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Thread: What's a Connection? Discussion inspired by NHK FD Thread.

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by missysays View Post
    I like this discussion about connection.

    As everyone knows, V/M and D/W are very different teams but to say that D/W have no connection other than an athletic one is not only selling them short but is also missing the more elusive quality of their connection.

    V/M have more of a traditional romantic connection with a lot of eye contact, body control, slow accentuation of their lines, and intimacy. I also feel that it's more traditional because it seems to me to be generated by Scott and received by Tessa and it's rooted in their physicality with one another.

    However, I feel that D/W also have a romantic connection on the ice but it's less traditional and also less rooted in the physical- it's more a meeting of the minds. To me their connection is more cerebral even though they express it through movement- whether it takes a light, infectious, joyous quality or if it's darker and anguished. They have an emotional energy that flows out of them so that their Yankee polka is the lightest and most gay of all the interpretations. Charlie is also a real gentleman in his manner but it can be a delight to see that when he does send that energy out that Meryl reacts to it with a twinkle in her eye in their lighter programs. Their darker programs have more pulsing undertones that can be sexual but more mysterious and held in than V/M. I also feel that Meryl generates quite a bit of the emotional connection between the two of them in these instances while Charlie is the one receiving so the flow of romance feels different. She has a gentle, dreamy, indirect kind of energy that she uses to reach out and touch him with and it seems to absorb into him so they don't always look at each other but the connection is still there.

    I also feel that D/W's emotions when they skate are less controlled than V/M's so to me the abandon in their movement is something that's uniquely their own.
    This really does sum up D/W's connection in a nutshell.

    D/W's connection is one that is very subtle and if you blink, you will miss it. There is much that goes undemonstrated but is simmering underneath. Their tango FD is the most cerebral tango I've ever seen, it's like a musical scale. The beauty is in the technicality, for pure technicality sake, rather than in visible caresses. V/M's chemistry, on the other hand, is more overt.

    If you watch the end of every FD, you will see Meryl look over to Charlie with stars in her eyes. I always found it sad that he doesn't do the same, but each person probably recovers differently after skating intensely for 4 minutes.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. P View Post
    When I say pretty, I don't mean ballerina/waltz positions. I still think they could better take advantage of their great line and posture in their lifts and work them to reflect the power/intensity of the program. Intense/raw does not justify ugly lift positions.

    D/W did peak at Worlds in 2011 when they won.

    A pattern is a pattern until it breaks. I think in fact D/W are in a great position -- they still have some work to do on the tech, but I think they have a key opportunity to work on the PCS side more as well. We'll see!
    I don't think the lift positions V/M get into are necessarily ugly (well, with the exception of the crotch-face one, which is just plain tawdry no matter how you try to justify it with elaborate psycho-sexual interpretations), but they are so cumbersome to get into that they completely break the flow of the program (at least for me). And it's a shame, because it really is a fascinating program and a lovely break from their ooey-gooey romanticism.

    Fascinating discussion about connection. Thank you--lots of food to chew on. I just want to add that last two years I think Charlie loosened up and learned to dance (and that means restraint can be as important as balls-to-the-wall gusto). And this year he seems to be learning that ice dancing is as much about acting as it is about correct edges, etc. I still think one or two acting classes would do him a world of good. Plus, he could get college credit for it!

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeakAnkles View Post
    I don't think the lift positions V/M get into are necessarily ugly (well, with the exception of the crotch-face one, which is just plain tawdry no matter how you try to justify it with elaborate psycho-sexual interpretations), but they are so cumbersome to get into that they completely break the flow of the program (at least for me). And it's a shame, because it really is a fascinating program and a lovely break from their ooey-gooey romanticism.

    Fascinating discussion about connection. Thank you--lots of food to chew on. I just want to add that last two years I think Charlie loosened up and learned to dance (and that means restraint can be as important as balls-to-the-wall gusto). And this year he seems to be learning that ice dancing is as much about acting as it is about correct edges, etc. I still think one or two acting classes would do him a world of good. Plus, he could get college credit for it!
    That's how I feel. On the whole, I like the Carmen FD and while C/L's is better acted, I like the non-conventional way V/M is going with theirs. But for some reason, the lifts really keep me from being 100 percent on this dance (though I'm 90 percent anyway, so you know...). Also I really love D/W's lifts -- especially the one where Meryl's drops to Charlie's skate to the bells.But on the whole, two different dances that are both compelling. Those folks going to London are in for a treat!

    Acting classes do help -- see Weaver and Poje! -- but they clearly learned a lot about expression from Alex Wong.

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    I will say that the greatest addition to Marlie's program for me are the interpolation of the bells. They add drama and those two sections are beautifully choreographed.

    And it is fun to see Tessa get her Inner Diva Bee-yotch on. LOL!

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by missysays View Post
    I like this discussion about connection.

    As everyone knows, V/M and D/W are very different teams but to say that D/W have no connection other than an athletic one is not only selling them short but is also missing the more elusive quality of their connection.

    V/M have more of a traditional romantic connection with a lot of eye contact, body control, slow accentuation of their lines, and intimacy. I also feel that it's more traditional because it seems to me to be generated by Scott and received by Tessa and it's rooted in their physicality with one another.

    However, I feel that D/W also have a romantic connection on the ice but it's less traditional and also less rooted in the physical- it's more a meeting of the minds. To me their connection is more cerebral even though they express it through movement- whether it takes a light, infectious, joyous quality or if it's darker and anguished. They have an emotional energy that flows out of them so that their Yankee polka is the lightest and most gay of all the interpretations. Charlie is also a real gentleman in his manner but it can be a delight to see that when he does send that energy out that Meryl reacts to it with a twinkle in her eye in their lighter programs. Their darker programs have more pulsing undertones that can be sexual but more mysterious and held in than V/M. I also feel that Meryl generates quite a bit of the emotional connection between the two of them in these instances while Charlie is the one receiving so the flow of romance feels different. She has a gentle, dreamy, indirect kind of energy that she uses to reach out and touch him with and it seems to absorb into him so they don't always look at each other but the connection is still there.

    I also feel that D/W's emotions when they skate are less controlled than V/M's so to me the abandon in their movement is something that's uniquely their own.

    This is one of the best posts I've ever read on this forum! I love your perceptive insight and analysis of these two teams. And I think you're absolutely right. Few have explained so well the source of Meryl & Charlie's strength as a team.

    I agree their connection is cerebral/soulful. Ultimately, I feel it flows directly from the music. Whatever is in the music, they distill and express outward again through movement, rather purely. The emphasis is on the expression of shared emotion, more than on the "performance" as an entity of its own, separate from the music.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyria View Post
    This is one of the best posts I've ever read on this forum! I love your perceptive insight and analysis of these two teams. And I think you're absolutely right. Few have explained so well the source of Meryl & Charlie's strength as a team.

    I agree their connection is cerebral/soulful. Ultimately, I feel it flows directly from the music. Whatever is in the music, they distill and express outward again through movement, rather purely. The emphasis is on the expression of shared emotion, more than on the "performance" as an entity of its own, separate from the music.
    Loving people's thoughts on this. Yes ITA with the "expression of shared emotion."

    Mr. P said what he likes about Meryl and Charlie is that regardless of the music Meryl and Charlie perform it in a way that is compelling. He watched the NHK FD on YouTube and he said while he did not care for the Norte Dame music, the way Meryl and Charlie danced to that music is what drove him to watch it until the end.

  7. #22
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    In my opinion, Meryl and Charlie are not good actors, in the sense that they have a hard time faking emotion. It has to feel real to them on some level. I think this is especially true for Charlie.

    But the fact that these emotions are real, and not artificially heightened, shines through and elevates their performances.

  8. #23
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    Good on Mr. P!

    Meryl & Charlie's Not Touching Sequences are some of their moves that initially caught my eye, starting with their Beyond The Sea exhibition.

    They are always two people, but clearly connected through the invisible bonds of music. I've always found that fascinating.And like the Chinese divers, the coordination is amazing--this year's circular sequence in Giselle & the Bollywood sequence are particularly wonderful, for me.


    OTOH, I've always seen Tessa & Scott's most impressive strength to be the quality of their steps in hold, two people connected so that the music is almost coincidental, a background to their personal relationship. This appearance is aided by the closeness with which they skate, and the amount of detail they add with facial expressions and arms, as well as their lovely leg extension.

    I'm really enjoying this discussion, by the way.

    What I love best in dance is when the skaters connect me to the music more closely, so that I perceive things in the music that I missed before.

    Both couples can do that.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeakAnkles View Post
    I don't think the lift positions V/M get into are necessarily ugly (well, with the exception of the crotch-face one, which is just plain tawdry no matter how you try to justify it with elaborate psycho-sexual interpretations), but they are so cumbersome to get into that they completely break the flow of the program (at least for me). And it's a shame, because it really is a fascinating program and a lovely break from their ooey-gooey romanticism.
    I really think this is it. They are trying to do more acrobatic lifts (I guess to keep pace with everyone else) but in reality they are not suited to these lifts. They are too close in height and Tessa is too heavy relative to Scott's build (please understand I am NOT saying she is heavy generally, I am NOT one of the people here who think she needs to lose weight).

    They used to do lifts that were suited to them and their builds. Their swan lift from Mahler was amazing and actually something they could handle with relative ease. Dance lifts do not NEED to be acrobatic to receive level 4 or high GOE. However you do have to be more creative about them, perhaps. One would think Zoueva would be up to the challenge.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    Good on Mr. P!

    Meryl & Charlie's Not Touching Sequences are some of their moves that initially caught my eye, starting with their Beyond The Sea exhibition.

    They are always two people, but clearly connected through the invisible bonds of music. I've always found that fascinating.And like the Chinese divers, the coordination is amazing--this year's circular sequence in Giselle & the Bollywood sequence are particularly wonderful, for me.


    OTOH, I've always seen Tessa & Scott's most impressive strength to be the quality of their steps in hold, two people connected so that the music is almost coincidental, a background to their personal relationship. This appearance is aided by the closeness with which they skate, and the amount of detail they add with facial expressions and arms, as well as their lovely leg extension.

    I'm really enjoying this discussion, by the way.

    What I love best in dance is when the skaters connect me to the music more closely, so that I perceive things in the music that I missed before.

    Both couples can do that.
    I am enjoying this conversation too! Is there a way we can take the posts from this thread and make it it's on thread on The Edge? I feel we've moved beyond NHK Trophy FD at this point.

  11. #26
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Yes, there is! (and here it is)

  12. #27
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    Now let's add a complication.

    When people refer to "connection" vis-a-vis pairs and dance skating, they generally refer to a romantic connection between two people. Of course not always, but generally I think that is the case. So, where do a brother/sister team figure into this discussion?

    Another direction to consider. In the movie "The Turning Point," all about ballet dancers, a choreographer tells the up-and-coming baby ballerina (and I'm paraphrasing here since it's been a long time since I watched the movie), "You're not playing some uptight village virgin in this; you're just a body moving to music. You just dance." Is such a program possible in the conservative world of figure skating? Or would people complain of the lack of "connection" between the skaters?

  13. #28
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    I think that the connection is something you can improve, but it mainly depends (as many of you said) on your style. I agree that D/W don't have a connection as great as V/M's, I think that there is a lot of connection between the Shibs, too, for example... But I think that a "connection" is not something you can watch when a couple is skating, it's something that you feel, almost an emotion that they can pass on. And when I watch D/W I feel like I'm watching two single dancers skating beautifully together (and this, I think, is why many people are saying that they don't have a great connection), they do exactly what they have to do: they watch into each other's eyes, they are synchronized, but there's something more that I feel when I watch V/M or the Shibs or C/L... Connection? I don't know how to call it, but I feel, considering the aspect of what they are abel to create between them, something more. Is it just me?
    (And I'm not saying that D/W should change it: it's their own style, and it's OK, and they don't have to change it, there are many things in their skating that V/M don't have...)

  14. #29
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    This is one of the best conversations we've ever had on the site, I think. Everyone's come up with such helpful insights. One of the things we've managed to pin down here is that there's more than one way to convey union and connection. It reminds me that there's also more than one way for a fan to connect to skaters.

    I really love that metaphor of the synchronized diving. It does add understanding to the way skaters who are longtime partners are able to define themselves in space with such—well, synchronicity! At its best, it almost seems as if the athletes in question have magical powers, doesn't it.

    Both of these remarkable couples, V/M and D/W, have one thing going for them that I wish were more common in both ice dancing and pairs skating: a longterm relationship. It need not be romantic off the ice, but it does need to be just this side of telepathic. Every time I hear of yet another set of skaters breaking up and switching, I feel sad that the skaters have to start again from scratch.

  15. #30
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    Here's the ISU description of Components:

    [url]http://www.isu.org/vsite/vfile/page/fileurl/0,11040,4844-152086-169302-64121-0-file,00.pdf[/url]

    There is no specific component description for "connection to one another"

    Under PERFORMANCE / EXECUTION:

    "The skater radiates energy resulting in an invisible connection with the audience."


    Under INTERPRETATION:

    "Relationship between the partners reflecting the character of the music.
    Interpretive unison is an equal partnership with the same degree of sensitivity between
    partners not only to the music, but also to the equal understanding of the music’s
    nuances. There is an intimacy between the partners that is characterized by a feeling of
    “surrender” to the music and possibly to each other that creates an entity greater than the
    two of them.
    "

    The connection MUST be to the music, but CAN be to each other.

    V/M's programs seem primarily to be about connection to each other.

    That may be the problem with Weaver/Poje's FS this season. It's all about their interpersonal connection instead of connection with the music, which in any case is forgettable.
    Last edited by chuckm; 11-27-2012 at 04:09 PM.

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