Bona Fide Member
What is "heart?"
This question is prompted by the following exchange from another thread.
Originally Posted by Olympia
Is there really a difference between having heart and doing choreography really well? Between drawing in the audience and merely performing the program that you practiced? Is “emotional involvement” something that the audience supplies out of its imagination, rather than anything the skater does?
Originally Posted by Tonichelle
In Sophie’s Choice the actress Meryl Streep did not actually have to choose between her two children – she just had to act like she did. Does Streep have "heart" or merely technique?
Skaters show true emotion when they land that triple Lutz, just like a pole vaulter is jubilant when he clears the bar. On the other hand, making passionate faces and acting out characters usually does not move figure skating audiences. So what does?
to me, it's a matter of perceived sincerity. when MK skated, i used to feel i could see to the bottom of her very soul, that's how out there she was with her emotions.
Originally Posted by Mathman
this didn't apply to her beatles program, and a number of programs that i felt didn't resonate--maybe she felt it but i didn't. for the magic to be there she has to feel it, and then i have to sense that she feels it. ^___^
i just wanted to get my low brow answer in early because i have a feeling this thread is going to have a high HT quotient. thanks mathman, for helping me to put off working.
example of program that resonated: debut of red violin (exhibition program is much preferred to competition program), debut of dante's prayer at 1998 worlds ('please remember me...' even tho i didn't win LOL i'm allowed to make this joke since i love her to pieces in my mind she still should have won, speed and speedy be damned)
now, not referring to MK in particular but skaters in general...
when the jumps aren't there, the skater is going to be a bit out of sorts--if it's just a tiny trip up they may still be able to keep the thing going, but too many trip ups rupture the spell. and i'm sorry rachel flatt no matter how many O faces she makes has not (so far) sold me on the sincerity of anything except her (absolutely appropriate) desire to kick butt and win when she skates to her lori nichol program to east of eden.
hey, she still can at worlds--i hope she will--i name her specifically not because i have a grudge but because she's skating to something MK skated to, with the same choreographer, even.
Last edited by skfan; 04-20-2011 at 07:26 PM.
Bona Fide Member
I couldn't believe my eyes when Michelle came out for the debut of that program at the 1999 Worlds exhibition. Breathes there a man with soul so dead who never to himself has said...whoa!
Originally Posted by skfan
But what I am curious about is this. What exactly does Michelle do that makes us believe in the sincerity of her performances?
what is heart? what's truly sincere?
didn't a politician once say, to paraphrase, i know porn when i see it? ^__^
i know sincerity when i see it. rather, i know what strikes me as sincere.
maybe it's the look in the eye, the 'i'm going to take you on my journey of emotions' glance as she strikes her opening pose.... roughly translated to mean, you can trust me, i won't splat, so just relax and prepare to be amazed. maybe she had the confidence in her technique and the charisma and forceful personality to broadcast that to the entire arena.
i credit nicole bobek for showing michelle the way, in many ways--it's because of nicole that michelle worked so hard on her spiral. she only has to watch nicole to know what vibe an audience gives off when it's truly absorbed in a skater's performance.
maybe when michelle herself feels the doubt--that maybe she can't quite pull off this deviation from the norm, this slightly off the beaten path program--she broadcasts that too, involuntarily--and the audience rather than flinging its lot in with her sits on hands, biting lips, feeling reserved, un-sold on the performance.
or maybe it's strategic placement of sequins ^_^
Last edited by skfan; 04-20-2011 at 08:59 PM.
Obviously, since mine was one of the quotes that started this thread, I think Michelle exemplifies heart. What does she do exactly that pulls so many of us in? Who knows! There's some magic X factor, like what Judy Garland had when she sang. Now, this doesn't mean that either Michelle or Judy will draw everyone in. Tonichelle is an example of someone who doesn't resonate to Michelle's particular magnetism. But MK has that effect on enough people that I'm willing to cite her as a prime model of heart.
Originally Posted by Mathman
I know it when I see it: for me, Mao Asada has it. And Daisuke. Paul Wylie had it. It is not for me to decide whether any specific skater lacks heart. Skaters work their hearts out, and I feel it's uncharitable to be specific about anyone lacking intensity. The only ones I can say specifically (but I refrain from naming them) are several of the "businesslike" Soviet pairs skaters. They were technically superior and never changed expression. It was their turn to win. They won. Then it was someone else's turn. I'm not referring to Rodnina/Zaitsev or (perish the thought!) Gordeyeva/Grinkov, of course.
Last edited by Olympia; 04-20-2011 at 11:16 PM.