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Mad for Skating

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Great read! It made me think of the discarded 1991 FD by the Duchesnays, that was choreographed by Christopher Dean. The concept was intriguing but it didn’t come across well in performance. I think there have been successful attempts at releasing ice dance from gender-based roles more recently, as you said.
Agree! I think we’ve definitely made progress over the past few decades, but we still have a long way to go and I hope to see more programs in this direction!
 

starrynight

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What would people define as removing gender roles in skating? Is it just getting rid of sexy or romantic themed programs?

Would Fledermaus by Davis/White be a gender roles program? It's not particularly sexy or romantic, but it is a ballroom dance of a woman in a pretty dress and a man in a tux.

Great read! It made me think of the discarded 1991 FD by the Duchesnays, that was choreographed by Christopher Dean. The concept was intriguing but it didn’t come across well in performance. I think there have been successful attempts at releasing ice dance from gender-based roles more recently, as you said.
I would describe the Duchesnay's 'Missing' program as being one that tells a story that isn't all about Man + Woman. Incredible program - although of course it does borrow a lot from one of my most favourite ballets of all time. Sometimes things don't need to be as glaringly obvious as just putting both the man and woman in pants. That can be a bit 'low hanging fruit' I think.

I also think that given how much harder skating is for girls - they are the ones that have to fight for the partners (50 girls to 1 boy), have to be perfect or else they'll get replaced because the boys are so much rarer than them etc etc that they deserve to be the star of a team on ice.
 
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starrynight

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@starrynight, what ballet does Missing borrow from?
Ghost Dances by Christopher Bruce. It tells the story of the 35,000 Chileans murdered by Pinochet in his coup.

It's set to folk music and utilises White Ghosts (dancers in white body paint and skull masks to symbolise death). They'd walk through the dancers (who played farmers, business men, women etc and touch them and they'd just fall). A stark way of depicting the sudden randomness of executions in a symbolic way.

Honestly, it's the most incredible piece of work. The symbolism in it is shockingly powerful and the music is perfect. If you ever get the opportunity to see it, please do. Unfortunately, when I saw it for the first time, I had a ticket late in the run and wasn't able to get another ticket to see it again.

Here are some videos. Unfortunately a full DVD doesn't seem to be available for purchase.



 
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Spun Silver

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Ghost Dances by Christopher Bruce. It tells the story of the 35,000 Chileans murdered by Pinochet in his coup.
Thanks so much for all that! It's a powerful work and the resemblance is strong. Dean made it his own, but still I wonder if he ever gave Bruce credit, or payment.
 

Mad for Skating

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Great question, @starrynight! I think Davis/White’s program was definitely a step away from the classic “male/female in love” program. To me, they always seemed like a team of best friends rather than lovers, and I really appreciated their style.
To me, Papadakis/Cizeron’s free dance last season is the perfect example of a non-heteronormative ice dance program. As for pairs, Savchenko/Massot’s La terre vue du ciel, Duhamel/Radford’s Hometown Glory, and Stolbova/Klimov’s The Man and the Shadow come to mind as great examples of innovative choreography that doesn’t involve an obvious romance.
 

starrynight

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To me, they always seemed like a team of best friends rather than lovers, and I really appreciated their style.
A lot of their programs were very sexy and dramatic though - Scheherazade being a perfect example. I think it’s important to not overlay the personal lives of skaters onto the programs they perform. To that end I don’t see the usefulness of distinguishing straight/gay/platonic/dating/hate each other skaters in respect of what programs they perform. It’s all acting and a performance. And some skaters can really act and perform and others just can’t.

Ice dance is really the discipline where all this matters. Choreography is secondary in pairs to actually landing quality elements in unison - and the respective roles of the lady and man are more than adequately dealt with by the insanity of all the elements.
 
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Mad for Skating

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A lot of their programs were very sexy and dramatic though - Scheherazade being a perfect example. I think it’s important to not overlay the personal lives of skaters onto the programs they perform. To that end I don’t see the usefulness of distinguishing straight/gay/platonic/dating/hate each other skaters in respect of what programs they perform. It’s all acting and a performance. And some skaters can really act and perform and others just can’t.

Ice dance is really the discipline where all this matters. Choreography is secondary in pairs to actually landing quality elements in unison - and the respective roles of the lady and man are more than adequately dealt with by the insanity of all the elements.
I agree! For example, Papadakis/Cizeron’s Olympic short dance was a sexy Latin program to “Shape of You” and “Thinking Out Loud”. Even though they aren’t a couple, they sold the heck out of it. I just wish there wasn’t so much pressure on ice dancers to have at least one sexy program per season due to ISU rules. It especially puts sibling teams at a disadvantage.

I definitely think ice dance puts a greater emphasis on chemistry than pairs, mostly due to the proximity of the partners and the required pattern dances. It may be a radical idea, but I would like to see the regulated rhythm dance replaced with a less restricted short dance (more like short programs for singles and pairs). Thoughts?

(I just want to clarify that I’m not trying to hate on heteronormative programs; I adored Davis/White’s Shcheherezade and many other romantic/sexy ice dance programs!)
 

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