that way, whether you intended it or not.

    I disagree with both you and JudgeJudy's assessment of Kwan, but it's a lot easier to respond to hers than yours, based on how she wrote it, without strong negative emotions, in her comments.

    Sorry. Just my perspective.
    Last edited by Vash01; 11-24-2012 at 04:32 PM.

  19. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    I remember seeing 2001 Worlds in person. What struck me about Michelle versus Slutskaya, for example, was that with Kwan, I was drawn into the performance. Only afterwards, did I realize just how much technical merit it contained. With Irina, all I saw were the tricks.

    Under CoP, Ashley is not only challenging herself by combining difficult choreography and technical content, she is performing and projecting, too.

    I recall Kwan being interviewed about her experience with IJS, and she said, it was more difficult to lose herself in the program. Instead, she found herself counting.
    I am one of those who absolutely loved the way Irina presented herself on the ice. She was not as musical as Michelle, and Michelle was clearly the superior artist, but I loved them both, despite their differences.

    About Kwan's comment on IJS, I think many skaters who spent most of their careers under 6.0 had that difficulty. Case in point Johnny Weir. He could never adjust to COP. Even Plushenko had difficulty with it in the 2010 Olympics because he had not competed under COP very long. I remember reading a comment by Anton Sikharulidze some time ago. He said (parapharasing) he & Elena would not be able to be competitive under COP. In a way we were lucky that we got to see some of the greatest skating before COP came into play. We have seen some great programs under COP too, but they are far fewer. JMHO.

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    I think Irina Slutskaya had very good presentation but not very good "artistry" per say which is why I am glad the mark was changed to presentation as it accomodates a greater variety of skating styles and strengths. JMO

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