Random thoughts on TEB
Since I've been concentrating on photography this time (everything, but FD can be found at http://photo.fsonline.ru/main.php?g2_itemId=17426, I'll add FD later today or tomorrow), I did not keep any notes at all, so I could only share some general impressions from the competition.
It was great to see Mukhortova-Trankov doing what as well might be their first clean competition ever. Could not have picked up a better place and time to do it if they tried, the first major event of the Olympic year and with reigning World Champions in attendance... I still think that Love Story is far from ideal choice for them (not to mention with OG in Canada I cannot imagine it going well with the local public), but apparently it is the music that Maria has always dreamed about and this year Vasiliev has decided to grant her her wish. Seems that it worked, cannot wait for Skate Canada to see if they keep it up. And major kudos for them for 'fixing' their triple twist. It used to be quite bad, but now it almost as good as Chinese.
Speaking of 3Tw, I don't see any progress in Dube-Davison's one, not even close to clear catch, and their Th3Lz was MIA: both at the warm up and in the performance it was the same 'hopeless' doublefooted landing... Having said that their new LP is really "the way they were" then they won bronze at Worlds. Soft, lyrical with decent amount of transitions... Just lovely. I'm not that certain about their SP, though (what's up with dozens of "Requiem for a dream"s during the Olympic year? There is your optimism, people?).
Speaking of 3Tw, what's up with Savchenko-Szolkowy's one? The quality has really deteriorated, the catch was not clear at all in the SP and they only did double in the LP (they did it at Nebelhorn as well). Did not prevents them from getting a couple +2 GOE in SP, though... I like the way they carry the clown theme throughout their SP, but I'm not as impressed with their LP. Of course, that was definitely not the performance to judge the program, but it seems to be quite monotonous without the benifit of being enchanting like their L'Oiseaux was. And is it just me or could one really hear the lyrics in the last few seconds? It seems they were as puzzled about possible reasons for the disaster. I've seen missed death spirals several times, but I guess it was the first time I saw anyone fall on the spiral. It was odd how she fell in absolutely the same way both times, may be there is an injury or there was something wrong with the blade.
Can anyone tell me with whom Inoue-Baldwin are working now? I kind of lost of the track on them in the past couple of years, but they (well, her) were really great in Paris. Th3A was absolutely clean and effortless, but even without it, it was amazing. I don't think I've ever seen her skating with so much passion, power and precision. Made me wonder who thought that putting him in front is a good choice for step sequences? She is just soo much better... I wish they could go to Olympics, because other than McLaughlin-Brubaker, I don't really remember any other US team being great. Costelli-Shnapir were good enough, but nothing really stood out about them.
Both French couples were Ok, but Bonheur's footwork during lifts is still scary. Chinese couple have the elements, but not much of anything else.
Last edited by Anna; 10-19-2009 at 07:23 AM.
Inoue/Baldwin are training with Jenny Meno and Todd Sand.
Here's a few random thoughts myself. The two most standout men performers/performances for me were Adam Rippon - both programs and Oda's Chaplin. All delightful. I do think Od'as FS scores were a bit inflated and will wait to see if they hold up at his next event.
I think Oda's SP is too ponderous for him. Looks like he's having to work too hard to make it happen.
Brian - where in the world are his jumps? With them gone he doesn't have much else to support him imo. Think he'd be better served with a new SP but it's a bit late now. I don't see much progress since Worlds.
The one I feel really sad about is Ryan Bradley. He looked lost on the ice to me. No sparkle - no "it" factor. I think he's trying too hard, and I think it's sad that someone on his team hasn't helped him elevate his PCS. Not even one in the 6s.
Samuelson and Bates were also a delight and will be ones to watch in future. Virute/Moir deservedly stole the show.
Pairs don't excite me much but I was surprised at the upset.
Ladies. Kim is virtually unbeatable and certainly pure joy to watch. Eclipses the field easily. Gilles did very well at her first outing.
Inoue/Baldwin are training with Jenny Meno and Todd Sand.
I was very aware of the influence of Todd and Jenni on their skating. The arabesque hold and turn out after the 2/axels was pure Meno and Sand (and by extension - Mr. Nicks). I like both of Rena and John's programs.
The theme of coaching influence ran all through the competition for me.
-Oda's short program was very reflective of Marozov to me - especially the step sequence.
-Adam Rippon's short was soo Brian Orser for me.
-Mao's programs were so Tarasova that Mao almost disappeared.
Sometimes the influences are good. Sometimes they aren't.
Wicked Yankee Girl
Thank you for your insights Anna. They were great to read
I/B definitely had a new softness to their skating. I was very pleased with them.
Regarding their twist, I think Meno and Sand are the perfect coaches to help I/B fix their issues for the following reason. Jenni and Todd's twist was never the highest, but all the mechanic were very correct so they usually go the most out of it. Because John is not significantly taller than Rena, they will need to employ similar measures to make their own twist cleaner and more consistent. Hopefully they will succeed.
It would be nice to see V/M smooth out some of their lifts as the season progresses. Most seemed very busy and not always the best fit for the theme or the music (especially the no-hands lift).
I only saw a few programs so I am basing my comments on the programs I was able to view.
I will start with dance since that is my favorite discipline. I really like the Navarro/Bommentre's OD. I love that it's a different style than what is normally used and its a great program.
I am not a huge country western fan. I like some songs here and there but overall, the style is not my kind of music so watching some of the ODs got tiresome quick. Though my fave of the bunch was Pechalat/Bourzat. I really liked the program a lot more than what I thought. I thought their choreography was clever and entertaining. I like some parts of the Kerr's but I am not sure about that ending pose. I am disappointed with the Hubbells and Samuelson/Bates since I loved their previous folk dances they did a couple of years ago. I think both couples have huge talent but those ODs need work. Virtue and Moir....I don't know. I was expecting to love it because I love Flamenco dancing but I didn't like the interpretation of it and I didn't like some of the choreography.
As for the FD's I really liked S/B. I read the comments here and I expected to hate the program, but I really enjoyed it. But I shouldn't be surprised, I was one of the few that enjoyed their Amazonic program last year. I also respect the Kerrs, N/B, P/B, and the Hubbells for doing something different. It takes a lot of guts to try something new during an Olympic year. I didn't like P/B's FD as much as their OD but maybe it will grow on me like their Circus FD did when they performed it at Worlds. I did like the Kerrs, N/B, and the Hubbells FDs. Again, I couldn't get into V/M. I like Scott Moir a lot. He's an awesome ice dancer and I rank him and Ben Agosto as the male ice dancers that can interpret ANY kind of mood and music.But the FD fell flat for me. It was elegant and had beautiful moves but I couldn't get into it.
Pairs--I was glad M/T won. That was a really nice performance for them and a nice program. I enjoyed it. I love S/S but I don't like their LP at all. The costumes didn't fit the music and there just doesn't seem to be any connection between them or the program. I am really starting to like D/D. For years I couldn't get into them or their overly quiet, sweet, slow music programs of the past. Last year I started to like them and now I really enjoy them more. I love the music "The Way We Were" so I don't mind the program. The music has some delicacy to it but it has undertones of drama, pain, conflict that I felt in the characters they were trying to portray.
Ladies--I was shocked at how much I did not like the LPs for Asada or Kim. I much preferred their programs last year. I wish they both would have chosen those music pieces for the Olympics than what they currently have. I am sad and disappointed for Zhang. I love her but she seems to regress each year. I know she has an injury and maybe she will improve over the season. But I wish she would work on her speed and really focus on improving her jumps and presentation. I enjoyed Nakano's program. This was my first time seeing Gilles and I didn't like her program.
Men--Love Oda's Charlie Chaplin and he deserved to win. Rippon has much improved his presence and programs since he went to Orser. Its done a world of good and it shows in his skating. I use to love Joubert but over the years, his programs and skating just become more disappointing for me.
I only got to see things really late, and online. One of the biggest puzzlers of recent time has got to be the question of who is directing Mao Asada's development, if you can call it that?
Here was a skater who was set to dominate the ladies field, but has utterly failed to do so. In the last couple of seasons it seems as if she's been going backwards.
She was always a technically good skater with a beautiful naturally light quality on the ice. Her one drawback, IMO, was that she did not connect with her music or skate from the heart — but in one so young, I fully expected her to develop these qualities. And yet, she hasn't.
Still nobody has taught her to connect to music. She continues to skate like a robot across the ice — it's made worse by the horrendous music and choreography choices. This year's selections leave me almost speechless. Who is choosing this stuff and for goodness sake, why? Her short program music doesn't at all connect with her costume, or her demeanor on the ice. Her long program music is ponderous and and pompous and overly dramatic — at complete odds with her natural movement quality. It's a drag, basically. And her technical ability certainly hasn't improved notably either. I don't get it. Is it Tarasova? Mao? Her federation? Whether she continues to win medals is immaterial to me, I'm just really disappointed to see her move seemingly further and further from the skater she could be.
Is it a futile hope that she'll ditch at least the LP before the Olympics and skate to something beautiful and lyrical?