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Thread: Regional Stereotypes?

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    Regional Stereotypes?

    So I'm working on a project for school, discussing the various stylistic stereotypes from a certain region - ie, from Europe/Russia, North America/US, and Asia. It seems like it's a question of skating style; ie, the Russians are considered to be the most artistic or balletic. What do you think the stereotypes for each region are, and do you think there's any truth to them?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Here is a good place to start. Check out the 2002 Olympics pairs performances of Shen and Zhao (China), Berezhnaya and Sikharudlize (Russia -- see especially their short program), and Sale and Pelletier (Canada). (Better, use the 2003 World championships for Shen and Zhao.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    This book, by Ellyn Kestnbaum, Culture on Ice, Figure Skating and Cultural meaning, might interest you:

    http://www.amazon.com/Culture-Ice-Sk...9448043&sr=8-1

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    It depends on the discipline. While many Russian pairs and ice dancers have been balletic, Russian singles were not known for that at all. However, this may be changing with skaters like Adelina Sotnikova.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Actually, once you get past John Curry (British), it is hard to think of a skater who is "balletic." Maybe Oksana Baiul (Ukrainian). Or Toller Cranston, if you want a different kind of ballet.

    For an interesting comparison within a country, the artistic Belousova and Protopopov versus the athletic Rodnina and Zeitsev is a fascinating contrast.

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    Actually, once you get past John Curry (British), it is hard to think of a skater who is "balletic." Maybe Oksana Baiul (Ukrainian). Or Toller Cranston, if you want a different kind of ballet.

    For an interesting comparison within a country, the artistic Belousova and Protopopov versus the athletic Rodnina and Zeitsev is a fascinating contrast.
    I think the "winners" have a lot to do with changing the style of a whole region. Take, for example, Dubreuil and Lauzon. For years before them, the style of Canadian, and even North American dance was athletic (Bourne/Kraatz). The athletic dancers were excellent, but the emphasis was more on athleticism, rather than the storytelling. Then, Dubreuil and Lauzon began winning, and the style shifted towards the understated storytelling. The athleticism is still there, but it's less overt.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I would have said that the style of Dubreuil & Lauzon was Romance Novel on Ice.

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    Of course any 'national style' has many, many exceptions to the rule. Here's my quick, shooting from the hip, take

    Russian - high style, decorative, technically accomplished - like a Faberge egg or the Winter Palace - Plushy, Maria B, Irina

    French - similar to Russian but slightly simplified, funkier. Baroque instead of Roccoco - Marina & Gwendal, Amodio, Candeloro

    US - cool, classy, elegant - Michelle, Nancy, Evan, Todd

    I have a harder time with a Japanese skating identity - maybe elegant, intricate, intellectual? It seems to me that Takahashi, Kozuka & Oda are stylistically very different. I wonder if it has to do with a western sport/art being over layed over an eastern culture producing even more variation

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    Ivy, I think Asian skaters are a. still trying to find an identity that is distinctly Asian that will be "accepted by the ISU" (Many people believed Chen Lu assimilated into the Western style to win) or b. are very very versatile that they can do any style. I'm more inclined to say B, but then again, I think that is true of any skater. As fans, many of us just get used to them doing one style, that when they attempt another, we may think it's not as good as what they used to do (Kwan, when she attempted the blues).

    If we want to see regional stereotypes, we may want to look at packaging. Russians tend to have more dramatic costumes and arm movements, whereas North Americans tend to stick to more subdued costuming. With Asian skaters, it seems to depend on their choreographer (those of the Nichol school have more subdued costuming and packaging, whereas those of the Tarasova/Morozov/Zhulin school seem more Russian).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ivy View Post
    Of course any 'national style' has many, many exceptions to the rule. Here's my quick, shooting from the hip, take

    Russian - high style, decorative, technically accomplished - like a Faberge egg or the Winter Palace - Plushy, Maria B, Irina

    French - similar to Russian but slightly simplified, funkier. Baroque instead of Roccoco - Marina & Gwendal, Amodio, Candeloro

    US - cool, classy, elegant - Michelle, Nancy, Evan, Todd

    I have a harder time with a Japanese skating identity - maybe elegant, intricate, intellectual? It seems to me that Takahashi, Kozuka & Oda are stylistically very different. I wonder if it has to do with a western sport/art being over layed over an eastern culture producing even more variation
    I agree with this, but I think your description of the U.S. style sounds a little biased. A Russian might look at the same thing and call it "simple and straightforward" in the same way a Disney film has more appeal to the masses than an art house indie film.

    As for the Japanese, I think Takahashi has really thrown the stereotype, which used to be, "good jumpers." Until Takahashi, they never seemed to be known for their personality and artistry on the ice.

    I think the Chinese, who are still known mostly for their pairs skating, have been stereotypically categorized as "acrobats", with small female skaters that get amazing height on split triple twists and throw jumps.

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