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Thread: Camel spins - what makes them good?

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Camel spins - what makes them good?

    This is inspired by the discussion of laybacks in the Mirai thread and also a lingering issue I have with Alissa Czisny's camel spin. It doesn't look right to me. I mentioned this in another thread once and was informed that Alissa's spins are simply the bee's knees... but hey, it's the off season, so let's discuss it.

    If I compare Alissa's spin at Worlds with Miki's (which I think is beautiful) I see a completely different upper body position. Alissa is facing down with one shoulder higher than the other and her leg, consequently, is fairly turned in. Also, her supporting leg is noticeably bent. Miki is facing out, her shoulders are quite square, and her supporting leg is almost perfectly straight. No contest, as far as I'm concerned.

    Alissa's camel at c. 1:35:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3Z0e...eature=related
    Miki's camel at c. 2:30:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1cDmZi8r7s

    Anybody disagree? Who thinks Alissa's camel is better than Miki's and why? Who else is great or problematic here?

  2. #2
    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    This is an interesting topic, but not the best comparison as Alissa is doing a flying camel, on the "opposite leg."
    Miki did a forward camel from a traditional entry and then she switched to her oustide edge which always creates a better line. that would be difficult if not impossible to do in a back camel that Alissa did.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Voila, already I learn something. Thank you! I'll look for some apples-to-apples comparisons - anyone have any?

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    I think the basic rule for the camel and its every variation is the knee of the free leg above the hip level. This rule should be respected, regardless of the difficulty of the position.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    It's a skating move that is comparable to a Swan Dive in Diving. A beautiful Camel stands on its own. It doesn't need to be contorted.

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    Some other aspects that make a good spin include speed of rotation and centering.

    Camels tend to be slower than other spins in general because of the wider circumference described by body parts further from the spinning center, so starting with speed and maintaining speed are especially evidence of good technique.

    The circles or loops that the blade draws on the ice also tend to be larger in camel spins than in other spins, especially in spins that change onto the forward edge (forward outside for forward spins as in the Ando example, or forward inside for backspins like flying camels) instead of the usual back inside or back outside edges. Those forward edge spins on larger circles also tend to be slower. So slowing down with a change of edge is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's not severe.

    Getting into position and finding the center quickly and efficiently should also be rewarded. Ando bobbles a little on the entrance of the example in the link posted, although she does recover quickly.

    As for body position, free foot at or above hip level is a basic. The body position should stay still (not bobbing or hesitant) or move smoothly from one variation to another.

    A fully stretched free leg and stretch or lift in the upper body are also good points, but the exact variations of position, such as whether the front of the body is facing down or to the side, arm and head positions, whether the back is arched or straight, and of course whether there's a catch-foot or other intentional bent-leg position are all optional variations.

    Exactly which variations look best on each skater's body or appeal to a particular viewer will vary, so sometimes it's just a matter of which position (or which skater's body type) you happen to like better rather than which is "better" in an absolute sense.

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    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Thanks for all this info. It will mean more to me after I've had a chance to pore over a bunch of examples and I'll get to that as soon as I can!

  8. #8
    Rejoicing in the land of Kwan kwanatic's Avatar
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    I definitely get Spun Silver is talking about in terms of the position of the spin.

    I prefer Miki's position because she looks so extended. But like someone pointed out, the fact that it's a back-camel on Alissa's opposite leg is part of the reason it doesn't look as good. Though you can't get a good look at the position, you can see the difference in Alissa's forward camel here. Her legs are straighter, her head is better positioned...it just looks a lot better than the other one.

    Another good camel spin is Mirai's. Leg higher than the hip, foot turned out, stretched all the way, good speed and centering...great spin.

    While we're on the topic of spins, how about sit spins? I think the positions vary quite a bit, but I know I prefer better stretched sit spins...the "shoot the duck" position. Mirai's sit spin is wonderful to me. She's far down, past 90 degrees; back is rounded all the way down to the knee, great speed and centering...but what I like most is that the free leg is straight, parallel to her other knee, and her foot is pointed and turned out. Another sit spin like this I adored was Yukari Nakano's (who BTW was a fabulous spinner; IDK if people gave her her due for that...). Gorgeous camel before she goes into the sit spin too. Like Mirai, Yukari's free leg is super-straight, and her foot is turned out.

    The ones that I don't like are a bit more "clunky". Carolina Kostner has a good position, but she keeps her foot flexed, with no turn out. To me, that's less attractive.

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    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    It's a skating move that is comparable to a Swan Dive in Diving. A beautiful Camel stands on its own. It doesn't need to be contorted.

  10. #10
    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    From a purely physical (as in physics) standpoint, a classic camel is much harder to do than the doughnut camel variation. Sure, doughnuts are harder flexibility-wise, but once you're in the doughnut position, you're spinning faster.

  11. #11
    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Miki's camel was really fast, her spins have improved greatly in the past few years.

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    Miki's legs are hyper extended while Alissa's legs don't fully straighten I think that makes a big difference. I personally like both of their camel spins, but I will say that in the camel spin more so than other spins you really notice which skaters have fully straightened legs (like Miki) and which skaters don't (like Alissa).

  13. #13
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spun Silver View Post
    This is inspired by the discussion of laybacks in the Mirai thread and also a lingering issue I have with Alissa Czisny's camel spin. It doesn't look right to me. I mentioned this in another thread once and was informed that Alissa's spins are simply the bee's knees... but hey, it's the off season, so let's discuss it.

    If I compare Alissa's spin at Worlds with Miki's (which I think is beautiful) I see a completely different upper body position. Alissa is facing down with one shoulder higher than the other and her leg, consequently, is fairly turned in. Also, her supporting leg is noticeably bent. Miki is facing out, her shoulders are quite square, and her supporting leg is almost perfectly straight. No contest, as far as I'm concerned.

    Alissa's camel at c. 1:35:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3Z0e...eature=related
    Miki's camel at c. 2:30:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1cDmZi8r7s

    Anybody disagree? Who thinks Alissa's camel is better than Miki's and why? Who else is great or problematic here?
    Even though you are comparing two different spins here, as many other posters pointed out, let me explain why Alissa's camel spin here is still better than Miki's camel spin:

    While some may prefer Miki's position to Alissa's (again one is a forward camel and the other back camel / sit spin combination), it's not as if Alissa's position is horrible. Alissa's legs may not be straight, but both the free leg and her torso are raised above the hip.

    But most importantly of all, Alissa's spin is much, much faster than Miki's. Not only that, but Alissa shows much better control by getting into position and centering immediately, while Miki does half a rotation of the camel with her free leg flailing a bit.

    Alissa maintains good centering throughout the spin, while Miki travels a little (not enough to be bad, but nowhere near the expert control of Alissa).

    Astounding speed, control and centering makes Alissa's spin exceptional. Miki's spin is merely average.

  14. #14
    Skating is art, if you let it be. Blades of Passion's Avatar
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    The arch of the free leg is important, not just having it straight. Alissa's free leg is extended further past hip level than Miki's is.

    The other thing about Alissa's spin that is superior (aside from centering, and speed, and getting into position, as Serious Business said) is how her chest is parallel with the ice. That's how it should be "ideally". Miki's upper body is twisted and instead of her chest facing the ice, it points more towards the boards and the side of her body is instead facing the ice more. This is an easier position; instead of holding your upper body straight and letting the blade turn you on the ice, it shows that you perhaps don't have the control to achieve that position and are instead only able to angle your body to gain more centrifugal force in order to hit the Camel position.

    The current CoP rules have destroyed the classic spin positions that are in fact difficult to achieve. If you look at Michelle Kwan she had a classic camel position, as Alissa does (although not the exact same body lines and positioning of course), and a vast amount of work was put into learning the camel spin that way. It's not easy. These days, very few people can spin in the classic positions. They train contorted positions that are often easier and look worse, yet it's worth more points. Go figure.

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    I agree, Blades. Some of the contortions people feel compelled to make to get points are so unattractive and usually slow the spins down in the bargain.

    I always think of Paul Wylie's camel spins as being of high quality and beautiful to look at. His extensions are especially impressive in all his work.

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