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"Presenting" the woman
In ice dance, as in competitive ballroom dancing, I always hear that the role of the man is to "present" the woman in all her glory. Presumably this means that the man is supposed to stay in the background and not call too much attention to himself.
To me, some couples do this and some don't. Which dance and pairs teams would you say fit into the following categories?
(a) The man presents the woman, while not calling inappropriate attention to himself.
(b) It is an equal partnership.
(c) The man is the stronger partner and attracts a lot of attention in his own right.
(d) One or the other steals the show from his/her partner.
In category (d) I would put Fusar-Poli and Margaglio. Barbara F-P pretty much presents herself without much help from her partner.
In category (c), do you think Torville and Dean were like this? Certainly Christopher Dean is regarded as the creative genius behind this partnership. Did that show on the ice?
For people in competiton now, I would say that Benjamin Agosto is more the focal point than Tanith Belbin. But that might be only because he was deliberately the center of attention in their Elvis routine last year (especially in the exhibition version).
Another example is Chait and Sakhnovsky. Sakhnovsky has such a striking physical presence that he draws the eye more than his partner does, IMO.
For category (b), the equal partnership, I think of pair skaters Bereshnaya and Sikharulidze. Also of my personal favorites, Watanabe and Kido.
In category (a), the traditional "man presents the woman," I would say Sale and Pelletier, Bourne and Kraatz, and Punsalan and Swallow. Also perhaps Shen and Zhou. What a great moment when he gallantly stood back and applauded his partner at the end of their Worlds free skate!
Last edited by Mathman; 08-04-2003 at 03:23 PM.
Thinking about this topic I find it hard to decide for certain couples, mostly beacuse it depends a lot on the choreography and can differ from routine to routine....
Many of the "old-fashioned" couples (my definition here :D ) seem to fit in category a), e.g. Kazakova & Dmitriev or even back to Rodnina & Zaitsev, for me also Bourne & Kraatz often fit in here. As you mentioned Salé & Pelletier, when I watch their two routines from SOI this year, I'd really say it depends on the choreo, in "Lovin, touchin, squeezin" I'd say it's this classical version whereas in "Fly with me" they both seem to be equally important.
A good choreography can bring out interesting parts for both partners, and for me Torvill & Dean fit in here. I have to work really hard when I want to follow either Christopher or Jayne throughout a whole routine. There are always points where my attention is again drawn to the other partner.
Also Winkler & Lohse are for me an example where not only Kati shines, but also Rene gets attention.
c) Lang & Tchernyshev, Wilson & McCall....
d) Fusar-Poli & Margaglio, and in a way Lobacheva & Averbukh where Irina is often struggling to keep up with Ilia.
But again, besides category d) it's hard to decide where a whole couple belongs to, it changes sometimes thruout the career and even different routines can look differently.
I can't help but think of Astaire and Rodgers. He always showed her off (and she was the weaker of the two) and in doing so you watched him to see how he did that. Great Team! He led; she followed; he showed her off; he was right to do so.
Some of the leads in Ice Dancing do go overboard as Mathman already mentioned. I agree with his examples.
In Pairs, I would like to see more of Lead/Follow but the rules throw you with 'they must skate as one' when being judged.
In classical ballet, the male dancer is not at all in the forefront except for his solo variation.
I think the Russians were particularly good at making the man the 'presentor'. Gordeeva/Grinkov and Bechke/Petrov are particularly good examples in my mind. Even in the previous year's SOI, Denis presented Kristi so well in their pairs routine.
I also think that Todd Sands does a good job at presenting his partners Kuchiki and wife Meno.
Jason Dungen also presented Kyoka Ina and now wife Yuka Sato. IMO, John Z and Kyoka are more 'equal'.
It is off season..wee...another interesting off-base topic.
B&S - Lady Caliph: definitely a man presenting the woman. At least it comes out better when the man is presenting the woman rather the other way around. It seems to me Moskvina prefers the man to present the woman and the woman to be the primary focus.
T&D and Underhill&Martini - are equally presented in their numbers. Once in a while, they do the "man present the woman" but I think they are usually even.
G&G - again another example of a "man present the woman".
S&P - go either way. Usually,one number is for him from her and the other vice versa. Lori Nichol is known to have called David Pelletier a "gem". She always tries to bring out David personality - his sense of humor - in at least one skating number. i.e. Por Una Cabeza and Tango Jalousie.
- Examples of numbers from him to her - La Vie En Rose and Come Fly with Me. They both shine in it but you can tell it is from the point of view of the man, in this case David.
- One example of from her to him - Lovin' touchin' and Squeezin' and other exhibitions that I have forgetten right now.
A&P - ARE an interesting team. what do you all think?. I think they are a "man present a woman" until she lifts him. Then, it is different and ambiguous. :D One more reason to like them.
Fusar-Poli and Maurizio - I am not sure if they are a classic man present the woman. It is just seems like Fusar-Poli is doing all the work.
Shen & Zhao - definitely a man present the woman.
Shae-Lynne and Kraatz - a hint of man present the woman but mostly equal partners in skating.
Last edited by bleuchick; 08-04-2003 at 08:51 PM.
Artur Dmetriev always presents his partners in such a beautiful fashion. But he has such a presence on the ice, that my attention still strays to him even though he certainly does his job presenting his partner.
I think in dance Bestemianova and Bukin were among the first great dance teams that did NOT have the man present the woman. Instead, they were both equals. It can be argued that this took away fromm the more lyrical and sensual aspect of ice dance.
Klimova and Ponomarkenko, from the same time, are an example of "man presents woman". Both K&P and G&G are an interesting example, though. Sometimes, one partner "steals" the show just because he/she is stonger of the two. For those teams, however, it was choreography decision, nothing to do with skating ability.
I consider Dmitriev to be the best pairs partner, ever, because he adapted to the different styles and body types of Mishkutienok and Kasakova. For ballet dancers, this is a given, but I don't know if we'll ever see this again at the Olympic medallist level.
Denis Petrov showed a glimpse of the same versatility as a pro, partnering Bechke, with an occasional guest appearance as Yamaguchi's and Gordeeva's partner. I so wish he had skated more with Gordeeva.
hockey fan - Glad to see someone who has a feel for and knowledge of ballet.
You are correct. We will never see partners intermix in figure skating as they do in ballet anymore than we will see double jumps to the left and right of a single skater.
Of course out of necessity one partner will work with another but that takes some time before they are ready to compete.
Heyang - You'll excuse me, but I don't really think nationality has an edge in skating. In every culture, leads and follows are the rules in dancing.
Some Ice Dancers are good; some aren't. That is the difference. Check out Mathman's examples of 'over the top' leads in skate dance. He's right. As for Russians, one only has to look at the second place team in the last Worlds. As for the US team, imo, he too went over the top. Maybe it's the jitterbug that get's the male dancer going bananas.
Figure Skating Is A Dangerous Sport