Hi, Isabella.. I'm sure Dragonlady must be right in regard to R/H's programs, as she's very familiar with that school. I am not, but it doesn't make a bit of difference to the point I was making ... which is ,every year there's some African or Black reference in their programs .Summertime is a double dose, as my sister reminds me it's originally from the opera Porgy and Bess . Every year , I looked forward to see what they'd do ,and it may have been different , but always seemed like more of the same. I just think it's limiting, and I was so, so pleased with their tango this year.
There's just been something off in the matter of taste . For example, with Summertime , they performed it as an exhibition with Kharis in the classy-looking cocktail dress and Asher bare chested. There's a true lack of sensitivity to ugly old stereotypes there .
I felt the same kind of heavy-handedness in Paul's silly chest hair dislpay.
Last edited by colleen o'neill; 04-13-2012 at 01:22 AM.
In my recollection, Tessa and Scott were V/M!!! right off the hop. We heard about them early and often. When they stepped up to seniors, they presented themselves as credible competitors. Skate Canada counts them as one of their successes, but they may well have felt like they were being put through wringers.
Ice dance as a discipline appears to have a problem, but it doesn't really. During the Winter Olympics, the media loves to play up ice dance as a reality show. It's full of intrigue, drama, and sparkles. They think, "Who doesn't love that?" Sochi will be particularly interesting, as it will be the EVILLE Russians against the innocent and fresh-faced Davis/White. If there is some tension between V/M and D/W at that time, that will also be a media goldmine.
What to do about declining support in non-Olympic years is a different problem entirely.
V/M have had the full support of their Federation for a long time, and rightfully so, as they are enormous talents. That doesn't mean they weren't put through any wringers. That just means they were well aware of what wringers were out there from a young age, and were advised on how to deal with them in the best and most efficient way. Moving to Shpilband/Zoueva is one of the ways they dealt with the wringers.
Last edited by all that; 04-13-2012 at 10:03 AM.
We've seen Kharis in an Afro, and I hope I never see her in a banana skirt. It seems some of us would like to see them move on.
Last edited by slipslidin; 04-13-2012 at 10:30 AM.
On a more serious note, I'd like to bring up the topic of ORDINAL SIN . I've been dismayed that people are saying 'the marks are unfair, but I agree with the placements.' The marks, in this age of enlightenment, are supposed to determine the placement. We should not be willing to accept this spin. The day of ordinals is past, and if the marks are unfair, it is not a true competition.
I thought that the use of African dances for Ralph & Hill was in an effort to set them apart from other teams' folk dances. They were the only team to do something unique like this, unless you count the Russians during the Olympics and their dreadful "aboriginal" dance.
Um..Oh ,The Humanity...
Isabella ..please don't misunderstand me .The (get it ?) in my previous post was not directed at you . It reflects that over the course of 3-4 years, I couldn't help feeling a point was being made , over and over again ( in one way or another ) ,in the choices of R/H 's programs ; as if we're all too thick to notice said point, and must be reminded every time out. I should have realized you're new here....and wouldn't know that I often put things in a teasing , or off-hand manner.
So I won't take your instructive comments on Africa and it's racial make up as being at all condescending . After all, we don't know each other ,and for all you know , I might be that unenlightened . But since your reply seems , to me, to indicate some lingering confusion, let me clarify my view further..
It's difficult to know exactly what terminology to use - African is pretty clear, but in the US , African American is the preferred term ( over black) for people or things that are of African heritage or influence , but originate in the US . In the UK , Black is still commonly used and widely acceptable.. while I am old enough to remember when the use of Negro was the correct and polite terminology. I used " African " as a very general shorthand , in the interest of not being too wordy.. I perhaps shouldn't have assumed I would be understood.
Lest anyone should think that my objection to this perceived repeating theme (up until now ) in R/H's programs stems from any discomfort in beholding a mixed racial couple ,or a distaste for anything with an "African " connotation...I grew up in an environment ( related to the entertainment arts ) where all races were accepted much more broadly than was generally the case, at the time. Though I was very young then , I remember the shock and outrage of the adults around me when Louis Armstrong was turned away from the Vancouver Hotel. I couldn't imagine why such a thing could be.
My own 2 grandchildren ( as adored as any 2 grandchildren can be ) are of mixed racial descent . Part of their heritage traces back to Africa by way of Trinidad.
So I'm aware of racial issues , but I don't think I'm over-sensitive either way.
The stereotype I referred to in regard to the Summertime costume is well-known , and while it's less prevalent in this day and age , is still best avoided , since it's demeaning to men and women of either race. I don't believe it was intentionally raised , but someone should have been a bit more aware. ( Please don't ask me to explain this more fully , if you don't know exactly what I'm talking about. I don't think a skating board is the best place to discuss it in depth , and references to it would not be hard for you to find )
Like slipslidin' , I think that R/H should move on , expand their range, not get boxed in or repetitive ,as they are in grave danger of doing .
Now I feel I may have clarified my view .
On a costuming note relating to slipslidin's post ...I generally dislike the use of wigs, fake moustaches, face paint and props in competitive programs. I think everyone should save those for the exhibition.
Actually, I think the main concern was the 1 particular situation this year.... Gilles and Poirier. There were also a couple of occasions when many were in disagreement with Crone and Poirier finishing ahead of Weaver and Poje. Last year's Canadian title comes to mind. Because of the intense lobbying that seemed to go on this year with Gilles and Poirier, followed by ridiculous scoring at Nationals, in addition to some questionable decisions regarding Ralph and Hill this year, and some questionable program etc decisions in previous years, I think there is justification for raising the prospect that perhaps Ralph and Hill should go elsewhere.
Let's be really frank here: Paul and Islam were 2nd at Junior Worlds, and can very well achieve solid results internationally in the future. They train in Canada under Islam in Barrie. Islam has trained a number of ranked international teams in the past, and has a couple now. Virtue and Moir trained under MacIntosh in Waterloo for many years. I don't think many would argue that a key differentiating element - great quality edges, line, soft knees and unison - were built from the ground up in Waterloo. In fact, I believe Andrew Poje trained with MacIntosh for about 15 years in Waterloo, and he and Weaver were 3rd in the world at Junior and 3rd in Canada at Senior the year MacIntosh put them together. Dubreil and Lauzon have all the tools and experience to produce fine athletes, and I'm sure with time they will have some great success. Same with Wing and Lowe. Most of the teams going to the JGP were from BC this year. This coaching team is just getting started. They have a very good rink. The Scarborough rink has seen a lot of success domestically, and a little bit internationally. They obviously are good coaches.
But it should be said about all of them, as I've said many times before, all of these coaching teams have their own strengths and weaknesses. While we applaud them for their results, there is nothing wrong in pointing out deficiencies. Supporters of the Lane rink seem to be rather defensive about that. The sign of a great rink is the ability to take some constructive criticism once in awhile.
As to the assertion that some people believe that those from the Scarbrough school are "overmarked", and other more-deserving teams are overlooked, please feel free to count me in as a "believer." Weaver and Poje should have gone ahead of Crone and Poirier to the Olympics. However, they did not, because of how the free dance was marked at nationals. Of course, that may have been the best thing to happen to Weaver and Poje, because they have worked their tails off since that happened. At the 2010 Skate Canada, either Michael Slipchuck or William Thompson was interviewed, and when asked how Skate Canada was filling the void left behind by Virtue and Moir, the answer was, "Vanessa and Paul are definitely carrying the banner for Canada..." It is true C/P had just won Skate Canada. However, a more fair response would have been, "C/P are currently our top team in the absence of V/M, but we have other strong teams, like W/P, P/I, K/H, H/G..."
Gilles/Poirier placing 3rd at Canadians with their free dance is another example of the Scarbrough teams being "propped" up. At nationals, they were still skating like two people, rather than a dance team. Also, their dance was relatively easy compared to the other free dances in the top 8. Not to mention that while Piper has improved since she skated in the US, she is nowhere near as strong as Paul (yet). I mean, what happens when they keep propping Gilles/Poirier up nationally, only to be shafted internationally, the way Crone/Poirier were once they reached worlds? Skate Canada isn't doing the Scarbrough team any favours by propping them up. In fact, it will only hurt them in the end.
With regards to Ralph and Hill perhaps doing better if they left the school--I agree. The Lane school was, like MacIntosh and Islam, known as a developmental school. You go to Carol and John Lane to learn good, solid basics. If you want to go further, you find a good "polish" coach. Same with MacIntosh. Weaver/Poje and Virtue/Moir did this after they had learned all they could from MacIntosh. Look where they are now!
And Mathman, I think Krylova, Domnina, Belbin, Virtue, and Pechalat can pull that costume off =P
Last edited by blue dog; 04-13-2012 at 04:49 PM.