The Dance Hall 7: Tripping the Light Fantastic 2019-2020

bcash

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303
Every time I read crap like this I feel so badly for gay people in Russia. He said he can't say anything bad about their skating. So shut up. The bottom line is his male skaters, while talented, cannot hold a candle to Papadekis and he knows it. Sour grapes anyone?
Even to follow through with Kostormanov’s laughably narrow view on gender roles in performance, Cizeron certainly has demonstrated, like, a thousand times more technical prowess and strength than Kostormanov ever did.
 

millyskate

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13,701
Watched S&K for the first time this season.
The choice of opening music is incredibly unfortunate because it embodies elevator music at its most elevatoresque. Bizarre that both Russian teams have chosen to open their programs with Einaudi this year.
There's some nice research on the lifts and they are pleasant to watch but they do lack an identity as a team. It's the kind of program that can only work with flawless execution and it wasn't there this time - just not quite matching each other throughout.
 

starrynight

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2,333
Maybe try giving up on figuring out the words next time. I don’t think they intended for you to digest every word - it’s a skating program after all.
If that's the case, I would prefer it if the words weren't there. It's not beautiful or atmospheric speaking. It's just talking - if you can't understand the words, the talking serves no purpose. There's all sorts of atmospheric vocalise/singing that could be used instead. But I expect the talking is there to make the program seem fancy.
 
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aftershocks

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17,203
i agree this fd is overrated the Egyptian theme has been done to death and Evan bates is not a good ice dancer he is just there as a prop for chock, this is more about us fed politicking to keep a us team in contention after the implosion of h&d.
:huh: What are you smoking? Your negative comments make no sense.

U.S. fed have nothing to do with creating this FD program. Plus, U.S. fed ain't at all good at politicking. Historically, U.S. fed expect the scoring to be fair and for their skaters to win on merit. That bit of historical reality was explained by Frank Carroll and by a former U.S. skating official from back-in-the-day on old TSL interview podcasts.

Egyptian themes have not been done to death. It's just that Egypt was such a badass ancient civilization which originated so much we take for granted or have frankly forgotten about or never learned because we don't make the historical connections. So Egyptology is kind of a kitschy, ubiquitous trope culturally. It still does not mean Egyptian themes have been done to death in figure skating. They haven't. Perhaps few such themes have been done well in fs, but I don't think they've been done to death in the same way as Chaplin, Carmen, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, et al.

In any case, C/B's FD only contains some Egyptian-themed stylistic moves, but overall it's not an Egyptian program. It's more about portraying the story of a snake turned vixen, captivated by or capturing the attentions of a snake charmer. Maddie & Evan are having a blast with this program. It's fun to watch.

In your dreams Evan Bates is 'not a good ice dancer.' Just because you dislike C/B because maybe you feel they threaten your fave team, that's no reason to say shizz that don't make any sense.

H/D haven't imploded btw. But I guess keep on with the dissing and the nonsensical fantasizing.

It would be cool if C/B took silver and G/P took bronze in Montreal, or vice versa, but we know Zhulin and Rusfed ain't standing for that, regardless of how bland and boring NikVika's programs are this season. S/B are entertaining and likeable, but they aren't the best physical match, and they aren't great technically either. None of their shortcomings have prevented their scores from staying in the high range, similar to their teammates, NikVika.

Sinkats have a very dull fd ugly wobbly lifts shaky twizzles if they are beaten by g&p next week then Russian fed will switch support to step bukin
:rofl:
 

muffinplus

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3,662
Watched S&K for the first time this season.
The choice of opening music is incredibly unfortunate because it embodies elevator music at its most elevatoresque. Bizarre that both Russian teams have chosen to open their programs with Einaudi this year.
There's some nice research on the lifts and they are pleasant to watch but they do lack an identity as a team. It's the kind of program that can only work with flawless execution and it wasn't there this time - just not quite matching each other throughout.

S&K aren't using Einaudi though?
 

millyskate

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13,701
S&K aren't using Einaudi though?
Yes they are. The first part of their program is Einaudi. His music is minimalist at best but I think this piece is one of his worst.
I'd know as I'm a Classic FM listener and for some reason, they have this on their most frequent playlist :shuffle:

It's quite the insult to Dvorak to mix them together. A program to simply Dvorak could have been quite hauntingly beautiful.
 

muffinplus

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Yes they are. The first part of their program is Einaudi. His music is minimalist at best but I think this piece is one of his worst.
I'd know as I'm a Classic FM listener and for some reason, they have this on their most frequent playlist :shuffle:
Oh. OK, my mistake. I didn't realize they had Einaudi in there? But I think it's just the small piano bit when they do the twizzles?
 

millyskate

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13,701
Oh. OK, my mistake. I didn't realize they had Einaudi in there? But I think it's just the small piano bit when they do the twizzles?
It's the whole 2 first minutes.
This is the transition, which is particularly poor. From B minor to Eflat major,you can't get much worse / two less related keys. ETA: it's the relative C minor (not much better) but the transition is B to Eb. That they couldn't find a musician to edit their music is a little unfortunate...
 

muffinplus

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It's the whole 2 first minutes.
This is the transition, which is particularly poor. From B minor to Eflat major,you can't get much worse / two less related keys.
Thanks. Anyways, I agree that this program absolutely needs flawless execution to work... I do think they said as much in their interviews.
 

casken

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10,694
Just as an aside, I found the voice over in P/C's free skate incredibly distracting. I think because the words were all blurring together over the sound system.
The sound system at IDF was terrible. Very echo-y. Somehow the French Masters had superior sound.
 

cholla

High ground loner
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12,101
The sound system at IDF was terrible. Very echo-y. Somehow the French Masters had superior sound.
Do you mean on TV ? Because the sound system @ Grenoble Patinoire Pôle Sud is 100 times better than Villard de Lans'...
 

skategal

Bunny mama
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6,676
I really like S/B’s FD but would prefer if S/K were skating to it.

I think Nikita would do a better job at being angsty and pissed off for “Cry me a River” than Ivan.

Ivan is such a happy puppy kind of a guy. He’d be better doing “Singin in the Rain” than Nikita.

I wonder can we get them to switch routines? :rofl:
 

muffinplus

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3,662
I really like S/B’s FD but would prefer if S/K were skating to it.

I think Nikita would do a better job at being angsty and pissed off for “Cry me a River” than Ivan.

Ivan is such a happy puppy kind of a guy. He’d be better doing “Singin in the Rain” than Nikita.

I wonder can we get them to switch routines? :rofl:
Puppy in the rain :lol:
 

casken

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Do you mean on TV ? Because the sound system @ Grenoble Patinoire Pôle Sud is 100 times better than Villard de Lans'...
I guess it must have been the feed. Sounds like they were pumping the music directly into the feed at Masters so the vocals sounded clearer.
 

laviemn

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I don’t agree with the “Gadbois thin on ideas hence shortchanging their teams” complaint, which seems to be cited a lot ever since the operation grew. None of the programs we’ve seen up and down the “roster”, over the past few years, can be said to be qualitatively worse than anything anybody else put out, which is impressive given their size. In fact, even if one may argue about the “fit” between material and skater, programs coming out of Gadbois tend to look more well-rounded than those from other camps. The range this season is also impressive. I personally really like H/D and H/B’s programs, but even if you don’t, it’s kinda unfair to believe they were somehow “fed” these materials and had no say in them. None of us were in that process with them, plus the impression I got from the skaters didn’t suggest anything like it.
The sheer amount of choreography they have to do has resulted in mostly competent programs in the last 2 seasons, and you're right that it's impressive considering some of the choreo produced by some smaller camps. I think it's a good situation for lower and mid-ranked teams, because I have serious doubts those teams would get the same investment and attention to detail as Guignard/Fabri and Gilles/Poirier if they were Barbara's or Carol Lane's 2nd, 3rd, or 4th priority. For the top teams, would they have more richly detailed programs and be readier at the start of the season if they were their coach's first priority? Probably. In Hubbell/Donahue's case, I'm going with yes. But there aren't enough top ice dance coaches for every top ten team to have their own Barbara.

An aside: I will never understand S/K's love of the knee slide lift. It isn't aesthetic, I don't think they've ever gotten great GOE on it, and I'm worried they're going hurt themselves every time. Why not do a variation of their great one foot stationary lift instead of choosing this? It truly baffles me.
 

mollymgr

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4,053
If I look at overall points this season, RusFed seems to be backing S/B more. Maybe they aren’t sure who they want as their Russian #1.
As to IAM choreo, this season has highlighted how diverse their choreography is. It also looks like they are leaving the ideas of the programs up to their teams. Seems like a good strategy given how many teams they have to coach, but it doesn’t favor those who aren’t good at coming up with what they want in a program or those that have ideas that may not translate well into a program. JMO after looking at all the programs from them this year. The Brits, H/D, H/B, P/C, C/B all came up with their own ideas this year.
 

firstflight

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446
The sheer amount of choreography they have to do has resulted in mostly competent programs in the last 2 seasons, and you're right that it's impressive considering some of the choreo produced by some smaller camps. I think it's a good situation for lower and mid-ranked teams, because I have serious doubts those teams would get the same investment and attention to detail as Guignard/Fabri and Gilles/Poirier if they were Barbara's or Carol Lane's 2nd, 3rd, or 4th priority.
I think you're right given a review of which of their teams have gotten a score spike this season compared to last season.
It's W/L (a consistent +111 FD score is a leap), S/D (maybe enough with two 112+ FD scores to push them to Spain's number 1 definitively this season?), F/G (Vogue brought them a 118 FD score), F-B/S (good to be Canada's number 2 as well to aid the spike to 78's and 118's), and the 128 FD number C/B just posted. And of the newer formed teams, China's number 2 team is also setting season bests competition by competition.

Which of their teams have not gotten the score spike compared to last season? H/D, H/B, and P/C. H/B are clearly going to need to work through technical issues. But H/D and P/C are the two top teams in Montreal heading into this season.
 

Dobre

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7,314
Barbara did quite well by Koch & Nuchtern last season. I don't know how far down they were in her priority list, but she pretty clearly helped get them the levels, get them to the top of the German dance field, and into the FD at Worlds. Which is ground they appear to have lost this season moving away with Caruso.

As far as I can tell, Carol's 2nd team this season appears to be Bashynska & Beaumont. They were 10th at Junior Nationals last year and now appear to be fighting for a shot at the National podium and making the Junior World Team. Hovering closer to 4th than 3rd at the moment, I would say; but still quite good improvement from last season & clinched a medal this year at JGP Russia.

I mean, these teams are nowhere near the World podium; but they improved a lot under their coaches. Which implies time and investment. (Also, watching Barbara watch one of her teams have a great day? How can one even question whether she is invested? LOL).
 

Dobre

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Which of their teams have not gotten the score spike compared to last season?
I don't know about a score "spike" as the potential scores have gone up this season so many teams that have competed more than a couple times this year have probably earned higher SBs. But as far as scoring higher relative to one's close competition from last season, I can see what you are saying about the teams you named.

Taking that into account, I would say the following teams also have not demonstrated a "spike" relative to their close competition from last season:
Lauriault & Le Gac, Komatsubara & Koleto, Chen & Sun, Soucisse & Firus, and Bronsard & Bouaraguia. The Bulgarian team and, one assumes, Fisher & Mallette-Paquette dissolved.

*Chock & Bates have not defeated anyone they finished behind at Worlds last year. Their FD is up. Their RD is down. Their total is up about a point, and they split dances with S&K.

*Smart & Diaz have been up & down versus last year's competition this season. They've defeated Zagorski & Guerreiro and lost to Soucisse & Firus depending upon the competition and performance. S&D's SB is up substantially from last season. It is not as high as Hurtado & Khaliavin's.
 
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aftershocks

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bcash said:
I don’t agree with the “Gadbois thin on ideas hence shortchanging their teams” complaint...
Hmmm, yes perhaps as phrased that's a bit harsh. Still, I do think the 'thin on ideas' part (which is my comment) has some relevance. It's surely not easy to come up with fresh, outside-the-box ideas for two new programs for every team every season. That said, I agree the Gadbois crew do a remarkable job for their ice dancers and they have a unique operation that works, and that is very collaborative, productive, and innovative in pushing the discipline forward.

Since I don't know everything about how Gadbois coaches work with their teams, I'm not going to make harsh claims, but I do think there's always room for improvement and figuring out how to solve problems that arise with trying to craft creative programs. Surely there can be a tendency to end up sometimes retreading overused or what seems like safe, accessible material.

For the most part, Gadbois seem to have avoided getting stuck creatively. But this season, I personally am not enamored with the Chaplin take for Wang/Liu, although the costumes are clever and well-executed. Maybe the style works for them as a young, up-and-coming team, but it's been done too often for me to be interested in even paying attention. Maybe it works for them, but I immediately zoned out. The Swan Lake FD is a tried and true warhorse, but sometimes warhorses can work because they are warhorses for a reason. But the take and the costumes must at least be enlivening and not boring, which W/L have managed in their FD.

Regarding Hawayek/Baker's programs, here's the article in which Kaitlin says she and Jean Luc found and liked the music to Broadway's Saturday Night Fever:
"Hawayek found the music while looking through lists of Broadway musicals. (Saturday Night Fever premiered on Broadway in 1999.) 'It just felt absolutely right to both of us. We really wanted something fun,' Baker said. 'Something a little bit different, but still along the Broadway theme.'"

OTOH, the idea for the FD music and program was selected and created by Marie-France:
"For their free dance, Hawayek and Baker are skating to music by Beethoven and Paganini, performed by Marcin Patrzalek, a young Polish guitarist... known for his creative arrangements of classical music, to which he adds an element of flamenco styling. Dubreuil chose the music. 'When Marie-France heard it, and saw the different dynamic qualities to the music, it stood out as something that she felt we would excel with,' Hawayek said. Dubreuil's vision was to portray the Victorian era when the music was composed, overlaid with the flamenco influence in Patrzalek's interpretation. 'It seemed like something fresh and new,' Hawayek said of the concept.

In the case of H/B's RD, I would chalk that choice up to H/B being young and seeing it as fun and different. I remember when the movie first came out, so it's no longer fun and different for me. It's old hat. But the bigger issue I have is that SNF is a disco theme which has recently been done (first by G/P with a humorous, unexpected take since it hadn't been done before in ice dance AFAIK). H/B's teammates, F/G also did a brilliant disco-themed program last season to wide acclaim. That's a huge reason to stay away from it, unless you are planning to truly take your interpretation in a fresh direction, which did not happen.

But okay, SNF is not a disaster as an RD. It's just not fresh and exciting. The bigger problem is that the Victorian/flamenco FD does not come across very well to audiences. The concept is not readily accessible as a combo, IMHO. When I saw the program, I was reminded of the flamenco-flavored FD choreographed for F-B/S last season. Alright, the two programs and inspirations are different, but the flavor is just too similar. IMO, H/B appear to have ended up with retreads of program concepts performed better by training mates the previous season. :(

For these reasons, if I was Marie-France, I would have at least questioned the SNF choice for the RD, and maybe suggested H/B check out some other Broadway possibilities before settling on the first thing that struck them. I previously noted a number of familiar Broadway musicals for H/B that I doubt have been attempted in ice dance. Why not try Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Damn Yankees; Gigi; 42nd Street; On the Town; Dirty Dancing, and even Bye Bye Birdie, a musical from the late 50s Elvis era which is a spoof that's fun and humorous, somewhat similar to yet different from Grease.

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue would also work well, I think, for Hub/Don. I suppose Marie-France wanted H/B to be comfortable with their RD choice and so didn't dissuade them, but to me it's a no-brainer to stay away from an already brilliantly done disco theme by a training mate team.

The Victorian flamenco idea might seem good on paper for H/B, but for me it doesn't work on paper or on the ice for H/B. Alarm bells should have rung immediately because a training mate team previously had success with an engaging flamenco-style program. The music cuts and concept ideas for H/B's FD don't fully come across. I give H/B credit for sinking their blades and their hearts into these programs, but neither are doing them any favors. I guess it's difficult to scrap a program mid-season, but they need to rethink this FD especially.
 
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Tila

Member
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If that's the case, I would prefer it if the words weren't there. It's not beautiful or atmospheric speaking. It's just talking - if you can't understand the words, the talking serves no purpose. There's all sorts of atmospheric vocalise/singing that could be used instead. But I expect the talking is there to make the program seem fancy.
This is the contrary, they wanted to skate to the words only, but because of ISU rules, they had to add music. That was the challenge they were looking for, letting the words guide their movements. And they do.
 

Dobre

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An observation worth watching:

None of the junior dance teams' scores from the JGP have held up well enough to keep a junior team in the top 24 at this point in the season.
 

RoseRed

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An observation worth watching:

None of the junior dance teams' scores from the JGP have held up well enough to keep a junior team in the top 24 at this point in the season.
Well, last season only two junior dance teams ended up in the top 24, Lajoie/Lagha at 21st with their JW score and Ushakova/Nekrasov at 24th with their score from JGP Armenia. So having none wouldn't be that drastic.

But looking at the SB list from this date last year, there were more junior teams in the top 24. U/N were 15th with that JGP score, L/L were 21st with their JGP Canada score, Nguyen/Kolesnik were 22nd and Kazakova/Reviya were 23rd.

Comparing that to the top 4 juniors this season, we have N/K at 26th, K/R at 27th, Shanaeva/Naryzhnyy at 30th and Khudaiberdieva/Filatov at 39th. That is pretty different.

ETA:

The most important part of being top 24 is for GP spots next season. This past year, Lajoie/Lagha got 2 spots - one was a host spot, and they were also top 24 WS I believe. Ushakova/Nekrasov stayed junior. Shevchenko/Eremenko got 2 without a host pick - I think they had 1 guaranteed from WS.

Of the top juniors teams this year, K/R are aging out, and others like N/K, S/N and U/N (maybe Demougeot/Le Mercier) could move up depending on how JGPF and JW go. All of those teams except for K/R would have a shot at a host pick. K/R and N/K are the most likely to end up top 24 WS. K/R are also doing a split junior/senior season, so they'll have a chance to get a senior SB.
 
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aftershocks

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^^ Isn't that partly a consequence though of the scores in seniors ratcheting up at such an explicably high rate!? :COP:
 

aftershocks

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Puppy in the rain :lol:
:lol: The next time I see S/B, I'm not going to be able to get this 'cute puppy' image out of my head. They could maybe create a full-blown program out of this idea of Bukin as Stepanova's cuddly puppy... :rofl: Stay tuned for the music at 11. :watch: :p
 

Dobre

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Comparing that to the top 4 juniors this season, we have N/K at 26th, K/R at 27th, Shanaeva/Naryzhnyy at 30th and Khudaiberdieva/Filatov at 39th. That is pretty different.
Yes. I was wondering if the ratio of the potential score for juniors to seniors had widened again. It has been tough for the juniors to qualify for the GP via season's best ever since the first choreographic elements were added to the senior FD and the Junior Worlds placements no longer guaranteed. Scores often go up substantially for Junior Worlds (where we've had generous GOE), and Shevchenko & Eremenko earned their high score at the JGPF last year; but often someone makes the top 24 SB list via the regular JGP. Granted we had the entire junior podium turn over this season and Ushakova & Nekrasov sat out the JGP.

I'm not sure which junior teams this season might really be driven to want to move up to the GP for next season, outside of Kazakova & Reviya who appear to be setting themselves up for it via World Standings by adding a senior CS and a senior B. You have to do the leg work for a World Standings transition though. An SB is more viable for a late-forming junior partnership or a team that has missed events due to injury. I like to see both paths available.

It is possible that the difference between last season & this season could just be that this is more of a rebuilding year in juniors. I look at the current SB list and, with the exception of all those high Ice Star scores for messy performances, I don't feel like there's anything too out of wack. It is entirely plausible, for example, that Popova & Mozgov (currently 25th) could defeat Nguyen & Kolesnik (currently 26th). On a non-trainwreck day.

The expanded GP dance fields have really helped and also provided much better perspective for young teams moving up--allowing more young teams and their comparable senior counterparts to compete. This has been very good for transitioning teams, I think. But I still think transitioning is really hard and I like to see those junior teams that are competitive with seniors on the GP have both a WS and SB opportunity to qualify. Because life happens.
 

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