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Thread: Skating as art

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando View Post
    There you go again with what feels to be an absurd comparison.

    Anybody could write, "children wear costumes on Halloween, does that make trick or treating an art?"

    No, it just makes it fun

    ETA: My references to skating as a "pageant" have more to do with how the "sport" has been run over the years and is not meant to diminish the tremendous athletic skills displayed by the skaters.

    I still see very little in common between Usain Bolt sprinting down a track and figure skating which is a sport that includes performance and artistic components by definition.
    It might be absurd, but you're not saying WHY it's absurd.

    Essentially, the point of this thread is to pin down the nebulous definition of the word art and decide if figure skating fits. I don't expect agreement - the goal is lively debate that (hopefully) gives us (and by us, I mean mainly me) something to chew on.

    Can you explain to me what the "Artistic components" of figure skating are?

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    It might be absurd, but you're not saying WHY it's absurd.

    Essentially, the point of this thread is to pin down the nebulous definition of the word art and decide if figure skating fits. I don't expect agreement - the goal is lively debate that (hopefully) gives us (and by us, I mean mainly me) something to chew on.

    Can you explain to me what the "Artistic components" of figure skating are?
    IN, CH, the P from P/E.

    Mishin said something like "at times there is an aspect to figure skating at it's best that is difficult to measure by points. Sometimes we see something magical and it is more of a feeling than something that can be easily measured by the points."

    But what does he know

    ETA: Why bother with me when I posted the thoughts of Martha Graham. Do her words support your views? I don't think so.

    More ETA:

    "It's absolutely beautiful; it's got music, it's got choreography, it's got personality,
    it's got competition, it's got the Olympic Games--what else is there that you need in the world?"
    ~Dick Button, 2-time Olympic gold medalist about figure skating



    "Skating is not only a sport, it is a passion..." ~ Michelle Kwan


    You have not convinced me in the least that figure skating is like most other sports, least of all the 100 meter dash.
    Last edited by janetfan; 03-31-2011 at 08:39 AM.

  3. #63
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    Cool. So interpretation, choreography and performance are artistic components? Would you argue that there are no athletic portion within those trio?

    That Graham quote was terrific. But she's not talking about figure skating, is she? In that particular quote, she's referring to dance, correct? So why should her words support my views? My understanding was that clip was taken from her preparation for "Night Journey," a ballet about the Oedipus story. I haven't seen that ballet (though I will look for that DVD now. Love Criterion), but I'd be interested if there was a figure skating program that matches it for depth of emotions.

    Those quotes from Dick Button and Michelle Kwan I agree with 100%. Of course, in neither quote is the word "art" or "artistry" mentioned. Unless you believe that things like personality and passion are in the province of the arts themselves to the exclusion of all other events. And that would make the world a very sad place indeed.

    Figure skating is not like other sports. I agree. But for you, that seems to mean that sports, as a concept, isn't broad enough to encompass figure skating, whereas I believe the opposite. I'm just exploring your logic here.

    And this is the impasse.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Good post and I see no point to continue this as we seem to be arguing more about semantics.

    I wrote several times that I think skating is a sport. I wrote several times I think skaters are superb and well conditioned atheletes.
    I also think skating has a performance/artistic aspect which is primarily what draws it's fans in.

    As a sport it seems to fall short in USA. That may be our shortcoming but I can tell you truly I don't watch skating for a "sports fix."
    I can't describe well enough why I like it but Button's words come close enough.

    Martha Graham talked about passion and so did Michelle. That is enough for me.

    I know you are a diehard (beyond reason at times to me) supporter of the CoP so I guess if Speedy said the CoP makes skating a real sport you will never change your opinion.

    Problem is many posters at GS have forgotten more about figure skating than what Speedy has ever learned about it.

    It is cool with me it you think skating is pure sport but I see it differently and see it as part sport and part performance art. I might be wrong and it wouldn't be the first time

  5. #65
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    You see, when you say

    I know you are a diehard (beyond reason at times to me) supporter of the CoP so I guess if Speedy said the CoP makes skating a real sport you will never change your opinion.
    it reads as a negative judgement about my taste and I want to keep debating. You may not be intending it that way, though.

  6. #66
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    I do not really see much value in comparing a Ming vase with a Sasha Cohen spiral as to which is more artsy-fartsy. I checked in with messers Merriam and Webster, but emerged little the wiser:

    Definition of ART

    1. skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <the art of making friends>

    2. (a) a branch of learning: (1) : one of the humanities (2) plural : liberal arts.

    3. an occupation requiring knowledge or skill <the art of organ building>

    4. the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also: works so produced .
    I think it is 4 that we are talking about, right? So the question is, "is a figure skating performance an "aesthetic object?"

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    A few non-competitive performances that work for me as comparable to stage dance as an artform:

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qRyOzq_ofQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt7uF7pFQ04

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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0T0gqjJO3HE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGh2tE3HRCE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoI5KOzPDdU (skating in the later parts, it's a TV special using dance, costumes, sets, lights, etc. as well as skating to tell a whole story)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3WXYFcS2Gw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7wRcOv9rPA

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

    Now, if you've seen a lot of dance concerts, you've probably seen "better" art there. And worse. And about the same level of quality, in a different medium. As has already been mentioned, all artforms can include bad or mediocre as well as good art.

    If this kind of skating were not so obscure compared to the sport, if there were more of it, we'd see more of the good stuff (along with more of the mediocre).
    Gary Beacom ("Mr. fourth place") -- a thoroughly original and greatly undervalued talent.

    In my opinion, this is figure skating's dilemma. This is clearly art. I do not think anyone would be so lofty as to say -- "You call this art? Hrumph! The Venus de Milo is better!"

    But to me it seems sort of self-conscious and pretentious. "Now I Am Going To Be Artistic." I would rather be surprised by art.

    Figure skating's dilemma is that no-one will pay to see this. The high brows prefer to see this sort of magical movement on dry land. The low-brows say -- OK, Beacom, forget that, give me "I'm Your Man!"
    Last edited by Mathman; 03-30-2011 at 09:54 PM.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaginaryPogue View Post
    it reads as a negative judgement about my taste and I want to keep debating. You may not be intending it that way, though.
    I didn't read Hernando's posts in that way at all. To me, the point is this

    You wrote that Virtue and Moir brought something special to their Olympic performance that placed them justly ahead of Davis and White. This extra something was not a quicker twizzle or more loft on their lifts..

    You do not want to attach the word "artistry" to Virtue and Moir's program. OK, call it something else. The point is not what we call it, but rather that figure skating needs more of it.
    Last edited by Mathman; 03-31-2011 at 10:58 AM.

  8. #68
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    I'm all in favor of closing this thread. The Art of Figure Skating is in the mind of the beholder. One performance of great skating is just that: GREAT SKATING which may or may not be appreciated by others. No way can this topic be resolved, but nothing wrong with opinions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    I'm all in favor of closing this thread. The Art of Figure Skating is in the mind of the beholder. One performance of great skating is just that: GREAT SKATING which may or may not be appreciated by others. No way can this topic be resolved, but nothing wrong with opinions.
    Uh, joe, seeing as how this thread has been one of the most active on this forum, I think it's fair to say that a lot of people disagree with you. If you don't see its relevance or importance, or are just not interested, then you can choose not to participate.

    But I must confess that I'm beginning to feel a little nettled at your constantly raining on a parade that so many clearly want to take part in. Disagreeing on a substantive point is one thing. But saying that people shouldn't play because it bores you is quite another, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I didn't read Hernando's posts in that way at all. To me, this point is this.

    You wrote that Virtue and Moir brought something special to their Olympic performance that placed them justly ahead of Davis and White. This extra something was not a quicker twizzle or a more rotations on their twist.

    You do not want to attach the word "artistry" to Viryue and Moir's perfrmance. OK, call it something else. The point is not what we call it, but rather that figure skating needs more of it.
    That's the crux of it, I think.

    Interestingly, there's a new version of the perennial "favorite skater" thread up now. If you look at the favorites, almost everyone's list is overwhelmingly made up of skaters who have whatever it is that we're talking about. Maybe we need a new word for it? Anyway, we need more of it, and I'm grateful for all the skaters who manage to convey it through their amateur and pro careers.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    That's the crux of it, I think.

    Interestingly, there's a new version of the perennial "favorite skater" thread up now. If you look at the favorites, almost everyone's list is overwhelmingly made up of skaters who have whatever it is that we're talking about. Maybe we need a new word for it? Anyway, we need more of it, and I'm grateful for all the skaters who manage to convey it through their amateur and pro careers.
    Interesting thoughts and how often back in the 6.0 era did we hear the second set of marks which were for presentation referred to as the "artistic marks"?

    How many times did we hear things like, "none of the Ladies at this event can match Michelle's artistry"?
    The word artistry has been used in skating for decades.

    We were told Tim Goebel could match the two Russian boys when it came to jumps but that he lacked their artistry.
    We were told Peggy was more artistic than the other Ladies back at the '68 Olympics.

    We were told that Janet Lynn's freeskating in Sapporo lifted skating from a competition to the realms of art.

    For decades figure skating and artistry have been talked about together.

    I am fine with this word and the way it is used in skating.

    What about this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NquaHuhC3U

    From a sports perspective is she the fastest and does she jump the highest?
    Is there some aspect of this skating that might separate it from quite a few of the others?

    What is it, and what do you think we should call it?

    I know what Olympic skating champions who work in broadcasting call it.
    Last edited by janetfan; 03-31-2011 at 10:19 AM.

  12. #72
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    I understand those of us who are more inclined to think of skating as a sport. I see that element also. But it's important to keep in mind that those of us who think of it as a sport would be laughed out of a room of football fans if we tried to equate it with football. So we have the same problem in either direction, the sport one or the art one.

    Then I started thinking about griffins. A griffin (sometimes spelled gryphon) is a mythical beast that is part eagle and part lion. Now, one might argue that it is a lion, or that it doesn't have enough lion in it to be called a lion. One might argue that it is an eagle, or that it doesn't have enough eagle in it to be called an eagle. That's missing the point. It's a griffin! It's a blend so noble and astonishing that it makes one's heart leap just to see a picture, or even just to see the word on paper. It can be found only in the furthest reaches of Narnia, or on gold carved by ancient Scythians. Why even argue about lions or eagles? Look at that magnificent griffin, and be awed.

    That's kind of what skating is to me. Is it art? Is it sport? It is itself, and when I watch the best of it (which isn't to be found in every competition by any means), it gives me the feeling of having come upon some treasure that few others have encountered. It takes nothing away from the likes of a Balanchine ballet or a Zeffirelli staging of Puccini to say that. Whatever Michelle Kwan or Klimova/Ponomarenko have, they have it in full measure, and I'm grateful that it's here for me to enjoy.

    Edit: Mind you, I'm not saying we shouldn't argue about it. Many of the ideas people are coming up with are really mind-stretching, and I'm enjoying this thread hugely!
    Last edited by Olympia; 03-31-2011 at 10:46 AM.

  13. #73
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    ^^ I completely agree.

    Perhaps what figure skating and its fans need to focus on is not whether something is art or not (because one could argue that the following two performances, however different, are art

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH6z-gwiSRc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnkku5aJzZM

    But maybe also discuss whether 1. What is bad form? (a lot of fans and judges cry out for pointed toes, but what if the music and choreography calls out for flexed feet?) 2. Does bad form hinder the artistic value of a program?

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I understand those of us who are more inclined to think of skating as a sport. I see that element also. But it's important to keep in mind that those of us who think of it as a sport would be laughed out of a room of football fans if we tried to equate it with football. So we have the same problem in either direction, the sport one or the art one.

    Then I started thinking about griffins. A griffin (sometimes spelled gryphon) is a mythical beast that is part eagle and part lion. Now, one might argue that it is a lion, or that it doesn't have enough lion in it to be called a lion. One might argue that it is an eagle, or that it doesn't have enough eagle in it to be called an eagle. That's missing the point. It's a griffin! It's a blend so noble and astonishing that it makes one's heart leap just to see a picture, or even just to see the word on paper. It can be found only in the furthest reaches of Narnia, or on gold carved by ancient Scythians. Why even argue about lions or eagles? Look at that magnificent griffin, and be awed.

    That's kind of what skating is to me. Is it art? Is it sport? It is itself, and when I watch the best of it (which isn't to be found in every competition by any means), it gives me the feeling of having come upon some treasure that few others have encountered. It takes nothing away from the likes of a Balanchine ballet or a Zeffirelli staging of Puccini to say that. Whatever Michelle Kwan or Klimova/Ponomarenko have, they have it in full measure, and I'm grateful that it's here for me to enjoy.

    Edit: Mind you, I'm not saying we shouldn't argue about it. Many of the ideas people are coming up with are really mind-stretching, and I'm enjoying this thread hugely!
    I have to agree with what you are saying here.
    I don't think a strong argument, or any argument at all has been made that skating is art and not sport.

    Some of us feel that at times skating can show qualities that are beautiful, passionate and emotional. That feels like art to me and if it doesn't reach the Wagnerian level it does offer qualities we associate with art.

    I think the analogy using the Griffin is a good one.
    Here is a Griffin but it does not come from ancient Scythia and is still found today.

    http://www.breederretriever.com/phot.../brussels1.jpg

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue dog View Post
    This program has never been matched in the history of the SP.

    But seriously, why don't other skaters do cool stuff like this? If only Beethoven had known about the musical technique of turntablism.

    A lot of fans and judges cry out for pointed toes, but what if the music and choreography calls out for flexed feet?
    A little bit off topic, but do ice dancers use a heel lead when they are doing U.S. country and western?

    A lot off topic: Blue Dog, is that you in your avatar picture?

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