Skating is art, if you let it be.
Blades of Passion critiques and improves Carolina Kostner's LP for the season
Isn't it lovely that we are seeing ladies achieve such great success in this day and age without trying any jump harder than a Triple Loop? Who needs the Triple Lutz and Triple Flip anyway, with all of that edge call nonsense. Best to just ignore them!
Here is what Carolina's current program looks like as a reference:
* The opening movements to the program are good, we will keep them. She is a young doe waking up in the morning. The morning light is peaking through the trees as she stretches her limbs and shakes off the remnants of sleepiness.
* The first thing we deer must do after waking up is eat. Eating makes us happy and fulfilled. The first jump element shall signify how happy this young doe is to graze in the morning. Doing a Triple Toeloop is not a big enough display of how happy our doe is when she trots to the forest edge, comes upon the pasture, and begins eating. We shall upgrade this element to a 2Lz-3Toe-2Loop combination. Kostner is still doing the 3T-3T in the SP so, despite her aversion to the 3Flip and 3Lutz, I am confident in her ability to do a 2Lz-3Toe. A double is so much easier and not nearly as stressful. I am also confident that she can put a 2Loop on the end of this, seeing as she has done the 3Flip-3Toe-2Loop combination several times in the past.
* In addition to looking more impressive and starting the program off with a bang, this combination will give her more points than the current jump layout. Carolina's current layout is actually rather clever in terms of gaining technical CoP points (she puts her easiest jumps - the 3T and the two Double Axels - at the start of the program, and then puts both 3Loops and 3Sals in the second half, along with a bunch of 2T's in combination) but I can do her one even better, without increasing the number of Triples in the program or adding more difficult Triples! Instead of just putting doubles behind our Triple jumps, we must not forget that the option of putting doubles in front is also available. The 2Lz is worth 2.1 points, which is a significant step up from the 1.4 points a 2T gives (a 2T in the second half of the program is 1.54 points, but that's still more than a half point less than the 2Lz).
* After this jump combination, our doe has finished eating and must now wander over to a stream to quench her thirst. In the current program Carolina's next element is a 2Axel and we will also keep it that way here. However, there will be two alterations. First of all, I would like her to take a couple extra seconds and go down the rink further before going into the jump. She can do some quick, easy footwork at the halfway point leading up to the jump. This extra time before the jump will both allow the audience to relish the opening jump combination longer and also express how the doe is traveling over to a stream.
* After the landing the 2Axel, Carolina should hold that stretched out position longer. This will make the jump more impressive, it will look less busy than the arm flourishes she is currently doing (which aren't the best fit for the music), and this position will also represent the line of the doe's body as her neck is bent down into the stream to drink. You see, this is a Transition that actually has purpose both in terms of Choreography and Interpretation. No way!
* The next element in Carolina's current program is another solo 2Axel. This is a problem and we shall fix it immediately! Putting the same jump element back-to-back in a program is generally bad unless it is a very big, impressive element (a Quad, Triple Axel, or maybe Triple Lutz/Flip for a female program). And even in those cases, you'll always be doing one of the jumps in combination. Putting two Double Axels back-to-back is just boring. We shall instead put a Flying Camel Spin in this part of the program (the same one that Carolina is currently doing at the end of the program). Aside from balancing the program out better, the spin will also interpret the music better. Listen to how the music pulses from 1:37-1:41. That provides the perfect environment for Carolina to be doing her change-of-edge and second difficult variation in the Flying Camel Spin. This spin is also probably Carolina's least impressive of the program, so it's good to get it out of the way first since she is not a phenomenal spinner.
* After the doe has finished reveling in the sensations of her food and drink, as translated by the spin, she begins to walk back through the forest (as translated by Carolina now stroking across the ice after the spin). But wait, what's that?!? She senses a predator. The music at 1:50 tells us this and Carolina does a flourish, but nothing too overly dramatic. The doe begins to get scared and picks up its pace, bounding back home. At 2:03 Carolina does her next Double Axel, to the beat of the music that is the same as the one we heard at 1:50. This jump represents the doe jumping over a rock in the forest pathway as she flees from the possible danger.
* After the 2Axel, Carolina will do the same movements and change-of-foot Combination spin that she currently has in the program. This segment represents the doe returning home and calming down; the spin will now have more impact because it wasn't directly proceeded by another change-of-foot combination spin (seriously, what's up with this choreographer putting such similar elements back-to-back??).
* The doe is now ready to venture back out into the World. The movements and stroking after the spin represent the doe trotting out to a beautiful meadow to bask in the daylight and we'll keep the current choreography. Three jumping passes are coming up and they are a depiction of the doe bounding around the meadow and playing with her friends throughout the afternoon. The general choreographic movement between these jumping passes can remain mostly the same as it is in the current program, but the pattern will change because I'm changing the jumps themselves. Currently, Kostner has planned:
Okay, yet AGAIN the same element has been choreographed back-to-back. Even further than that, it's the EXACT same combination jump! I even have a third qualm here, which is that the 3Loop-2Toe combination is one of the least desirable two-jump combinations in all of skating. The Loop jump has such a naturally smooth quality to it and following it up with a smaller toepick jump seems unbalanced somehow, like it's detracting from the flow and form of the 3Loop. So, here are the new jumping passes I have for Carolina:
I did keep one 3Loop-2Toe because we have to put one of those 3Loops in combination and I think a 3Loop-2Loop is asking too much of her. I don't want her to focus too much on that one combination and then lose focus for the next combination directly afterward. But at least we get the 3Loop-2Toe out of the way first and the two Loop jumping passes are more separated from each other in the program. The 2Flip-3Toe jumping pass again taps into the idea of not just tacking 2Toe's onto other Triple jumps to do a combination. You can do a Double-Triple like this instead and you'll get more points for it since the 2Flip is worth more than a 2Toe. Carolina is good at doing 3T on the end of other jumps, so putting it behind a 2Flip shouldn't be too much of a problem (although it is getting fairly late into the program at this point for that kind of move, but I'm confident she can pull it off).
The other beneficial thing about this combination, aside from gaining more points and making this section of the program look better, is how it will help make the program as a whole feel more complete. With the way I've restructured Carolina's jumps, she now has at least 1 of every type of figure skating jump in the program. The Lutz and the Flip are only doubles, but that's fine. They are still there. PLUS, doing the 2Lutz and 2Flip, both in combination, will help build Carolina's confidence and muscle memory to eventually include Triples of those jumps in the program, if her confidence and consistency (and "knee injury") gets to the point where they can come in.
* After the jumping passes, Carolina will move onto the Spiral Sequence as she does in the current program. Our doe has spotted a handsome young buck that she likes. She's going to show off for him! The Spiral Sequence is the doe trying to catch his attention.
* The doe is successful in getting his attention and the following footwork sequence after the spiral sequence represents these two deer going off into the forest together and experiencing the beginnings of young love. It's not a sexual encounter, but rather them getting to know each other and feeling flirty and nervous with excitement. However, I would change the choreography of the footwork sequence a bit from what it currently is. I'm not a fan of "Straightline" footwork sequences that are crooked (this one isn't too bad in that regard) and that backtrack significantly in order to fit in more movement (this one does). So, instead, we will do a Serpentine footwork sequence. This will allow the footwork to last for the entire duration of this section of music and to cover the ice more cleanly.
* After the footwork sequence will come the final jump of the program - a Triple Salchow. The day is getting late now and the sun is setting. This jump will represent the doe's first kiss, as the two young deer finally overcome their nerves and briefly embrace each other before needing to go home for the night. Awww, how sweet! Currently, Carolina has a 3Sal-2Toe-2Toe planned here. Those kind of three-jump combinations are ungainly and should be AVOIDED. Tacking on an extra 2Toe like that to a jump combination is SO useless. Unless you are flying into that kind of combination and have excellent height + outflow on each jump, plus a different arm variation in the air for each 2T, it is a choreographic misstep every single time. There is only one skater who I've ever seen make a Triple(xxx jump)-2Toe-2Toe combination look good in a program and it took significant work on their part to do so. I've redistributed all of Carolina's combination jump slots to earlier in the program, so we will no longer see her muck up the end of her program with that ugly combination!
* Okay, so, after Carolina does a SOLO Triple Salchow, she will move on to her final element of the program. Remember that first change-of-foot combination spin in the current program which I took out? It's coming in here, but we are changing it somewhat. Instead of holding that broken-leg position for 8 revolutions like she currently does, Carolina will just hold it for a couple revolutions and then pull up into the same upright catch-foot position that she did earlier in the spin and hold it for 8 revolutions this time. The spin will still get Level 4 this way but it will look better now and that upright position will be a good way to let the spin lose speed as the music draws to a close.
* This final spin represents the doe's exhilarating day ending, as her emotions swirl around. Carolina's final pose is the doe gently falling asleep in happiness. In the current program this final pose feels like it takes slightly too long to get to or is slightly ahead of the music, but the different spin I have choreographed at the end now will take up more time, so her final arm movement should come right as the music has completed drifted into silence.
What a beautiful program for Carolina this would be! Feel free to discuss my choreographic/artistic decisions.
Here is the CoP written form of what her current program looks like, in terms of technical layout on paper:
Base value - 52.82
And here is my improved version:
Base value - 53.98 (plus a GOE increase and massive PCS increase? )
My goodness, what a lot of spare time you must have.
And are you confusing faun with fawn?
Thanks, Blades. Was very interesting to read. I would stick with her 3-3 combination as a first jump element, for a good kick-start. But she failed it sooooo many times that I even don't dare to dream anymore. I still want FS be more challenging, also there are many Asian girls who can perform 3-3 in FS. Having 3-2 or 2-3-2 in FS is not enough methinks. And it shouldn't be enough.
Skating is art, if you let it be.
No, I just thought it would be the best interpretation of the music. Carolina Kostner's body reminds one of a female deer. I doubt many female skaters would want to depict an actual faun when skating to this music, which is a more masculine and unkempt kind of creature (the music doesn't sound like that anyway).
Originally Posted by goldenpleasures
Alissa's writeup will be much shorter, as that program is totally perfect up through the Triple Loop! It probably doesn't merit its own thread. Maybe I'll just post it here later.
Originally Posted by Mathman
Last edited by Blades of Passion; 01-06-2011 at 04:11 PM.
Constable , Costume Police
yes, but there are arm movements and positions that directly evoke the ballet..which makes her a nymph.
Skating is art, if you let it be.
Let's just let her be a doe. It's more unique! She has the body for it!
I also think of nymphs as being more sexual than this program is going for. We all know nymphs don't end their nights with just a kiss.
I think that 3 jump combo would be pretty hard even though it is in the beginning.
Love what you've done for Carolina. What about doing Mao or Miki?
Skating is art, if you let it be.
* Mirai Nagasu -- I would love to work with her, it would be so easy since we are in the same area (pro bono!), but Frank has her very locked down. The very first thing I would do is change her music cut. There's no point in even trying to do anything with that program until the poorly arranged "Memoirs of a Geisha" musical selections were fixed. I will say, however, that at the very least she could and SHOULD be doing a far more interesting Spiral Sequence than is currently choreographed.
* Mao Asada -- Her program is essentially perfect. She just needs to keep working on hitting all the jumps and performing as well as she possibly can.
* Miki Ando -- It's impossible for me to say how I would improve this program without changing Miki's game plan for the year. The program is specifically set up with the goal of gaining as many technical points as possible while taking the absolute minimum amount of risk. She crams a bunch of elements in at the beginning of the program, then takes a 50 second rest break, then does 5 jumping passes in a row, and then takes a breather before going into her footwork sequence + final spin. Her jump layout is perfect given what she wants to do (not skate a dynamic program or push herself by including a 4Sal or even a 3Flip) and the choreography is set up such that she doesn't have to expend any energy on the performance or do much actual skating. Given this goal, the program can not really be improved. It's pretty much the best version of what it sets out to accomplish. That bar is quite low, however, and the judges should be scoring her low for PCS.
How about Patrick Chan? Takahiko Kozuka?
I agree with a lots of the critiques of Carolina Kostner here like having the double-lutz, 3 toe (at least it is not 3-3!) .
As for Mao Asada:
Mao Aasada I think is also have a perfect program- her SPs are beautiful beyond the measure.