That's exactly the impression that I got, especially her SD make-up. I know Vanessa was trying to project a softer image, but arched eyebrows were wrong way to go. That's why both Colleen & I suggested more straight and stronger eyebrows, for one thing.
Originally Posted by chuckm
Also, when I suggested witches, Cruella DeVilles, and other characters, I didn't necessarily mean to suggest Vanessa play those roles literally. Rather I wished Vanessa to take up stronger features and presences inherent in those roles. As I mentioned previously, I posed those picture as "wild exaggeration" to make my point.
Another point is that as several posters mentioned to light up. For instance, Glenn Close did a great job playing Cruella DeVille "dead serious," but we cannot help smiling at her gread dead pan job.
Constable , Costume Police
Math..May I abbreviate you ?...No-one has said they aren't a good-looking pair of young people. They are. Here's an even better example :
Your example is a shot that's much closer than they appear to most of the audience when they're skating , and it doesn't show whether the costume is flattering to the body in motion , or not. They're both smiling ( Why wouldn't they be, posing with their medals ?). This is a happy C/P, in their own personas , no longer in competition mode.
In my example ( I think in pre-Olympic team photos ), Paul looks more mature in jeans and comfortably-fitting T-shirt than he has in any costume.( A good argument, I think , for less is more ) Vanessa looks natural and lovely , but that hair and make-up would be a disaster in competition. The hair would be all over the place. At any distance , her pale lipstick or gloss would completely disappear, and you'd be left with no idea of what her lips look like , or if she has any at all. Her eye make-up, here, is quite attractive for street or photograph , giving the eyes a sort of blue-grey smoky or hazy look .. really quite pretty. But at a distance, or under bright lights , her eyes would be reduced to a couple of indistinct smudges under her eyebrows. The problem that I , and others have pointed out about the eyebrows is that their current shape draws the attention to the middle of the face , and if her mouth and eyes are allowed to fade into obscurity , that leaves her nose as the one feature that comes into focus. Even the most exquisitely beautiful young woman would want to avoid that.
This is all about accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative.
Last edited by colleen o'neill; 05-05-2011 at 10:58 PM.
There is something about Crone/Poirier that reminds me of Davis/White. I think it may be that athleticism seems to be their selling point, more so than danceyness and easy romantic connection. They are a hit with fun programs, much like Davis/White, but Davis/White found a way to connect romantically through powerful, passionate programs. Perhaps that's not meant to be with Crone/Poirier, but I see interesting, dynamic programs in their future. I feel like Vanessa in particular can take on some very powerful roles and a soft femininity need not be required. I think this is a team that could benefit from role-reversed lifts and the sort.
Last edited by Apple Pi; 05-06-2011 at 03:19 AM.
I started this thread with C/P's repackaging in mind, but the discussions lead me to some interesting directions.
Originally Posted by blue dog
Several posters remarked that perception of young male partner is not only the issues with C/P but several other teams. That notion leads me to consider overall trend in ice dancing:
1. Lowering the age at which ice dancers achieve their career pinacle. To test this hypothesis, I checked the age of the world figure ice dancing gold medal couples for the last two decades, starting with 1991 to the present. From 1991 to 2008, all but one female dancer won the gold medals in her late 20s; all the male dancers were late 20s to early 30s.
The lone exception was Pasha Grishuk, who won her first gold right after turning 23-year-old in 1994. But then Grishuk and Platv won 4 consequtive world gold and two Olympic gold (1994 & 1998) So they might be the exception to the rule (a case of overwhelming dominance? Pasha won her first Olympic gold when she was 22.)
Then since 2008, all the top medal recipients are early 20s and even teens (the Shibs & C/P, I/K) This may be due to the fact that all the old guards' retirement. However, even here, two of the tops female dancers (Belbin & Domnina) retired in their mid 20s, rather than customary late 20s. Scott Moir remarked at the post worlds interview "how ice dancing has changed for the last 5 years or so." And this brings me to the second trend.
2. North American ice dance dominance. 2011 world ice dance podium really demonstrated the arrival of the North American ice dance. N American style appears to emphasize athleticism, manifesting in power, speed, e.g., blindingly fast twizzles, and innovative but physically demanding lifts.
All those characteristics are better suited for younger skaters. For that matter, I often wondered just how much the current trend contributed to experienced but older skaters' injuries and ultimate retirements, e.g., Scali, Kerr, and even Shabalin.
In light of the above trends, our lament for Paul's youthful look might be symptoms of the changing trends in the ice dancing.
In that case, rather than complaining about Paul and/or Alex Shibutani's "porcelain skin," we can start entertaining broadening the boundary of ice dance such as what blue dog mentioned above, a strong Vanessa as a dragon slayer, rather than a "damsel in distress" Anyway, just a thought.
Wicked Yankee Girl
Apple Pi, One thing about C&P that is the same as D&W: Charlie is younger than Meryl, and looked a lot younger than Meryl up until the last year or two. And in fact, the first 3 senior FDs they did: Prince Igor, Eleanor Rigby, Samson & Delilah, are none of them dances where the guy would be supposed to be older than the girl, just from the plot. In Prince Igor, they are both young lovers. In Rigby he's the dream lover of a lonely, (presumably older) woman, and in S&D, he's the (young & strong) victim of an (older, exotic) seductress. There are roles out there that fit this look, and it's part of the coaches' & choreographers' roles to make sure their students pick programs that suit them.
My tongue is just a little bit in my cheek here, but they could, for example, skate to the kind of music used in the Cougar Town TV show.
Bulletproof by La Roux
Lisztomania by Phoenix
End of Season 1 song (there's a tedious intro, but it gets better after the 1 minute mark-) "Leave Our Boyfriends Behind" by Leona Naess
Of course, there is no need to have any theme at all, but when there is no theme (as in their this year's version of Eleanor Rigby), then the audience makes up a story themselves. It's better (and in fact the rules call for) an easily understandable, without crib notes, sort of story. If it is themeless, it should be clearly themeless, like V&M's Samba.
Last edited by dorispulaski; 05-06-2011 at 06:18 AM.
In the case of both D/W and C/P, it isn't the age difference itself. In both cases, the actual age difference is negligible.
Merle is 9 months older than Charlie, and she never seemed to be older or more mature than Charlie; maybe that was because she is so tiny. I never thought Charlie, with his flying blond locks, looked "boyish"---he looked more like a rock star than a boy scout.
Vanessa is 13 months older than Paul. As I mentioned before, Paul has a particularly boyish look, and Vanessa tends to look matronly. I've never liked her choice of costumes and hairstyle, which contribute to this look.
What I love about C/P:
- They have an athletic style, and have been fiercely committed to being athletes first. They spent quite a few more years than the average ice dancers also competing as singles skaters. I think the ability to jump, spin and own the ice as singles make them stronger on some of the technical parts of ice dance - step sequences, twizzles and spins, for example. As ice dance has become more technical and athletic, I think this has been an advantage for them.
- They are willing to try on all sorts of different styles. My favourite program of all time from them is the Charlie Chaplin-esque short dance from a year of two ago. It was fresh, well presented, innovative, and generally charming. I also liked their FD this year. It was different than anything else in the world, and was a fabulous concept from start to finish. I hope we continue to see fresh, interesting, innovative, and unusal dances from them in the future.
Where I think they need to grow:
- They need to hire, or Skate Canada maybe needs to help them find, a superb stylist. The current coaching and choreography group don't seem to listen or understand what so many people have been saying for a very long time. So its not their area of speciality. You can't be good at everything. That's why there are people, I'm sure even in Toronto, who would specialize in this sort of thing. For example, it's unfair to Vanessa to put her in that awful white dress, and pin up her hair so severely when they are skating to a jazzy, romantic, waltz FD like Fallin'. As others have stated above, so many times the cut, colour and finish of her dresses just do not suit her. This is all very fixable, which is why it should have been done by now. It's a problem that exists for a lot of teams with the same coaching team. Just horrid costumes on so many of them, and it isn't fair to the skaters. C/P are both beautiful people, and I think it is just fine that Paul looks his age. A superb stylist will help them match their look to the programs, while allowing them to remain true to themselves.
- They need to take a ton of off-ice dance clases - modern, jazz, Latin (thinking about next year) - almost as much or more than on-ice training. They would benefit from the type of classes where they need to step out and create some of their own choreography as well so they learn about connection and expression. They have athleticism. Now they need to be more comfortable, less stiff and more expressive with movement throughout their bodies.
- They need to spend some time with other coaches who can help them fix some of their technical and posture issues. I understand that they would not want to leave Scarboro completely, but maybe they spend 50% of their time with different coaches. Want to work on posture? How about spending a week or two with Dubreil/Lauzon in Montreal? They did a fantastic job fixing up the Hasagawa's posture issues, and theirs was much worse than C/P. (I still think Hasagawa's should have won the SD, and finished maybe 2nd overall.) Want to work on soft knees, smooth movement, and finishing lines one week every month? Paul MacIntosh is known for that. Want to work on connection and speed? Wing and Lowe are fantastic choices. The only coaches that would be hard to reach from Scarboro would be Wing and Lowe. The rest are reasonable drives away.
Skating is art, if you let it be.
Originally Posted by dorispulaski
Constable , Costume Police
NorthernDancers..Great post !I think you're exactly right..and concise, to boot !
I think the SD you're referring to was that Ragtime program , which had a nice playful quality. The only thing wrong with it was the costumes ... most particularly Vanessa's.
There was lots to admire in this year's FD. Choreographically ,I liked it better earlier , before they made changes that to my mind , dumbed it down. ( I somehow doubt Dean put in the face in the jar trick, Vanessa's " Why? Why? Why?" arm movement that's become so cliched by now, and as we saw at World's ,her clutching his head onto her shoulder) It was better left abstract. And although they got some outside help costume-wise for the FD, I think they still could have done much better.
First off, I think the colours were too bold for the mood of the peice. Sure, there's nothing like red to grab the attention of audience and judges, but bright red doesn't really speak of alienation , desperation , loneliness.. consequently the costumes were at odds with the music , theme, and emotion they were trying to evoke. They could still have been opposing colours ( I get the idea ) but something a bit more subdued , maybe more washed-out and greyed-down would suit the mood better. They could also have been in the same colour and just let the shapes in the choreography tell the tale.
Look how good Paul looked in those jeans and simple T ( and also with that hairstyle , which thins his face somewhat ). Now think of the many, many times you see ballet or modern dance pieces performed in very simplified versions of modern dress.( I mean, they sort of had the idea..but why turtle necks , why the peek-a-boo shirt , the belt , the flower..) I think it would have been beautiful and far more effective if Paul's costume had been cut in along the lines of that promo pic , with Vanessa in a simple unadorned shift ( V-necklined ) with a floaty well -cut skirt. She could even have left her hair down as long as her neck was visible . ( maybe not for this piece , but with their height differential ,Vanessa could even have curls on the top of her head sometimes, if she wanted. )
So, absolutely..stylist , please...
As for your training suggestions , I think they're right on. People often point out what an athletic team C/P are as if to imply they don't need to have much "dance" quality. Hey , it's Ice Dance..you still need to be dancing, no matter how athletic you are..
ETA : I think the pattern dance should be very good for them , next year, but they'll have to be more dancey for the rest of the SD.
Last edited by colleen o'neill; 05-06-2011 at 06:41 PM.