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How do you define "innovative" skating?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by gkelly, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    New technical moves?
    New variations on and combinations of existing moves?
    New or underused music choices?
    How about unusual approaches to standard warhorse music?
    Unusual body positions?
    Unusual program construction or program themes?
    Creative costume styles?

    What else that doesn't fit any of the above?

    Which are most important to you?

    How important is innovation anyway?

    If following trends is boring, is it better to set new trends or to be so far out in left field that few others dare to follow?
  2. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

    All of the above except the costume thing. :D

    What is most important to me is a coherent, organic, and thoughtful construct that not only innovates and moves the sport forward, but also works well as a whole.

    One could argue that this is a sport and the only ideals are faster, higher, and stronger. And individuality need not apply. I believe figure skating is more, which is why I love it. I consider it analogous to "a clear and distinctive voice" in good writing.

    Why is innovation important (or at least more difficult)? I think it is because we as humans are naturally drawn to new experiences and stimulations, both as spectators and as athletes. We are naturally delighted by surprises. In addition, no two persons are exactly the same. Reusing music and interpretation many others have used before tends to be a choice of shortcut, to arouse the audience's feelings by relying on their memory of previous programs and familiarity with the commonly known meaning of the music without working too hard. An unfamiliar piece of music and/or choreographic approach is risky, because the skater has to work harder to "earn" the audience's emotional investment in the program. Thus it is more difficult and requires more effort in addition to the increased risk. But it's also more rewarding when done well.

    I can only speak for myself. I would rather watch someone who goes a bit too far to the left field as long as it is genuine to the skater himself/herself than someone who relies on shortcuts and crowd-pleasers.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
    gkelly and (deleted member) like this.
  3. SmallFairy

    SmallFairy #teamtrainwreck #vladmorosovsfreckles #teamjapan

    Ilia Klimkin. Stanick Jeannette.
  4. os168

    os168 Active Member

    I will know it when I see it.

    Problem is COP was formatted to catered to reward established conventions where judges knows what to expect, and high risks do not translate to high rewards. As such it is hardly a breeding ground for innovation where freedom of expressions, experimentation should be prerequisites.

    As such, artistry dies, clever designs takes over, function over form, manipulation over substance. Or lazily following established aesthetics done accurately template itself as 'good' artistry when itself are just copy cat of previous original works.

    Even something like Wagner's Black Swan spiral arm movements caused major split among the skating aficionados, which I happen to love. Something different, dark, unique, original, that separate from the pwretty princess/ballerina archetype that is ladies figure skating.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  5. sbanet

    sbanet Well-Known Member

    ....and going back earlier:

    Dick Button, late 1940s - one thing I've learned from watching the historical skating clips was how far ahead of the field he was, both technically and artistically. It was very :eek:, (in a good way). ;)

    Toller Cranston, 1970s - totally expanded the parameters of dance elements and freedom of movement within the format of a competitive program. Toller temperament and voids were an added bonus. :inavoid:
  6. sbanet

    sbanet Well-Known Member

    I agree. However... although it seems much tougher to accomplish these days, I still believe that there will always be skaters/coaches/choreographers who will incorporate unique elements that everyone else will copy, or better yet - have the ISU technical committees scrambling for the rule books.
  7. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    I think you nailed it, the only problem is I think it also depends on how well rounded the person watching is. Many people here have been watching skating for a long time so not much looks very 'innovative' anymore in terms of music or choreography but someone who is new to the sport can be totally blown away by someone doing the simplest of moves or the most over used song depending how long they have been exposed to it. I think innovation is great but if you are sloppy the innovation won't go very far.

    I like it when skaters step out of the box instead of playing it straight but I also don't mind if they want to skate to 'Carmen.' They are the ones who have to practice to it 1000 times, not me. They have to be comfortable with the program and enjoy what they do. I only have to watch it a few times a season.
  8. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    Of all the above, I think the first two ie. new technical moves and new variations on and combination of existing moves are best fit to the term 'innovation' in figure skating and should raise the technical bar which I think is harder to fulfill.
    'Innovation' in sports may be harder than in technology! Some innovation in sports come mainly from objects used in sports rather than in technic like swimming costumes, golf clubs, tennis rackets and etc.
    IMO, setting new trends is interesting so long it doesn't downgrade the technical aspects. Afterall, sports are sports. I think it's easier to set new trends in arts than sport. Human capability is not limitless (without consequences).
  9. Johnny_Fever

    Johnny_Fever Well-Known Member

    It depends. If you're already at the top, better to play it safe. If you're in the middle of the pack, what have you got to lose? It worked for the Duchesnays, but the rules have been tightened up since then. I'm not so sure that could happen again.
  10. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    All of what you expressed gkelly plays a part. It's a magical combination not easily able to be captured.

    The Protopopovs
    Toller Cranston
    Janet Lynn
    Torvill and Dean
    Tom Dickson
    Brian Wright
    Savchenko/ Szolkowy in partnership with Ingo Steuer!

    (Some of what Lori Nichol, Frank Carroll and Michelle Kwan accomplished together was magical as well, if not necessarily innovative. It certainly set a standard, and with Michelle's consistency made a huge impact on the sport). And, there are lots of skaters and choreographers who've made innovative and or distinctive contributions small and large through the years, of which I would include: Jackson Haines, Ulrich Salchow, Axel Paulsen, Cecilia Colledge, Dick Button, Mabel Fairbanks, John Curry, John Nicks, Irina Rodnina, Peggy Fleming, Robin Cousins, Lucinda Ruh, Gordeeva/ Grinkov, Brian Boitano, Denise Biellmann, Midori Ito, Klimova/ Ponomarenko, Anissina/ Peizarat, Paul Wylie, Johnny Weir, Matt Savoie, Stephane Lambiel, Jeremy Abbott, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Shpilband/ Zoueva :(, Pasqaule Camerlengo, Julie Marcotte, Dai Takahashi ...
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
    Simone411 and (deleted member) like this.
  11. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Of course there are many who've made distinctive contributions or performed in a magical way on the ice... I'd have to add Sonja Henie (some costume innovations, plus she helped popularize the sport); Shen and Zhao (breathtaking, uplifting performances -- such courage and charisma); Christopher Bowman (genius performer, very gifted and inspirational despite his personal angst and fall from grace); Kurt Browning (love his chutzpah, sense of humor and positive energy).
  12. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    ^^^ That is true, but can also be a problem. Innovation just for the point of that footnote in the books is.....well....IMO - not too fab.

    Mao with her triple axel.....certainly innovative but at the expense of her programs (when it didn't work everything else often went south)

    I think, there is innovation, and there is also inspiration. When the two go together, it is magic.

    B/S and their Charlie Chaplin program.............innovative.........gorgeous....but not popular with the judges. They them took the safe path.

    I thought Alissa's skating two years ago was innovative, gorgeous and organic. That all worked.

    Michelle really stepped out and forever changed the sport with her "presentation". I wonder if she could have upped the content difficulty had she not concentrated on presentation. Just a wonder. Not a dig.
  13. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ Yes, exactly re the rare combination of "innovation and inspiration." :swoon:

    Interesting re B/S and Chaplin (I think the credit for that program's innovative details more goes to Tamara Moskvina). Absolutely B/S had many magical moments, but IMO they never fully overcame their nerves in big moments, and Elena is more of an introvert than Anton, so there was sometimes a spark missing IMHO in some of their performances. I think one of the reasons why the Chaplin program worked so well for them is because it helped bring out more of Elena's personality and thus they were able to play off of and connect with each other in a more dynamic way ... JMO. ETA: of course B/S' lines, musicality, and overall aesthetically pleasing qualities are simply top-notch.

    Agree with you re Henie innovation as "footnote" -- she was lucky to have a politically connected and wealthy father. Also, I definitely agree with you re Alissa's breakout season -- I think she inspired so many in the ladies field with her programs that season. Actually, Michelle Kwan impacted the sport with a great deal more than just "her presentation"!!! And that's no dig, either, ya dig. ;)
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  14. all_empty

    all_empty Well-Known Member

    For me, innovative skating is all about movement.

    I remember interviewing Ryan Jahnke a few times and just hearing him describe his training and choreography was so fascinating. He could skate to a familiar piece like "Cinderella" or Grieg's Piano Concerto and still bring a freedom of movement.

    For that reason I like Olga Markova and, perhaps shocking to some, Surya Bonaly as a pro.
  15. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

    I think innovation is vital to the progress of the sport. Anything that creates room for a new style might expand the fan base, for one thing. But beyond that, w/o innovation, the sport is boring and even very good skaters, if they don't compare well to the previous generation's skaters whose style they adopted, fail to capture the existing fans' emotions. Everything falls flat.

    The problem in skating is that innovation by itself can't be rewarded unless both the difficulty and execution are competitive. Yet another example of the corridor holding the sport back :) Although to be fair, the 6.0 system was hardly any better. If anything, COP at least rewards great spinners, and spins can be a popular avenue for innovative expression.

    It's really a lot to ask of a skater, that they have the jumps, spins, steps AND unique style AND good presentation. I mean, without good presentation, the innovation doesn't register with the audience.

    It's a shame that innovation can't be rewarded separately from P/E, Choreography or Interpretation. If it was, the skater who is behind the pack technically will have the most incentive to be innovative as it would be a way to make up the gap.

    For gymnastics fans, the '85-88 COP rewarded originality and it lead to some really cool, iconic routines. I hope the ISU can figure out a way to do that with our COP.
  16. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Do you have any suggestions for how to reward it? What could you build into the scoring system?

    What kinds of innovations could be rewarded? Probably new ways of using the blade would need to be rewarded differently than new body positions or musical rhythms. Although all could come under the general "originality" criterion under Choreography.
  17. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    Judging a term like "originality" is very tough. You will have one judge who sees a move and scores it a 5.00 because they have seen it 100 times and another judge who will score it a 9.50 because it's most original thing they have ever seen because they haven't been exposed to that move as much. It's like one person on here saying a position is "ugly" when I think it was unique. Unless you can prove you created that move and had it names after you can it truly be creative and even Denise Beillmann couldn't do that.