So, it's still the off-season...
I have seen so many people say they HATE Michelle's Scheherazade program most (well, Bolero most, but Schez a close 2nd!). Why? I have had a hard time watching it, due to the disappointment over SLC, but recently, since so many have targeted it as a "bad" program, I decided to watch every performance I could find.
At the GWG, I was excited about the potential of the program. The GPS was disappointing, Michelel was clearly stressed and tension was brewing in the Kwan Kamp. She was clearly skating with the "weight of the world on her shoulder" for much of the season. Nationals and Worlds, IMO, were her best performances that year.
As far as the actual program goes, I loved where the charlotte was placed to the music. She had other naunces, that showed off her pure basic skills, her sculling move, spread eagle and little attitude moves. Loved the ending to Schez, too. She was planning for a 3t/3t (or 3toe in place of the split jumps) as well as a 3lz/2lp, so she was going for more tech. Her footwork was not as good as she start to make it in 2003, but then, none of the ladies back them (except Irina) had FW sequences worth raving about.
The 2002 Nationals performance was amazing-people like to say Sasha could've beaten that program, but Michelle had a clean, 6 triple program with a lot of passion. Her power, edge quality and speed was unmatched on that night.
And I thought the Worlds LP was pretty darn good! She was more free than at the Olympics, had more spark and joy in her skate, none of that end of the season tiredness, want to be anywhere but here, we saw from top skaters at Calgary.
Yes, coming on the heels of masterpieces like The Red Violin and Song of the Black Swan, Schez was short in that department, but all the critics were saying "you need more speed, need a 3/3", and IMO, Michelle sacrficed what made the earlier programs great to achieve that here.
Plus, I LOVE that dress!
Bona Fide Member
Tripping on the Podium
Mathman - I agree with you about Nichol...I love her chorography with MK...I know many people (and that includes myself) thought that after a while, all of her programs looked alike, but after a more thoughtful review, I'd have to disagree.
B/C Kwan was the standard for the industry, people began to work with Nichol and if they couldn't, they'd "borrow" many of the moves that worked so well for Kwan. I think *THAT* is why many people, including myself, felt that all her programs looked the same. I'd imagine it's very hard to choreograph for multiple skaters without the programs resembling each other.
I do have to say, that her work with Sarah Kawrahara (I can’t spell her name) was very good – I like it a lot. I think it complimented Nichols’ work. Other than those two, I can’t say I liked any of her programs that were not choreographed by one of them. Especially TT…I don’t understand why people thought her pairing up with Kwan would produce such spectacular results. I agree she is a phenomenal coach – but only with the right pupil and I’d never put Kwan with her. TT choreography *DID* repeat itself in many of her skaters in years past….that I thought, was very evident. Plus, she’s a stickler for safe music – well known classical pieces, which doesn’t suit Kwan well.
Whomever it was that did “The Feeling Begins” and “East of Eden” – those were my al time favorite of any lady.
My complaint with Bolero was that it was never ever developed to its full potential and even more disappointing was that it was done by Dean. The music itself is so powerful that it takes a very talented skater to pull it off. On top of the music being difficult, the history behind it almost makes it sacrilegious to skate too. I and many others felt that should anyone try skating to Bolero, they MUST be able to do it justice and I think Kwan is the only female skater who could. It was just so poorly developed and so thin....I understand the "less is more" viewpoint and it does work but it was if there wasn't much to her program.
If Kwan returns, I'd like to see her do the program and bring it to the level that only she could.
Speaking of music choices.....I love the music that both Sex and the City and Will and Grace were set too....I wonder why know one has used it...I think it would be such fun!
First of all one has to realize that many fans of figure skating do not like MK to begin with, and Sheherezade was the perfect foil to come down on her. Ignore those fans. They contribute nothing but negative remarks throughout the skating forums. The only way I figure these fans is that they can not stand the MK fans. They want anyone to win except MK. In some cases, ethnicity plays a role in the dislike of MK.
Originally Posted by MKFSfan
But back to more important discussion of Sheherezade. It was a strange time in MK's skating career. A sudden split with Carrol and another with Nichols and it happened just before the Olys!! Tack on using Danny to be with her in the K&C was totally inexplicable. Will we ever know what Kwancamp was thinking in those days? The whole scenario was never fully explained, although there is lots of speculation about it. I can't wait for the book when MK is 50 years old.
All this confusion set in for her performance of Sheherezade. Imo, her heart was not into it for reasons will be best explained when we learn about the mystery of the above paragraph. This is just my opinion. I really don't want to read more speculations on this. - Just the facts, please.
What she didn't get with Sheh was the all important nuances of the music. It is one fine piece of music suited to both competitive and show skating. There are several changes of rhythm, humming tunes, and a collage of various moods and expressions. She didn't go for them, unfortunately.
I believe this is also the time the hip problem was beginning to happen, but a spurt of old time MK rocked the 2003 Worlds. Alas, it didn't continue, the hip was getting worse after that Worlds. However, she conntinued to meet all her financial obligations but began limiting her competitive pursuits. I think that showed in Dortmund and Moscow. She was just not prepared to do her best.
Although I believe a skater decides on when to leave the eligibles, I would like to know why she didn't leave competitive skating - another mystery but I do not want to give my specs on that at this point in time.
Michelle never looks as if she gets the nuances of the music with any piece she has ever skated to. She has a series of canned moves and facial expressions that she uses in every program. The only thing that was different with Lori was that Lori made Michelle do more moves than she does now.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
The reasons I found Scheherazade so disappointing is that Kwan made a very big deal at the beginning of the season about setting the expectation for change; in one interview, she said that she was going to play a new kind of character, one that some people might not like. Then she went out and skated the program, and, in a programmatic piece of music -- unlike the music Nichols had chosen for her -- that is tied to character, skated a generic program. There was no "character," and the choreography wasn't much different than a watered-down compilation of what she had done in the past -- she could have saved the choregrapher's fee. Based on this program, I thought Kawahara was a crappy choreographer; there was nothing it in like the jewels she's created for Bebe Liang.
Scheherezade was the first time, in my opinion, she bit off more than she could chew by setting expectations (or hype) and not meeting them. Had she skated the same program to a non-programmatic piece of classical music, I think she would have been more successful.
Rooting for the divas with Kwanford
This makes it sound as if there can't be any legitimate reasons not to be a Kwan fan. She just doesn't do it for me. I tend to agree w. Soogar that she doesn't seem very musical. Her line is less beautiful than some, she seems overhyped, and yes, too many of her fans cross the line into Cloudcuckooland. All that said, I have to respect her astounding record and consistency and grant that a lot of people who know way more than I do probably see something I don't. So one day I may eat my words, but not yet.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
The remark about ethnic prejudice is odd. I haven't seen anything of the sort and it seems a bit improbable in view of the diversity of the skating world, esp. in America. Could anyone elaborate?
Bona Fide Member
It does seem a little bit "huh?" in this day and age, doesn't it. Granted, given the pervasiveness of the scourge of racism that still continues to plague our nation, it never hurts to be vigilant. But, at least among figure skating fans, we hardly ever hear any hint of a sour note any more.
Originally Posted by Spun Silver
In the recent past, however, this really was an issue. Supposedly lots of people did not embrace Kristi Yamaguchi as the new "America's sweetheart" because she didn't look like the America's sweethearts of the past. There was even pretty convincing data that she did not reap the same financial windfall from her Olympic gold medal that she might have "under other circumstances."
In fact, in the early nineties, when there was a succession of World Champions like Midori Ito, Kristi Yamaguchi, Lu Chen, Yuka Sato and Michelle Kwan -- hey, how did Oksana Baiul sneak in there? -- there was grumbling that the Asian menace was taking over the sport (much like black athletes took over all the others).
When Tara won at Nagano over Michelle, there was a big fuss when the Seattle newspaper went with the headline, "American beats Kwan!" -- as if to say that Tara was somehow more American than Michelle.
The funny -- ha ha -- part was, the same newspaper repeated their mistake four years later and featured almost the same headline, specifically referring to Sarah but not Michelle as "American."
However, to me, I think the most telling line in Joe's post was the part about, "The only way I figure these (anti-Kwan) fans is that they can not stand the MK fans."
I think this is true. If we (Kwan fans) would just shut up once in a while, maybe folks would like Michelle better.
Last edited by Mathman; 06-01-2006 at 01:22 PM.