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Thread: Johhny-help or hindrance?

  1. #46
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Joesitz - I don't think Toller got the same sort of attention from the American media as Johnny does being as how he was/is not American. I'll bet the Canadian media did much the same with Toller as they do with Johnny.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by colleen o'neill View Post
    Oh , Toller was definitely considered flamboyant, on the ice and off. It was the era of Nureyev , and Toller was widely considered to be his counterpart in the skating world. His wardrobe off the ice was equally dramatic to Nureyev's...talk about Panache !

    But I always felt that Toller , in his realm, was the more unique. Everything he did was his own creation ; his art , his choreography , his costumes , you name it. He created his style without the benefit of formal dance training; the artist in him just wanted to create beautiful shapes and positions on the ice.

    Of course he'll always be compared to John Curry , but they're really two different things. If we can switch genders for a moment, it's a little like trying to compare Anna Pavlova to Isidora Duncan. It can't really be done. You just have to give them both their due.
    I agree that one can't compare Toller and John Curry. I like your metaphor of Anna Pavlova, with her extensive ballet training, contrasted with Isadora Duncan, who devised many of her own moves. Taking that into account, let's instead say that Curry and Cranston will forever be linked because of the magnitude of their respective contributions to skating.

    One thing about both Curry and Cranston that links them so strongly is that they were mature artists and also mature technicians. Both were 26 in the 76 Olympics, and at that point they knew what they wanted their skating to communicate. They made the other Olympic competitors that year look like nice college kids who were passing through. Curry and Cranston, on the other hand, were creating something meant to endure...and it has.

    I like the comparison of Toller to Nureyev. We could extend the metaphor by saying that Curry was the Baryshnikov of the ice. Toller and Nureyev were both out there, impassioned and Dionysian. Curry and Baryshnikov were (and Baryshnikov still is) more enclosed, measured, and Apollonian. (You could also apply this duality to the two wonderful giants of film musicals, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.) Both pathways to artistry are impressive and can result in a magnificent legacy.

    Johnny Weir has a ways to go to reach that level of achievement, but then Toller had about twenty productive years as a skater, so Johnny has time.
    Last edited by Olympia; 04-29-2010 at 10:16 PM.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Definitely different, and Curry was more into making figure skating an artform, hence his Company.

    But was Toller the same as Johnny Weir?
    Long time lurker will take a stab at this. My opinion on their skating.................. Weir=smooth and delicate.......................Cranston=smooth and powerful

  4. #49
    Constable , Costume Police colleen o'neill's Avatar
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    Great post, Olympia. I completely agree.

    I agree with Gardenquilt, too.

    It was a different time , though...so Toller wasn't treated the same way Johnny is by the press. He wasn't subjected to as much public speculation as to his sexuality.It just wasn't done.That was for private conversation.

    His flamboyance was strictly attributed to his artistic talent and temperament... Of course, mention of his artistic temperament while true, was also code..

    Really , I think Olympia has it exactly right. Cranston and Curry have both influenced the direction of the sport..It remains to be seen if Johnny will do the same.

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    Thanks for all of the interesting comments and views about Toller.

    Here is his SP from the '76 Olympics and I think Button's commentary makes a good point. Toller's skating style was very original and innovative. If we look past Weir's costumes isn't his skating very traditional?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCsQEzXT6xA

    Here is a clip showing Toller's gallery, studio and garden in San Miguel:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xhqa0l-iHQ

  6. #51
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Welcome, Gardenquilt. Thanks for joining us. Post often, post long!

  7. #52
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    Welcome, Gardenquilt. I really like your description of Toller and of Johnny. Hope to hear more from you!

    Janetfan, thanks for the links. I'll watch his SP when I get time to savor it. I recently re-watched his LP, and it was as commanding as I remembered it. It definitely belongs on the list of great men's Olympic programs, as does Curry's.

    And isn't Toller's artwork interesting? I first learned about his paintings when I came upon a book he wrote. i'm sure his creativity in each area strengthened his work in the other.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Welcome, Gardenquilt. I really like your description of Toller and of Johnny. Hope to hear more from you!

    Janetfan, thanks for the links. I'll watch his SP when I get time to savor it. I recently re-watched his LP, and it was as commanding as I remembered it. It definitely belongs on the list of great men's Olympic programs, as does Curry's.

    And isn't Toller's artwork interesting? I first learned about his paintings when I came upon a book he wrote. i'm sure his creativity in each area strengthened his work in the other.
    I have always wanted to visit San Miguel and would really enjoy a chance to visit Toller's gallery.

    I never thought much about comparisons between Johnny and Toller but watching this clip there does seem to be a few similarities.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0gVz8QEOJY

    As previously mentioned Toller was from an earlier era and things were different. When I think back to some of Toller's early performances and his marks I think forward to the Duchesnays. Like Toller, their skating was so innovative and their presentation was ahead of it's time.

    With Johnny it doesn't seem as if his skating has been so innovative and controversies about him have more to do with his off-ice antics. Perhaps he and Toller were outspoken but when we get to the point of their skating I see Toller as a great innovator and Johnny as very good but with a more traditional skating style.

    Toller was winning the free skate at many major events and that is not something that we can say about Johnny. Still it is an interesting comparison - but less so on the ice.
    Last edited by janetfan; 04-30-2010 at 09:41 AM.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    Definitely different, and Curry was more into making figure skating an artform, hence his Company.
    Oh, Toller Cranston was into making figure skating as an artform as well. Just his artistic vision was . . . wilder and less classical than Curry's.

    You can see all of his Strawberry Ice TV special here.

    But was Toller the same as Johnny Weir?
    Of course no two people, no two skaters, are "the same."

    I see Weir's style as being somewhere between Curry's and Cranston's. I get the impression he wants to be as outrageous as Cranston but hasn't gone quite as far yet, off or especially on the ice. And definitely not as formalist as Curry's vision.

    However, he's still at the age and the stage of his career that Curry and Cranston were before they won their Olympic medals. Without one of those of his own, Weir may not have quite as many opportunities as they did. On the other hand, the media and pop culture worlds are different than they were 35 years ago. If he wants to develop an artistic vision on the ice outside of his competitive career, he may find a way.

    Anyone from Golden Skate going to the Ice Theatre of New York shows Weir is headlining this weekend?
    Last edited by gkelly; 04-30-2010 at 11:22 AM.

  10. #55
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    for me johnny both--but than can be said of sasha--
    regarding toller cranston--different time era in coverage--back then only tv and newspapers-other countries usually didn't pick it up unless national champ and medal winner(preferably olympic)
    now you have youtube, internet, tweeting, all kinds of electronics to get message across whether good or bad in a instant, instant messaging etc.
    once something starts very hard to stop /even harder to forget,
    just put name in internet and pops up , this year, a year earlier, 10 years earlier. once on internet -electronic, hard to get off.
    so both help and hindrance

  11. #56
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    I agree with those of you who have pointed out that Johnny's actual skating style is more traditional and classical than Toller's was. In fact, all along I've wondered what the fuss concerning Johnny was about (the negative fuss, I mean). Johnny isn't "rocking the boat" in terms of his skating. He's not outrageous at all on the ice, in my opinion. His skating is precise and even unfussy, and I can't imagine why judges would be against his presentation on those grounds. Toller developed moves such as his broken-leg sit-spin that created an almost Aubrey Beardsley effect on the ice, while everything Johnny does that I can think of is a pure, clean line. (I enjoy both men's skating, by the way; no criticism of either is implied here.)

    Certainly Johnny is an artistic skater, though. I remember with great enjoyment his exhibition trio with Gregory and Petukov (spelling?), and I think the Ice Theater is a great place for him to stretch his wings. I hope Johnny is in skating for the long term, as Toller was, so that he can create his own artistic impact.

    Another point that one of you mentioned, Toller was technically in the forefront of his time, which Johnny really isn't, as of yet at least. Johnny isn't doing the same jump content as the leading guys (let alone pathfinding in that area), whereas Toller really was right with the front of the pack in his day--evidenced by the fact that he did win the free skate in several international competitions. He wasn't just doing something surprising, as people like Norbert Schramm or Igor Bobrin were doing. He was skating substantially, with good command of the basics. The thing that held him back, as with Janet Lynn (who, by the way, he admired very much), was school figures. (Whereas Curry, like Peggy Fleming, was precise and commanding in both school figures and free skating.)
    Last edited by Olympia; 04-30-2010 at 11:01 AM.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    while everything Johnny does that I can think of is a pure, clean line.
    But not as pure or as technical as Curry's, which is why I say he's somewhere in between.

    Another point that one of you mentioned, Toller was technically in the forefront of his time, which Johnny really isn't, as of yet at least. Johnny isn't doing the same jump content as the leading guys (let alone pathfinding in that area), whereas Toller really was right with the front of the pack in his day--evidenced by the fact that he did win the free skate in several international competitions.
    Cranston did triple salchow, toe loop, and loop. So did Curry. That was normal but not groundbreaking jump content at the time, comparable to guys today, like Weir, doing 3A and triple-triples but not quads.

    There were guys who were including triple flip and triple lutz in their programs at the time: Terry Kubicka, Jan Hoffmann, maybe a handful of others worldwide. Winning freeskates wasn't determined only by who landed the hardest jumps.

  13. #58
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    Thanks for the link from your earlier post gkelly.
    I saw Chen-Lu's name mentioned there and didn't realize Toller had done some choreo for her.
    I am not positive but think Lulu's "Last Emperor" LP was by Toller Cranston or maybe by Toller and Lea Ann Miller. Did they work together?

    Anyone know more about Toller's choreo work?

  14. #59
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    My understanding is that Cranston choreographed Chen's Last Emperor LP and also the Mendelssohn SP from the same year (1995). I believe she had worked with Lea Ann Miller before that year and she then worked with Sandra Bezic afterward.

    The other skaters' programs he choreographed that I'm most familiar with are Chrisopher Bowman in 1991 and Canadian ice dancers Jacqueline Petr and Mark Janoschak for several years in the early 1990s. Would have to search for others.

    I know he also designed costumes for several skaters in the 80s and 90s even when he didn't choreograph their programs.
    Last edited by gkelly; 04-30-2010 at 12:46 PM.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    My understanding is that Cranston choreographed Chen's Last Emperor LP and also the Mendelssohn SP from the same year (1995). I believe she had worked with Lea Ann Miller before that year and she then worked with Sandra Bezic afterward.
    Thanks for the infos gkelly.
    Interesting that the WC eluded Toller as a skater - but his choreo helped Lulu win the WC back in '95.
    The clips below are Lulu skating to Toller's choreo.

    LP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzUzMOdtqNg

    SP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbOfh...x=0&playnext=1

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