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Thread: THE LONG PROGRAM - why it needs variety and what CoP can do.

  1. #61
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    Funnily enough I think you CAN make CoP work with a good choerographer but I assume putting all these elements there makes it so difficult. I think Lori managed to do very well with Caro's LP this year, it has the feeling of a free skate and so much fluidity.

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Carolina Kostner's program comes nowhere close to what I would call great. The spins are time-wasters and the jumps are catered to CoP scoring rather than having much to do with any sense of choreography or musical interpretation: putting Double Axels back-to-back in the first half of the program and then Triple Loops back-to-back in the second half of a program? A very transparent attempt at trying to gain more points. The footwork sequence, with its incessant dips of the body and awkward curves, has little to do with the music either. I don't see any particularly interesting non-technical choreographic highlights, nor does the program make you feel like you've experienced a journey of emotions.
    Last edited by Blades of Passion; 10-24-2010 at 04:39 AM.

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    Well, then it seems we disagree. I look at figure skating from a dancer's point of view and for me the coreography interprets the music beautifully, especially the footwork :D But it's only my personal opinion.

  4. #64
    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Have you seen this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7kTnyOcPy4

    Or this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws8zT945BYw

    (not a well timed ending, but the rest...)
    Last edited by Blades of Passion; 10-24-2010 at 03:32 PM.

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    Yes in fact I have seen those two before. Naturally, Lynn's program is difficult to beat in terms of interpretation but I have a tiny problem with the music cuts. Yes, they make it easier to accentuate the steps but it takes a bit away from the overall image. And by saying a bit I mean a TINY bit :D Sato's program is a beauty too. But what's (in my opinon) important to remember is that these three skaters are very different.

    I feel that Kostner's program is very good for her, it flatters her best qualities. And by choosing this part of the piece it allows her to create a line from the very first notes to the end. Let me explain my point. I love how the first two jumping passes go with the music, especially how after the axel she creates the shape and makes a beautiful arm line on the accented note of the music. Then also I find the first two spins to be in the perfect place in the music, again the arm movement while doing the camel is a great accent and then the change of position goes perfectly with the music again. And the secod spin is good after that as the similar part of the music keeps going on.

    The spirals are also, in my opinion, in a good place because they are among her best qualities and the music hits a slightly higher point and then going straight to the step sequence goes well with the music. Also, I love the fact that they haven't made random quick steps but all the body movements go with the music's subtle nuances. And if you look carefully, she creates all the movements from the centre of her body so there is always a line between her toes and fingertips through her centre.

    And also, as Kostner has this fluidity and light precence this piece and choreography allows her interpretation rise above the technique which is a key when making great choreography. But as I earlier said, this is just my opinion.

    And yes, Lynn's and Sato's programs are great but I find this particular piece to have the opportunity to rise to the same level after a few competitions.

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    Ankka, I'm with you on the music cuts in Janet Lynn's program. I had heard of her "Afternoon of a Faun" for years as a benchmark in artistic skating, and when I finally saw it, I was almost taken out of the illusion because of the music cuts--music from completely different composers smooshed together! That's one area where Yuka's interpretation is far more effective than Janet's, because the beautiful music is allowed to build as the composer intended.

    Here's another version, by John Curry as a professional skater:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3wewU5xcXY

    Instead of the radiance of the ladies' versions, this has an alien quality, evoking another species whose emotions we humans can't penetrate. It's closer to the original conception of the Nijinsky ballet, of course, but I think both approaches are equally compelling.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Ankka, I'm with you on the music cuts in Janet Lynn's program. I had heard of her "Afternoon of a Faun" for years as a benchmark in artistic skating, and when I finally saw it, I was almost taken out of the illusion because of the music cuts--music from completely different composers smooshed together! That's one area where Yuka's interpretation is far more effective than Janet's, because the beautiful music is allowed to build as the composer intended.

    Here's another version, by John Curry as a professional skater:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3wewU5xcXY

    Instead of the radiance of the ladies' versions, this has an alien quality, evoking another species whose emotions we humans can't penetrate. It's closer to the original conception of the Nijinsky ballet, of course, but I think both approaches are equally compelling.
    Janet skated different versions of "Faun" including competitive and exhibition and with and without cuts to other music.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn0VZ...ext=1&index=58

    I think BOP's point was to show different choreo and IN to this music.
    Yuka's version is lovely but comparing a Professional program from the 90's to a 2010 CoP program feels almost like "apples and oranges." Maybe it doesn't have to - but Caro does have to perform more required elements than either Janet or Yuka did.

    Not only that but some of the elements have levels and reaching them for the necessary points can work against the music.

  8. #68
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
    Figure skating has changed in the last 40 years. Not, I'm afraid, for the better. We will not pass this way again.

    Quote Originally Posted by ankka
    ...I have a tiny problem with the music cuts. Yes, they make it easier to accentuate the steps but it takes a bit away from the overall image.
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia
    Ankka, I'm with you on the music cuts in Janet Lynn's program. I had heard of her "Afternoon of a Faun" for years as a benchmark in artistic skating, and when I finally saw it, I was almost taken out of the illusion because of the music cuts--music from completely different composers smooshed together!
    I think it was common back then to tailor the music to fit the program, rather than the other way arround. I think the model was a skating performance with musical accompaniment, rather than an interpretation of music on ice.

    When Lori Nichol was choreographing for Michelle Kwan she always had to search her vast musical repertoire to find just the right four bars of extra music to splice in to support the placement of the elements and flow of the program.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think it was common back then to tailor the music to fit the program, rather than the other way arround. I think the model was a skating performance with musical accompaniment, rather than an interpretation of music on ice.

    When Lori Nichol was choreographing for Michelle Kwan she always had to search her vast musical repertoire to find just the right four bars of extra music to splice in to support the placement of the elements and flow of the program.
    I see your point about "a skating performance with musical accompaniment, rather than an interpretation of music on ice." An interesting contrast.

    Yeah, every now and then I noticed something Nichol blended in to the overall piece. One of my favorite catches was in I think the "Salome" program. The main music was from Richard Strauss's opera, but in the middle were a few notes that were from Ippolitov-Ivanov's "Caucasian Sketches," a set of three musical pieces based on traditional melodies from the Caucasus Mountains. I remember wondering gleefully how many other people had found the hidden treat in that program. In "Lyra Angelica," she slipped in a few bars from one of Erik Satie's Gymnopedies (little piano pieces). In "Song of the Black Swan," I wondered for years where the music at the start of the program had come from. The main body of the music was Dvorak's "Dumky" Trio, a meltingly sublime work of chamber music. It was only courtesy of YouTube University (now you see why I call it that) that I discovered the beginning music's source--it is literally "The Song of the Black Swan," a piece composed by the Brazilian Hector Villa-Lobos. That's why to me, Lori Nichol's musical inventiveness is second to none in terms of skating choreographers. And though I love Scheherezade, it's why I'm often kind of disappointed when Nichol uses war horses like that as her music. Anyone can choose Scheherezade. Only Nichol can find a "Lyra Angelica" and shape it so brilliantly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Figure skating has changed in the last 40 years. Not, I'm afraid, for the better. We will not pass this way again.
    Here's state of the art in 1970:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3LMb_4kTY8

    Janet Lynn (and Trixi Schuba) aside, would you really say that freeskating has gone backward artistically, let alone athletically, in 40 years?

    Good freeskaters such as Gaby Seifert, Karen Magnussen, Julie-Lynn Holmes, et al., all had good qualities that we don't always see as much of in the push for more rotations in the air, more difficult spin positions, etc.

    And undoubtedly all of the above, Lynn included, could whip the butts of today's ladies at drawing circles on the ice.

    But would you really argue that all of the above, in their best performances, were better or more artistic freeskaters than Kim, Asada, Rochette, or even the likes of Nagasu, Lepisto, Flatt, or Kostner in their best performances, discounting whether they more often turned around 2 or 3 times in the air?

    I think it was common back then to tailor the music to fit the program, rather than the other way arround. I think the model was a skating performance with musical accompaniment, rather than an interpretation of music on ice.

    When Lori Nichol was choreographing for Michelle Kwan she always had to search her vast musical repertoire to find just the right four bars of extra music to splice in to support the placement of the elements and flow of the program.
    But that was in the 1990s, with digital editing capabilities. How detailed was the editing going to get on recordings made directly to vinyl disk or with a razor blade, splice tape, and reel-to-reel tape first?

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Here's state of the art in 1970:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3LMb_4kTY8
    I understand the point you are making...but...to me, that was ten times better than anything we just saw at NHK.

    But would you really argue that all of the above, in their best performances, were better or more artistic freeskaters than Kim, Asada, Rochette, or even the likes of Nagasu, Lepisto, Flatt, or Kostner in their best performances, discounting whether they more often turned around 2 or 3 times in the air?
    Perching my rose-colored glasses firmly upon my nose, their skating was prettier than that of Kim, Rochette, Lepisto, Flatt, and Kostner. Maybe not Mao at her best (i.e., four years ago.) We'll see about Nagasu. IMHO only Kwan of the moderns compares favorably.

    I was not mesmerized by the skating of any of these ladies at the Olympics or 2010 worlds. Seyfert's performance was utterly captivating.

    But that was in the 1990s, with digital editing capabilities. How detailed was the editing going to get on recordings made directly to vinyl disk or with a razor blade, splice tape, and reel-to-reel tape first?
    Lori Nichol writes of trying to do it with three reel-to-reel tape recorders, and about how marvelous the new technology is.

  12. #72
    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I think BOP's point was to show different choreo and IN to this music.
    Yuka's version is lovely but comparing a Professional program from the 90's to a 2010 CoP program feels almost like "apples and oranges." Maybe it doesn't have to - but Caro does have to perform more required elements than either Janet or Yuka did.

    Not only that but some of the elements have levels and reaching them for the necessary points can work against the music.
    Ah, but yes, that is exactly the point. Kostner's program is filled with elements that are there to gain "the necessary points" and not because they are great choreography/interpretation. Hence, all of the ways CoP still needs to be fixed - allowing skaters more freedom to pick elements, rewarding spins and footwork for actual quality more than cramming in as many positions/turns/steps as possible, less emphasis on throwing in a bunch of jumps right at the half-way point (along with other various changes to the points earned for difficult combinations, etc).

    You're correct that a competitive program would still need to have more elements than Sato's, but her music was also shorter than what a competitive program would be. There were also a lot of places in Sato's program where she did a series of steps that weren't a full footwork pattern but could easily be turned into full step sequences if the rules rewarded well-done step sequences that are only Level 2 or even Level 1.

    Quote Originally Posted by ankka View Post
    I love how the first two jumping passes go with the music, especially how after the axel she creates the shape and makes a beautiful arm line on the accented note of the music. Then also I find the first two spins to be in the perfect place in the music, again the arm movement while doing the camel is a great accent and then the change of position goes perfectly with the music again. And the second spin is good after that as the similar part of the music keeps going on.
    So many things here I can't agree with. After her first 2Axel, I don't see any kind of interesting "shape" as you are stating. She does a standard stretch position that is only held very briefly. That movement is in the program because it counts as a "transition" and thus gives her points. It doesn't have much to do with the music, other than being a vanilla "pretty" position set to "soft" music. Also, Kostner's 2Axel is incredibly small and barely rotated. Trying to highlight such a terrible jump with that kind of movement is not good choreography. She needs to either hold the position out longer to say "hey, look at my edge control and my form" or she needs to immediately proceed to different choreography after the 2Axel to take our minds away from what an unimpressive jump it is.

    The placement of her spins does not impress me. First of all, why is she doing two spin elements back-to-back? There is much happening in the music during this part and just spinning throughout all of it does not provide much texture to the program (at least with the spinning ability she is capable of). The real reason is because she's waiting until the halfway point of the program to do more jumps.

    I don't agree with your statement of "the arm movement while doing the camel is a great accent." Let's look at the program:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EhkOcGq814

    The movement you speak of comes at 1:42. The music has a quick, SHARP crescendo. The little willowy gesture she makes with her arm is not nearly big or powerful enough. That same sharp horn noise happens again in the music at 1:55 and all she is doing at that moment is coming out of the spin and making more soft, small movements before entering the next spin. The movements are not nearly dynamic enough to fit the music.

    I don't really see how the spin positions themselves are great either. In her first spin, how does holding a broken leg position for 8+ rotations and not moving her arms at all help to interpret the constantly fluctuating notes of the music? In the second spin she holds that opening camel position for at least 10 rotations without much variation. Again, how did that show the character of the music, which was changing throughout? And what value did that catch-foot have at the end of the spin?

    These things are just there to gain points. They are hardly great, emotive representations of the music or even very impressive on their own.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blades of Passion View Post
    So many things here I can't agree with. After her first 2Axel, I don't see any kind of interesting "shape" as you are stating. She does a standard stretch position that is only held very briefly. That movement is in the program because it counts as a "transition" and thus gives her points. It doesn't have much to do with the music, other than being a vanilla "pretty" position set to "soft" music. Also, Kostner's 2Axel is incredibly small and barely rotated. Trying to highlight such a terrible jump with that kind of movement is not good choreography. She needs to either hold the position out longer to say "hey, look at my edge control and my form" or she needs to immediately proceed to different choreography after the 2Axel to take our minds away from what an unimpressive jump it is.

    The placement of her spins does not impress me. First of all, why is she doing two spin elements back-to-back? There is much happening in the music during this part and just spinning throughout all of it does not provide much texture to the program (at least with the spinning ability she is capable of). The real reason is because she's waiting until the halfway point of the program to do more jumps.

    I don't agree with your statement of "the arm movement while doing the camel is a great accent." Let's look at the program:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EhkOcGq814

    The movement you speak of comes at 1:42. The music has a quick, SHARP crescendo. The little willowy gesture she makes with her arm is not nearly big or powerful enough. That same sharp horn noise happens again in the music at 1:55 and all she is doing at that moment is coming out of the spin and making more soft, small movements before entering the next spin. The movements are not nearly dynamic enough to fit the music.

    I don't really see how the spin positions themselves are great either. In her first spin, how does holding a broken leg position for 8+ rotations and not moving her arms at all help to interpret the constantly fluctuating notes of the music? In the second spin she holds that opening camel position for at least 10 rotations without much variation. Again, how did that show the character of the music, which was changing throughout? And what value did that catch-foot have at the end of the spin?

    These things are just there to gain points. They are hardly great, emotive representations of the music or even very impressive on their own.
    First of all, I did say it is my personal opinion and I tried to make it more clear for you to understand by this explanation. But anyway, the arm movement after the axel goes well with the note that starts at the exact same time (which also starts another chord) and thus is significant for the music's changing starting from that point and ending at the spins. So therefore I disagree with you on this one. Also, I find her axel nice enough as it travels quite a long way in the space while not getting much lift but again it is only my opinion (and while having danced and choreographed dancing my view to figure skating technique may lack some refinement).

    When it comes to the spin and sharp crescendo, it is still a sudden accent within the music, again starting a change in the piece. For you the gesture may not be enough but for me it is. I do agree with you on the transition from the spin and the accent but I'm sure it will get better in time. When it comes to the second spin, she does some subtle arm movements (much smaller than for the accent) to the fluctuating music and changes the position where the main chord changes again.

    And yes, figure skating is still a sport so it has to fill quite many requirements in order to be judged fairly. My original point was that this choreography shows that you can still do work the system in advance of the music while meeting the requirements. In any system you'd have to compromise something anyway. And another point was that I really do watch it from another perspective, being a dancer and having choreographed some dances for other people. My form of dancing is mainly ballroom dancing where the music is different every time you step on the floor but you need to change the way of dancing to the choreography in order foe it to fit the music and create accents. Sometimes you don't need to throw a volt in the air to create an accent, sometimes a change in the dynamics of the same movement may even be more effective. But I have also danced contemporary dance which works differently. Anyway, I thought it was relevant to explain this for you to be able to see my point of view, not to question your opinion.

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    You do ballroom dancing? How lovely!

    I once heard that ballroom dancing was a possibility for an Olympic sport. I wonder whether the requirements would change in order to make scoring more "scientific." In any case, I'd be happy to watch Olympic ballroom dancing!

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    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    Thanks for your further explanation. Would you disagree, though, that it is a bad idea to allow skaters to have more choice in the elements they can perform? Given that every skater knows the value of the elements beforehand, and that limitations would be in place to prevent too much repetition of the same elements, it certainly couldn't be seen as unfair could it?

    Great skating is always going to be possible no matter what the system but don't you think it would be better to promote more variety and the possibility for a greater chance of skaters being able to display greatness?

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