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Thread: It's Time to Change the Short Program

  1. #31
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    I know I remember people calling the short program the technical program. That is where you get short amount of time to demonstrate required elements. One after another. In the long program there is not so much pressure and lots use the time to build into their jumps. I just think PCS should be removed from the short program score.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Can anyone watch Verdi's Aida and see the real artistry without triple salchows? It will be on this week on PBS. Try it. I somehow think that artistry in figure skating only exists in the minds of fans who do not attend other sources of ART.:sheesh:
    Yes. I can see "real" artistry with and without triple salchows. I am a regular visitor of museums and galleries. I attend concerts. In fact, I will be seeing La Traviata at the Met in a couple weeks, and Tosca after that. That said, I also love figure skating and do find "real" artistry in individual skaters. And honestly, just because something is from the opera world, does not mean that it is automatically artistic.:sheesh:
    As an instrumentalist, I could nitpick and say that your choice of opera as a general example of "real" artistry is controversial in itself. Opera is not only the music, but also a visual spectacle. If we're talking about music in its purest form, then you might have a point. But, I know plenty of "sophisticated" people who would have their socks bored off of them if it weren't for the "show" of opera. Even then, artistry is so subjective. Lang Lang is the perfect example to me. Certainly, one cannot deny his skill and flash as a pianist, but he has a total lack of "artistry" when it comes to performing Chopin.
    Just because something is accessible to the mass audience does not mean that it has no value in terms of real artistry, just as something created within the category of the fine arts does not necessarily express real artistry.
    Last edited by babyalligator; 04-02-2010 at 11:02 PM.

  3. #33
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    ^^^^^
    The Triumphal scene in Aida is definitely visual artistry with Verdi's score. Btw, Aida is not a favorite of mine, but I do not mind seeing it every ten years. I'm a Wagnerian fan, and I will be seeing The Flying Dutchman, the overture of which is stunning. I doubt a skater could handle it.

    I hope that Tosca you see is the Zeffereli production. I was there on opening night booing with the crowd on the much touted revised one.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmyers View Post
    I know I remember people calling the short program the technical program. That is where you get short amount of time to demonstrate required elements. One after another. In the long program there is not so much pressure and lots use the time to build into their jumps. I just think PCS should be removed from the short program score.
    That was the plan when they instituted the purpose of the sp, but the 'artisty' fans went for PC scores. Your suggestion is well taken.

  5. #35
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    Here is a little more info on the beginnings of the SP:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_p...figure_skating)

    "Originally, the short program for singles had only 6 required elements (three jumps, two spins, and one step sequence). It was competed for the first time at Nebelhorn Trophy in late summer of 1972. A seventh element, the spin combination, was added to the short program the following season. Required deductions for failures on elements were not added until the 1975-1976 season. The eighth element (spiral sequence for ladies or second step sequence for men) was added in the 1988-89 season, when the time limit was set at 2 minutes 40 seconds. The short program was extended by an additional 10 seconds when the ISU Judging System was adopted to allow skaters more time to complete complex spins and step sequences.

    It used to be that the required elements in the short program were more constrained than they are now. For example, at the 1988 Winter Olympics, both men and ladies were required to do a double flip as the jump out of steps, and include a double loop in the jump combination. The change to allow men to do a triple as the required axel jump and include a quadruple jump in the short program did not happen until the 1998-99 season."

  6. #36
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    I think that if they made the skaters all do the same exact program, it would actually enable the judgement of artistry.

    If you have different programs, then some skaters will attempt an artistically challenging program, like Mao's Bells, and some will attempt an easily sellable program, like Mirai's programs this season. But if you have the exact choreography and then tell the skaters to interpret the music using facial expression, finger tips, costume, so forth, then the judgement of facial expression, body expression, and other artistic aspects would be made possible, I think.

    Sort of like all ballerinas do their Don Quixotes and Swan Lakes and when they do the same program, you can tell which one is better artistically (as well as technically).

    I would love to see that. Maybe give the skaters two SP programs to choose from, and they have to perform it with their own interpretation.

  7. #37
    Custom Title hurrah's Avatar
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    On second thought, you wouldn't even need to do the choreography. Just make the skaters skate to the same music, and watch how they interpret it. You could even allow for different music interpretation. Some might go for piano, some might go for orchestra version.

    Or another way is to set the theme. Say that this season's SP must express 'sadnes' or 'joy' or 'universal love' or something appropriate, and then you could judge if their SP is appropriate to the set theme.
    Last edited by hurrah; 04-03-2010 at 12:00 PM.

  8. #38
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    To be honest, to make the skaters choose from two choreographies that ISU has commissioned could potentially make figure skating develop a repetoire, just like ballet has a repetoire. It would add another dimension to figure skating. Then figure skating fans could talk about which was better, the 2020 Carmen SP choreographed by Lori Nichols versus the 2021 Scherazade SP choreographed by David Wilson, for example.

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    It sounds like some people want a competition that's primarily about interpretation and artistry more than skating technique.

    There might be a place for such a competition, but I don't think the short program with its required elements or the long program which is about each skater showing off his/her maximum technical skills is the place for it.

    Maybe there needs to be a separate discipline in which skaters can compete for separate medals. One program where everyone does the same thing, more or less, and another where creativity is rewarded.

    Or, as I suggested earlier, replace the short program with element competitions and a skating skill/interpretation competition, and then also have a well-balanced (long) program to determine the all-around champions.

    If you want everyone to do the same program, with the same elements, then you need to choose elements that everyone should be expected to do, with only entries and variations that everyone should be expected to do. And you need to allow for skaters who spin and jump clockwise to perform the program in mirror image.

    If you want skaters each to have the freedom to show their best elements of each kind and their best transitions and variations, then you can't have a set program that everyone does. At most you could specify a piece of music or kind of music, as in the Original Dance.

    And if you want to compare how they each interpret a certain kind or piece of music, then make the focus of that performance on skating to the music, not on executing difficult jumps and spins.

  10. #40
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurrah View Post
    I think that if they made the skaters all do the same exact program, it would actually enable the judgement of artistry.

    If you have different programs, then some skaters will attempt an artistically challenging program, like Mao's Bells, and some will attempt an easily sellable program, like Mirai's programs this season. But if you have the exact choreography and then tell the skaters to interpret the music using facial expression, finger tips, costume, so forth, then the judgement of facial expression, body expression, and other artistic aspects would be made possible, I think.

    Sort of like all ballerinas do their Don Quixotes and Swan Lakes and when they do the same program, you can tell which one is better artistically (as well as technically).

    I would love to see that. Maybe give the skaters two SP programs to choose from, and they have to perform it with their own interpretation.
    Well Iam not espousing justifying that as the pupose of the SP. I believe interpretation is part of PC scoring, which for an exclusive technical judgement, interpretation is not the way to go. We have enough fan judgemental as to costumes, music, and choreography for the LP where it belongs. However, your suggestion deserves merit but it would depend a lot on music since some ballerinas dance Don Q better than they do Odette/Odile.

    I really would like to see a Technical Competition but I am so outnumbered on the board for the great artistry that is displayed more in high spirals than even in interpretation. The original purpose of the SP for Technical has given way to the elements of Pagaent Judging. JMO.


    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Here is a little more info on the beginnings of the SP:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_p...figure_skating)

    "Originally, the short program for singles had only 6 required elements (three jumps, two spins, and one step sequence). It was competed for the first time at Nebelhorn Trophy in late summer of 1972. A seventh element, the spin combination, was added to the short program the following season. Required deductions for failures on elements were not added until the 1975-1976 season. The eighth element (spiral sequence for ladies or second step sequence for men) was added in the 1988-89 season, when the time limit was set at 2 minutes 40 seconds. The short program was extended by an additional 10 seconds when the ISU Judging System was adopted to allow skaters more time to complete complex spins and step sequences.

    It used to be that the required elements in the short program were more constrained than they are now. For example, at the 1988 Winter Olympics, both men and ladies were required to do a double flip as the jump out of steps, and include a double loop in the jump combination. The change to allow men to do a triple as the required axel jump and include a quadruple jump in the short program did not happen until the 1998-99 season."
    Ah, Wikipedia, the know all about everything.
    And having to make the jumps easier is a test of great skill -no? Although it is another thread, I would like to allow skaters to do what's best for them. If they choose to take the easy route, so be it but there should be nothing in the way of music. It is a sporting competition and lets the frills be added in the LP. Why do I have to look at that same spirals in two separate competitions?

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Ah, Wikipedia, the know all about everything.
    And having to make the jumps easier is a test of great skill -no? Although it is another thread, I would like to allow skaters to do what's best for them. If they choose to take the easy route, so be it but there should be nothing in the way of music. It is a sporting competition and lets the frills be added in the LP. Why do I have to look at that same spirals in two separate competitions?
    Sometimes a few Euro nuts at GS object to anything i post if there is no link - so i provided the link

    I disagreed with you without saying so - about YOUR premise for how the SP was originated.

    I think in your heart you know why - it was about TV money opportunities for ISU - and also because fans in the arenas watching the free skates (but never the figures portion) couldn't understand how a skater like Trixie or any others ever beat the emerging free skaters like Janet.

    Maybe you disagree - but it is not hard to understand the influence of USA TV money at the time.

    I think it was a good thing for skating to devalue the compulsary figures - which were at about 60% of the score back in the 60's

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    ^^^^^
    The Triumphal scene in Aida is definitely visual artistry with Verdi's score. Btw, Aida is not a favorite of mine, but I do not mind seeing it every ten years. I'm a Wagnerian fan, and I will be seeing The Flying Dutchman, the overture of which is stunning. I doubt a skater could handle it.

    I hope that Tosca you see is the Zeffereli production. I was there on opening night booing with the crowd on the much touted revised one.
    not sure on that one joesitz lol
    I think Zeffirelli has had his time and sometimes we must stumble through mistakes by the process of exploration in order to see progression into a new direction. Otherwise, all we face is stagnation. Opera struggles as an art form in the search for new ways of defining itself. Ideally, audiences would be more receptive to new works by contemporary composers, but because this is not the case (especially in opera), the standard repertoire itself has to be tweaked or reinvented at the risk of deviating from what the composer intended his opera to be. We could say the same for anything...including figure skating

    but you do have a very valid point in bringing up for discussion, the lack of an absolute for a quality such as artistry, and the resulting difficulties in judging. Up to a point, the presence or lack of artistry is clear. It is pretty obvious that a 19 year old will in most cases have a more developed sense of artistry than a 14, 15 year old will. Not only is the 19 year old more emotionally and intellectually mature, but that person is more likely to have developed the technical skills to be capable of artistic expression. Beyond that, however, is where we get into deep waters and in trouble. lol.

    Because the short programs and long programs set to music have given me and many others so much enjoyment in the past, it is difficult to propose radical changes to the SPs and LPs themselves...but I wouldn't mind having third round (actually this would be done before SP and LP), in which only technical elements are graded on their own without music, and the score used to adjust the TS portion of the SP and LP (haven't quite thought up in my head how exactly that would work...need time to think hahaha). so essence, a jump competition, a spin competition, an assigned step competition, etc. I must admit, seeing a men's jump competition would be so exciting.

  13. #43
    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    If I were to answer that, I would be thrown off the Board,

    Most fans see the SP as just another 'fix' for their lack of 'artistry' in their lives and with costumes, sequens and beads, and, of course, anything that reminds them of ballet which they never seen.

    Others, like myself, don't want to lose sight of the SPORT and it should play an important role in the game. The SP could spell Sport. Maybe we could move Figure Skating to the Sport of Pagaents

    But I understand the fixation of perceived artistry.
    I think it's the exact opposite. The people who are drawn the figure skating are people who already love things like ballet and music and art. When the Olympics roll around they'd rather watch figure skating than hockey or skiing because watching most sports bore them.

    I doubt many of those people would be pleased if they had to endure an ice jumping competition. And I REALLY doubt many football fan types would suddenly be drawn to figure skating.

    Of course, I've seen many posters here to seem to enjoy both team sports and figure skating, so I shouldn't really generalize. But the point is, my experience in the real world is that the people I know who enjoy figure skating are people who already enjoy ballet and other forms of art, not the other way around.

    At the risk of being lynched around here, I have always had doubts that figure skating should be considered a sport any more than ballet. That both are physically grueling is not enough of an argument. However, I love watching Olympic figure skating competitions and it's become an integral part of the growth of figure skating so I really don't care if people think it's a sport or not. It'll never be taken out of the Olympics because it's still pretty popular, so the debate on whether it's a sport iis moot, in my opinion.

    I'd hate to have the SP boiled down to just a show of technical elements. I have wondered at times what the point of the two skates is since one is just a longer version than the other. But if something were to changed, I rather see the long program be freer so skaters could show off what they CAN do, not what they can't. However, that would certainly make judging more subjective and open the door to more "scandals."

    I'm more with Mathman. It's just fun for fans for it not to be over in one night.

    For the record, I have been to many ballet and mordern dance performances and music concerts so I really don't think I value the artistic aspect of figure skating because I lack art in my life. Maybe there are a whole bunch of people who are bored by art but love figure skating but I've never met even one.
    Last edited by Layfan; 04-03-2010 at 05:41 PM.

  14. #44
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    It seems the music lovers want their skating artistry and not have the technical get in the way of all those beautiful spirals to the music. The seriousness of figure skating championships is just, as you say should only be about fun.

    Sad, there was a time when it was a serious SPORT and not a showcase for teenagers to show off their flexibility. Nowadays, one can just sit back and watch the fun on TV, and not take it seriously, except for their favorite. BTW, the decline in interest in figure skating, imo, is because it's lost any semblance of serious sport.

    BTW, what do you think of gmyers post which will retain the SP as is, but only the Tech would be be scored? You can still have your flexibilities but the PC wont be scored.

    For the record, I've been to many sporting events without music and enjoyed them for the sport. Why else would I go?

    and an aplology to you and others if you were offfended by my remark about my assuming you never have been to an artistic showing.

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    I agree that there are many fans who are not much interested in sport but who are interested in the arts and who like to watch figure skating primarily because of the aesthetic qualities.
    I expect that many of these fans would enjoy figure skating in the context of professional competitions as reached their heyday in the mid 1990s, of ice theatre as pioneered by John Curry and others, and other touring or one-off shows, preferably well-rehearsed and well choreographed, in which skating is treated as an artform rather than a competitive sport. I wish there were more opportunities for this kind of performance to be popularized on television arts programs outside the sporting context and to perform in cities large enough to attract enough arts-minded audience members to pay the performers as well as the production costs.

    Developing a competition circuit, whether under ISU aegis or that might render skaters ineligible for ISU competition, that focuses on subordinating technical content to artistic purpose and developing skaters who excel in those areas might be a way to attract TV coverage and sponsorship. But it would not be an Olympic sport.

    These fans are probably most interested in the aspects of performances that are evaluated in the Performance/Execution, Choreography, and Interpretation components.


    There are also fans who are most interested in skating for the spectacular tricks as examples of the extremes the human body can achieve: triple and quadruple jumps, fast spins in extreme positions, and especially pair throws, lifts, and twist lifts. These fans are probably bored by or disdainful of the apparently lower athletic content of ice dancing. They probably also enjoy tricks like backflips, detroiters, headbanger spins, etc., that are common in entertainment-oriented show skating but not allowed in competition. These fans can be well served by competition as it currently exists (although they might prefer scoring that privileges the obvious big tricks over the subtle details) and by shows that feature competitive stars and other outgoing entertainers skating to popular music.

    This seems to be what TV networks and casual fans who only watch skating at big events or maybe buy a ticket to one ice show a year, are most interested in.


    And then there are fans who are also skaters, or who have made an effort to educate themselves about the sport on its own terms, who appreciate details such as edge quality and which kinds of turns are used in the footwork or entrances to jumps, etc., including all the picky details that judges and tech specialists take note of to determine competitive scores. The kinds of fans who would actually enjoy watching compulsory figures or compulsory dances or, say, a competition phase in which every skater had to perform the same step squence so they could compare subtle aspects of the quality.

    Of course, these different sources of pleasure from watching skating are not mutually exclusive. It's perfectly possible for one person to enjoy different skaters or the same skaters in different contexts for all of these reasons. Maybe some fans were first attracted by the aesthetic expression or the big tricks, or by one particular skater who hapened to catch their interest, but as they got sucked in and started to attend more events, to read and debate more online, etc., they started to care about flutzes and traveling spins and the difference between mohawks and choctaws.

    The point is, the skaters, the coaches, the judges, the people who make the rules have always cared about those details. They've always cared about which edge a skater was on, how well controlled and how deep the edges are, how the skater gains speed, what kinds of turns they execute and whether they execute them both forward and backward, clockwise and counterclockwise, on the right foot and left foot. That's what the sport is all about. Those skills are necessary before a skater can execute complicated choreography or perform triple jumps. The scoring will always measure those skills, regardless of whether fans are interested or not.

    If there's a bigger audience for skating as art or skating as popular entertainment than there is for skating as sport, then it's up to impresarios to create contexts in which accomplished skaters can showcase their art and entertainment to those audiences and make a living doing so. If there are enough jobs and good enough pay for stars in these fields, then skaters will leave competitive sport to become skating artists or skating entertainers. If the contexts are not framed as competitions, then under today's rules the skaters wouldn't lose eligiblility, so they could come and go between performing and competing from one season to another depending on their interests and their physical and financial condition.

    The ISU can't compromise the focus on technique to please audiences who are interested more in musical expression or flashy tricks than in technique. Skating as a competitive sport is always primarily about technique, technical quality, and technical content of all sorts.

    Fans are welcome to educate themselves about technical details and to have that much more to enjoy while watching competitions. Or they can just enjoy the more obvious aspects and ignore the areas they aren't interested in. But they can't expect competition ever to be all about artistry or all about tricks without also rewarding the underlying technique.

    There might be some value in the ISU developing separate competition circuits or disciplines, or separate competition segments, to focus on specific subsets of skills. This could allow fans who are interested in some areas more than others to choose which events to attend or tune into on TV. It could also allow more opportunity for skaters with different skills to win medals, although the big winners of the most prestigious events should be those who are strong in all areas.
    Last edited by gkelly; 04-04-2010 at 08:09 AM.

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