Beethoven thought of music as a craft and as art.
Some here think music is art because at times it moves them emotionally.
Several posters have written that skating at times moves them.
What is the difference? Is it OK to call music art when it moves us but not skating?
What about "performance art"? Isn't it's purporse to create an emotional reaction?
What was the difference between V/M and D/W in Vancouver?
Forget the CoP it became irrelevant. IMO, V/M were rightfully awarded the Gold medal because they reached a higher level of artistry. D/W were great in Vancouver but V/M were divine. The difference between them was not in skating skills or tricks but in the level of artistry achieved.
For certain fans skating will never only be about scoring points. Unlike speedskating, figure skating will always be about more. It is about performing.
I guess it is all too obvious that the CoP wants skating to be a sport more like speed skating. But we have seen too much to forget and fans from USA don't accept this dumbed down version of skating where spinning 8 times in a contorted position counts for more than a spin with a beautiful position that actually highlights the music.
We saw the numbing effects of putting a time and position requirement on spirals. It was such a stupid rule, the essece of anti-art and mercifully the CoP had to accept the relationship spirals have in CH and IN has nothing to do with measured time and everything to do with following the music.
Last edited by janetfan; 03-30-2011 at 07:47 AM.
Interesting comments! In my crowd of Ballet fans, they prefer a full length story especially with a death or suicide ending (think R&J) as their favorites simply because they are touched by Shakespeare"s story. And btw, Shakespeare gets no credit, and the Dance is just a vehicle for getting these fans all emotionally fixated. It's the acting that counts.
I find this similar to fans of figure skating. Emotional responses and contorted tricks are more important than the actual skating to music. And the music must be melodious.
However, for me, I enjoy the dance and skating much more without a pot boiling story.
Last edited by Joesitz; 03-30-2011 at 07:50 AM.
1. Is it okay to call music art when it moves us but not skating? Yes. Just like it's okay to call science science even though it moves us. Just like it's okay to call a wedding an event instead of performance, even though it moves us. Lets use another comparison: Usain Bolt's moved me more than Michelle Kwan. Does that mean Bolt's the better artist? No, because he's not working in art. Why does emotion have to be the purview of art to the exclusion of all other arenas of the human experience?
2. What about "performance art?" You can call it art, you can call it a gimmick. Depends on the performance and context.
3. What was the difference between V/M and D/W in Vancouver? D/W displayed their effort. V/M displayed their effortlessness. Athletic traits that were rewarded as such (and I agree with you here, V/M came far closer to art than D/W did.)
4. COP is what rewarded V/M above D/W, though, so how/why should I forget it?
5. And this is where we fundamentally disagree. I don't get this hierarchy you place on figure skating.
6. Fans from the USA don't accept this version? You mean the version that won you Olympic Gold in mens for the first time since the 80's? COP needs to be cleaned up, no doubt about it. But it's ethos is far better than what 6.0 came up with. I didn't accept 6.0 skating. Neither the athleticism nor the presumed artistry didn't get me on any fundamental level. It's rather disappointing to see the "we in the USA" argument posed as well.
7. Spiral sequences in the COP of the previous seasons were about athleticism: gorgeous edge control and intriguing positions. Now spirals are set decoration, with few exceptions (they're still not art - anti-art as you say. Just now they're not as much sport either. Worst of both worlds). And don't get me started on the choreographed step sequence.
Robeye, I agree - there are rules in art. Have you seen the Lars von Trier film The Five Obstructions? von Trier goes to another filmmaker and gets him to make a short film five times, but with a different set of rules each time. It's fascinating. My question though: free of those rules, can you imagine a sonnet/blank verse/etc existing in that form? For the expression the poet was aiming for, did they reach it? Another way of putting it: if Alfred Hitchcock was liberated from commercial considerations, can you imagine his films remaining as they are? Could you imagine him in Pyscho (spoilers for the movie, but if you don't know this, then go watch the movies)killing of Janet Leigh's character early into the movie.
My issue is that I haven't seen a figure skating program that I can imagine existing as it is without those restrictions in place. Whereas I can imagine Shakespeare writing "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" regardless.
Also, if I have to group figure skating as an art, it looks small, feeble and empty headed in comparison - Kwan's analysis of the human experience doesn't touch Shakespeare's and Sondheim beats the Duchesnay's any day. If I compare it to a sport, it looks sleek, magnificent and rich.
If you can't see the difference, artistically speaking between this:
Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue
then I guess we can agree to disagree.
Bona Fide Member
I think that is a difficult position to maintain with consistency.
Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue
The Mona Lisa is worth $100,000,000. Suppose someone made a forgery of this painting, copying every brush stroke so precisely (presumably computer-aided ) that a panel of experts cannot tell the difference.
The composition of the forgery is the same as that of the original, the two can barely be distinguished with respect to technique, the smiles are just as enigmatic. So why isn't the forgery worth $90,000,000?
Usein Bolt running is a thing of beauty. Suppose that tomorrow we find out that it is not actually Bolt who is running so fast but rather the steroids that he is taking. Suddenly his performances are less beautiful, even though he runs just as fast and with the same form as before.
Charles Dickens was the greatest novelist to write in English. If you read his novels "in a vacuum" they are good, but have some jarring peculiarities. Every once in a while without warning the author throws in some extra characters, makes an about face in the plot, and it's off to the races (and the book is the better for it).
To really enjoy and appreciate the works a reader should know the circumstances under which Dickens wrote. His "novels" were actually serials that appeared weekly in the newspaper. If this week's sales were down, he would toss in something new to try to get readership up next week. The works were, in fact, the soap operas of the day.
Maybe it's like the wrong edge call in figure skating. Do you judge the take-off edge in a vacuum (flip) or in context (flutz).
Which restrictions, and how are you defining "figure skating program"?
Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue
All competition programs have to follow rules. They have to be a specified length of time, short programs have to include very specific elements, and long programs in some eras have had some required elements and strict restrictions, in other eras simply written or unwritten expectations about variety and balance. If there are two people skating together they must be one male and one female and must follow either pairs or ice dance requirements. And so forth.
Show programs don't have those restrictions. And under "show programs" I include exhibitions performed by competitors after a competition is over or on tours like Champions on Ice; professional choreographed tours like Stars on Ice or Holiday on Ice or even Disney on Ice; ice revues at resorts; Ice Theatre performances; television specials.
Some are more successful in achieving their artistic aims than others. Some aim higher -- are more highbrow -- than others. But they set their own rules and exist completely outside of competition rules. Have you never seen any, or never seen any that you think can hold their own with stage dance as art? John Curry would be so disappointed. Not to mention Jackson Haines.
If I'm looking for art in figure skating, I think Ice Theatre is the best place to find it, the next best placing being professioanl commercial tours like old SOI and HOI that aspire to some kind of thematic and aesthetic unity beyond throwing together a bunch of individual skaters performing to their favorite songs, often with more emphasis on tricks and charisma than choreography.
Sometimes I find it in competitive programs, but I never expect art to be the priority in competition. When it exists, it's a welcome extra.
At least half of the old second mark criteria and at least half of the current program components address aspects of competitive performances that also contribute to art. So those performance aspects are rewarded and skaters who do well in those areas usually outscore skaters of similar technical skill who do not. But at the end of the day technical skill (blade skills, not necessarily difficulty of tricks, although difficulty also helps if performed well) with less artistry will almost always beat out artistry with less technique in a competitive context, because competitive skating is an athletic, technical contest, not an art contest.
And that's fine with me. I enjoy the more artistic programs even if they don't win. And if I'm looking for high art on ice, I look outside the competitive sport.
Specifically about spirals...
Spirals have always been allowed in free programs as highlight moves. Even when spiral sequences have been required, skaters have always been free to include additional spirals where appropriate.
I don't know the history of spirals in pairs programs so well. I do know that in the ladies' short programs a spiral sequence was required between 1989 and 2010 seasons. Even before IJS, for much or all of the time there were requirements that the SP spiral sequence must include spirals on both feet, and maybe also both forward and backward. So SP spiral sequences have always had some requirements they needed to meet.
In ladies' free programs, a spiral sequence was a required element for a few years ca. 2000 before the IJS came in, requiring two positions with no other specifications. Under IJS, two positions held at least three seconds each would meet the requirements for a long program spiral sequence, but additional requirements had to be met to earn higher levels. So most skaters chose to aim for higher levels, often at the expense of artistic effectiveness.
Personally, I like the idea of strict requirements in short programs and a much wider range of scorable options in long programs, so that skaters have a place in competition to showcase technical skills and competition-compatible artistic visions that don't fit the specific short program requirements.
I don't think that structure in the form of restrictions and requirements negates the possibility of art -- in fact I think that short programs are often more artistically coherent than long programs, under either judging system's rules. I think of short programs as comparable to sonnets and other strict forms. Often working within specific rules gives productive coherence to artistic expression.
However, if there is only one structure available, that precludes expression of all ideas that don't easily fit that structure.
Therefore, from an artistic point of view I would prefer that free program rules offer more freedom and/or more difference from the short program rules than is currently the case. From a technical scoring point of view, I'd also like to see a free program structure that could appropriately reward certain skating skills that currently would be ignored in scoring or otherwise waste points.
And then, of course, in show programs skaters have no restrictions or requirements at all, beyond the practicality of budget, their own physical abilities, and audience expectations. They invent their own structures.
Hernando, do you disagree with all my arguments? I would've hoped for more of a riposte. But truthfully, I see more attempted artistry in Yagudin ("attempted murder. Do they give the Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?"). I see no art in either. A twist!
Great questions, Mathman. And all of that I've questioned. My thoughts.
1. I don't really understand why authorship matters so much in terms of art. Why is a Mona Lisa less worthy than Da Vinci's Mona Lisa? It's fascinating. Especially when you factor in the historic angle (the painting was stolen in 1911 and there are conspiracy theorists who think that the one hanging in the Louvre is the fake).
2. Are Usain Bolt's performances less beautiful or less athletic? Another comparison would be swimmers. Technology has created swimsuits that allow them to move through the water. They still need the form. They still need the prowess. Technology just helps a little. I think that's athletically less of an athletic achievement (the same way the Superman is a better hero than Batman).
3. As for Dickens, my question remains: Can I imagine it as it is in a vacuum? I'm not suggesting that in a vacuum, it's guaranteed to stay the same. In this example, can I imagine Great Expectations existing as it is without the commercial considerations. Yes - I can. Can I imagine Yagudin's Winter/MitIM as it is without the rules of figure skating? Nope. And he's among the best.
Rooting for the divas with Kwanford
Here I think you are making the wrong comparison. Kwan should not be compared to Shakespeare but to a Shakespearean actor. It's Lori Nichols who draws the Shakespeare comparison. (Good luck with that one, Lori!) At any rate, Shakespeare is a stretch because the genres are so utterly different, IMO.
Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue
Sometimes, though, skating does remind me of Balanchine's ballets and the way they derive their emotional impact from pure choreography and music -- with costumes, staging, etc. being relatively extraneous. To compare, say, Shen & Zhao's 2006-2007 FP (Meditation) to - oh, I don't know, the pas de deux from Midsummer Night's Dream comes to mind - isn't off the wall although the case would have to be made. The catch is that in general Balanchine's choreography is far greater than skating choreography not only because of his genius, but because the vocabulary of ballet is bigger and less restricted (no COP); his pieces have a lot more time to make their impact (e.g., 20-45 mins. instead of 2-4); and he is famous for treating the music with respect, so it adds infinitely more depth to the choreography than you usually get in the chopped up, truncated, mixed & matched (e.g., Mirai's FP this season) soundtracks of figure skating.
One should also consider that Performing Artists are different than Creative Artists. A story teller (or a playright) does not perform his works. An actor does. One should rate the actor separately from the story teller.
Creating a Painting is not the same as a Performing model.
The analogy for Wrong Edge Take offs is confusing. The name of any jump is made by its takeoff and then clarified by its air turns and landings. All jumps have rotations and landing but its the takeoff for the name. If the takeoff is wrong, there is a no name jump being judged. Give it a name, like Flutz with its own set of base values. That will end the confusements. Only a lutz and flip have wrong edge takeoffs, but a Loop Jump is now permitted to be executed with a Wrong Edge Landing. I don't think a sal chow can have a wrong edge landing, because it would be an inside loop jump.
If you can not believe in the definition of elements then there is no point in discussing any of this. You are driven to believe in the word of the ISU. C'est domage. No bal*s. Some of us are not born to be rebels. Just to be goody two shoes.
Last edited by janetfan; 03-30-2011 at 10:54 AM.
I guess a flutz/lip could be akin to an unconventional acting technique. In art forms, unconventionality may be accepted or be admired for being "revolutionary", but in skating it is penalized and that's where the sport aspect comes in.
Bona Fide Member
Shall I compare Michelle to a summer's day?
Originally Posted by Hernando
"Let me count the ways."
Originally Posted by Mathman