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  1. #1

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    Should the ladies be required to perform a "slow section"?

    When you look back at the age 1980-1992 when ladies skating made huge leaps forward in jump content, all the ladies took what was essentially a break in the middle of their programs called a "slow section." This was not good in all respects, but I think it may have allowed ladies extra breathing room to get through four minutes while attempting increasingly strenuous and mentally-demanding triples. Now that programs are more draining than a 12 minute program from the 1980s or 1990s would be, perhaps the best antidote to a lack of progress in ladies jumps is a mandated section that is skated slow. I doubt this is practical, but it would be fun to see.

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    I wouldn't mind seeing this come back. There are so many requirements for men & ladies, that I think it would be a good "breather" & a chance to regroup (as the music calls for it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    When you look back at the age 1980-1992 when ladies skating made huge leaps forward in jump content, all the ladies took what was essentially a break in the middle of their programs called a "slow section." This was not good in all respects, but I think it may have allowed ladies extra breathing room to get through four minutes while attempting increasingly strenuous and mentally-demanding triples. Now that programs are more draining than a 12 minute program from the 1980s or 1990s would be, perhaps the best antidote to a lack of progress in ladies jumps is a mandated section that is skated slow. I doubt this is practical, but it would be fun to see.
    I am not sure imposing yet another requirement on a so-called "free" program is going to help. What it's going to create is an unbalance between the two ends of the program and the middle section - personally I already have an issue with front- or backloaded programs, so that's certainly not gonna help And from a choreographer point of view, I am really, really not in favor of that - that automatically adds limitations from an artistic point of view in a field that's already somewhat lackluster overall in this regard

    Wouldn't rather the solution be to have less elements? If you have fewer jumps (say 5, for instance, or 6 with the possibility to either have one less spin or do away with the choreographed sequence), it would be slightly less demanding physically in terms of purely atheltic content and decluter the programs, meaning they'd have a better chance to choreograph in a moment when they can breathe - whenever it is more suitable for them and with respect to the music - and allow them to have an actual chance at interpreting the music, which is very difficult now

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    IMO the ladiezzz programs are all slow enough, thanks.

    The guys always manage to find time for a big rest period before the second half.... I guess cause they have 30 extra seconds, but only one additional jumping pass to complete. So if this is an issue, the solution would be to make the ladies program longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherub721 View Post
    The guys always manage to find time for a big rest period before the second half.... I guess cause they have 30 extra seconds, but only one additional jumping pass to complete. So if this is an issue, the solution would be to make the ladies program longer.
    That would be my suggestion. Maybe give them a little more leeway -- instead of 4:00 +/- 10 seconds, it could be 4:15 +/- 15 seconds, or something like that.

    Then those who would like to take a break, do some posing or simple gliding to the music before their second-half difficult jumps, would have more time to do so.

    I would also want to redefine the choreo sequence in such a way that it wouldn't have to come after the step sequence, since it's often a good choreographic choice to do spirals etc. to slow music in the middle of the program and quick steps at the end.

    But above all, give the skaters options within a range of possibilities that keeps the programs comparable -- don't mandate that all need to fit the same template just because it's a good template -- there are multiple good templates that can work well for different skaters or different music cuts.

    And then build in rules that reward skaters in TES for doing layouts that are difficult technically and reward them in PCS for layouts that are more effective choreographically.

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    I'm certain the skater would put a slowly skated section in her program is she needed a slowly skated section. If a female athlete can run a marathon, then I don't see why a female athlete would need such a restriction in an ice skating program that is less than 5 minutes long, but, at the same time, I don't think there is any reason to not have a slow section as part of a program for whatever reason.
    Last edited by bardtoob; 01-07-2013 at 04:36 PM.

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    Won't be easy to define slow in the rulebook. A slow Carolina Kostner can cross the rink in no time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kirkbiggestfan View Post
    Won't be easy to define slow in the rulebook. A slow Carolina Kostner can cross the rink in no time.
    I might be mistaken but I think by "slow section", one normally refers to a slowdown of the music's tempo, not to how fast/slow the skater is going (although since you're interpreting the music, a skater would tend to be slower in the slow section relative to the other parts of the program )

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    I would also object to requiring women to include slow rhythms and not requiring it of men. That would seem to be dictating artistic choices based on gender, whereas IMO the only valid sporting distinctions to be made should be based on physiology and physical capabilities.

    I'm not sure that there's a valid case to be made that men can handle a 4:30 program length and women can't. (Female pair skaters obviously can, and I don't think that even if they're spending 30 seconds with their blades above the ice in lifts and throws that they're expending less energy up there.)

    For singles skaters, there is a much larger percentage of men than women who can do six different triples, and although the percentage of men who can do quads is small, it's virtually zero for women. So it does make sense that men might like to include more jump passes.

    But I'd like to see women have the option, and the extra time, to include 8 jump passes if that's the only way they can do 7 triples and a double axel -- a very common jump layout among the good-but-not-outstanding 6.0-era jumpers of the 1990s/early 2000s. It would also be an opportunity for women to include special jump skills with single and double jumps after they've used up their triples and double axels.

    Or give them the option to stick with 7 or 6 jump passes and fill the additional 30 seconds and the other element slot(s) with non-jump elements: a 4th spin, another step sequence (i.e., two different step sequences and a spiral- or other gliding move-based "choreographed" sequence), a school figure variation, etc.


    I've already explained why I'm against requiring a "slow" section in women's programs specifically or in any programs. But I do think that long programs tend to benefit from variety and contrast of tempos. Those that rely on a single piece of music with minimal variation of rhythm/tempo usually use "slow" music throughout, perhaps with a gradual build in intensity.

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    No, I think coaches and choreographers should try to build the program accroding to what the skater can do. No need for another rule.
    So, coaches, add slow section instead of posing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post

    Or give them the option to stick with 7 or 6 jump passes and fill the additional 30 seconds and the other element slot(s) with non-jump elements: a 4th spin, another step sequence (i.e., two different step sequences and a spiral- or other gliding move-based "choreographed" sequence), a school figure variation, etc.
    I'm all for this. I can think of a lot of skaters who could come up with different options. Gold could max out her triples and do a Rippon 2lutz from steps, Alissa and Mirai could come up with a dazzling spin instead of trying another jump, I could see Mao coming up with an interesting second step sequence, etc...The more variety, and the more room the skaters have to show off their individual strengths, the better IMO.

  12. #12
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    I can't believe you are actually suggesting this idea. Most slow sections are cheap gimmicks that are put in, not for choreographic reasons, but in order to decrease the athletic merit of a program; as you say, to enable a rest period so the skater can resume doing jumps, etc. I instantly associate Morozov's latest CoP programs with this calculating formula.

    Please, do not make it mandatory. On the other hand, make it mandatory for a program to take severe hits to PCS when it occurs UNLESS the slow section actually has noteworthy figure skating highlights to it. Unlike e.g. Miki Ando's standing mostly still and posing meaninglessly with her arms until she hit the halfway mark and resumed triple jump after triple jump after triple. It was a travesty in scoring that she didn't get 5-6's for CH and IN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PUNKPRINCESS View Post
    make it mandatory for a program to take severe hits to PCS when it occurs UNLESS the slow section actually has noteworthy figure skating highlights to it. Unlike e.g. Miki Ando's standing mostly still and posing meaninglessly with her arms until she hit the halfway mark and resumed triple jump after triple jump after triple. It was a travesty in scoring that she didn't get 5-6's for CH and IN.
    That is hilariously true.

  14. #14

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    IMO a 'free' program should be 'free'. The required elements are covered in the short program. Let the skaters figure out how they can balance a breather (if that's the intent of the slow section) and accumulating points.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by PUNKPRINCESS View Post
    Please, do not make it mandatory. On the other hand, make it mandatory for a program to take severe hits to PCS when it occurs UNLESS the slow section actually has noteworthy figure skating highlights to it.
    I'm not sure how to make PCS hits mandatory.

    The places where a lot of stationary posing or two-foot gliding could be penalized would be
    the Mastery of one-foot skating criterion under Skating Skills, the Difficulty criterion under Transitions, and the Pattern and ice coverage criterion under Choreography. So reminders to judges to penalize in those areas would have that effect, but not in a systematic manner.

    The challenge of PCS or any global score that applies to a whole program is that it's hard to quantify. You can break it down into smaller pieces -- e.g., if judges had to give one score for Mastery of one-foot skating, then the skater who does a lot of crossovers and two-foot glides and uses only mohawks to change direction would score lower there than a skater who uses a lot of one-foot skills. But if it's mixed into the same score as Power/energy and acceleration and Flow and effortless glide, then the latter skater might do better in those areas and after balancing out the different criteria the two skaters with different strengths might end up with the same Skating Skills score. Or different judges would give more weight to one set of skills or the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I would also want to redefine the choreo sequence in such a way that it wouldn't have to come after the step sequence, since it's often a good choreographic choice to do spirals etc. to slow music in the middle of the program and quick steps at the end.
    Agreed, and this is also an issue in ice dance with the choreographic lift which needs to be done at the end. I am assuming this is just to make it easier to grade everything, ie, all the elements which require level calls get put in first, so the caller knows that the last (lift/sequence) is the choreographic lift/sequence. I don't see why they can't just have the skaters pre-designate the element. It could be problematic occasionaly (like that time Shabalin accidentally lifted Domnina at the end of a spin and it got called a l1 lift, throwing off the rest of their lifts), but IMO the greater freedom it would allow would be worth it (eg, Virtue & Moir have a beautiful choreographic lift at the end of Carmen, but it's crammed in at the end in a place that doesn't fit musically, while the lift just before it is in a perfect spot musically, so the proper way to address it is to put the choreographic lift somewhere else).

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    Don't most freestyle programs now still follow the fast-slow-fast format construction as they have been for years ? The music choices are more harmonious now so that the transitions aren't so obvious. You'll no longer hear "Send In The Clown" going right into "Funky Cold Medina", for example.

  18. #18

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    No more rules pleaaasssseeeeee!

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    Andy Warhol, I think there should be rules requiring the ladies to skate to muzac versions of Lady Gaga. Rules are wonderful because you can keep making them and the skaters are the only ones who pay for them to be implemented! The ISU apparently only has to please Japan and the Asian fans to keep their broadcasting rights monies coming in.

  20. #20
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    I hate when a routine follows a fast-slow-fast music construction. It's just so predictable and almost lazy. I know many (most) do and some of my favorite programs of all-time follow that format, but I hate it when it's so obvious and appreciate it when a skater changes it up.

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