Music and Skating
Here are Bianchetti's thoughts on music and skating:
A "Great Skater" will not be remembered for the number of jumps he has executed in his program, but rather for his personality, his originality, for the way he moves on the ice, for the emotion he is able to transmit to the audience, the contact he is able to create with his fans.....
Last edited by inside edge; 01-30-2010 at 09:36 PM.
That is one of my favorite articles. I love it when she says that "The skater shall skate to the music as an instrument."
Off the ice
I noticed this was a column from 2005; do you think that if Ms. Bianchetti were to write it now, she might argue that "a great skater will not be remembered for the number of transitions he (or she) has executed in his program"? Because from where I'm sitting, choreographers often stick transitions in the programs to get the score up rather than to serve the program as a coherent whole, and quite a few skaters are so busy bobbing this way and that that they can't properly interpret and express their music (of course, some simply don't have any talent for it anyway ).
Thanks for the link - normally I'm not a huge fan of her writing because it's become so repetitive, but this was a very interesting read and I agree with her. Top skaters should strive to be both great athletes and great artists.
I guess if she wrote this article today it would be different. Her writing has changed, maybe you think it is repetitive - but she has a cause - related to this statement from her article:
Originally Posted by Buttercup
"Figure skating is a sport, but a sport with something more. And this something more is its artistic component. Figure skating is music. Without music our sport cannot exist; without music our sport would lose the strength of its expression. It is the music which gives a sense to the compound of the elements and their sequence in a program."
Bianchetti predicted certain things woud happen and she was right. In today's CoP there is less regard for superior expression and music interpretation.
We see it constantly when skaters receive similar pcs even as their artistic qualities seem so different.
At a recent competition a Lady received the highest marks of her career. She said she wanted to make no mistakes and so she approached each element like a robot.
I don't mean to pick on this skater but this approach to skating - the mechanical, point gathering style is what Bianchetti has been preaching against.
I see little reason for skaters to do anythig more than try to collect as many points as possible. Some are better at it than others and a few actually can demonstrate superior artistry. But today if you do enough of the big tricks and show the judges your team is aware of the rules and that you are skating for points they will reward you.
There is very little advantage in the scoring system to being Lambiel or Abbott. There is supposed to be a recognition of superior artistry but we see how a jumping pass that takes a few seconds cancels out aristry interwoven throughout a 4 minute program.
I think there is something special and unique about skating. The most special part about it - the part we sometimes refer to as "performance art - is what sets skating apart from sports like diving and gymnastics. Yet many here want skating to be more like those sports.
It appears that skating is trending that way under Cincuanta's leadership and vision. But if one wants to know what the fans really love all we have to do is remember the ovation Yukari received at '08 Worlds - or the reaction to the jubilant skating shown by Nagasu at US Natls last week. Performance art may be seen less in this era but it is far from dead.
Last edited by janetfan; 01-31-2010 at 08:10 AM.
leave no stone unturned
superior artisty is in the eye of the beholder..And again are we talking about short or long program or the exhibition??
If we talk about competition, given how they skated at euros I would want to see Joubert's sp again and not Lambiel's. With all the artistry of Lambiel, his attempts at the jumps ruined his program until the second half and this was the short program I went to watch. Then again Joubert skated to a less artistic music and all the audience was behind him which mean he had the connection, he was spectacular, fast, precise and technically correct and he brought the arena down something that lambiel didnt do but did in the long program.
Both Lambiel and Abott can backup their artistic performances because they have the technical content of the top guys, but as you see it is maybe difficult to interpret the music, having the choreo, a bunch of transitions and have two quads , two triple axels and great spins. If Abott bomps, no, he is not that superior artistic , if Stephane bomps he is still impressive but then his marks go down accordingly. I think Lambiel is very much appreciated in his presentation marks by judges and of course by audience. I dont put him on same level with Abott, he is on another planet. He has the ít'factor that few skaters have.
Then again if i want to enjoy them and not mind theirathletic performance I pay the ticket for gala or I go to their touring. In competition I m aware I m going to see a sport and I want to see more.
Some of the skaters you like so much could skate without music and it would make very little difference.
Their fans would still scream and the athleticism would be just as easy to enjoy.
But you are right, much is a matter of taste.
leave no stone unturned
After i saw like 30 male skaters back to back I can tell that many use music as background, some skate to it and some skate with it. Some skaters I like a lot can just do crossovers in practice and gather all people 's eyes. This is charisma. I m still aware I went to figure skating competition and not Le swan Lake performance.
Dont diminish power of audience like it is a silly fan base of a skater every 10 seats or gilrs who scream. All Plushenko, Lambiel and Joubert plus Contesti and Javier and Brezina brought people on their feet who were excited for them for totally different reasons. A complete different set of audience, by ages, nationality and taste. I trust what I see
I like your reply and agree with most of it.
Originally Posted by seniorita
My earlier post you so strenuosly objected to references the audience appeal Yukari showed at '08 Worlds and that Mirai just showed at US Natls.
So I agree with you that "charisma" plays a part and I recognize some skaters have more of this intangible quality than others do.
In my case, as a guy I don't feel the charisma of the men as strongly as you might. To me, Lambiel and Abbott are not so different. I say that because Lambiel has no appeal to me past the way he skates and expresses the nuances of the music. I see Abbott as having a similar abilty although his style is more introverted. That is not much of a factor to me because I appreciate that Abbot's skating is so musical and just as expressive in it's own right.
I see very little difference between 2010 Plushy and Joubert. I did see more artistry and much more musicality from Plushy when he was younger.
We all have favorites and for different reasons. I happen to like Laura who has made the "nightnare podium" almost as much as Rachael.
Why is that? They are really totally different skaters but something about both of them apparently bothers many posters.
I like the way Laura moves to the music. Do I also think she is cute? umm. yes I do! Is she my favorite? No, not by a long shot but she is probably my favorite Euro Lady.
The reason I like her is for her expression and musicality. If she didn't have that I would not like her. Kiira is beautiful but her skating is not expressive enough for my taste.
I will never like Joubert as much as Abbot or Lambiel. But that doesn't mean I don't understand why the girls scream so loud for Brian. But it gets down to taste and I prefer the poets over good loking big jumpers. I do think as you pointed out that Joubert and others can and do occassionaly create performance art when they skate.
This is not easy to express. I think Bianchetti is right when she stresses how important music is to skating.
A problem with Cop was mentioned by Beka the other day. There seems to be a very important componet missing in the pcs.
That would relate to the overall effect of a program. Caro's sloppy Silver medal performance at '08 Worlds was used as an example. Apparently the CoP awarded her enough points for Silver (she almost won gold) for an LP that had so many sloppy jumps it was hard to imagine her getting any medal at all.
How her marks were good enough to win Wolrd Silver for a skate like that is hard to imagine. If we were to consider as part of the equation the overall effect of Yuna or Yukari's skating that night - if there was a category for "performance art" then no way could have Caro won a medal. I am not against Caro and think she is an immensly talented skater. But I think her Silver medal shows a clear flaw in CoP scoring. The overall effect of her performance was not great yet she was marked as if she had skated great.
leave no stone unturned
I need a giggling smilie Having sat next to a sector full of french people, I assure you that joubert was cheered by 60 years old sirs and dames along with the rest of audience and girls. He is not just a pretty boy who jump. He has energy, speed, huge jumps, confidence (most of times) and can make you look at him.
In the exhibition it was lambiel of course who shined, but it was the gala.
What i wanted to say is that sometime we forget that these people are competing. Having tried to be an athlete myself i dont think this is just another factor, it is THE factor. Mental strength, concetration and the ability to get the best of you when it counts have made me bow to Evgeni and yes, Lambiel has the edge over Abott here. Stephane can keep his musicality and all the others things he is gifted even when he falters, in my opinion Abott to be appreciated needs to skate like he did at nationals. And same goes for Takahashi.
Of course is a matter of taste but Lambiel is a magnet both in practices and competition. And the same is Plush and Joub but for other reasons. I m pretty sure just a jumper or just a poetic skater with no jumps , in competition would have no success with the audience, both of them. Jumps in mens figure skating is a large part and the ability or not to do a clean program is a wow factor when you watch a competition live. But it needs more, and in my opinion you cant be a top contender if you dont have this little 'something else' that money cant buy.
Nevertheless Kosntner's gold performance did nothing to me, just to point out that it is not the winning factor that makes me appreciate someone.
Also I dont put Lambiel in the introverted category of skaters, he is more lyrical and more poetic but he knows how to and he does connect with audience.
Last edited by seniorita; 01-31-2010 at 10:17 AM.
You misunderstand some of what I write. I said Jeremy is introverted - not Stephane.
Originally Posted by seniorita
I also said I understand Brian has strong charisma - but I think he is the one who must complete his elements - his jumps - or much is missing.
Fans are entitled to like their favorites. I did not think Laura deserved a Silve medal at Euros - but who else could they give it to?
Maybe Elena deserved it?
Glad you enjoyed Euros so much. I haven't been to a competition for a while but agree it is different being there than watching on TV.
Last edited by janetfan; 01-31-2010 at 10:30 AM.
It was one competition - it's not as if her approach is like this at every event. Do you know why she was so focused on her jumps? It's because she had not had a good season up until that point - and she also had a fall in the short so she wanted to prove to herself (and everyone else) that she was fine. It was her last competition before the Olympics and it was important that she make a statement. Her jumps were spectacular and it seems to me that the audience was on their feet before the music ended. They seemed to very much appreciate her program, interpretation, crispness, and oh ya, she went CLEAN! She had momentum, the audience in the palm of her hand, and it was an inspiring performance. I don't think anyone in the audience would sat down after her performance and said "Wow, that was such a robotic skate". Just because her approach was one element at a time doesn't mean it isn't a fantastic program - that if skated the same way in Van - will be the highlight of the night.
Originally Posted by janetfan
Rochette came out onto the ice, fiercely competitive, unstoppable, unblinking. She was like a force of nature, so inspiring that the crowd stood to its feet more than 10 seconds before she'd finished the routine.
Rochette said she was almost "robotic.''
"That was kind of in the plan,'' Rochette said. "After the season I've had, I just wanted to do one element at a time, take it one step at a time. It was really important for my own confidence to do this. Of course, the program can be so much more.''
Winning her sixth Canadian title was important to Rochette, and she said it didn't matter if she qualified or not. "I didn't want to go into these Olympics not being champion in my own country. It's always better for confidence. But after doing a program like this, it's really helping my confidence.''
I hope she will show more in Vancouver - and hope she skates her best. I am a fan, like her programs and am not among her many critics here.
You are never shy about criticizing certain skaters - all I did was "quote" a skater. A heck of a difference,
Well you also stated that Joannie displayed a "mechanical, point gathering style" at Canadians - which she did not. Joannie was going to Vancouver even if she finished 15th - this performance was not about points but rather about confidence, getting her jumps back, and making a statement. The audience, commentators, press, all my friends who watched, etc. - all expressed the same emotion after watching her - "Wow, she laid it down". This is sport after all.
Originally Posted by janetfan
I used a specific quote as a point of reference - but really meant it to show a philosophical difference, one which has been expressed by Lambiel, Weir, Lyscacek, not to mention Boitano, Hamilton, Button, Mishin, Morozov and so many others.
Originally Posted by i love to skate
In the larger context I was discussing Bianchetti's views of the importance of music and expression in skating.
You are free to take Cincuanta's pov - I just see it differently.