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Thread: Regional Stereotypes?

  1. #16
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I think Russian influence on music had to pass the prevailing censorship from the early days of Communism up to its fall. I think they considered Western Pop Music to be anti-music. That would eliminate some wonderful background movie scores. How many Russian composers had to flee their country to be more expressive?

    The leading ballerina during that period had to beg to dance Giselle because the last scene in the ballet takes place in a religious cementery. It was changed accordingly. Giselle got a non sectarian burial.

    Nowadays, times have changed and there is constant exchange of creative artists and performing artists throughout the world. How wonderful that is.

    What does it all have to do with Figure Skating? I think one would have to look at Ice Dance for the answer.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
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    Or, it may just be taste. Russians tend to like folk songs a lot more. When they use Russian soundtracks, depending on the composer, the music has a distinct feel and tempo. Isaak Shvarts, the composer of Tune of White Nights had very soft, lyrical music. Schnittke is far from lyrical (he seemed to thrive on dissonance), and Doga (who isn't Russian), had a very dreamy quality.

    When using classical music, Russians also tend to stick to their own. Big, booming Tchaikovsky, and passionate Rachmaninoff.

  3. #18
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    Canadian men singles' skaters are renowned for either their artistry (especially footwork) or their athleticism (a lot of "firsts" were accomplished by Canadian guys), but rarely both. In other words, they tend to be categorized as inconsistent performers or boring jumpers.

    Swedish men's singles' skaters (more specifically Berntsson and Schultheiss, though I think Stiller can be included as well) are often praised for their innovative choreography, and are frequently described as "voidy" by FSUers. Majorov doesn't quite fit this mold, though, so I'm not sure how his recent success might affect this perception.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by siberia82 View Post
    Canadian men singles' skaters are renowned for either their artistry (especially footwork) or their athleticism (a lot of "firsts" were accomplished by Canadian guys), but rarely both. In other words, they tend to be categorized as inconsistent performers or boring jumpers.
    I'd argue that Brian Orser and Kurt Browning fit both those categories. But we could consider them exceptions.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I'd argue that Brian Orser and Kurt Browning fit both those categories. But we could consider them exceptions.
    I did take them into account when I wrote "rarely both".

  6. #21
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    I find stereotypes develop when one tries to classify anything, let alone a human being, therefore I'm hesitant, even though I know I've stereotyped myself in the past either consciously or not.

    Here's hoping a skater will come along that will break all stereotypes! *cheers*

  7. #22
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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.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by vlaurend View Post
    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.
    Are you talking about Japanese men specifically?

    I do think that Takeshi Honda did start to get known as more expressive/artistic later in his career.

    Among the women, Yukina Ota was certainly known more for her artistry than her jumps.

    And before that, Yuka Sato was known mostly for her skating skills and not so much the jumps.

    If anything, I would say that Japanese skaters in general/on average tend to have more speed and effortless run of the blade than skaters from other nations, with some exceptions.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by vlaurend View Post
    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.
    Takeshi Honda? Though known as a quad jumper (toe loop and sal), his second mark was always a notch higher then the first mark. He had lovely musicality about him, well, I think so anyway. How about Yuka Sato, 1994 world champion, who was never known as a jumper?


    I think we can distinguish the regional stereotype (or characteristics) seen in majority of skaters from a country in general, and a few top skaters from the same country. Many of recent and current Japanese top skaters were / are under foreign coaches, and their styles were / are influenced by them, while if you look at all those who skate in Japan Nats, most of who are under Japanese coaches and training regime, perhaps slightly different pictures can emerge. When the skaters, who are under the influence of foreign coaches, starting their own career as a coach, then that'll influence the national characteristics of Japanese figure skating. (Could be interesting, as some were with Russian ones, like Shizuka, some were with the Canadians, like Honda) I also believe this will be the case for the countries which started producing the international top skaters recently.
    Last edited by mot; 03-08-2011 at 04:59 PM.

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    Since I realised I had repeated what gkelly said about Japanese skaters pre-Takahashi days, I thought I'd better bring up another example (it's before my days but...).

    Fumio Igarashi 1978 Skate Canada FS
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03En644TWwI

    He was a phenomenal jumper and very athletic, but at the same time, he was capable of expressing music through his skating and movements (watch the slow part in the middle). And also watch out for very young Frank Carroll!
    Last edited by mot; 03-08-2011 at 06:13 PM.

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    Thanks so much for all the responses! What is amusing to me is that the three dominant styles I've come across is the North American, Russian, and to an extent the Asian - somehow, it seems Europe isn't really on the map, though some of you mentioned France and Sweden. (With Lepisto and Korpi, would their style be "looks pretty and lands the jumps of a novice level skater? )

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by cksmwc View Post
    (With Lepisto and Korpi, would their style be "looks pretty and lands the jumps of a novice level skater? )
    Only if you prefer hyperbole to accuracy. Most novice ladies don't land triple lutzes or triple-triple combos, and almost any novice skater would be lucky to have the speed, edges, and body control that those ladies show on most of their jumps.

  13. #28
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    None of this matters when a skater is desperate for Points. regional stereotypes are not quantifiable for inclusion in the final score. Or maybe some ethnic minded judge just may be unknowingly biased. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? - remember that?

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