I've been reading the TEB competition coverage on IceNetwork and I must say I really like the sense of humor and candor of the special correspondent.
The titles of his articles crack me up!!
"Virtue and Moir win to surprise of no one"
"Chan underachieves but still throttles competition"
"Short dance shocker! Virtue and Moir triumph"
I also like that he's not afraid to state his opinion and critique even the champions and the judging in the events. Usually the writers are so polite and politically correct. I find it refreshing.
really? because i found that icenetwork's latest article on v/m simultaneously ignores and undermines their accomplishments at TEB. whether this guy is claiming how bored he is that v/m have won or he's making unsubstantiated claims that v/m don't deserve their marks, it's not refreshing or humorous. i doubt he would give the american champions the same flippant treatment.
Well, he is a French journalist writing for an American network. So I don't think he has any particular interest in puffing up V&M. He probably hoped the French team would have scored a little higher.
he didn't need to gush in order to write a respectful article.
IIRC, Berlot was mentioned in the recent interview with Karine Arribert, I think in the context of his interest/involvement in ice ballet.
Last edited by Buttercup; 11-20-2011 at 05:41 AM.
I don't know that Ave Maria has any story that would dictate lots of crossovers. However, it certainly wouldn't be appropriate for them to be crawling all over each other in very close holds
Similarly, any Fred Astaire number should give a nod to tap dance. Tap dancing on ice is hard--and it's usually done in a posing squence, something V&M are doing. In the COP era, it's even harder to convey tap dance, because the staccato beats don't translate well as nice deep edges. And a lot of tap is done side by side.
Check out Susie Wynne & Joe Druar's tap dance FD from 1990. It starts with a fluff piece about their training, including the training of tap dance:
With the flat edges, this would not make it as a COP dance. The tap part has to be in the posing/transitions part of the dance.
So that has an effect on V&M's Funny Face.
What I've noticed about their dances this year:
1. They seem to be enjoying themselves more, which I am very happy to see.
2. The lifts seem to be more difficult for them. At TEB, the lifts just weren't as smooth and there were parts where the movement seemed to get stuck. I hope Scott's back is OK. It probably is & they just need more practice.
V&M's habit is to work on the dance over the year, and we generally don't see the final form till the GPF. Some of the blank spots you noticed may well be filled in then.
BTW, I noticed the IN coverage, and while the piece by a French correspondent was his own responsibility, I thought the "Ho Hum" part of the headline on the main page, which is the sole resonsibility of IN, wasn't respectful to the fans of V&M nor to V&M themselves.
But more important, it wasn't good for the sport. You want to build excitement, so that people might, you know, be interested to watch the next competition, not say, ho hum, the Olympic champs won, nothing to see here, don't bother.
In fact, the lead in to Wynne & Druar's FD, showing Air Force cadets becoming really interested in ice dance because, you know, there are really pretty girls, was a much better idea.
As for the rest, thanks so much - I'll get to it later. The one observation I do want to make is that for all that it was not perfect, I was really impressed with V/M's Flamenco and Mahler right off the bat. I'm not impressed with this year's programs. I realize Tessa had long wanted to skate to Funny Face, but IMO, they are capable of so much more.
I think they are capable of more, but at least Funny Face is a different acting/emotional presentation for them, so it's not a placeholder. Not every area of skating growth for a team necessarily results in a more audience appealing program, or a more technically impressive program than the team was doing before.
For example, D&W's tango last year involved a great deal of technical improvement from them, but this year's program is a lot more audience appealing...and some of that appeal results from improved technique garnered from last year's work.
If V&M want to work on presenting less sappy romance with touches of humor and a deeper story line, next year we may see the same with more skating detail between tricks.
US SPORTS COVERAGE
If you want to see one event from the GP, the US coverage from TEB was excellent today, although Tanith is not as interesting a commentator as Judy Blumberg, but she loves everybody, so at least her talking will not annoy you too much.
The show had both the SD's & FD's of Chock/Bates, Ilinykh/Katsalapov, Capellini/Lanotte, Pechalat/Bourzat and Virtue/Moir (the top 5 couples here). It also had the FD of Davis/White from Skate America between the SD and FD, offered to compare V/M, but Tanith and Andrea agreed that they are so close, both wonderful, apples & oranges, any given day, etc etc. It also had no annoying stuff about ladiezzz.
Last edited by dorispulaski; 11-20-2011 at 07:48 AM.
2. Yeah, the article comments are more passive aggressive then disrespectful. Not funny, but not in poor taste. That said, I'd hardly describe those headlines as measured.
3. I definitely agree where you're coming from, Buttercup, re: two-foot skating/posing. But I'd argue that it also suits the concept of the dance. I also wonder is there really more two-foot skating/posing then in Mahler?
GS summary also questions the gap in the FD scores:
GS summaries tend to be fairly neutral in tone, so I get the sense there's something to it.Pechalat and Bourzat turned in a powerful performance of their Egyptian-themed dance they named The Pharaoh and his Mummy. The innovative lifts were impressive, and their elements were strong. The French had exactly the same levels for their elements as Virtue and Moir, however, the judges held back on the Grades of Execution (GOE). Actually, a gap of 7.71 points in the free dance score seemed a little large. The European Champions earned a new season’s best of 98.04 points which added up to 164.56 points overall.
3. I'd say that it does and it doesn't. Doris noted the challenge in transferring tap dancing to the the ice, for instance, and how it can come across as posing; point taken. But there were sections in the FD in which Tessa and Scott were pretty much just skating around, and I can't get behind that.
I feel guilty for saying this, but I sometimes wonder if they really wanted to continue in competitive skating or whether they were pressured into it. There have been Tessa's health issues, but also they don't seem as focused and motivated as they were in the past. Whereas D/W (and you know how I feel about them) do seem to have their eyes on the prize, as do P/B (technique issues and bronchitis aside).
I kind of feel for P/B - they had such a good season last year up until Worlds, then the fall, the coaching/country change, the tough GP assignments, Fabian's illness... that's a lot to deal with. I was happy to see him looking fit and energetic on the ice, and I hope he didn't suffer any ill effects from the disappearing sneakers episode (apparently he had to return to the hotel in flip-flops. Brrrrrr). I look forward to seeing further improvement from the two of them as the season progresses.
Last edited by Buttercup; 11-20-2011 at 11:38 AM.
I think that's a fair question, Buttercup, about how much pressure V/M felt to continue, and one I doubt we'll ever know the answer to. Recall - the initial plan was to skate through last season, then have the surgery and see where they were at health-wise. It was only that the pain was too intense for Tessa that they decided to have the surgery after worlds 2010. In my mind, I tend to see their initial plan as one of getting a second World title (hopefully) and retiring. That said, I'm not sure I agree with you about motivation. Partially, because they seem to be enjoying what they do so much, but also because I think their goals are a little different now. I won't deny it - if D/W pass them permanently, I'd probably lose interest in the sport, but they seem fairly all right with it. I suspect as long as they win the GPF, they'll be happy with what they've done (and skating to Funny Face does have a bit of valedictory feel to it).
For me, the article does put forth the thought of whether or not V/M could be more ambitious in their artistic range. I feel in many ways they've only just begun and that might have cintributed to their decisions to stay in.
I didn't love the idea of P/B's FD at first but as I've seen it over the course of a couple of competitions now I really appreciate the thought and artistic ambitions behind it. They might not have the best execution at times and they don't always have the surest edges and full range of motion but you can tell their maturity and sophistication as artistic athletes in the range of programs that they've attempted to do. They always try to come out with something a little bit different.
That has been my greatest disappointment with the Shpilband/Zoueva teams (D/W included) that they don't have as much ambition or attempt exploration from an artistic perspective. That's not to say that V/M are not in a class by themselves when it comes to skating skills, full body movement, and interpretation of the music that they have selected. They execute and perform their programs like no one else. But they're not artistic pioneers by any sense. and I think they could be if only they thought outside of the box a bit like P/B. If the judges rewarded those attempts of putting together different packages by P/B or others than they would be encouraging that type of artistic exploration in general. But they only seem to be encouraging traditional uplifting dancing programs at the moment.
If anything the critique should be aimed at the judges and the aspects of ice dance that they award rather than the teams themselves.
Last edited by missysays; 11-20-2011 at 12:00 PM.
Walk Like an Egyptian Mummy is not the most creative thing on earth. For one thing, P&B did it for several seasons as an exhibition.
For another thing, all those Egyptian hands are too too 70's disco/ The Bangles. However, I'm fine with that. All in good fun.
P&B's creativity, over the years, has mostly expressed itself in couture/costuming rather than skating, IMO.
Here's my favorite of theirs, where the costumes were particularly interesting:
Their French tourists in Rio SD has its creative side (not just costuming), and I like it, but so do D&W's Bollywood and Charleston programs.
And D&W's first version of Eleanor Rigby was every bit as much a depiction of craziness (depression) as P&B's straight jacket program (which I guess was general mania?); I saw both back to back live at Skate America.
I would say that both teams have shown a good range, but not an amazing range, and creativity in some ways/programs and not others.
And all the Shpilband teams have creative lifts.
So there's creativity and then there's creativity.
And one has to allow different people to have differing taste.
I find it useful to spend time watching programs that other people are crazy about that I don't like, it is most revealing, and helps me to appreciate a wider range of performances than I used to.
I actually like the Funny Face program. I didn't when I saw it at Skate Canada, but it seems to have improved as I enjoyed it yesterday.