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Thread: Skating as art

  1. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    sooooo very true, though I rewatched an interview he gave in 2000 and he gives most of the "creative" nod to teh ones who came up with the program, he trusted them and they gave him gems. They were just lucky enough to have someone versatile enough to do it all...
    True, though in 2000 he'd done a lot less of his own choreography. In my not-very-expert-opinion-on-art, programs like 2006's Triptico, which he choreographed himself, showcase his own ability to use the ice as a canvas.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPD2I5vD9F4

    And his willingness to creatively collaborate and lend his body as canvas to other artists I think is something special in and of itself as well. Like with Nyah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Izl1CA1uA or this year's Downstream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ear0K2kRP_U or last year's Spirit of Adventure (not on YouTube).

    (I may just be having fun linking Kurt videos)

    BTW, Toni, what you said made me look up a quote from "Talking Figure Skating" from choreographer Bob Paul: "Paul says four-time world champion Kurt Browning is the best of the lot from Canada, because he can portray any style: humorous, dramatic, classical - right down to the proper line - or even a Gene Kelly dance routine. 'That's a God-given thing,' Paul says. Some can learn how to use body language somewhat, but many are moulded to only one emotional interpretation, and cannot go further. To do choreography for a pliable skater like Browning, who opens his skating heart to all, would be a real joy, Paul says."

    If it's the recent interview that Kurt gave about his participation on SOI that seems egotistical to some, I was annoyed for him with the interviewer who basically wanted to talk about Kurt being an over the hill old man.
    I'm not sure which of the interviews you're talking about (or that Toni is talking about, for that matter) since Kurt has given a bunch in recent weeks. In one recent interview, they called him an Olympic champion and he was very very quick to correct the interviewer to say he'd never won the Olympics. He's always been very self-deprecating about that, and quick to give credit to others. On the other hand, he's not an idiot. He has a healthy sense of self-confidence (I'm not sure you can get to his level of success without one), and he'll be self-deprecating without being disingenuously modest. The guy's been very successful and worked hard to get where he is, and he has every reason to be proud of that, IMO.

    Though he does have an amusing tendency to look embarrassed or make a quick self-deprecating joke, or redirect praise at someone if the interviewer gets to listing all his accomplishments or praising him a lot. While being quick to defend his honor if they try to write him off as an old has-been .

    And for the record, as someone who's had the opportunity to interact with Kurt a reasonable amount over the years personally, I can say - he's playful, likes to joke, has a healthy sarcastic streak and often teases, he's human and has better and worse moods and definite opinions about things, but he's always self-deprecating, giving and generous towards fans and other skaters, is quick to give the benefit of the doubt, to praise, and to give credit to others, and he takes his sport very seriously. Which is why I think he constantly tries to improve as a commentator...

    Oops, babbled on enough. Back to your regularly scheduled topic...

    ETA:
    (and here I was worried you were going to come down on me for saying Kurt has an ego )
    Aww. I hope I'm not *that* reflexively defensive about Kurt =).
    Last edited by Teenes; 04-03-2011 at 07:30 PM.

  2. #137
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    Thanks for the personal insight. I'm always happy to discover that someone I admire for an accomplishment is also admirable as a human being. There are more than enough of the other kind of person!

  3. #138
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Teenes - I know you know how much I adore our favorite guy After his incredible gesture towards my brother in 2006, he's placed himself very high on a pedistal for me lol he's not perfect, but I'm not asking him to be. Gotta wonder if he'd be the same had he won in 92 or 94 (I'm still curious as to what he meant by the comment in the interview I referenced about not having his wife had he won! lol). His book reads with a lot of self confidence and his "Jump" interviews he has a bit more of an air about "yeah I'm pretty good, this is my time" which it completely was... but you gotta wonder if he would have bought into the hype and been someone different. Losing "your" medal through every fault of your own has got to be humbling and puts it all in persepective, and he's got a great one on his career and life... something else to admire about him.

    guess that's the ART of sport, as well. To bring a person to his very best (or worst) not just as an athlete but a person. (see that, see that?)

  4. #139
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    Nice! Brings things back to the topic of the thread. Sort of.

    Well, Kurt said himself in his interview with Patrick Chan's coach that not winning the Olympics made him a better person. "A bitter, but better person" .

    BTW, on the earlier topic, here are Kurt's own words about Dick Button from when I interviewed him in 2006:
    "Dick has made me really angry, many times in the past <laughs>. But I think that I was just overly sensitive and his sense of humor, I just didn't get it. And now, I kind of worship him a little bit. And I like getting in fights with him on the air, or disagreeing with him, all that stuff. I think it's great, and I think that we trust each other, actually. I would get mad at what he said on the couch, often. And now that I'm sitting beside him, I don't hear it that way. It's interesting. I think he's better. I think he's changed. I honestly do. And I think he's a little softer, a little gentler, and I think with me he's different."

    Oh, and Olympia, I totally agree. I couldn't have supported Kurt's career all these years otherwise!

  5. #140
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seniorita View Post
    ^the best apple pies are in Holland if you ever visit. They keep grand pieces of apple inside almost natural and uncooked, not much butter and syrup. And the pieces they serve are grand enough to feed a bunch
    Eet Smakelijk!

    There is a town here in the U.S. State of Michigan named "Holland." It was settled by Dutch immigrants long ago, but they try to keep up the flavor of the old country. They have a big tulip festival every year and all of the restaurants specialize in Dutch apple pie.

    I would love to travel to the Netherlands and check out the real thing.

    OT. My home state (Washington) produces the majority of apples produced in the U.S. They are grown in the river valleys of Wenatchee ("robe of the rainbow"), Walla Walla ("many waters") and Yakima ("runaway pregnant girl").

    Terry Gannon
    Did you know that Terry Gannon was a national champion in collegiate basketball (1983)?
    Last edited by Mathman; 04-03-2011 at 08:04 PM.

  6. #141
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teenes View Post
    BTW, on the earlier topic, here are Kurt's own words about Dick Button from when I interviewed him in 2006:
    "Dick has made me really angry, many times in the past <laughs>. But I think that I was just overly sensitive and his sense of humor, I just didn't get it. And now, I kind of worship him a little bit. And I like getting in fights with him on the air, or disagreeing with him, all that stuff. I think it's great, and I think that we trust each other, actually. I would get mad at what he said on the couch, often. And now that I'm sitting beside him, I don't hear it that way. It's interesting. I think he's better. I think he's changed. I honestly do. And I think he's a little softer, a little gentler, and I think with me he's different."
    He is different with Kurt - because Kurt doesn't back down. Perhaps that's what Button truly wants, someone with a backbone, who knows.

    Of course, Kurt could also be saying all that because he didn't want to be fired from ABC... but then they dropped skating anyway so it didn't matter

  7. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    Of course, Kurt could also be saying all that because he didn't want to be fired from ABC... but then they dropped skating anyway so it didn't matter
    Ha. Kurt is very good at being diplomatic, but there's a difference between diplomatic and waxing effusive . There was genuine respect there. I get the impression it's mutual...

  8. #143
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teenes View Post
    Ha. Kurt is very good at being diplomatic, but there's a difference between diplomatic and waxing effusive . There was genuine respect there. I get the impression it's mutual...
    I'm sure you're right, but you never know

    No idea why I'm fangirling as bad as I am tonight

  9. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    I'm sure you're right, but you never know

    No idea why I'm fangirling as bad as I am tonight
    You and me both, Tonichelle! And why not? I think this guy deserves devoted fans. As for whether he'd be different had he won in '92 and/or '94, I hope he knows how much his non-winning (I can't call it a loss, somehow) gives him extra dimension. To me, he's been such an amazing pro skater that he's almost made the OGM irrelevant, at least in his case. Could he have been any better as a pro if he'd won the gold? I doubt it.

    I wonder what's the story behind that comment about not having found his wife if he'd won.

  10. #145
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    You and me both, Tonichelle! And why not? I think this guy deserves devoted fans. As for whether he'd be different had he won in '92 and/or '94, I hope he knows how much his non-winning (I can't call it a loss, somehow) gives him extra dimension. To me, he's been such an amazing pro skater that he's almost made the OGM irrelevant, at least in his case. Could he have been any better as a pro if he'd won the gold? I doubt it.

    I wonder what's the story behind that comment about not having found his wife if he'd won.
    My assumption is he was referring to his 1992 experience (me too, can't call it a loss lol), I think he met Sonia shortly after that? (Teenes might know better as to when they met, I have absolutely no clue) Maybe he meant that had he won in 1992 he'd have retired then, not tried for 94 - so he wouldn't have found himself into the ballet scene (he started working with dance trainers after 1992, right? ack my Browning history knowledge is all floofy)? That's the only thing I can think of because he was with Sonia in 1994 (I always get all bummed when I watch his K&C during the 94 SP when he looks into the Canada cameras and says "I love you, Sonia, I miss you so much. I need a hug." And then the next breath is "I guess the Olympics just aren't my thing." )

    Considering how many Olympians (and champions) since then consider Kurt one of their idols/heros/inspirations I think he's more than "made up for" the lack of Olympic "Glory".

  11. #146
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    I don't track Kurt's personal life like I do his professional life, but I believe he met Sonia in Edmonton when the National Ballet were visiting, but didn't start dating her until after he moved to Toronto. I'm assuming he means 1992 as well, b/c he's often spoken about how he was fully intending to retire after the '92 Olympics and go pro. When the '92 Olympics didn't work out, that's one of the major things that precipitated his decision to move to Toronto, I believe. So if he had won the 1992 Olympics he may have turned pro and never made the move to Toronto (or made it later), and therefore would not have started dating Sonia, etc.

  12. #147
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Without discussing personalities, but moreso on the other point of interest that Hernando brought up: Carol Heiss' comment that the average fan didn't have a clue as to what she was doing (or something like that). I have to agree with her back in 1960, but for those viewers who took an interest beyond the presentation, I'm with Button for making that somewhat less clueless.

    However, the dramatic change in scoring in recent years, namely the CoP. IMO, the average Fan is clueless with the point system. I think that the originators believed that the regular fans of 6.0 system would have the impetus to study up on the workings of the CoP. A few did but the decline in interest in Figue Skating has taken its toll both at LIVE and on TV. When one skater gets an arena ovation but is beaten by a skater with more points doesn't exactly resonate well with a fan who believes in perfect skating at the Senior level.

    However, there still exists a social aspect of figure skating and those costumes are keeping this group happy.

  13. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    But is it sport or is it entertainment?

    .
    Does it matter as much if no one is watching? If a broad enough fan base doesn't get it how does that help skating?

    Surely skating needs to be about more than pleasing a few CoP geeks if it is to have a healthy future and remain viable in USA

    It seems out of the question to have a US Natls in NYC at Madison Square Garden these days..
    Why do we see tthe Westminster Dog Show from Madison Square Garden in NYC and broadcast Live on TV but not skating?

    Easy enough to conclude that Americans find dogs more entertaining than skating.

    Perhaps it helps that no one has tried to make the Westminster Dog Show more like "speed skating,"
    Last edited by janetfan; 04-04-2011 at 08:08 AM.

  14. #149
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    ^ I thought Joe made a really interesting point a while back, based on your quote from Carol Heiss.

    Back in the day, the public perception of figure skating was Sonia Henie movies and the Ice Follies. Along about 1968, with Peggy Fleming, the television networks started giving figure skating some exposure as a sport, with programs like Wide World of Sports and a few snippets of actual competition. This continued up through the early nineties and made stars of skaters like Janet Lynn, Dorothy Hamill and (maybe a little less) Kristi Yamaguchi.

    Then, after the unnatural spike in interest following the Nancy-Tonia escapade, network television and the skating establishment killed the golden goose by running an endless stream of corny cheesefests. This dropped the public perception of skating as a serious athletic endeavor back to square one (despite Michelle Kwan's one-woman heroics to try to save the day. )

    I think the Westminster dog show is a telling comparison. Indeed, lots of viewers tune in, root for the dog they think is cutest, shout wuzrobbed at the television screen when their favorite loses, and have no interest in learning anything about what points the judges are looking for when they pass out the ribbons. Sport or Pageant?

    I think it is a sport only to the participants and a pageant to everyone else. Maybe figure skating is like that after all.
    Last edited by Mathman; 04-04-2011 at 08:44 AM.

  15. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando View Post
    Does it matter as much if no one is watching? If a broad enough fan base doesn't get it how does that help skating?

    Surely skating needs to be about more than pleasing a few CoP geeks if it is to have a healthy future and remain viable in USA

    It seems out of the question to have a US Natls in NYC at Madison Square Garden these days..
    Why do we see tthe Westminster Dog Show from Madison Square Garden in NYC and broadcast Live on TV but not skating?

    Easy enough to conclude that Americans find dogs more entertaining than skating.

    Perhaps it helps that no one has tried to make the Westminster Dog Show more like "speed skating,"
    I second your thoughts! Much as I loved watching the dogs, it's interesting to contemplate why we can't ever show Nationals (or--gasp--Worlds) in Madison Square Garden.

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