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Thread: Do you think figure skating is a campy sport?

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    Do you think figure skating is a campy sport?

    So yes, figure skating is obviously a real sport...it takes a heckuvalot of work to be good at it and requires both athletic endurance and lots of talent. But relative to other sports do you think it has a certain camp factor? It doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing...but would you agree that something about figure skating lends itself to a bit of camp humor? And on that note, who do you think, aside from Johnny Weir, are the campiest skaters skating today? I would say Alena Leonova, Savchenko and Szolowsky, Duhamel and Radford, Scott Moir, and Kevin Reynolds definitely fit the bill.

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    I don't understand how Moir is campy, I do agree about the others though.

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    I don't think it is.

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    Hah, it's totally a campy sport sometimes. Amodio, Leonova, Plushenko, Mao's SP, Domnina/Shabalin, Volosozhar/Trankov's SP, so many examples. I mean, you just need to look at some of the costumes! I agree that it makes it more entertaining and glitzy, but there's a fine line between a program having character, and skaters pandering to the crowd. For competition, projecting to the crowd is good (and if it's a humorous or cheeky program, like Javier's FS, it makes sense to have that charm), but movements should reflect the character of the music and there's plenty of programs where skaters shimmy their arms or thrust their hips and it pushes the camp factor to over-the-top territory.

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    I don't think it's campy.

    Campy implies humor, intelligence, good fun, and giving tradition a wink and a nod.

    Not much of that in skating any more. We have trashy programs. We have in-poor-taste programs. We have many, many programs without solid choreography.

    But campy? no.

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    Well, yes...on second thought, I did get a laugh out of Evan L's "manly" costumes last Olympic season. Bird feathers, snakes...and earlier, the sparkly penguin. A bit campy.

    You are so right.There can be unintentional camp.

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    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by centerpt1 View Post
    I don't think it's campy.

    Campy implies humor, intelligence, good fun, and giving tradition a wink and a nod.

    Not much of that in skating any more. We have trashy programs. We have in-poor-taste programs. We have many, many programs without solid choreography.

    But campy? no.
    YMMV, but since when does campiness imply intelligence? Never heard of that association.
    One dictionary definition of "camp": used of art and entertainment when qualities that are normally considered bad (such as excessive emotion and bad acting) are exaggerated so much that they become interesting and funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by bump View Post
    So yes, figure skating is obviously a real sport...it takes a heckuvalot of work to be good at it and requires both athletic endurance and lots of talent. But relative to other sports do you think it has a certain camp factor? It doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing...but would you agree that something about figure skating lends itself to a bit of camp humor? And on that note, who do you think, aside from Johnny Weir, are the campiest skaters skating today? I would say Alena Leonova, Savchenko and Szolowsky, Duhamel and Radford, Scott Moir, and Kevin Reynolds definitely fit the bill.
    Relative to other sports? I wonder why you framed your question that way. Few other sports use music, costumes, and choreography.

    IMHO, it would be hyperbole and a disservice to figure skating to call the entire sport campy. I do not like the idea of extrapolating from a limited number of campy programs to characterize the entire sport.

    (And I do not think of Savchenko/Szolkowy, Duhamel/Radford, or Moir as campy. Don't know enough about the others to have an opinion.)

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    CAMP something that provides sophisticated, knowing amusement, as by virtue of its being artlessly mannered or stylized, self-consciously artificial and extravagant, or teasingly ingenuous and sentimental.

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    Six Point Zero Krislite's Avatar
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    Hmm...divas, princesses and queens; feathers, sequins, sparkles and skirts; nodding, winking, hip thrusts and hip wiggling; drama, scandals and controversies. Did I cover everything? Yeah, no camp here...

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    One of the definitions of "campy" is "affected in mannerisms, dress, etc". So I would say fs is sometimes "campy".

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    Quote Originally Posted by krislite View Post
    hmm...divas, princesses and queens; feathers, sequins, sparkles and skirts; nodding, winking, hip thrusts and hip wiggling; drama, scandals and controversies. Did i cover everything? Yeah, no camp here...
    lol!

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    Camp sometimes has a wry satiric element to it so I guess it can be intelligent. And yes there is also a lot of unintentional camp. Some of the programs are downright hilarious especially so when the skaters are absolutely taking them seriously.

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    Just wondering, how are Duhamel and Radford campy? Is it Duhamel's fist pumps?

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    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Unless one goes by the most esoteric of definitions, this question is not even worth asking. The answer is glaringly, blindingly yes. If figure skating isn't campy, nothing is.

    And it is very esoteric to try to insist that camp must be intentional and witty. Since the concept existed, it has been a label that's assigned, often derogatorily, by a viewer/critic to something that someone else is doing. Do some performers/creators, once aware of the concept, aim for camp? Sure. But most of the time, things are deemed camp.

    Figure skating is inherently campy at the competitive level. The athletes wear heavy makeup and elaborate costumes during competition. Most competitors use dramatic music that they emote to. Ice dancing alone provides enough campiness for the entire sport. As fans and participants who are inured to the everyday excesses of the sport, it may be tough to see how ridiculous it is. But to the uninitiated, figure skating is thoroughly, ballistically campy.

    As for who may be the campiest skaters competing today, that's not really a fair question to ask across the disciplines (ice dancers would win in a landslide). Instead, let's first compare the disciplines:

    Ice dancing, of course, is the undisputed champ. Looking at the current World standings, I'd have to say among the top skaters, men's singles is campier than women's. This might be owed to the fact that the top women skew younger, and those younger skaters have had less time to bother with any kind of theatricality in their performances (Gracie Gold epitomizes this). And the least campy discipline these days is pairs. With how difficult, dangerous and complicated high level pair skating is now, pair skaters just don't seem to have any time to perform. Even the top pairs teams barely have any breathers in their competitive programs to vamp. Spin, lift and death spiral positions, which in past eras would lend themselves to plenty of campiness, now seem like yoga done at gunpoint.

    So who's campy, who's not within the top echelon of each discipline?

    Among the top ice dancers, Meryl Davis stands out as one of the campiest, while her partner Charlie White is the least. Maybe that's why they make such a good team. Madison Chock, the woman in my avatar picture, is another camp winner. Really, aside from the aforementioned Mr. White, ice dancing has so much camp I don't see how I can sort them.

    Among the top men's singles, Daisuke Takahashi takes the tiara. Florent Amodio has a pretty good case for snatching it from him, though. Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez are also two shiny hams. It might be easier to list who is not campy. And among the current top 20 men in the world, it'd have to be Han Yan. Who, while slightly more emotive than the rest of the poker-faced (and not in the Lady Gaga/Johnny Weir way) Chinese single skaters, still falls far short of displaying any kind of emotion during a skate.

    Among the top women, Alena Leonova would win Faye Dunaway's Wire Hanger of camp, but she's not really a top skater any more except by the lagging indicator of the ISU rankings. Akiko Suzuki, who always goes all out during her movie/musical inspired footwork sequences, may have a claim. Mao Asada can occasionally turn up the camp, like she did with her "I Got Rhythm" short program. Carolina Kostner stakes out her ground in camp with all that hip-shaking in her Bolero piece. Overall, though, the women just don't go over the top enough. Yuna Kim is the greatest disappointment in this area. In her recent short program, she skated to music from a b-list horror movie. And yet there was very little kissing and very little vamping in her The Kiss of the Vampire program. And like I said before, Gracie Gold stands out as devoid of camp, as she doesn't bother to perform at all.

    In pairs, Savchenko and Szolkowy used to have plenty of camp (they did programs to Pink Panther and Lost in Space, after all). But now, like most other pair teams, they seem way too focused on executing difficult elements to bother much with anything else. Overall, pairs gets a big fat fail for campiness.

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    Campy: definition... amusing because it is obviously intended to be strange or shocking and seems to be ridiculing itself:
    No, I see nothing in serious competition like that. Shows, yes...Mr. Weir and Plushy ( doing a program as a baby) are campy....
    Someone who's parents spent $100,000 and more on them so they can practice late at night or early in the morning, and compete till they climb the ladder or injure themselves....campy? No. The Old Batman TV series was campy.....figure skating is blood, sweat and tears.....and hopefully some joy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I don't think it is.

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