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Thread: Responses Watching GPF on TV

  1. #1
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    Responses Watching GPF on TV

    Just finished watching the first part of the GPF broadcast--dance LP, men and ladies SP, and pairs LP.l

    Pairs were shown last and this was the first time I've seen Shen & Zhao's "Nutcracker Act II Pas de Deux." I don't want to say they outdid their skate of "Turandot" at Worlds, but I thought it was either equal or close. The point is, once again, they blew me away. And I've seen or been in "The Nutcracker" so many times that I never thought I'd be able to enjoy the music again unless somebody used it for satire. But Xue and Hongbo expressed the emotion in the music so beautifully I was completely drawn in. They were the class of the field and IMO, at least with what they've shown so far, they were the class of every discipline.

    It's as if their skate at World's last spring gave them a taste of what it's like to feel and express the music from "deep in the pelvis" and one of my dance teachers used to say, plus their personalities are coming through a log more. I mean, I could go into a major gush here. Let's just say "Shen and Zhao rule!"

    Was also very impressed with Langlois and Archetto. Very beautiful skate.

    Although I thought Totmianina and Marinin deserved the silver overall, their LP just lacked spark, energy, and would it kill them to smile, lol? The altitude seemed to really affect them, though it really hit Petrova & Tikhonov. I thought Alexei might need oxygen afterwards. I remember performing at high altitude when we weren't ready for it--Colorado Springs being one of those places--and it is truly painful. You feel as if you're breathing in very sharp needles and every fiber of your major leg muscles burn--quads especially, at least with me--at the same time they feel as heavy as lead. All of this just makes me even more impressed with the great performances, especially the LPs.

    The Men
    Sandhu truly had an amazing skate. It finally all came together for him when it counted. His style and line are inimitable, but this time that also transferred to most of his jumps. Best FW sequence in th GPF and one of the best I've seen in a long time. If E-man can lock into whatever it was that enabled him to skate like that and become consistent, he will be a major force. Big if though, however I sure hope he does it. When he's on, I just love watching that guy skate.

    Plush: Not his best. Without losing points for the rule problem, I can't tell at this point whether Sandhu would have still won. I'd have to look at the Detailed Results and watch the programs again. But as I've said before, meniscal tears get worse over time and I hope Plush can make it through Russian Nats, Euros, and Worlds. I wonder if he'll get a bye to Euros in order to put his knee through one less competition. But even in a poor skate, Plush has such amazing strength and technique.

    The Ladies
    I said a lot of this on the "Fumie Suguri" thread on "The Edge," but I just love her "Paint It Black" SP and she had a superb skate. The first time I've seen her be exciting! I think this music and choreography allows Fumie to really be Fumie, or at least is very close to being that. As I said in agreeing with Mathman on the "Fumie Suguri" thread, I hope we will look back on "Paint It Black" and see it as the start of an athlete reveling in her power and artistry. The best I've seen Fumie skate a competiive program; previously I really liked her '03 World's exhibition, but as a competitive program, "PIB" is tops for me. I know the pants hid some, but it also seemed that she was extending her legs more on her jump landings and was more stretched in general. Great to see.

    Sasha: From the reports, I was expecting a total wreck of her SP. I was pleasantly surprised to see that despite the fall on the 3L, which then prevented her combo, Sasha immediately refocused and IMO, she was aces in the the rest of "Malaguena." Gorgeous 3flip and no skidding on the 2Axel. She held the second edge of the change edge spiral for a good length of time; I'll have to check the tape to see for sure, but it seemed like about two seconds. The FW was one of her best and I loved her final combo spin. I loved her letting go of her foot with one hand and extending the arm to the side on the BC.

    Dance
    I'm not wild about Navka & Kostomarov's FD, but given the music and the concept, I think they carry it off really well. Whatever they do, they are so strong in their technique and performance abilities that they seem to me to be a cut above everybody else. I couldn't help but think of Scott & Dulebohn's pairs exhibition program to "The Pink Panther" when Tiffany wore that hot pink panther costume. Although I didn't like the aesthetic, I did think N&K, their choreographer (Sasha Zhulin), and costumer did a great job in evoking the style of those '60s movies without trying to imitate the characters of those films.

    The FD I loved as far as style was Denkova & Staviski's. That gorgeous Handel suited their natural style just perfectly. They were off in a few places, but their flow is to die for. I agree with Susie Wynn that sometimes the difficulty of their lifts overwhelms the aesthetics. But when they do a great life, like the one where he's bent forward skating forward and she does a cantilever balance position with both legs lifted up and her only holding on to his neck is to me both obviously very difficult and very beautiful.

    Was very impressed with Belbin & Agosto. So fast and precise, but still with sections where they took the time to express the emotion of the piece. I think there are too many edits of the music from "West Side Story" and I'd love to see their choreographer (who is their choreographer?) cut one of the sections so that the other sections can be longer. But I doubt they would make such a major change at this point in the season. Hopefully next year they'll find the right balance. "West Side Story" was better than "Elvis" so hopefully their musci, concept, and choreography will just keep getting better.

    Now am anxious to see the men's and ladies' LPs. I hope they show more of them. They only showed two SPs of the men and ladies. I might have to go down to ABC and hurt somebody if they don't show at least four and preferably five of the men and ladies doing their LPs.
    Rgirl

  2. #2
    Sal-Kowabunga!
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    Rgirl,

    Gotta agree about Shen and Zhao's Nutcracker. Exquisite! They have worked so hard on their presentation. Here, the choreography goes great with the music. And they really feel the music and sell their performance to the crowd.

    So, tell me why Tatiana and Maxim don't get the message? Heck, they haven't even bothered to work up a new program. I didn't like their Cotton Club last year and I like it even less as a rerun.

    The two Russian teams both qualify for Dick Button's insult -- time for a refrigerator break. Even at their most artless, Shen and Zhao were exciting to watch for their athleticism. Their art has come slowly but surely. Now, about those Russians.......

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    plushy's sp was great even with the fall he skated the rest of the program with an incredible energy and passion,fantastic. :D

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    What makes the Nutcracker all that more appealing is that they skate it with good body line and in their own style - not that classical ballet style that B&S would have done. I like B&S very much, don't get me wrong, but I don't be believe that figure skating should be a copy of ballet. Shen and Zhao are something else and will be for a long time.

    Joe

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    Here goes nothing...

    DANCE - skipped

    MEN

    Emanuel Sandhu - nice, good job, wasn't really paying attention ~ too busy listening to ole Dick & his sounds of love (lol :D ).

    Evgeni Plushenko - could do better, still waiting for him to hire that choreographer that will do him justice. Such a waste, and this coming from someone that has been a fan of his since his body matured into a man (no lie).

    WOMEN

    Fumie Suguri - nice, good job, love the jumps! (:^)

    Sasha Cohen - too bad, better luck next time on the jumps, nevertheless still such a compelling figure on the ice ~ hard to look away when she's on ~ such passion, charisma, good looks, bravura attitude and of course that perfectly stretched body in whatever she's doing. Btw, I think this is innate w/Sasha b/c I noticed that even off the ice she's like this.

    PAIRS

    Pang & Tong - walked out b/c she, honestly, makes me sick to my stomach......I say she's anorexic......and every single time I've seen her on t.v. over the past year or two I literally can't watch b/c it makes me physically ill to see someone like that out on the ice (no lie). Sad to say.

    Zhang & Zhang - nice, good job.

    Langlois & Archetto - yeah, baby, these two have that undeniable something going on.......charisma........totally enjoyed their program! (:^)

    P&T - wasn't really paying attention, so can't really comment on how they did. ***Note: they do kinda remind me of robots though, ditto for Z&Z & the other Russian team.***

    T&M - ditto

    Shen & Zhao - YES (cheering)!!! Man-o-man am I happy that my FAVS (tied w/A&B) kicked ***. This program is the bomb. And their interpretation is first rate (bar none). What emotion, passion, height on jumps/twists/throws, and what charisma! They now tie w/G&G as my favorite pairs of all-time (not counting A&B, they hold a special separate place in my heart). Heck, I think if they had skated like this at the 2002 Olympics there would have been no controversy b/c these two would have won hands down. JMHO.

    Peace & Love, Nadine
    Last edited by Nadine; 12-20-2003 at 10:29 PM.

  6. #6
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    So exactly how well did Anabelle and Patrice skate? I only read one review on them... and it was short

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    Thank God for Stephane Lambiel and Matt Savoie! shine's Avatar
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    Finally got to watch Emanuel Sandhu's SP, thanks to Verbalgirl's hard work
    It was indeed a great skate but I still liked the Skate Canada version of this SP a little more, despite the horrible fall. I thought his presentation was absolutely on there, and was, to borrow an FSU term, totally "tiffin' it". He was obviously nervous at GPF and all his moves certainly weren't as sharp as they could've been; I didn't get the sense of total abandon here like I did at SC. I think I sensed a bit of tiredness in his movement and I even caught him trying to breathe a little during the straight line steps...so maybe that explains.
    But still, Emanuel is definetely building, and I just lurrrrvs this SP!!!!




    And the man is looking more gorgeous each day :D
    Last edited by shine; 12-21-2003 at 12:57 AM.

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    Joey Votto Fangirl KwanFan1212's Avatar
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    Anabelle fell on her triple toe combo (Pat kinda double footed the double toe part of it but landed the triple) and I couldn't really tell but Anabelle may have put a foot down slightly when landing her throw triple toe. Overall though, they skated AWESOME. Really nice! I was impressed by this performance (in altitude too! WOO!) and I think they are building up now for Nats and Worlds. I am encouraged that several folks here have commented on their program with positive comments!!! They are just wonderful.

    I have not watched everything else yet (I was out all day but I HAD to know how Bella & Patch skated, LOL ) but I will hopefully watch it soon and I can comment further then.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by shine
    Finally got to watch Emanuel Sandhu's SP, thanks to Verbalgirl's hard work
    It was indeed a great skate but I still liked the Skate Canada version of this SP a little more, despite the horrible fall. I thought his presentation was absolutely on there, and was, to borrow an FSU term, totally "tiffin' it"....
    Shine,
    I agree. Nothing wrong with Sandhu's GPF SP and it was clean, but at SC, like you said, he had that sense of total abandon. ABC even did better camera work at SC, lol. In the FW sequence, I LOVE E-Man's eight twizzles in a row. At SC they showed Sandhu full body through the whole sequence, but here they focused in on his feet during the twizzles. Bummer! Not only did I not get to see the eight twizzles, I couldn't even tell if he did all eight. If Sandhu could put the energy he had at SC together with a clean program, ZOWIE!

    Joe,
    I think it's fine for figure skating to look like ballet if the skaters have a naturally balletic style, which I feel Berezhnaya & Sikharluridze do--along with others such as G&G, Oksana Baiul, Yukina Ota, Usova & Zhulin, to name just a few. If that's the skater's or team's natural style, why try to make them into something they're not? I don't mean that they should have to skate to ballet music and not try to do different styles. For example, although I wasn't crazy about B&S's "Chaplin" competitive routine, I thought their "City Lights" exhibition program was absolutely breathtaking. To me, saying that skating shouldn't look balletic is the same as saying it shouldn't look athletic. I think whatever style is in the skater's genes and that s/he feels comfortable with is fine as long as it's interesting and follows at least some of the basic guidelines and aesthetics of good posture, speed, flow, etc. I don't want to go into a whole analysis (and I'm sure nobody here wants me to either, lol) of why Nelidina's natural style doesn't work but Irina Slutskaya's does (at least for me), but suffice it to say that I tend to enjoy skaters who make the most of what they were born with, be it Plush's full force sometimes angular style or Sandhu's combination jazz and ballet.

    BTW, just for the record, I don't think I'd particularly like B&S skating to the "Nutrcracker Pas de Deux" or the music of another big classical ballet, although I do like Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet." I tend to like B&S best skating to more abstract impressionistic music, such as Debussy or Saint-Saens. I can't recall them ever skating to ballet music, but of course I could be wrong. Anyway, JMO.
    Rgirl

  10. #10
    Procrastinating b/c of Worlds
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    I thought Dance was by far more interesting than Pairs. DenSta and DelSch, IMO, have the best FDs of the season. The program just flow, everything fits. There's nothing out of place (although, it does kinda annoy me a little that DenSta's FD is mostly in the counterclockwise direction, then again, most FDs are).

    The pinnacle of boredome throughout the whole broadcast had to be LangArch's LP. I'm surprised that they don't skate well more, because they always have the easier programs of the competition. Perhaps I would like them more if they actually did choreography. The only part of their LP i liked was their Pairs spread eagle, to where they seperate, at exactly with the music. I can't believe Peggy had the audacity to call T&Ms choreo simple. They had, IMO, the most difficult choreography of the competition. She should have been calling LangArch's choreo simple, if they had choreo .

    TV

  11. #11
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    RGirl - We are not disagreeing, it's just that I am, as usual, not making myself clear.

    I do like ballet line in figure skating but I also like Modern Dance line too, as well all other forms of dance (Flamenco, e.g, does work in skating). It's a question of how well the skaters pose these moves and if they are in sync with the theme and music. I just don't think ballet inspired skating is the only way to go. My citing B&S was simply to say that their overall "style" is ballet based and that's a good thing. Not unlike Alvin Ailey's group for all the afroamerican moves performed they are ballet based.

    Back when B&S and S&P were doing their thing, I was fixated on S&Z - not because of their big lifts but because there was a budding style different than all others. It materialized last year at Worlds DC and it will probably go on further.

    Joe

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    Hopeless fan Doggygirl's Avatar
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    General impressions...

    Shen and Zhao certainly had the performance of the day for me. I think I could watch that over and over and over and still love it just as much every time, and never get bored (too bad I didn't tape it LOL!)

    I loved seeing Fumie skate so well and so clean! I'm also impressed with the way Sasha got "back on her feet" after the fall - she is certainly exciting to watch. I hope she can keep her feet under her the rest of the season.

    Sandhu is such an interesting skater to watch. I really hope he can become consistent and become a greater challenge there at the top!

    I suppose my overall disappointment was the number of falls and breaks across the many programs. Considering these are the top skaters in the amateur world, and the fact that we are well into the season, I guess I was hoping for more clean and "on" performances just generally. (Dance of course was the exception compared to the rest) When I turn on the tube, I always hope for the type of competition where nearly everyone is "on" and there is some real excitement going on across the board.

    Here is an opion type comment / question. I personally get tired of the complaints about things like altitude. That's a condition that each skater in the competition has to face equally. How is it that some skaters do whatever they do (I'm sure training and conditioning must be the key for altitude) to skate well in spite of it, and the rest who give a less than stellar performance complain about it and make it their excuse? Just a pet peeve of mine.

    I'm looking forward to the skates today - especially Fumie and Emanual's LP's. That is if my blasted cable service comes back on in time!!

    Enjoy a great skating fan day!

    DG

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    Joe,
    I kinda figured that what you really meant by your comment about ballet and skating was completed in your head, just not on the post. I know I do that myself more often that I'd like. Needless to say, ITA with this recent post. Funny that you mention Ina/Zimmerman. I was thinking of them re Moskvina's teams. It's one of the things that impresses me about her so much as a coach. She seems to really act as a "detective" in terms of finding the team's natural style and building on that rather than pasting a style on them. Remember how much both Kyoko and John grew as skaters in just a few short years and as you said, in their own style? Beautiful.

    BTW, sometimes you and I remind me of another friend and myself. We'd be going back and forth on some issue, seemingly arguing, and then one of us would say, "Wait a minute. I think we're agreeing again."

    Doggygirl,
    My take on the altitude thing has to do with several things: Individual phsyiology, scheduling, and training. Re physiology, some people are born with more of what are called "aerobic" muscle fibers. Aerobic just means "with oxygen." If you were born with a high proportion of aerobic fibers, it's just naturally easier for your body to use oxygen. People born with "anaerobic fibers" (without oxygen) have a naturally tougher time using oxygen. The former tend to be great at endurance, the latter tend to be great at explosive moves. So for some of these skaters--and skating is primarily an anaerobic sport--just weren't born with the physiology to easily adapt to high altitudes. Some were. If they are aware of this and their schedule allows, skaters with mostly anaerobic fibers can do things such as train at high altitude or train extra hard by doing double and even triple run-throughs to build up their endurance. There are other techniques as well.

    My second point, scheduling, obviously affects this. Even though we're at midseason when skaters should be in top shape, certain ones of them are also tired. For example, the skaters who did the IFSC in Detroit a week before the GPF--Plushenko, Weiss, Sasha, and Shizuka--tended to do less well than expected. Also, the travel of the GP series can have a cumulative effect on skaters. It's a delicate balance for each skater knowing how much to keep up his/her training and how much to rest. Skaters as well as most young elite athletes are so highly motivated, it's hard to get them to include rest in their training. OTOH, some of them had schedules that made getting enough rest virtually impossible. I know it sounds like a contradiction from what I said above in terms of training for altitude. Sometimes there's just no good solution, especially when the ISU is in charge of your schedule. Of course skaters can always decline to do an event, but that can hurt the way the ISU perceives the skater, not to mention the public. But as skaters establish their reputations, hopefully they will take a page from Michelle's book and be intelligent about how they use their energy and what events they participate in.

    As for training, I kind of included that in talking about the first two. Anyway, IMO, I think it's good for the commentators to talk about altitude, I just wish they'd give a little more information about why it's important so it doesn't sound like just an excuse for some skaters. I also wish they would mention the fatigue factor and the importance of skaters not doing too many competitions and getting burned out. Sasha and Plush, for example, competed in six events over a 12 week period. That doesn't sound bad, but when you include travel, such a schedule can be tough. And of course the individual's physiology, conditioning (both physically and mentally), and external pressures can play a role.

    The way I see it, there's a difference between excuses and reasons. At this level, I think the skaters who had uncharacteristically poor performances are coping with reasons rather than excuses. Reasons are things the skater and their coach can look at and try to address in the future. Excuses are ignored. I don't think skaters get to this level by making excuses--JMO

    I said welcome already on the "Le Cafe" thread but am glad to read your opinions. I'm sure a lot of people feel the way you do. I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    Rgirl
    Last edited by Rgirl; 12-21-2003 at 07:37 PM.

  14. #14
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    Darn That ABC!

    ARRGH!!! First the men's and ladies' GPF for today was listed to be on ABC from 4-6pm. Then in the "TV Guide" it was listed as from 2-4pm. Now I turn on ABC at 10 minutes to 2pm and find the notice on my screen says "1-3pm Figure Skating"--although at the time I turned in a live report was on that we had gone to yellow terrorist alert. Shows you where my values are. Anyway, DANG! I missed the men! Boogars! Now I can't see Sandhu's upset and what it was that Plush did to break the rules and lose enough points to lose to E-Man. At least I'm getting the ladies, and on tape too (please, no problems with my VCR!).

    Why?! Why?! Why?! Why does ABC do this to us?! We finally get a day chuggy jam with figure skating and you've got to be psychic to know when some of the events are going to be on. I should just leave the TV turned on and on ABC starting at 6am when there's an event I really want to watch is on, lol.
    Rgirl

  15. #15
    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    Rgirl the alert came on in the middle of Sandhu's program and when they returned to FS it was time to begin the ladies:sheesh: :( . Time for Sasha!

    Piel

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