What will the 2010/2011 bring us in ICE DANCE?
What will the 2010/2011 bring us in ICE DANCE?
Obviously, the biggest shift is the shift to two dances instead of three, with the the compulsory and OD combining to form the new short dance (no, not strictly combining, but you know what I mean). Big shifts generally don’t rewrite the playbook immediately (the shift to COP still saw three prior world champions winning again - Slutskaya, Navka/Kostamorov, Totmiannia/Marinin) but over time (aka, a couple seasons) we’ll see some major shifts.
1. Which of the top European teams emerges as the TOP European team?
Do we have such a thing any more? F/S are the reining top team: the highest ranked team at Euros, Olympics and Worlds (currently skating). But P/B are now newly crowned the number one French team, and were the highest ranked European team at Worlds 09 AND the GP circuit last season (currently skating). It’s hard not to look at this whole thing in terms of narrative and say: well, F/S won bronze on home ice. P/B have said they’ll skate until 2012 (Worlds in France), so maybe they’ll get their medal there. And that leaves the Kerrs (and of course, the UK hosts Euros in 2012). The thing is they all seem so close in terms of skill level and reputation that this reading seems plausible, if serendipitous.
2. Which of the junior-to-senior teams really makes an impact?
Of the top five teams at World Juniors last season, I believe four are moving up. While that makes sense for I/K at the very least, I wonder if it truly benefits the Shibutanis, Paul/Islam, or Alessandrini/Vaturi (my personal favourite of the four teams. I really like all three Italian ice dance teams for some reason). Canada and the USA have so much depth at the top that it could be one or even two seasons before they really get to the world team (also why I was startled Ralph/Hill went that way), and Italy only has the two spots with F/S and C/L not losing those any time soon.
In the case of A/V, my concern runs a little deeper. Lets flash back to World Juniors, 2006. At the JGPF, V/M and D/W went one-two (as expected) with third place going to C/L. At WJs though, C/L slipped to fourth overall with a sixth place FD after two falls. D/W came third, V/M first and the Russian team of Mikhailova/Sergeev came second. Now, M/S have made negligible impact on the senior stage (are they still skating together?), but the other three of the top four graduated to seniors the same season. What happened next his obvious: V/M and D/W went on their historic rises in the sport whereas C/L (despite skill, beauty and interesting programs) struggle to make the top ten. I wonder if missing on the world junior medal really hurt them in the eyes of international judging (see also the Hubbells instantly being outpaced by Chock/Zurlein when the latter came to the senior level, 4CC notwithstanding).
3. One school of Ice Dance for North America - Should we be worried?
Okay. I love the Zueva/Shpilband school of skating. The equal emphasis on technical tricks and blade work, the way they try to ensure that the teams are well matched and equal on ice. But they have the top team in Canada, and the top three (potentially four with the Shibs) teams in the USA. Does that strike anyone as a cause for concern? I don’t know a lot about “schools” of ice dancing historically, but does one dominating so much hurt the development of the sport? Yes, there are a few teams (Hubbells, non-V/M Canadian teams) that are with other coaches, and I’m really rooting for the trio of Bourne, Krylova and Camerlengo to rise through the ranks (love their programs), but I thought it was a point worth lobbing out there.
One of the most gratifying things about the 06/07-09/10 quad was the rise of the North American teams. Four different podium-placers at worlds, winners of more than half the medals, the top two Olympic medals, SIX teams winning world junior medals (W/P, C/P, S/B, C/Z, Shibs, P/I).... it’s pretty awesome and speaks to a diversifying of ice dance that I’m adoring. But what about the Asian teams? I have to admit that I enjoyed what I saw of the Reeds (yeah, Asian belongs in quotes there, but work with me), and the top Chinese ice dance pair intrigue me, but they really haven’t made major inroads. Is it a cultural thing? Biological (I recall someone mentioning that the fact that Japanese men tend to be shorter, and obviously that doesn’t work well in pairs and dance, to a lesser extent)? This quad, with the incoherence in the standings after the Canton quartet suggests that now would be a perfect time to strike, because I can envision it being very clear after the 11/12 season. I have to admit that the rise of the Asian ladies (Kim, Asada, Nakano, Ando, Suzuki) was concurrent with my return in terms of interest, but I just think the sport would benefit from as diverse an array of talent as plausible.
5. Virtue/Moir vs Davis/White
All the talk in the Yu-Na Kim thread about how Orser helping Mao would’ve made her uncomfortable (or the Japanese junior skaters working at the Cricket Club) makes me even happier that the two top ice dance teams in the world have created such a wonderful rapport. Knowing V/M’s ambition (Virtue’s stated that their goals are “to win everything” (source) and creativity (all new lifts) has me very excited. And knowing just that flat out crazy drive that Davis/White have (remember, they went from the narrowest medal loss in COP history to that massive performance at CoR) makes me all a tingly about their prospects this season. My hope? V/M win the GPF (since they haven’t won yet, with D/W coming in second, completing their GPF medal collection) with D/W winning worlds. Though I don’t want D/W winning worlds twice in a row, nor do I want them winning in London, so it might be best if their worlds victory comes in Nice. I’ll be fine with V/M winning twice in a row. Shocking, isn’t it?
Constable , Costume Police
Oh, boy..I saw this thread last night just before I went to bed. I wanted to respond , but was just too tired to start ..still , I kept thinking about it, and couldn't go to sleep. You know it's bad when this stuff is keeping you awake in the off-season ! :sheesh:
The point you make about it being a couple of seasons 'til we see any major shifts makes sense to me , particularly since the top teams & coaches seem to be right on top of working with the changes..which I'm not sure was the case when CoP came in..was it ?
I don't know what to think about the European teams..I ,too, have often felt C/L have been given the short end of the stick.. P/B..I must confess, I think Zhulin's choreography often..falls short ?..falls back on gimmicks ? ..and once again Charlie Chaplin will be the magic ingredient ?..ho hum ..I'm more apprehensive than excited about them this season.., but I'm very curious about B/S. I feel we could be about to see a push from them..( With the emergence of I/K , they seem to be all but forgotten, but I don't think they'll go down without a fight .)
Now my dogs are nagging me for their walk, so I'll have to come back to this. Ice dance is really fascinating right now. I really don't think we've seen anything like it for eons..if ever.
The judges have put D/W and V/M so far ahead of the other teams with the +3 GOES and 9's and 10's in PCS that when it comes to the GPF or Worlds it will be them going for Gold and Silver with no else having a shot. Well if any of those 4 ever fell in a competition that may open the podium for silver. No one else can win an event. They have locked the other treams out! I have to say I am most interested in European Ice Dance and the European ice Dance competition because that is where there is real competitin. The fact that you have the Kerrs and P/B and F/s so so close and the new arrival of I/K and possible rise of B/S it is going to be a great compeition in Ice Dance in Europe. No one is compeitive against Davis and White and VIrture and Moir the judges love them so so much!! Totally in love.
Constable , Costume Police
Totally in love with V/M and D/W ? If so, I think that love is totally justified , at the moment.( What's not to love ?) It's not as if the judges and commentators couldn't wait to fall at their feet,,it's that the quality they showed on the ice could not be denied. The other teams haven't been locked out..they've been out-skated.
Anyway, I'm not only interested in who's medaling right now, so the whole intricate scene interests me.The next quadrennial should be really exciting.
The Junior talent moving up will push the established mid-rank skaters ,and I don't think V/M & D/W ( while probably pretty unassailable this year ) can afford to just coast, what with the amazing progress of some of those young teams ,and the established teams really stretching , as they will have to , to stay in front. (That said , I don't think it's in the nature of V/M or D/W to coast ,anyway. )
Outside of all the issues ImaginaryPogue raises..approaching from left field is K/A..don't laugh.. No-one involved in that project would have attempted it, if they thought there would be a chance they'd be left with egg on their faces.They know what's out there, they know what's coming, they know what it takes to move from Junior to Senior and who's likely to make a good transition. They must feel they have a chance at squeezing into the top 10 or so , in their first year. ( Maybe more, who knows..I know that they're better qualified to make that assessment than me . )I doubt they're even remotely thinking of world medals, but in being serious upper rank competitors.
From not quite left field..I doubt if W/P can be overlooked this year,and since they're bound to have good choreography, they could upset some apple carts at the National level.
The Juniors/ new Seniors... I think it's a given that I/K will make a big splash, but maybe not as big as some have been predicting /hoping ( world medal in their first year )..and especially since TAT is reported to recently have made disparaging remarks about their progress over the summer , and their training regimen , while praising B/S...( stay tuned for drama ). I loved A/V at JW ,and share some of IP's concerns, (about them and C/L..but I'd be surprised if F/S stayed beyond this year, so I think their prospects are good.) P/I continue to have amazing progress..I think Maia Shibutani's growth spurt could help them immensely ( hope it's good and noticeable ). C/Z and H/H..who knows ? I think both are just waiting for the perfect vehicle..hope they get it. R/H could be in very deep water..did they rush their advancement due to the hullabaloo over P/I, not wanting to be left behind at the National level ? I worry about them, but it has more to do with their coaches than with them personally, or their skills. But I'll have to come back to rant on about that...Life beckons.
Good comments Colleen O Neil and I mostly agree with you. I/P have amazing potential and Skate Canada is looking ahead to them to be the next V/M.
Megan Wing & Aaron Lowe are running a dance school in BC now and the pre nov & nov teams they are turning out are astounding.
Too early to make any predictions with the introduction of the Short Dance. According to Bob Horen of the IDTC, who spoke at the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships,
the Pattern Dance in the Short Dance will have levels, which has not been done before. There are 4 key points in each sequence, two for the man and two for the lady. and dance coach Gennadi Karponosov said you have to follow the rulebook exactly on the Pattern Dance. If it's a closed Chocktaw, it must be closed. These are just a few comments. Hardest will be juniors moving up to seniors having to do the Golden Waltz in competition for the first time. It will be an interesting season.
Constable , Costume Police
trains... I was going to take a bigger breather , but you've tempted me back. I've been waiting to hear / see what will come out of Megan/Aaron's school. I don't know , I just have a good feeling about them.. They've had good training, themselves .. but that doesn't always translate into the ability to teach well , so your good news is exciting . I haven't been completely blown away with what Victor's been producing, so far . Mind you, I haven't seen a lot , so I'm still wait-and-see...To date, the thing that most sticks in my mind, is the huge difference it made to HM/C when they went to Z/S...but I'm not ready to write him off.
Boy, that takes me into coaching.. and believe me, I very much defer to some of the posters on this forum who know so much more than me about the technical aspects of the sport.( I find their posts endlessly informative).. I'll repeat my usual caveat..my opinions are based on 30+ years of observation , trying to learn as much as I can without actually skating ..and quite lot of experience in dance and dance teaching.
While I love Z/S's school and believe that ice dance owes them a lot, I quite agree that having only one school ascendant is not necessarily the best thing for ice dance in NA . However, I expect Camarlengo & Co. to be even more competitive this year, due to their success through his choreography ( in general) , their involvement with F/S at World's..and at the "mid" level with W/P at 4CC. (That the technical training they provide is excellent , I believe is a given. ) I must say, I like having Shae in the mix.. I think she really adds something , and she too , is proving herself as a choreographer..but will her involvement with K/C expand beyond W/P and any other Canadian skaters ? I'll be interested to see.. I'm not that familiar with other schools in the U.S , but with ice dance generally enjoying greater recognition than in some previous years (apart from the success of V/M & D/W.. e.g. recent article about Blumberg helping Denny and Barrett, and the ..ahem ..spotlight on Tracey Wilson working with Yuna), there could be a general flowering that will benefit everyone.
In Canada, I've been pleased, yet a bit apprehensive about the success of Lane / Razgulajevs. Skate Canada has been sort of anointing them (IMO) which is kind of understandable.. I think there's no doubt that they're excellent technical coaches. But over the last 3 yrs. ,I've noticed a couple of "blind spots" with them that won't help their skaters when they're up against excellent skaters from other countries. Just looking at their top 2 teams , there's an obvious problem with development of the upper back and shoulders , (esp. noticeable in the girls)..since everyone says they do receive dance ( ballet) training.. I can only assume they need more, or a different teacher ,since in the 3 yrs. or so I've been watching them, there should have been more improvement. They (L/R) don't appear to have a very good eye for what costumes are flattering to their skaters on the ice.. Oh, there was much scrambling last year and eventually C/P were made to look like a finished senior team, but all that scrambling shouldn't have been necessary. They should have seen it from the outset.
Likewise with R/H. Their FD costume was very unflattering to her, in particular, and esp. from the waist up.A coach at this level shouldn't be making this kind of mistake. Oh, God.. now I'm going to say something that might make some people mad, but it really troubles me , and I hope they can fix it. The coaches, themselves, are too aware that Asher is black..They keep making a point of it , when everybody would be better served if they were just completely colour blind.( Hey! We don't care !) Maybe I'm a little more aware of it than many others, but I do see a pattern. ( I hope I'm wrong, but..)It was the first thing Carol Lane mentioned in her interview with PJ..he's black, she's not..I think we knew that.. So they keep the African OD for 2 yrs. and their FD the second year is Ragtime..( anyone ever hear of Scott Joplin ? ) and it's comic..oh,I truly don't want to say minstrel show.. but ..but... This year, their FD is an African version of an American standard/ show tune.. Oh, please stop.
No, I'm not saying they're racist.. I'm saying they're lacking in taste , or they're too sensitive, or something..They either think they have to compensate for the fact , or take it into account in almost everything they do for those kids. Consequently the team has yet to attempt a mature program. It would be considered past time for most teams...Oh, tell me I'm wrong..I hate this. ( You know, Ballet companies are long past this stuff.. There are black Seigfrieds, Romeos, Prince Desires to be seen around the world..you don't hear, Oh, he's black, or even Cool! He's black...just Wow! What a dancer.)
The good news is that the Islam camp is on the rise, and if they keep attracting good talent,having good costumes and good choreo. which I believe they will, if we can judge by P/I.. the L/R camp will have to look to make some course corrections to stay competitive , since their weaknesses are not shared by Islam ( I think they can once they're aware. They did correct those costumes.)...Whew..that's off my chest.
Last edited by colleen o'neill; 09-04-2010 at 01:50 AM.
The other teams are locked out because of the fact the judges feel that VMDW are outskating everyone. I didn't mean to imply that other teams were being locked out because of something that is not associated with the talent of VMDW. VMDW are very very good. When they are in a competition the competition is not competitive. That is why I brought up Euros. That should be really good. Also Grand Prix Events where there is no VMDW.
Originally Posted by colleen o'neill
Constable , Costume Police
gmyers.. I get you , now... I thought you meant the judges are foolishly blinded by love..But I'd still be very interested in V/M & D/W's GPs, to see how their programs progress and compare, and how the other teams place Vs each other, and how far back.. and how all those young teams make the transition..I foresee some late nights or very early mornings for me..I agree Euros could be quite a free-for-all.
Last edited by colleen o'neill; 09-04-2010 at 01:58 AM.
Quote from PJ's blog. "Back to their skating. One of the mysteries is how coaches Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs have been able to weave the magic they do with two skaters who have some obvious physical differences. He is black, she is not. She is dainty and feminine with a smile that lights up a room and he is a powerhouse of dashing masculinity. Their solution has been to use the differences to their skaters' advantage and create a picture of harmony on the ice that is perfect."
I have included this part of PJ's blog to point out in the interests of accuracy that it is not Carol Lane that says, "he's black, she's not". Those in fact are PJ's words.
Constable , Costume Police
Sorry.. (I told you I was sensitive to this ),,she was talking about how L/R have used the differences between the two...and I suppose, since I was already beginning to feel uncomfortable with the way they are using them , I assumed it was coming from Lane..so, my apologies...But that doesn't change my perception . Every year there's got to be some African reference...I'm sure it's innocent enough.. I'm putting it down to that same odd sort of tone-deafness, lack of critical eye (or something) that leads them to make bad costuming choices , not realizing how these will actually look on the skater, and whether it will affect how audiences, or judges will view their skating.how many years of bad costumes does it take before people start thinking, oh yeah, the dumpy girl, and tune out.. How long does it take ( when you're repeating a theme musically ) till people stop paying attention, thinking that they've seen it all before? I think it's a disservice to the skaters , and I hope they can shake themselves out of it.
It is going to be an interesting season for sure.
I don't think the European teams are being locked out, and I'm European.The coaches and possibly federations have understimated the CoP .While some years earlier it would be easy to hide weaknesses in the artistic aspect of a free dance, with the CoP you can't.On the contrary, you have to be very sound technically to be able to show any hint of creativity, so the russian drama and french experimenting wasn't enough.Maybe they also thought that the N/A teams were too young to be put on top of the podium.Either way, this wasn't the case.
I/K have been promoted as the next russian serious medal contenders, probably because somebody there thought is a good idea to go the V/M way(junior champs winning the next olympics in their home country) ,but they need their time to adjust from juniors to seniors or they'll be wasted and it's a pity.Not all skaters are alike and I wouldn't underestimate B/S or even Khoklova/Andreev.A couple of months ago I'd laugh at the possibility but not any more.The European field right now has a lot of space on the top and if they have two clever and well promoted programs, why not..
P/B, I used to love them 2 years ago, and last year was a huge dissapointment for me..F/S aren't the most charismatic of skaters but they work, they deliver, and they won't rest until they get a European title.But it would be easy to get into that Euro top 5.The Kerrs are my personal favorites but they won't give them more than a silver again..
V/M vs D/W, I prefer V/M but they need D/W as much as the latter needs them.And this is a good thing, it helps ice dancing.If we get a change in styles as well it will be extremely interesting, at least for me.I'd prefer two or three great free dances though than competition for the sake of competition.
Last edited by alithia; 09-04-2010 at 10:32 PM.
It is not just European teams that really don't have a shot against them it is also other US and Canadian teams. I mean they are ALL seen as 10 to 20 points below VMDW with international judges. Four Continents is also a place where VMDW aren't likely to compete and the competition will be WIDE OPEN. The competitin between VMDW will be interesting on its own level. I definitely think that is why they are so far ahead. I mean with VMDW the judges have to keep raising the scores to have one be crowned the winner. That is why the PCS is going to 10's for them among some judges.
Last edited by gmyers; 09-05-2010 at 11:29 PM.
So many different thoughts arise so here goes nothing..
colleen mentioned Russia and they deserve a thread of their own, but my brief thoughts.
A) I'm rather concerned with Piseev being re-appointed head (under a different title). He presided over the era of the most marked decline in Russian Figure Skating. Four world medals in total for the Vancouver quad, and when the nation is used to that many PER YEAR, that's a significant decrease. I don't know if he's to blame (probably not), but business as usual is probably not the way to go under the circumstances. Additionally, the perfidy of how he accomplished his new title (offered to resign, resigned, but a new position was created with the same responsibilities as his old job which he "somehow" got.) makes me suspect (aka, it does seem to be par for the course in terms of Russian figure skating politics).
B) Still, what makes it so confusing for ice dance is that "politics as usual" still doesn't inform us who exactly is going to get the Russian vote this upcoming season. Even if Domnina/Shabalin were in top form for Vancouver (they weren't) with brilliant programs (they didn't have them), they were still gonna struggle against the COP babies (who outpaced them instantly in terms of TES at Worlds 2007), but that arguably would've just delayed the inevitable. Khoklova/Novitski were struggling with injury issues and the fact that he is just not as good as she is. Bobrova/Soloviev are quite young in the pay-your-dues environment that FFKKR fosters and I/K are still very new.
C) So who to support? No idea. Khoklova/Andreev have a few things in their favour. She's earned a medal (and if you're like me, you give her most of the credit for that bronze), she's skating with the pre-eminent ice dancing coaches of our time who likely has sentimental reasons for rooting for them (though I do think Zueva will be more clear-eyed than say, Kim's mother). But we have no idea how easily Andreev will adapt to ice dancing and I don't think another team where she's the star will bode well. Bobrova/Soloviev are the top Russian senior team now (extant), but their rise has been quite slow. Will they shoot up now in a post D/S-K/N environment? And then Ilynikh/Katsalpov. Even if you give credit to their talent, is it really reasonable to expect such a new team to have a meteoric rise? If you compare the projected duration of this pair (in 2014) to those at the current Olympics, only a small handful of teams have existed for less time (Capellini/Lanotte, Hoffman/Zavozin, Reed/Japardize) and we're dealing with an organization that isn't exactly quick to adapting. Of the top ten, the shortest duration was eight years, the longest, fifteen (maybe longer for both, but wikipedia only has competitive records for some, I used that as my guide)
D) Like colleen, I don't think B/S will go down without a fight, and I think we saw what happened when there was a split about whom to support previously (I recall reading people excoriating the Russian Fed for dumping K/N in 2009, and of course we saw that D/S couldn't come through in Vancouver as a result of his injury and K/N were on their decline)
colleen, I agree that Zhulin's choreography is often too empty, coy and precious. Chaplin could fall right into that vein, and I'm worried. Pechelat and Bourzat have skated exactly one program that I've enjoyed (2008 OD, flamenco).
The situation of the Canton quartet is unique in my understanding. Normally, the top teams retire after their Olympic triumph, leaving the next in line teams to graduate to the top ranks and the next-next in line teams to fight it out. The last time that didn't happen? Grishuk/Platov remaining after Lillehammer, and we remember how thoroughly they dominated. Of course, that was a different time (more than one compulsory as opposed to... none we have now; 6.0 vs COP, etc). But more than that, the rise of the Canton quartet was predicated on several distinct factors that aren't replicated now (for the most part) that leaves me hesitant about predicting a rise for I/K.
gmyers, I've gotta echo colleen and alithia about the current crop of ice dancers vis-a-vis competition. The interest comes not only from the competition itself but from the dancers. How easily do V/M and D/W adapted to the SD? On the one hand, one advantage V/M had over D/W were their compulsories, and that's gone. On the other hand, is the advantage D/W have had in the OD mitigates somewhat with the introduction of the pattern step (no, imo. D/W work hard to get the levels and it's not like D/W have had a huge/obvious advantage in the OD. In fact, the new limits placed on the SD/OD arguably help V/M and mitigate the loss of the CDs). What are their new programs like (having a complete set of World medals and the OGM, do V/M experiment a little more and go out of their comfort zone a la Pink Floyd)? Do V/M suffer a little from winning the Olympics/WC in terms of motivation? Not only that, but do the European teams improve at all? If so, who and how?
It's telling that the most "competitive" ice dance competition of the last quad was probably LA in 2009, and that was the least satisfactory in terms of actual outcomes/programs.
Also, I'm rather relieved to find someone else has a little issue with Lane/Razgulajev teams. I think their problem is packaging in general. Crone/Poirier have rushed to maturity with their Orpheus/Eurydice and flamenco programs last year, but neither really fit them (certainly not as well as their Ragtime OD from the prior season) and I haven't been that enthused with Ralph/Hill in general. The issue of race surrounding this team is an interesting one, and I do wonder if they (L/R) feel that acknowledging/emphasizing it shifts the onus from them onto the judges. After all, we're dealing with the discipline that remains the most-white (for lack of a better term). Another reason might simply being emphasizing what makes them stand out as a team to help them rise and/or cover up weaknesses.
Last edited by ImaginaryPogue; 09-06-2010 at 12:34 PM.
Reason: improving clarity
Constable , Costume Police
IP..good point about L/R's treatment of R/H.. They may have a strategy of , First, you get everyone's attention or , We need to make them stand out in the judge's minds or ,Stress what makes them distinctive..and you can only ever go so far with that tactic before it becomes repetitive , predictable and mundane , and in this case veers into the unseemly ( for me ,anyway ).
Also, I think you're right on with the packaging problem..The costumes are a biggie,here..but the problems also extend to little details like hair, make -up etc. A little attention to detail can make a huge difference. E.g. .. neither one of these girls has a long neck yet we've seen them with their hair down, bun worn too low, fussy details at the shoulder of the costume..things that aren't just neutral, but make their necks seem shorter. Self defeating, much ? For contrast..Look at Joannie's SP costume. The Olympic version had the rose as an applique, not sticking up, but even in the earlier version the rose was not directly on the shoulder ,but offset to the back a bit. I would bet money, in both cases, that it was was a conscious decision to avoid making her neck look short. That's one example , but I could go on and on ( and I think I have, before ) A lot of this stuff seems very rudimentary to me and I really don't think there's a good excuse for letting it continue.
Last edited by colleen o'neill; 09-06-2010 at 06:10 PM.