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Thread: Flap-Flap: Urban Legend?

  1. #1
    Custom Woman
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    Flap-Flap: Urban Legend?

    I was going to add this to the general responses to SA, but since it also involves Campbell's I thought, "Heck, why not start a new thread." Besides, it's an issue of earth-shattering importance

    In Sandra Loosemore's review of Campbell's she described movement sequences in both AP and Sasha's "Swan Lakes" as "abc, flap-flap, def, flap-flap, etc." The "flap-flap" description has been used by some posters as well--not necessarily on GS, BTW--some who have noted Loosemore's review, some who haven't and perhaps never saw or heard of Loosemore's review. I reviewed my tapes from Campbell's and SA specifically looking for flap-flap violations, that is, possible overdone flap-flap arm movements in AP's "Swan Lake" ("APSL") at Campbell's and Sasha's "Swan Lake" ("SSL") at Campbell's and SA.

    As to my credentials as a flap evaluator, I've seen countless "Swan Lake" ballets both live and on tape, film, or TV; many films of Maya Plisetskaya's "The Dying Swan" ballet as well as several other dancers doing their versions of it; one live and numerous taped performances of Oksana Baiul's figure skating version of Plisetskaya's "The Dying Swan"; and also saw Alexei Urmanov's "Swan Lake" LP a few times. This is not to mention the memorable times I saw "Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo's" when they did their versions of "Swan Lake" and "The Dying Swan." The all male dancers of the "Trocks," as they are affectionately known, do dead-on satires of well-known ballets in full drag, including size 12 pointe shoes. Talk about great flaps! Anyway, I think this qualifies me as a flap expert, at least for the purposes of this thread.

    I watched my tapes of both Campbell's, which I also saw live, and SA, and I beg to differ with the assertion that at least "SSL" is full of flaps. And while "APSL" did have a number of full-blown flaps, even there I'm not sure if it's the number and kind of flaps themselves or rather the general weakness of the choreography and the fact that it was not AP's best performance that made the flaps stand out.

    Before I begin my formal, highly scientific analysis, let's define the various levels of flap:
    Full Flap: Waving both arms with undulation in hands, wrists, and elbows to the side from all the way down to all the way up.
    One-arm Full Flap: Same as above but with only one arm.
    Half Flap: Waving both arms as above but only from waist level to above head.
    One-Arm Half Flap: Same as Half Flap but with only one arm.
    Full Baby Flap: Undulating both arms without moving them up and down.
    Suggested Baby Flap: Undulating one or both arms without the amplitude of the Full Baby Flap.
    Balletic Undulation: Moving one or both arms through elbow, wrist, hand that is standard in any classic ballet and not necessarily suggestive of birds or flight. Similar to Suggested Baby Flap.
    General Balletic Arm Movement: Soft, sort of rippling and/or undulating arm movement that would be typical of any classic ballet.
    General Lyrical Arm Movement: Any lyrical arm movement used in skating or dance.

    Let me analyze "APSL's" flap content first:
    Four Full Flaps at beginning.
    One Full Flap after 2A and before 3L.
    One Half Flap during movement after 3L and before fall on 3to.
    Half Flap before 3sal.
    One-arm Full Flap after layback.
    One and a half Full Flaps after Russian split jump.
    Two Baby Flaps during footwork (done at same point).
    TOTALS:
    6-1/2 Full Flaps
    2 Half Flaps
    1 One-arm Flap
    2 Baby Flaps

    You could say that adds up to 11-1/2 flaps of some kind in 4-1/2 minutes, which comes out to 2.56 total flaps per minute and 1.44 Full Flaps per minute. As I said before, I don't think the flapping itself is excessive but rather that between the weak choreography and subpar performance for AP (it was, after all, a very early season event), it was easy to focus on the flapping and in Loosemore's case, make fun of it.

    Now to flaps and "SSL":
    I watched tapes of both Campbell's and SA a couple of times and I didn't see Sasha do a single Flap as defined above. For the opening Sasha lifted both arms overhead, crossed the wrists, and brought them down to just below shoulder level, which I suppose some could call a Half Flap, but to me the arm movement didn't have nearly the speed or quality necessary to qualify it as a flap. Rather I'd put it in the category of General Lyrical Arm Movement.

    Including the beginning, there were five places in both the Campbell's and SA "SSL" where Sasha did a couple of arm movements that could be defined as somewhere between Suggested Baby Flap and Generic Lyrical Arm Movement. I’ll call them as I saw them:
    One General Lyrical Arm Movement at beginning.
    One Balletic Undulation w/ both arms during fan spiral; some might call this a Suggested Baby Flap.
    One Balletic Undulation w/ one arm during camel spin before fwd inside scratch spin.
    One General Balletic Arm Movement w/ both arms during fwd straight line attitude (SA only; at Campbell’s she did fwd SL Biellmann so both hands were holding ankle).
    Balletic Undulations w/ both arms, asymmetrical, before spread eagle.
    TOTALS:
    1 General Lyrical Arm Movement
    1 General Balletic Arm Movement
    3 Balletic Undulations, 1 w/ one arm, 2 w/ both arms, one of which wasasymmetrical; one of these could be a Suggested Baby Flap.

    So the most I could come with was one possible Suggested Baby Flap. In fact it looked to me as if Tarasova choreographed the program deliberately to avoid flaps, though of course I don't know what she was thinking. However Loosemore described sections of "SSL" emphasizing the "flap-flap" content. Could it be that Loosemore has started an urban legend about "SSL" being a "flap-flap" program?

    All flap analyses, expert and/or otherwise welcome and invited.
    Rgirl, MFA (Master of Flap Analysis)
    Last edited by Rgirl; 10-28-2003 at 08:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Lovin' the Kween ... Now and Forever
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    Oh my Rgirl ... this is a heck of a flap you've gotten yourself into!

  3. #3
    Skater Girl
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    That's great! :D

  4. #4
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Your detailed and cogent analysis of the Phlap Phenomenon overlooks only one avian manifestation -- but a crucially important one at that! Sasha's innovative forward scratch spin with arm sharply bent over head can only, in this Flap Analyser's expert opinion, be meant to symbolize the tragedy of the swan's broken wing! This portrayal lends a poignancy to Ms. Cohen's interpretation which is sadly lacking in Ms. McDonough's all too literal approach.

  5. #5
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    My favorite genre, Rgirl -- the sober truth disguished as a joke.

    Sasha didn't flap.

    Mathman

  6. #6
    What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?
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    Ohhhh Rgirl, that was flap-tastic!! Un-flapping believable! Your credentials are superior, your flap report is thorough, you are hands down (well flaps down) THE Flap expert!

    eliza88

    PS. of course the question arises how much time did this expert analysis take?? Measured in geological time of course

  7. #7
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    Flapping

    I think you've outdone yourself this time, rgirl. This is definitely of quality thesis material!

    Although I do believe that SC did a "half hearted flap" in her FWS. Other than that, I did not notice over-flapping by her. I did, however, worry that AP could, at any minute, lower one of her flaps and ascend to the ceiling.

  8. #8
    Gliding Along dlkksk8fan's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Custom Woman
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    Originally posted by giseledepkat
    ...Sasha's innovative forward scratch spin with arm sharply bent over head can only, in this Flap Analyser's expert opinion, be meant to symbolize the tragedy of the swan's broken wing!...
    Gisel! What great flapping insight! How could I have missed that honkingly clear metaphor?! I cede to your great flight of superior knowledge.

    Eliza,
    I can't flapping believe I missed the opportunity to use the "flap" word the way you immediately saw it was meant to be used. I flapped up on that one, but "The Golden Droppings" award definitely goes to you.

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to get into the flap of things. Now if we could just figure out a way to turn the Code of Points into the Code of Phlap, we could really take off in terms of our understanding of it.

    Flap On,
    Rgirl

  10. #10
    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    Well, I guess I am too late for any more flapping jokes except I think Rgirl has flapped and was done in by counting flaps.

  11. #11
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    rGirl has flapped me out. Do you know what it is liked to get a 'rush' and run off to someplace where Swan Laking is being performed. Flapped out with undulating elbows.

    Joe

  12. #12
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Originally posted by Rgirl
    Gisel! What great flapping insight! How could I have missed that honkingly clear metaphor?! I cede to your great flight of superior knowledge.
    Rgirl, you are too too kind! I realized after posting that silliness that actually a bird with a broken wing drags it around all loose and floppy....

    You are the undisputed champ of Phlapology!

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