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  1. #1

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    different uses of blades and body

    So much of standard figure skating technique has traditionally used a still, upright torso, or twisted at the waist to produce rotation, often with the limbs extended or curved as in ballet.

    And of course we know all about standard edges and curves.

    So what skaters have pushed the possibilities in new directions in terms of what they can do with the blades, or with their bodies above the blades?

    I'm going to start with a couple of my favorite pro programs by women just because they look so different from what we usually see in eligible competition.

    Aside from upper body movement added to IJS step sequences to gain levels, have we seen much experimenting with alternative body shapes in competitive programs? How does the balance needed here relate to the balance needed for standard technical elements?

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    Kwan's Fields of Gold is a grand display of combination of edges combined with body usage. Much is still classical positions but she did bring in the sideways spiral as well as the hydroblade positions. I also love the BO Charlotte into FI arabesque.

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    Thanks gkelly. Jeri's use of her body, arms and hands were beautiful to watch.

    gkelly, may I ask you a query in this thread? It may be only slightly related to your thread title - blades and body. I have often heard comments like ..."oh look at this ...., no one has done in for a long time.. it looks simple but it's actually very difficult". Unfortunately, since I am not a skater, I cannot understand why the seemingly 'normal skill' is considered difficult.

    Here is Patrick's La Boheme at COR. It was commented that this particular movement is 'dangerous and difficult'. It seems 'normal' to me and I cannot really see how skating in the opposite direction to the body movement is difficult? Is it possible for you to expand on this comment? Thank you.

    I am linking Marco's comment on Kwan's Fields of Gold here.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

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    Quote Originally Posted by spikydurian View Post
    Here is Patrick's La Boheme at COR. It was commented that this particular movement is 'dangerous and difficult'. It seems 'normal' to me and I cannot really see how skating in the opposite direction to the body movement is difficult? Is it possible for you to expand on this comment? Thank you.
    Do you mean that little hop where he takes off from right back outside edge (counterclockwise) and left toepick and lands on left forward inside (clockwise) and right toepick? Or the nonrotational hop right after that, from left forward inside (CW) to right forward inside (CCW)?

    I wouldn't say either one is extremely dangerous or difficult. But I'm not sure I've seen hops with exactly those takeoff and landing edges before because it is certainly more difficult to reverse the rotation of the skating curve in the air or on the landing even without the extra rotation of a single or higher jump in the air.

    The first of those hops is a variation of mazurka jump, which would usually continue the CCW curve by landing on left forward outside edge and toepick. So he adds difficulty by changing immediately from the CCW half rotation in the air to the CW curve on the landing.

    And the second sort of looks like a bunny hop in the air, which is generally done on a flat (straight line, no curve) by beginners or sometimes from forward outside to the same forward outside plus toepick of the other foot at an advanced level (I seem to remember Michelle Kwan doing that but can't recall the program). What makes this somewhat dangerous is the forward landing without any toepick assist. And the fact that the edges are so clear and not shallow at all here.

    So yeah, it takes a lot of control to adjust the twist in the upper body and the balance over the blades to control those changes of direction, and to anticipate or make those adjustments in the air so as to be perfectly positioned on the new curve on the landing.

    I'm sure these hops would not be as difficult as, say, a walley or a double lutz, which reverse rotation on the takeoff rather than the landing but have more rotation in the air. Most other senior skaters could pick them up if they put in some practice time. They just haven't had the incentive to do so. But I doubt many would be able to look as effortless, or as what you call "normal," as Chan does here.

    ETA:

    Over at Goldenskate, I also did an analysis of
    Chan's short program from this year's Worlds.

    I noted that, after the opening quad combo, he did a sequence with half-rotation jump from left back inside and toe pick (i.e., flip takeoff, counterclockwise rotation in the air) landing on right forward outside edge (clockwise curve, i.e., changing direction just as he returns to the ice), with a lunge and CW three turn; twizzle with the music and then repeated the same sequence of moves.

    And later in the program, after the camel spin, he did a sequence including clockwise-rotating half-revolution jump from LBI to LFI with toe assist on the landing (i.e., a quarter-walley or inside counter jump), clockwise half-flip, and another counterrotated half-jump from LBO to LFO (outside counter or half-toeless-lutz).

    So in the course of two programs Chan included at least four different half-rotation jumps that involved counterrotation on the takeoff or landing, as well as a natural rotation half jump in his opposite direction and a non-rotating jump that changed curves in the air.

    In terms of 21st century jump repertoire, which focuses primarily on multirotation jumps of which only the lutz involves any counterrotation, I'd call this varied use of low-rotation jumps creative.
    Last edited by gkelly; 06-20-2013 at 06:12 PM.

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    Two more guys who liked to experiment even in amateur competition -- details later

    Allen Schramm 1981

    Gary Beacom 1984

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    Gary Beacom was unique in how he used the blades. When I saw this thread title, he was the first skater that came to my mind.

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    I agree with those mentioned, and Jason Brown also comes to mind in this and many other performances:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjttZqY3rvA

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    I would add Robin Cousins and Ilia Klimkin to the list.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Two moments of note:

    At 1:30, Beacom does a 1-revolution jump from forward outside to the same forward outside edge, first in his good (CW) direction, and then in the opposite direction. No counterrotation here, but the forward landing on an edge with no assist from the other foot is definitely dangerous and unusual.

    At 2:28, in the middle of a combo spin, he goes onto the forward outside edge in an upright position. This would have been considered a feature under IJS until about 2010, but now change of edge counts only in camel and forward sits (and layback?) spins. But it was certainly unusual then as now, and (speaking from personal experience) more difficult than changing to a forward inside edge in a backspin.

  10. #10
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    When I think "different uses of blades" these are what come to my mind: Kurt Browning's hockey routine, the "en-pointe" special skate blades routine, and the couple who skated with skates on their hands.

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    ^^ I think the couple who skated with skates on their hands was Gary Beacom and a friend of his (I forget her name). I wonder if their performance is still up on youtube?

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    Beacom and Gia Guddat, his girlfriend at the time. Now an extremely ex girlfriend according to his bitter account of their breakup. I believe she now coaches in Sun Valley.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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    Agree on Beacom and Klimkin, and some French skaters (eg, Jeannette). Such approaches are rare because they are never rewarded by the establishment and often punished.

    But I also want to note that having bad posture and no extension and sloppy position are not innovation. The conventional standards are conventional for a reason.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    But I also want to note that having bad posture and no extension and sloppy position are not innovation. The conventional standards are conventional for a reason.
    True. Of course, some skaters who explore nontraditional, especially nonclassical, body positions choose to do so because conventional positions don't come easily to them so they will never excel and stand out there, but they could stand out through creativity and choose to focus their efforts in that direction instead. Ideally, of course, they would achieve good clarity, good alignment, in their unconventional positions.

    Also I bet a lot of men have considered anything approaching a balletic body line to be effeminate and have intentionally avoided it for that reason.

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    Oh and of course the drunken steps by Braden Overett in his Pirate program.

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