U.S. Pairs 2021-22 season - News & Updates, Part X

Arch-

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I just don't know how much faith to put into international judging, especially at the GPs, this year. Did anyone else notice the significant (more so than in prior years) inconsistencies in levels across the Euro & NHK GPs? And I'm not talking a 1 level difference. For exp in the triple twist, the Hungarian couple got a level 3 or 4 in Italy then a level 1 in France & there was no major difference. 5 lesso's were a level 2 one week, level 4 the next with the same transitions. I've personally never seen such a major contrast in one season.

In the GP's defense, they were consistent in evaluating levels and 2nd marks to teams in their particular GP, which made it 100% fair. But it impacts the total scores from one event to another pretty drastically when trying to compare median scores. Its not like the same teams skated at the same events.
 

just tuned in

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Here’s an interesting video about Timothy Le Duc and gender in Skating:

My observation is that since Timothy has come out as non-binary, there is more flailing of the arms. Shoulders up to ears. If Timothy wants to display more freedom of movement as a non-binary person, such movements must still be executed with proper form. Something to work on, and I hope that a coach has the insight and willingness to explain this. Plenty of male-identifying skaters make those movements look beautiful; gender identity expression does not give a skater license to pull their shoulders up to their ears. [/scolding]
 
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Arch-

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My observation is that since Timothy has come out as non-binary, there is more flailing of the arms. Shoulders up to ears. If Timothy wants to display more freedom of movement as a non-binary person, such movements must still be executed with proper form. Something to work on, and I hope that a coach has the insight and willingness to explain this. Plenty of male-identifying skaters make those movements look beautiful; gender identity expression does not give a skater license to pull their shoulders up to their ears. [/scolding]
I'd take your point more seriously until you said 'male-idenifying' skaters. Why didn't you say 'female-identifying skaters? Plenty of 'female-identifying' skaters skate shoulders up when tired too? Because you assume they have a beard that they are actually males but say they are non-binary bc they are confused.

They are non-binary as in they identify as NEITHER sex not EITHER sex and for you to try to put them in an undereducted box shows that perhaps you shouldn't until you are comfortable with sexual identity and pronouns. [/Not scolding. More disappointed]
 
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just tuned in

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I'd take your point more seriously until you said 'male-idenifying' skaters. Why didn't you say 'female-identifying skaters? Plenty of 'female-identifying' skaters skate shoulders up when tired too? Because you assume they have a beard that they are actually males but say they are non-binary bc they are confused.

They are non-binary as in they identify as NEITHER sex not EITHER sex and for you to try to put them in an undereducted box shows that perhaps you shouldn't until you are comfortable with sexual identity and pronouns. [/Not scolding. More disappointed]
You are absolutely right that female-identifying skaters also sometimes skate with their shoulders up. Many skaters of all genders and identities skate with their shoulders up. I am saying only that since Timothy came out, I've noticed that their skating style has changed. JMO, but perhaps with greater personal freedom of expression, Timothy is also bringing that to the ice, but the effect is more flailing and shoulders up by the ears. JMO, I think a person can have new freedom of expression but still keep their shoulders down, and I hope that this improves.
 

Arch-

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I think C/J will return because they are in their mid-20s. I also think K/F will return IF they progress in their abilities, but would probably throw in the towel if they don't go anywhere. IDK about CG/L. Tim is 31 and might be looking to retire.
Totally agree. Jessica will be 27 in Feb and Brian just turned 26. So they aren't as young as I thought. The only issue I see, health wise, is that Brian was born genetically with a severe sway-back. Hip flexors and lower Lumbar sciatica nerve can only take so much pressure from general skating, non-the-less lifting and throwing tiny but muscular women. It will get bad real quick I'm afraid.

Yes, I know many male skaters have protruding prominent pleasant muscular butts, but most aren't sway-backs, just proportionate muscular butts to the shoulder blades unlike sway-backs that go more inward towards the spine.
 

olympic

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Wow! US pairs, like, landing stuff and leading in important international competitions? Is this an alternate universe? Seriously, maybe US pairs have turned a corner. Now, if we can get the C of C/J to land triples, will be in great shape.
 

olympic

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Totally agree. Jessica will be 27 in Feb and Brian just turned 26. So they aren't as young as I thought. The only issue I see, health wise, is that Brian was born genetically with a severe sway-back. Hip flexors and lower Lumbar sciatica nerve can only take so much pressure from general skating, non-the-less lifting and throwing tiny but muscular women. It will get bad real quick I'm afraid.

Yes, I know many male skaters have protruding prominent pleasant muscular butts, but most aren't sway-backs, just proportionate muscular butts to the shoulder blades unlike sway-backs that go more inward towards the spine.
Oddly specific :eek: ;)

ETA - Although I would also describe Brian Johnson's derriere as a 'protruding prominent pleasant muscular butt'
 
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stjeaskategym

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Long post alert. Pairs is by far my favorite discipline and I can't just not respond 😂

Performance and scoring wise, Alexa and Brandon are trending down while Ashley and Timothy are trending up.

Nobody's trending anywhere, really. One pair was sick and the other pair has competed once in the past 2 months. Getting sick on the wrong day and missing an event is not trending down. One rough LP (that still scored 120) is not trending down. Everyone's scores trended upward (dramatically) at US Nationals, but K/F didn't get to compete. It's easier for C/L's scores to trend upward because most of their scores have been relatively low this season, whereas K/F have been steadier/more consistent throughout the season. When K/F didn't score over 200 one time, it was a surprise, not their normal.


Neither of them are beating the Russian, Chinese or Japanese pairs barring an apocalyptic disaster, so what difference does it make which of them is chosen for the team event?

Instead of being so dismissive of the US's chances and saying "who cares", I try to look at facts. Knierim/Frazier have already beaten Miura/Kihara in a LP this season. They also beat them in the LP in April's WTT (where both pairs skated well). I'm not saying it's likely or guaranteed because M/K are a strong team, but K/F are a strong enough pair where they wouldn't need an "apocalyptic disaster" to challenge them in the Team Event. K/F have better Season's Bests than them. Saying "neither pair is capable so who cares who we pick" is not a good way to pick a team. There's a lot of numerical evidence that can be looked at. We also shouldn't be so dismissive of the other countries. Cain/LeDuc have scored lower than 65 three times this season in the SP; that's beatable by several countries' pairs.


Alexa already has her Olympic TE medal.

Irrelevant. Actually, the way she has performed in team events would make me want to use her even more. By that logic we should bench Nathan and just give up trying to do our best in the Team Event because he already has a medal.


Now that the 5th place from Zagreb is their most recent performance going into Beijing and they are no longer reigning US champions, will K/F be rewarded those numbers? Skating is a very political sport.

K/F didn't get to compete at Nationals due to illness, it's not as if they did bad there; it doesn't change who they are as a team. And Golden Spin (an event that is usually heavily overshadowed by GPF) doesn't negate the entire rest of the season. It doesn't make sense to dwell on Golden Spin but then dismiss Cain/LeDuc's international season based on illness from last summer (even Ashley has only used it as an excuse for one event). I'm willing to drop the low score for both pairs (because skaters are human and things happen) and compare them that way, and the numbers are still convincingly in K/F's favor.

K/F's scores have been strong since their very first competition where they had 0 World Standings points and had to skate first at every event. When Alexa had to WD from 2017 Nationals, she was still top US pair at 4CC and Worlds. I don't think K/F WD'ing from Nationals matters really. Tarasova/Morozov aren't always National Champ, but if they hit everything, the judges are going to give them the points.


I am not convinced Brandon and Alexa would have defeated the consistency of Ashley and Timothy that we witnessed at Nationals.

Who knows? One competition doesn't make a pair consistent. People called Calalang/Johnson consistent after 2020 Nationals. How do we know Cain/LeDuc would have skated that way if K/F had competed? We don't. It's not as if C/L have been skating that way throughout the season. That's the unfortunate thing when a top skater has to WD- the event can no longer be used to compare the two skaters. It was a great, but certainly not unbeatable, performance from C/L. If you judge their GOE more normally, it's much easier to contend with. Regardless of how Nationals could have went, K/F are having the better year internationally and have more scoring potential- I'd reward them for that. We'd do fine with either pair, but with K/F I just see more potential to maximize our chances.

Alexa and Chris were reigning US champions back in 2018 and they had much better programs and connection than Alexa has with Brandon.

Oh that's not true. I supported Alexa/Chris through everything, but Alexa/Brandon are already a stronger pair with more potential. Alexa/Chris did lovey programs, but didn't have much of a connection. I see Brandon as a better performer than Chris, with an athletic energy that matches Alexa better than Chris did. And she is more relaxed in this partnership so she can be herself more. Alexa/Chris really have nothing to do with Alexa/Brandon's potential to do well in this Team Event.

Yet K/F have a mediocre twist. It's really odd. Brandon had a very good twist with Haven, too.

Knierim/Frazier's twist is actually a drastic improvement over Denney/Frazier's... but it's much different than D/F's twist was (theirs was far more vertical instead of lateral like Alexa/Chris). And so as a new pair, K/F sometimes have had issues keeping their timing/technique on the same page and haven't always done it as well as they should. But they actually have a great twist. It's hard to find videos- but watch their LP twist from Cranberry, or GP France, or 2021 Nationals. It's a strong twist with good potential. The recent ones I saw looked great.


Wow! US pairs, like, landing stuff and leading in important international competitions? Is this an alternate universe?

This year's 4CC is basically like an Autumn Classic. It's a US-Canadian second tier dual, and I'd be way more shocked if the US didn't win this than if they did. L/M often skate clean in the SP, it's not surprising, especially given how low-key this event is. People make jokes about US pairs, but we're the 2nd best pairs country in the world in terms of depth.
 
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museksk8r

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Stjeaskategym, hopefully, your post is the first and last time I ever see anyone compare Alexa Kneirim’s competitiveness to Nathan Chen. That is perhaps the most absurd thing I have ever read on this forum. You also cannot compare Kneirim/Frazier to Tarasova/Morozov where scoring potential and overall quality is concerned. T/M have medaled at Worlds 3 times and placed 4th at the last Olympics; K/F have one 7th place Worlds finish. The way I see it is C-G/L and K/F have proven they are very evenly matched teams in terms of scoring and quality.

Also, I never once claimed that Ashley and Timothy now have the consistency of Michelle Kwan just because of their performance at this season’s Nationals. I only stated that I am not convinced that Brandon and Alexa would have defeated them there had they been able to compete. Let’s not forget that K/F are known to have issues on the SBS jumps just as C-G/L do.

It remains to be seen the effects of a Covid-19 Omicron illness will have on Brandon and Alexa. Ashley Cain-Gribble really struggled after being hospitalized due to the Delta variant over the past summer, which caused a severe loss in her stamina and training time and which caused her to develop long term asthma. Her courageous journey from where she was at in August 2021 to where she is at now is to be celebrated. Hopefully, both teams will be happy with what they are able to achieve in Beijing and afterwards.
 
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olympic

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Long post alert. Pairs is by far my favorite discipline and I can't just not respond 😂



Nobody's trending anywhere, really. One pair was sick and the other pair has competed once in the past 2 months. Getting sick on the wrong day and missing an event is not trending down. One rough LP (that still scored 120) is not trending down. Everyone's scores trended upward (dramatically) at US Nationals, but K/F didn't get to compete. It's easier for C/L's scores to trend upward because most of their scores have been relatively low this season, whereas K/F have been steadier/more consistent throughout the season. When K/F didn't score over 200 one time, it was a surprise, not their normal.




Instead of being so dismissive of the US's chances and saying "who cares", I try to look at facts. Knierim/Frazier have already beaten Miura/Kihara in a LP this season. They also beat them in the LP in April's WTT (where both pairs skated well). I'm not saying it's likely or guaranteed because M/K are a strong team, but K/F are a strong enough pair where they wouldn't need an "apocalyptic disaster" to challenge them in the Team Event. K/F have better Season's Bests than them. Saying "neither pair is capable so who cares who we pick" is not a good way to pick a team. There's a lot of numerical evidence that can be looked at. We also shouldn't be so dismissive of the other countries. Cain/LeDuc have scored lower than 65 three times this season in the SP; that's beatable by several countries' pairs.




Irrelevant. Actually, the way she has performed in team events would make me want to use her even more. By that logic we should bench Nathan and just give up trying to do our best in the Team Event because he already has a medal.




K/F didn't get to compete at Nationals due to illness, it's not as if they did bad there; it doesn't change who they are as a team. And Golden Spin (an event that is usually heavily overshadowed by GPF) doesn't negate the entire rest of the season. It doesn't make sense to dwell on Golden Spin but then dismiss Cain/LeDuc's international season based on illness from last summer (even Ashley has only used it as an excuse for one event). I'm willing to drop the low score for both pairs (because skaters are human and things happen) and compare them that way, and the numbers are still convincingly in K/F's favor.

K/F's scores have been strong since their very first competition where they had 0 World Standings points and had to skate first at every event. When Alexa had to WD from 2017 Nationals, she was still top US pair at 4CC and Worlds. I don't think K/F WD'ing from Nationals matters really. Tarasova/Morozov aren't always National Champ, but if they hit everything, the judges are going to give them the points.




Who knows? One competition doesn't make a pair consistent. People called Calalang/Johnson consistent after 2020 Nationals. How do we know Cain/LeDuc would have skated that way if K/F had competed? We don't. It's not as if C/L have been skating that way throughout the season. That's the unfortunate thing when a top skater has to WD- the event can no longer be used to compare the two skaters. It was a great, but certainly not unbeatable, performance from C/L. If you judge their GOE more normally, it's much easier to contend with. Regardless of how Nationals could have went, K/F are having the better year internationally and have more scoring potential- I'd reward them for that. We'd do fine with either pair, but with K/F I just see more potential to maximize our chances.



Oh that's not true. I supported Alexa/Chris through everything, but Alexa/Brandon are already a stronger pair with more potential. Alexa/Chris did lovey programs, but didn't have much of a connection. I see Brandon as a better performer than Chris, with an athletic energy that matches Alexa better than Chris did. And she is more relaxed in this partnership so she can be herself more. Alexa/Chris really have nothing to do with Alexa/Brandon's potential to do well in this Team Event.



Knierim/Frazier's twist is actually a drastic improvement over Denney/Frazier's... but it's much different than D/F's twist was (theirs was far more vertical instead of lateral like Alexa/Chris). And so as a new pair, K/F sometimes have had issues keeping their timing/technique on the same page and haven't always done it as well as they should. But they actually have a great twist. It's hard to find videos- but watch their LP twist from Cranberry, or GP France, or 2021 Nationals. It's a strong twist with good potential. The recent ones I saw looked great.




This year's 4CC is basically like an Autumn Classic. It's a US-Canadian second tier dual, and I'd be way more shocked if the US didn't win this than if they did. L/M often skate clean in the SP, it's not surprising, especially given how low-key this event is. People make jokes about US pairs, but we're the 2nd best pairs country in the world in terms of depth.
My post was in jest. I've never seen our 2nd tier pairs go to a competition and compete like that as a group.
 

yeslek

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Stjeaskategym, hopefully, your post is the first and last time I ever see anyone compare Alexa Kneirim’s competitiveness to Nathan Chen. That is perhaps the most absurd thing I have ever read on this forum. You also cannot compare Kneirim/Frazier to Tarasova/Morozov where scoring potential and overall quality is concerned. T/M have medaled at Worlds 3 times and placed 4th at the last Olympics; K/F have one 7th place Worlds finish. The way I see it is C-G/L and K/F have proven they are very evenly matched teams in terms of scoring and quality.

Also, I never once claimed that Ashley and Timothy now have the consistency of Michelle Kwan just because of their performance at this season’s Nationals. I only stated that I am not convinced that Brandon and Alexa would have defeated them there had they been able to compete. Let’s not forget that K/F are known to have issues on the SBS jumps just as C-G/L do.

It remains to be seen the effects of a *********-19 Omicron illness will have on Brandon and Alexa. Ashley Cain-Gribble really struggled after being hospitalized due to the Delta variant over the past summer, which caused a severe loss in her stamina and training time and which caused her to develop long term asthma. Her courageous journey from where she was at in August 2021 to where she is at now is to be celebrated. Hopefully, both teams will be happy with what they are able to achieve in Beijing and afterwards.
Lol well it’s clear it isn’t going to impact brandon like it did Ashley. He wasn’t in the hospital.

Also I think you are underestimating how important pairs is in the team event. Without Alexa and Chris performing how they did last time the US may have lost a medal. They made up for Nathan’s mistakes by performing better than expected.
 

Sylvia

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Re-posting here from the Kiss & Cry 4CC Pairs SP pbp thread - copied from the ISU Quick Quotes document that's linked under For Media on the ISU's 4CC event page:

Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay (USA) 2022 National Championships 5th - 4th in 4CC SP
McBeath: My federation had reached out about trying pairs and where I was from there wasn’t a lot of pairs. They set up a special camp for a bunch of skaters to try it out. They kept me in mind and when Nathan was searching for a partner, they had called me and asked me whether I wanted to try out. I said ‘absolutely’! He was at my internationals when I was still in singles, so I knew about Nathan, I had met him already. And when we got to try out it was really good.
(on how is skating as pairs so far) So far it went pretty good. This is technically our 9th competition together in total. With each one I’m learning about skating next to someone with a partner and having two people on the ice and someone out there with me. It’s a lot of learning and experiences but I really enjoy skating with Nathan.



Emily Chan/Spencer Akira Howe (USA) 2022 National Championships 4th - 3rd in 4CC SP
Howe: It went well for us. It was a joy to be out there, especially in as big an event at this. We’re grateful we were able to deliver what we know we can in moments like these.
(on the quick turnaround from Nationals) We were able to get home and stay in the zone, we had few days of good training and made the best of it.

Chan: For our first time at Four Continents, it was really exhilarating. I felt really free on the ice and joyful that we were able to perform what we practiced and how we train at home.
(on the long trip with travel delays) We were all with our friends (their training group in Boston including Lu/Mitrofanov, Jimmy Ma, Gabriella Izzo) so it still was very enjoyable as an experience even the troubles.



Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov (USA) 2022 National bronze medalists - 1st in 4CC SP
Lu: (on preparing for this competition) I thought preparing was definitely rough but we kept pushing, kept fighting, and we were really happy with how we skated today.

Mitrofanov: There were still some small mistakes in terms of levels and we’re going to come back and continue working on them.
(on losing a week of training time before Nationals) After returning from Golden Spin (in December) my blade accidentally caught Audrey’s cheek on a death spiral and sent her to the emergency room for 7 hours. So we didn’t have as much time to prepare for Nationals.
(on goals for the Free Skating) Our goal is to put out a solid performance, put in the triple Salchow-half loop-triple Salchow, and be able to show a clean program and nice, great skating.


Replying to @BittyBug's post here:
Mitrofanov: (on losing a week of training time before Nationals) After returning from Golden Spin (in December) my blade accidentally caught Audrey’s cheek on a death spiral and sent her to the emergency room for 7 hours.
:yikes: I can't even imagine but she looks fine so I guess she recovered well.
I happened to see an Instagram story photo of Audrey Lu's face in December (around Xmas) and there was a large purplish bruise on her cheek with stitches visible in the middle.
 

Arch-

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Oddly specific :eek: ;)
Yeah, sorry bout that. I'm a guy who very recently 'retired' (AKA: Company didn't extend his contract...lol) after 15ish years as a ballet dancer. I have experience helping deal, & personally dealing with career ending sciatica nerve damage attributed to 'Sway-back'. So it's like 2nd nature to hone right in when I see one & cringe. I can't help wanting to assure they are aware of and doing the extra tedious but necessary pre&after care to try to stray off the damage & elongate their career like I wish someone had earlier with me when I was coming up.

IDK if people are care or interested what it is anyway so I'm sorry. Hehe. 'Sway-back' has been the gold standard for the male pas de deux body type going back to Louie XIV & especially Vaganova Method ballet. Reason being that lifts should be from the legs anyway, therefore a male's arms/neck/torso should be elongated and not enlarged so it can be proportionate to the largest part of a female dancer's thigh, to visually enhance the extention to fill the stage vertically and horizontal. The guys chest is not to be larger than the ballerinas bust, but enough to be exaggeratedly puffed. It also significantly helps a guy to have fast sharp feet & jump higher and land less toe heavy, more ball of foot & still not sound like a family of elephants racing to the mud dune.
 

olympic

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Yeah, sorry bout that. I'm a guy who very recently 'retired' (AKA: Company didn't extend his contract...lol) after 15ish years as a ballet dancer. I have experience helping deal, & personally dealing with career ending sciatica nerve damage attributed to 'Sway-back'. So it's like 2nd nature to hone right in when I see one & cringe. I can't help wanting to assure they are aware of and doing the extra tedious but necessary pre&after care to try to stray off the damage & elongate their career like I wish someone had earlier with me when I was coming up.

IDK if people are care or interested what it is anyway so I'm sorry. Hehe. 'Sway-back' has been the gold standard for the male pas de deux body type going back to Louie XIV & especially Vaganova Method ballet. Reason being that lifts should be from the legs anyway, therefore a male's arms/neck/torso should be elongated and not enlarged so it can be proportionate to the largest part of a female dancer's thigh, to visually enhance the extention to fill the stage vertically and horizontal. The guys chest is not to be larger than the ballerinas bust, but enough to be exaggeratedly puffed. It also significantly helps a guy to have fast sharp feet & jump higher and land less toe heavy, more ball of foot & still not sound like a family of elephants racing to the mud dune.
It makes sense. Thanks. I seem to understand from your post that the ideal body for a male dancer or pairs partner is elongated and lean, not bulky
 

clairecloutier

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So happy for our teams going 1-2 at Four Continents!! Although they didn't have their best performances, it was still solid and they did what they needed to do for the win!

I'm excited to see these teams hopefully continue to develop in the next few years! :):cheer2:


ETA: In this new article, Cain-Gribble/LeDuc say their goal at the Olympics is top 5.

 
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Panja

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Emily and Spencer really were awesome for me at 4CC in the FS. Sure, Audrey and Misha were better (in terms of elements), but Emily and Spencer were just so into the programme, really inspiring. Looks like the US really has a bright future in pairs - not that the current crop is doing badly. I am really looking forward to seeing Alexa/Brandon and Ashley/Timothy at the Olympics.
 

Arch-

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It makes sense. Thanks. I seem to understand from your post that the ideal body for a male dancer or pairs partner is elongated and lean, not bulky
Definitely, I'm sure u knew that. Lol. I was talking more about how I dont know how Brian or someone like Matteo Guarise can do it for a long career with a sway back on ice. Then I was thinking maybe bc male pair skaters are much bigger than male ballet dancers so there is more cartridge and wider spinal disks for cusion to wear down? The average guy pair skater is 6ft 200lbs and for male ballet dancer it's 5'9 160lbs.

Also, the gold standard in height difference between a skating pair is significantly bigger, like 10 inches, right? (Sans C-G/L & Sui/Han) The max height difference between pas de deux partners is and length of a male's palm, 3-4 inches typically.

I personally, and I don't think many male ballet dancers, could ever do what a male pair skater can regarding lifts in a fluid, effortless and graceful manner. I also think male pair's skaters can definitely do the lifts that male ballet dancers perform. Just not as technically sound and I assume ballet dancers have significantly better tention stamina and better feet & flexibility.

Though skaters have an advantage of having significantly more momentum to get into a lift & ballet dancers have little to none, and we are also required to effortlessly go straight up to an angel variation and a difficult but very light fluid exit so to transition to continuous tention holds and line lifts for 30 minutes straight: W don't have to do end to end lasso or 1 armed extended overhead lifts with 3 position changes...multiple times...in 4 minutes while literally skating on ice.

I personally haven't been able to Ice skate in 17 years bc it fn hurts my hips and back w/in 3 mins...I just can't imagine my body type doing even basic partner holds and it not compacting, squeezing & breaking my Thoracic spine in half. Total respect.
 

barbk

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Fascinating, @Arch-

...but I'm sorry your career abruptly ended. Do you have another in mind? A friend from years ago was a principal dancer with a major ballet company, and when he aged out, he became a software guy.
 

olympic

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Good for L/M that they have won 2 major intl. events this season. I would like to have seem them also kill it in the LP, but they still won and they are on the map. I hope they continue to develop.

IMO, C/H are ones to watch. They have that something special something; a wild, fast quality to their skating that is fairly unique, especially in the US where the majority of teams have a paint-by-no's approach to their programs.
 

Arch-

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Fascinating, @Arch-

...but I'm sorry your career abruptly ended. Do you have another in mind? A friend from years ago was a principal dancer with a major ballet company, and when he aged out, he became a software guy.
Honestly, it really wasn't unexpected. Guys with sciatica nerve damage are a liability to the Company. I am happy to let the new hungry guys have their chance bc I was them just yesterday. I had a fantastic career and leave satisfied I took my natural talent to its extreme and never took it for granted.

Every athlete knows they have a shelf life but it is still really hard to accept, bc you are still young, mostly healthy, and extraordinarily talented. They are telling you to stop but you've spent your whole life fighting for something, even after you went beyond your goals, but you were still not sure why or who or what you're actually fighting. Now you have your answer. It's time. And it sucks. You are human.

You can either take it as some director or some doctor deciding your expiration date for you. Or you can take it as fate telling you this is enough, congratulating you, and demanding your immediate celebration bc you just won your fight by unanimous decision, yours if you take it. You never gave up, up just started a new fight. A battle for something you'll spend the next whole portion of your life fighting for, and even after reaching beyond your goals, and you'll again still not be quite sure why or who or what you're actually fighting.

I am proud that I was able to find, utilize, & grow the talent I am so grateful (and not delusional in acknowledging) that I was genetically born with. That I was given the specific tools for an industry that requires specific engineering. I'm proud that I never took it for granted and earned everything I got through hard work, dedication, and blow jobs. I'm proud how I fought to follow the path I knew I was given. From rural Missouri at 12 to be a scholarship kid in NY to a young apprentice in Europe to being lucky enough to go back as a man to have a career in NY and now go from a brabro to balletomane.

Now that I'm done mansplaining (sorry) The reason that damaged nerve on males is career ending is that unfortunately nerves arent like balloons. Just because pressure is released doesnt mean the nerve will immediately blow back up to normal, it takes time, and after a while not at all. Typically what causes severe sciatica are tiny benign tumors pushing down on the sciatic nerve in the lower back (Lumbar). Eventually the disks in-between your Lumbar spine vertebrae that cushion movement between the bones flatten, eventually enough that the nerve and bone growth will stay touching.

To a normal person sciatica issues are not a big deal, right? Just take a break from lifting or running or whatever. But with male dancers nerve on bone will eventually unexpectedly cause a dancer for a split second, severe pain and your body reacts by shutting down for that split second.

Not a big deal, dancers dance thru pain all the time...except when it happens in a lift and you either flub it (if you're lucky) or drop your partner and potentially hurt and/or ruin her career forever. Luckily since the nerve's response is to shut down, early symptoms mostly happen at initial entry to a lift or flutter duex & the partner will feel it...and as much as she might love you or need your talent, If she's suspicious she will ask you to mark the rest of the class and discuss her concern with the ballet master....and I do not blame her one bit. I'd do the same if I were the female partner.

As much as a Company respects, values, & baby their male dancers bc many Companys' are known for preferring very specific body types & skill sets to enhance their prima and soloists, guys can only push so much. Yes there have been very famous ballerinos and people who know ballet can pick a talented partner out of a crowd, but we all know 99% of tickets and big dollar benefactors are due to female talent. They are the Company and are to be protected at all costs. I know a few companies that require males over 25 to get a Lumbar and both hips MRId once a year and over 30 once a SEASON. That being said, even female dancers in the corps are the prettiest, best dancers, with the best feet, technique, & presence you've ever seen. It's a whole other ballgame and they need to be insured.

The quicker a guy accepts that & realizes that to 'make it' you really need to fight for a good well matched partner or your talent catches the eye of a more established female dancer who demands a tryout, the quicker you get paid, get a contract, become significantly harder to replace, and gain more opportunities to audition for certain parts. Be the gosh damn best background ornament there ever was and demand the audience make your partner shine, and you will unequivocally shine on your own. Bc for either gender, extraordinary single skills are not enough. Good partnerships make or break a Company. Great partnerships make stars. Stars make Companys' money. They like money.

Why did I ramble to answer a simple question? Sorry. Lol. I'm 35 and was medically pulled after 2 months of the 2021 fall season. I did luckily plan for a post athletic career and after 6 years...lol....I did somehow graduate with a BSBA with an emphasis in marketing and international business from NYU. I was able to connect with some donors to discuss potential opportunities when they have the time and I'm prepared to give the 100% they deserve.

I have 19 nephews and nieces & 2 great nephews. I have only met 4 total and havent seen 3 of my 6 siblings in 23 years, so I'm going to visit home for 6 weeks. Visit a sister in Nashville for a week, a brother in Chicago for 2 weeks, & another is Navy & isn't quite sure yet what base he will report to in March. I actually just saw him 4 years ago while he was on leave in NY or NJ but he's pretty awesome & I'm excited to see him. He sat in & 'assisted' on 2 PDD classes. & was actually allowed, and stayed, in the main performance studio during a full 3 hour clean rehearsal. I should probably mention he's my twin.

(PS: I was J/K regarding the BJs)
 

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If anyone knows a friend of a friend who's cousin's ex brother-in-law's new girlfriend's best friend's sister's mother's baby daddy's aunt has any pull with Skate USA or NBC Sports, please inform them that Ashley Wagner is the worst Ice Skating commentator EVER. Even worse than that Aussie dude. Why not use Charlie White as the 3rd option?

If she used the word 'popped' for a 7th time in 80 minutes or repeated that Nathan and Deanna used to be partners for a 4th time, I was going to turn it off. And then when she had the gall to say Emily & Spencer needed more connection I realized she must still be stuck in her La-La Land program I seriously considered hand writing a letter. World feed or bust.

I was rooting for you...we were All rooting for you.
 

Frau Muller

From Puerto Rico…With Love!
Messages
17,084
If anyone knows a friend of a friend who's cousin's ex brother-in-law's new girlfriend's best friend's sister's mother's baby daddy's aunt has any pull with Skate USA or NBC Sports, please inform them that Ashley Wagner is the worst Ice Skating commentator EVER. Even worse than that Aussie dude. Why not use Charlie White as the 3rd option?

If she used the word 'popped' for a 7th time in 80 minutes or repeated that Nathan and Deanna used to be partners for a 4th time, I was going to turn it off. And then when she had the gall to say Emily & Spencer needed more connection I realized she must still be stuck in her La-La Land program I seriously considered hand writing a letter. World feed or bust.

I was rooting for you...we were All rooting for you.
I totally agree!!! This is based on her first times commentating, a couple of years ago, because I can avoid her NOW by going to no-comments Peacock. I also hated how she used to mention her coach Raf whenever possible. I loved her skating and overall performance…but not as commentator.
 

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