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The Female Pairs Skater
(Disclaimer- Pardon me if this post doesn't make sense; I just took Nyquil, in an attempt to get rid of this bad cold)
With the new pairing of Volosozhar and Trankov, someone mentioned that it's amazing Ukraine is able to produce such amazing female pairs skaters (Savchenko, Volosozhar), but no sufficient males in that country. With that being said...
What, to you, embodies the best type of female pairs skater?
I've always thought that what differentiated dance girls and pairs girls (and, for that matter, singles girls) was that women in ice dance were to be "showed off" by their partner (women in ice dance are the picture, the partner is their frame, so to speak), and women in pairs are to attain a quality of one-ness with their partner. While this is certainly true in some partnerships (the latter years of G and G, and the last few years of Shen/Zhao), there were some pairs where the male was obviously trying to show the female off (Michkoutienok and Kazakova/Dmitriev; Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze; Savchenko/Szolkowy), and there are some pairs where it seems like the man was the highlight (Sale/Pelletier; Ina/Zimmerman; to some degree, Shen/Zhao in the beginning).
Wicked Yankee Girl
The picture and frame idea for ice dance is so 1976, Pakhamova/Gorshkov (Not that that's a bad thing-I loved P&K!!). With COP, it is not just obsolete, you can't score well, since a number of skills and PCS issues specifically want to see equal strength in the 2 members of the team. The midline sequence not touching & the twizzle sequences require that both partners must be capable of speed and ease in doing all the different kinds of turns. (In the old days, it was often just the lady twizzling (cf. The Golden Waltz in the cascade sequence).
Oneness with the partner is required in both disciplines.
What differentiates dance and pair girls is that
1. Dancers better have good timing to music. Pairs girls, not so much. Timing is graded in dance PCS.
2. Dancers can be taller than pairs girls, although since lifts became more important in dance, shorter girls are doing very well (ex. Maia Shibutani, Marie-France Dubrueil) However, Tanith & Domnina were both very tall, and many people still prefer long-legged ness in dance girls.
3. Pairs girls have to be quite light, even more so than dancers, so they can be thrown in the air easily (twists and throws)
4. Pairs girls have to be very courageous-they are lifted higher and thrown farther than dance girls.
5. Pairs girls have to be able to do at least one type of triple jump and a double axel or a second type of triple jump. Dancers are not allowed to do jumps of more than 1 rotation, ever.
Last edited by dorispulaski; 12-28-2010 at 05:10 AM.
Showing off the Girl concept is a ballroom dance technique. I admit to being around the time of the Lindy Hop, and could not help but admire black male dancers leading the female partner. It was definitely a gender thing, although Fred would always show off Ginger.
(Do not look to DWTS, for this since their main objective is TV Ratings.)
I don't believe Ice Dancers have to do this. They are guided by their own rules in place
If one thinks of Pairs as a sort of Pas de Dieux, the male dancer is constantly showing off the lady. Not very practical in Ice Pairs where one has to consider the rule of skating as one.
Doris' details above are good examples of what ice skaters have to face.
In essence, Ballroom Dancing is not Ice Dancing except for musicality. Pairs are not Ballet but another form of dance somewhat closer to Cirque du Soleil.
Pairs girls are some of the tiniest but strongest and gutsiest athletes in the world.
Oh, brother, are they ever. I can't imagine many other athletes trying the feats pairs girls do. I'd put Isabelle Brasseur up against any wrestler, Greco-Roman or pro!
Originally Posted by SkateFiguring
Is it my imagination, or are Shen and Savchenko both rather taller than the average pairs lady? If so, that makes Hongbo Zhao and Robin Szolkowy even more impressive, since they're not that huge themselves, and they do a grand job of lifting and throwing their partners.
Just consider the recent Skating With the Stars. Both Keanu and Brooke had to have a lot of guts to allow an inexperience male skater to lift them over head. Brooke definitely had a couple of spills during this competition.
A lot of commentators have mentioned that female pairs skaters need to be the strongest - both mentally and physically. It's hard enough competing, but add being thrown in the air and having to land on a blade and I can definitely see why they should be lauded as strongest in skating.
I believe one of the reasons Canadian pair Kristy and Kris Wirtz never reached the top of the field was because of her size. They were almost the same height, more like a dancing pair.
The pair gilrs are the ones to suffer the worst injuries from skating accidents. Really scary stuff to fall from the lifted height, on to the hard ice, with possibility of a big guy with blades falling on them. And then there are cases of being sliced by their partners' blades, always a possibility when doing close manuveures such as the side by side spins.
They are lifted and spun overhead with one arm, twirled around, thrown hard up or forward, by a partner gliding or turning on one blade on hard slippery ice, all the while looking all light and pretty, twisting and bending like contortionists in mid air.
They are a very special breed indeed.
Last edited by SkateFiguring; 12-28-2010 at 10:03 PM.