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Thread: Quality of Spins, Step Sequences, & Spirals prior to CoP

  1. #1
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quality of Spins, Step Sequences, & Spirals prior to CoP

    Many people harp that the quality of spins, step sequences and spiral sequences has deterioratied since the adoption of CoP; I beg to differ!

    I reviewed many of these elements by viewing past performances... and time again and again, the quality is wayyyyyyyyy less than what we have today.

    ie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFxBg...eature=related

    This is just a sample. If you look at Jill T. CCoSp... it would receive a level 1 at best since most positions aren't even held for the 2 rotations/positon min requirement. Plus, her step sequence rotates in once direction throughout.. and has only basice brackets & 3-turns > Level 1... plus GOE deduction as the step sequence doesn't complete in accordance to start-end points.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    I can't really comment on spins, but I feel CoP emphasizes certain things in step sequences that make for pretty unattractive skating: the excessive upper body movement is the most obvious.

    I'm not sure if step sequences have become more difficult - my own skating experience being far too limited to judge - but I do feel that figure skating should also be aesthetically appealing, and some of the sequences I'm seeing are designed to get high levels without much thought to flow and elegance.

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    I would agree.

    From watching old videos from the 1980s and 90s, I get the impression that only a small handful of skaters during those decades were able or interested to make spins special with great speed and duration and/or with especially creative or beautiful positions. Those few, of course, would have been the spins we're most likely to remember 10 or 20 years later.

    These few skaters would have been the ones performing spins worthy of +2 or in fewer cases +3 grades of execution by today's standards. Really, from the 1980s and 90s the only potential +3 spins I can think of would have been from Nathalie Krieg and Lucinda Ruh, maybe Paul Wylie and Scott Davis.

    These skaters and a few others would may have demonstrated enough spinning skills over the course of a whole program or two do prove that they were capable of doing spins that would earn level 2, 3, or 4 by today's rules even though they didn't always include the right combinations of such skills in any one spin to qualify for higher levels.

    A larger minority were just unable or couldn't be bothered to perform spins with even the basic minimum competence that would be needed to earn base value for level 1 spins under today's rules, or to avoid short program deductions by 1990s standards. Too few rotations, weak positions, traveling, etc. In some cases (fewer than 3 total revolutions, usually for flying spins in long programs; only "intermediate" positions with nothing that would count as a basic position), these spins wouldn't even count as spins today. More of them would merit negative GOEs.

    And in between were the majority of skaters, who did meet the minimum demands of spinning at the time: 1 to 1 1/2 times the minimum number of revolutions, solid positions and centering, average or better speed.

    A few stood out as better than average by having some especially fast spins or some especially striking positions, but not so outstanding as to qualify as "great."

    Then as now, this majority of skaters would have deserved 0 or +1 for most of their spins. There were many simple, competent spins that would have been level 1, +1.

    That doesn't mean that those skaters were better at spinning than today's skaters; many of today's skaters who are earning 0s and +1s for more complicated spins and make some purists cringe at the weakest moments in otherwise strong spins would be equally or more impressive than those of the 1980s and 90s skaters if they limited the difficulty of their spins to level 1.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    I can't really comment on spins, but I feel CoP emphasizes certain things in step sequences that make for pretty unattractive skating: the excessive upper body movement is the most obvious.

    I'm not sure if step sequences have become more difficult - my own skating experience being far too limited to judge - but I do feel that figure skating should also be aesthetically appealing, and some of the sequences I'm seeing are designed to get high levels without much thought to flow and elegance.
    Absolutely. However, the CoP has given many rewards for non aesthetic nuances in figure skating. It's not so much the position in the camel spin that is scored but the speed and number of revolutions it has. The definition of a camel spin does not seem to matter in scoring. It's just the speed and no. of turns.
    Give me Butryskaya's camels any day. It's how you say in your country? aesthetically pleasing! Ms Trenary did a couple of Camels to Sitspins in that video. That was enough for me as far as convoluted spins. It's pretty in the basics anyway, why kill it?

    Many element definitions are ignored for the sake of CoP especially in jumps, at least as penalties go.

    The most glaring step sequence I see in jumps is some move, be it a back spiral, a spread eagle, or a tiny jump, etc. After completing the sequences many skaters still take a substantial pause before they do the actual jump. I really don't know if that is taken into account for scoring. It doesn't show up in the protocols.

    I think one has to consider the purpose of the CoP was to give credit where it is due to all skaters, and so it promotes some annoying moves to the elements to get higher scores. After all, it is a Sport, and the points count for the win.

    Joe
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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    6.0 spins versus CoP spins -- I'm not sure that is quite the right comparision.

    Before jumps became so important (I blame Dick Button ), a good, fast, well-centered spin was the highlight of a free-skating program. Sonia Henie was an outstanding spinner (her hardest jump was a single Axel). So, I believe, was Jackson Haines.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    I think one has to consider the purpose of the CoP was to give credit where it is due to all skaters, and so it promotes some annoying moves to the elements to get higher scores.
    That's it in a nutshell. Will this prove to be good or bad for the sport? I guess time will tell.

  6. #6
    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    There are things that were better before CoP and things better after. as a whole, I much prefer the footwork sections now than previously where they mostly were fast skating with some hops and a few turns thrown in. But I did prefer spirals used as artistic elements, not done one after the other and each girl's sprial looks almost exactly as the one who skated before her. before CoP many skaters let us know they were setting up for a jump 30 seconds before they actually did. Now skaters are discisng it more with footwork, walleys etc. I miss the old fashioned layback and camel... just one position held a stretched and elegant. I miss the scrach spins that were uninterupted by changes of edge. I like how now skaters are pushing themselves more artistically at younger ages that a man could win a world title without a quad.

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    Sitting Here on Blue Jay Way silver.blades's Avatar
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    I never thought many spins or footwork sequences were very good preCOP. Footwork was very basic and the spins were never held. There were exceptions, but little time seemed to be put into those 2 elements and they're 2 of the most impressive IMO. Although the COP levels need some adjustment, I like the basic principle. I never like the idea of a spiral sequence anyways. A spiral or 2 used for artistic effect, I don't mind, but 3 in a row almost never fits the music. They shouldn't be group together.

  8. #8
    Landing my axel..............again skatergirl45's Avatar
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    Well pre 1990 skaters mostly worked on figures. Then skaters began to work on jumps. Now, skaters are finally working on spins and sequences.
    CoP has made spins/sequences much better but I would prefer a fast, centered level one spin that was held for a while than a slow, non centered let me pull my leg into a million positions and try to look go level for spin.
    WHile spins/sequences are now harder, I prefered them pre CoP because they had more flow and went better to the music and also were more permorfmed than skated.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    One of the highlights of CoP footwork is the use of toepick runs. Not knew at all. Sonia use to do the Samba on her toepicks.

    I am sure some skaters are trying their best to get Levels. How many actually do exceptional footwork that someone did not do as well in 6.O.

    Love to see two youtube links from the exceptional skater in the 6.0 and also from the exceptional skater in the CoP. I'm sure they are both limited.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Love to see two youtube links from the exceptional skater in the 6.0 and also from the exceptional skater in the CoP. I'm sure they are both limited.
    Yeah, different emphases. I think in the old system there used to be more emphasis on quick feet and/or musical expression in the step sequences, in many cases at the expense of difficulty or variety. Now the skaters need to include variety/complexity and deeper edges to get higher levels, so they often give quickness and musicality short shrift.

    Here are some short programs especially noteworthy for their footwork under the old system. Compare to the best examples from the current crop of skaters.

    Men
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG-lzKrFi4A
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQBnNIrlbAU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8lQGAxH4VY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ1dSl1GEdo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBriY0CIf_c
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp22dpzq8t8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrq2jtpUDPc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrq2jtpUDPc

    Women
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4o-u...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL1oUPFJj_E
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDhVzhxMCDs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvcWjtTjTtQ
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGaIWjgBWyU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5GqgOwAN2o

  11. #11
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Talk about levels all you want. I preferred (prefer) to watch spins and footwork from the pre-CoP era because they were better matched to the music and allowed the skaters to express some individuality.

    Look at the ladies SP at Calgary 88. The top ladies all had interesting footwork and it was all different.

    I really have no interest in seeing just how many changes and 'difficult variations' (hah! how can they be variations when they're all doing the same thing?) skaters can pack in. The results are almost always fugly.

    I like spins that are fast, well-centered and in aesthetically pleasing positions. I like footwork that goes with the spirit of the music and looks like footwork and not a frenetic mess.

    I've never much liked spirals and would gladly see them made optional.

  12. #12
    Shoe Diva
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    While pre-COP spirals, spins and footwork might've been "easier" - I prefer those to the current versions... mainly because you had the opportunity to see a skater's passion for skating. Nowadays, you can almost see skaters' lips moving as they count seconds and tick off the variations... it also increased the number of fugly moves on ice.

    For example, I preferred Michelle's change of edge spiral to the hydrant spiral. I also preferred Sasha's awesome forward scratch to her bielmann spin. Today's footwork is so over the top with all the twizzles and fly-away arms that it distracts from the performance value and musicallity of a program.

    Another causailty of COP is the beautiful edge that pre COP skaters tended to have, at least those that trained figures. I always wonder if switching the emphasis of early training to jumps vs. figures lead to the number of flawed, yet winning, programs of late.

    But as Joe pointed out, skaters skate to win and if points leads to the top step - then I guess that's the price you pay... but it still is unfortunate for us ol' school, die hards who miss the beauty of the past and struggle to appreciate the athletic prowess of the present. I just hope that the future contains a better mix of the two.

  13. #13
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
    Many people harp that the quality of spins, step sequences and spiral sequences has deterioratied since the adoption of CoP; I beg to differ!

    I reviewed many of these elements by viewing past performances... and time again and again, the quality is wayyyyyyyyy less than what we have today.

    ie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFxBg...eature=related

    This is just a sample. If you look at Jill T. CCoSp... it would receive a level 1 at best since most positions aren't even held for the 2 rotations/positon min requirement. Plus, her step sequence rotates in once direction throughout.. and has only basice brackets & 3-turns > Level 1... plus GOE deduction as the step sequence doesn't complete in accordance to start-end points.

    What do you think?
    I agree. when I recently watched a YOUTUBE video of a performance from a world championships a decade ago, I am a bit surprised to see many spirals lasting just a second. I wouldn't enjoy an obsessive application of the three second rule that could destroy the musicality. But I do agree with CoP that each spirial should be held long enough to demonstrate the edge quality and the beauty of the position.

    I also see from the past performances simpler steps excuted with greater speed. But it could be more exciting to see more complicated steps with less speed as long as they go well with the music.

    I also would not be too excited with a simple back scratch and a simple stand spin however fast they are excuted.

    Though being my most favorite skater, Lu Chen had really short spins, which saved her a lot of time in the program. But I'd think it nicer to see spins with a greater number of revolutions.
    Last edited by Bennett; 05-06-2008 at 04:50 PM.

  14. #14
    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    I've never much liked spirals and would gladly see them made optional.
    What I miss are spirals and spread eagles that match the music. Nowadays, spirals are a stretching exercise, and skaters who can raise their foot above their head the highest wins. I remember Katarina Witt had spirals in her Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind 1994 LP that weren't high in the air spirals, but they matched the mood of her music.

  15. #15
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Spirals, imo, are the most overrated element in figure skating. True, holding an edge or a flat, whatever the case may be is not easy and it is definitely more difficult when a smooth change of edge is involved, but centering spins are the most difficult tasks for a skater to do and it makes spirals' difficulties look plebian.

    Spirals belong in the 'Moves in the Field' or Transitions if you will along side of Spread Eagles and their difficult changes of edge.

    And most spirals, imo, are not pleasant to look at. It's also a nice rest period during the routine.

    Joe

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