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Thread: Skating as art

  1. #16
    Custom Title Kitt's Avatar
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    Yes, that's pretty cool! I don't like the costumes though. The ballet I saw had more of a flamenco feel, with appropriate costumes for men and women.

  2. #17
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    I don't consider television commercials art. Don't see why I should consider figure skating so. Both are subject to the same limitations in form, content and goal(s).

    Doesn't mean I don't love it though. Figure skating, not television commercials.

  3. #18
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    I think one of Plushenko's musical buddies composed a tune for him. Other than that, I don't think there have been any serious music composed for figure skating. Certainly not like Opera and Ballet. In fact figure skating has to borrow music from an outside source. Obviously, composers do not compose for FS.

    The old Center Theater, and who remembers it, had music composed for their skating spectaculars including Juke Box Saturday Night which made the Hit Parade. Maybe it lends itself more to pop tunes than serious compositions. The Centre Theatre shows were reviewed in the media at the time as a Broadway show. Skating was soooo popular then.

    The Skating Club of New York was very hoity toitly then. Membership was restricted.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    I think one of Plushenko's musical buddies composed a tune for him. Other than that, I don't think there have been any serious music composed for figure skating. .

    Here is some serious music that was composed for skaters.
    It must be serious because Toscanini is conducting

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2k4B2VsIGU

    and here is John Curry and JoJo Starbuck skating to it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1Rx13nrR6c

    When I think of Curry I think of artistic skating.
    Last edited by janetfan; 03-29-2011 at 05:20 PM.

  5. #20
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    You want art in competitive skating? Go watch adult nationals.

    That isn't meant as an insult, but because jumps aren't the main focus of the bronze/silver/gold/championship competitions in adult nationals, a lot of the skaters are focused more on the marriage of music and choreography.

  6. #21
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    I'm an art historian so I find the discussion interesting. My advisor once pointed out that it's not only a question of art or not-art. There's also good art and bad art. So maybe all skating is art but only some of it is good art.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mganders View Post
    I'm an art historian so I find the discussion interesting. My advisor once pointed out that it's not only a question of art or not-art. There's also good art and bad art. So maybe all skating is art but only some of it is good art.


    There is art for the hoity toity and there is art for the hoi polloi.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    Can skating with no music be art?
    I think one could ask the same question about dancing. Once in a while we see a dance performance (usually modern dance) with no music. It usually comes across as merely gimmicky.

    Does the presence of music demand evaluation as art even if the skater does a bad job of reflecting the music or uses it only for counting?
    I don't think so. There are many sorts of activities where music is playing. I don't feel the need to evaluate the artistry with which my elevator performs, for instance (no offence to maestro Elisha Otis )

    OT: I once had a bunch of little cards printed up that said, "This is Art." I would put them out on various things on campus that caught my interest. The campus police made me stop littering.

    Is show skating all about art and not a sport at all? Do cheesy shows count as art or only hoity-toity ones?
    I think show skating is all about entertainment. Ice Follies and Ice Capades were Los Vegas on Ice. Disney on Ice is family entertainment with Mickey and Goofy on skates (not to be confused with Miki and Ryan ). In Champions on Ice the most popular acts were the hula hoop girl and the acrobats. (A giant slinky on ice! Now that's art!!!)

    As for hoity-toity shows, Brian Boitano is about the only skater of recent times who tried to be creative in his conceptions and choreography. With only moderate success, I would say. (Wild Elephants only proved that Brian has no funk in him. )

    What about professional competitions, or the "interpretive" programs in pro-am or "open" competitions of the late 1990s?
    Michelle Kwan's 1998 pro-am interpretive program to East of Eden is regarded as among her most arresting performances. It is hard for me to think of another that rises to the level of "art."

    As for the role of music in skating, I think it is the same as the role of music anywhere you hear it. Music makes you tap your toe, it makes you get up and march, it hath charms to soothe the savage breast. Music warms the heart, engages the intellect, elevates the soul, makes you laugh, marks you cry, and leaves you wanting more.

    Why shouldn't figure skating ride the wave?
    Last edited by Mathman; 03-29-2011 at 07:00 PM.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mganders View Post
    I'm an art historian so I find the discussion interesting. My advisor once pointed out that it's not only a question of art or not-art. There's also good art and bad art. So maybe all skating is art but only some of it is good art.
    Although not an art historian, may I humbly agree with your words here?

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    I don't consider television commercials art. Don't see why I should consider figure skating so. Both are subject to the same limitations in form, content and goal(s).

    Doesn't mean I don't love it though. Figure skating, not television commercials.
    IMO, the limitations of form and content (primarily its length) are analogous to sonnets as well, so I don't believe they preclude the possibility of greatness.

    With regard to goals (and by that I take you to mean the commercial aspect), the desire for financial gain by itself doesn't necessarily disqualify an activity from the artistic point of view. Artists, like all human beings, will have a host of motivations for their actions. Samuel Johnson, probably the greatest literary critic in the English language (and no mean poet himself), and not one to be mealy-mouthed or mince words, said:

    "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

    Shakespeare, who's life project was to make enough money out of his plays to buy the necessary amount of property in Ye Olde Stratford to be officially designated a "gentleman", would, I think, have nodded his enthusiastic agreement.

  11. #26
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    That's not what I meant. Firstly, I'm not making a hierarchical comment. I think there are great television commercials that I can watch repeatedly (movie trailers are a good example)

    Art exists as it is for its own sake. That's not to say that commerical considerations, etc, aren't involved, important or preclude the definition. That's not to say that said considerations don't influence the creation/path the creator takes. To me what that means is can I imagine the piece existing on it's own (in a vacuum, though I know - art isn't created in a vacuum), with the same choices etc. With Shakespeare's plays (the ones I've read anyway), the sonnets of John Donne, the songs of Led Zeppelin, the television work of David Simon, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, that answer is yes.

    For a figure skating program, that answer is almost always no. I can't imagine a COP program existing without COP rules (even though the language of figure skating remains the same). I can't imagine a 6.0 program existing on it's own. Etc etc. Just like I can't imagine a television commercial existing in it's form without the impetus to sell something.

  12. #27
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    considering the amount of time and energy some commercials take to produce (and being a former student of media) I'd say they can be works of art.

    I seem to recall reading that Walt Disney, in his day, had to prove time and again that his medium (hand drawn animation) was in fact an art. Most "art critics" who suffer from having a large stick up their bum had issue and swore up and down it wasn't art... and yet it's inspired so many INTO creative arts... I can't help but disagree. Some of the scenes in Snow White are stunning so many decades later. Pixar is also, IMO, art with their computer generated animation...

    Are films not works of art? They're moving pictures, Ansel Adams is consider a master photographer and artist, and yet you can take either of those mediums and create snapshots that "aren't worth beans" to anyone and yet evoke more emotion... so who gets to decide what art is? Isn't that the art of, well, art?

    (Whenever this subject comes up all I can think of is Robin Williams as Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society having the boys in his class rip out the part in the textbook that graphs the "worthiness" of a poem)
    Last edited by Tonichelle; 03-29-2011 at 10:03 PM.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    That's not what I meant. Firstly, I'm not making a hierarchical comment. I think there are great television commercials that I can watch repeatedly (movie trailers are a good example)

    Art exists as it is for its own sake. That's not to say that commerical considerations, etc, aren't involved, important or preclude the definition. That's not to say that said considerations don't influence the creation/path the creator takes. To me what that means is can I imagine the piece existing on it's own (in a vacuum, though I know - art isn't created in a vacuum), with the same choices etc. With Shakespeare's plays (the ones I've read anyway), the sonnets of John Donne, the songs of Led Zeppelin, the television work of David Simon, the films of Alfred Hitchcock, that answer is yes.

    For a figure skating program, that answer is almost always no. I can't imagine a COP program existing without COP rules (even though the language of figure skating remains the same). I can't imagine a 6.0 program existing on it's own. Etc etc. Just like I can't imagine a television commercial existing in it's form without the impetus to sell something.
    I think I see what you're getting at. For what it's worth, I'm actually in agreement with you that the majority of figure skating programs will not, artistically anyway, stand the test of time and are forgettable, for the most part (although, as they say, youtube is forever).

    My conjecture is that there are always rules in art. The number of lines and beats in a traditional sonnet, or the blank verse of the Elizabethan play, the common structural features of rock songs (also driven, in part, by commercial requirements). Even self-styled naturalistic free verse is, on closer inspection, not really free (one of the "rules" being to pretend there are no rules ).

    One aspect in which skating is unique is, of course, the fact that part of the rules, at least in competition, impose technical (sporting) requirements on the program which do place an additional restriction on the degrees of aesthetic freedom. If this is part of what you mean, then I agree.

    Nevertheless, I would maintain that this is not (in concept or in actual outcome) all that different from a poet (eg Shakespeare) or a filmmaker (eg Hitchcock) having to work with one eye on his artistic vision and another on the gross receipts. It's just that skating is limited in two degrees of freedom (the athletic requirement as well as the need to entertain) rather than one. This makes artistic intention more difficult (and is maybe one of the reasons why there just aren't that many programs that are truly good artistically), but not, IMHO, impossible. There are a number of programs/performances that make my list of "good works of art". It just means that the creators of figure skating art need three eyes to Hitchcock's two (but, as miki88 alludes in a previous post, skating is collaborative, i.e. skater, choreographer, coach, etc., which may help in this respect).

    Maybe we aren't disagreeing in our analyses so much as in our conclusions?
    Last edited by Robeye; 03-29-2011 at 11:27 PM.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    considering the amount of time and energy some commercials take to produce (and being a former student of media) I'd say they can be works of art.

    I seem to recall reading that Walt Disney, in his day, had to prove time and again that his medium (hand drawn animation) was in fact an art. Most "art critics" who suffer from having a large stick up their bum had issue and swore up and down it wasn't art... and yet it's inspired so many INTO creative arts... I can't help but disagree. Some of the scenes in Snow White are stunning so many decades later. Pixar is also, IMO, art with their computer generated animation...

    Are films not works of art? They're moving pictures, Ansel Adams is consider a master photographer and artist, and yet you can take either of those mediums and create snapshots that "aren't worth beans" to anyone and yet evoke more emotion... so who gets to decide what art is? Isn't that the art of, well, art?

    (Whenever this subject comes up all I can think of is Robin Williams as Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society having the boys in his class rip out the part in the textbook that graphs the "worthiness" of a poem)
    I completely agree with your thoughts on this for the most part, Tonichelle. The only thing I would venture to add is that artistic "worthiness" is, in my view, a legitimate concept, just not as simplistic as the textbooks of that time would have had schoolboys believe.

  15. #30
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    Much of what I am reading are opinions of what art is and how it is appreciated. May I say by watching TV? However, imo, if one were to watch PBS' Great Performances, they may get taste of real art without the metal shoes. I say taste of because it is personal.

    It's a matter of taste, and one does choose their friends by what is perceived by their taste. Unfortunately, I know I am friendless on a skating board.

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