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Thread: What constitutes skating talent?

  1. #16
    Custom Title plushyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shine View Post
    I think Plushenko is a good example who had amazing physical talents but lacked much artistic vision. He had all the tools to be an incredible dancer, but he never really learned how to utilize them.
    Really? Look at this page! http://www.kingonice.com/evgeni6-0.htm I don't understand you..he isn't a dancer..maybe..but lacked much artistic vision???? If you watched that page your opinion becomes funny..
    I think your favorite can't come to close to him..

    I'm a little bit always angry-don't really, just a little -. Why do the Americans think, that is the good choreography what they like???

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ciocio View Post
    Probably because he did not work with choreographers who could have helped him to develop the skills.
    You mean instead of the choreographers from the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky?

  3. #18
    Custom Title spikydurian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly
    balance, awareness of where the body is in space (proprioception, alignment), fearlessness

    ability to skate fast, lean over edges, support the weight on bent knees, turn both directions and change direction with ease and at speed, which includes subtle mpa adjustments of balance over the right part of the blade at the right time for each move; ability to jump high and rotate quickly
    I think those are the qualities of someone with talent though I prefer to put 'fearlessness' in another category which is just as important for a skater to reach his/her potential.

    Talent is an ability to grasp something quickly compared to the majority. But talent needs to accompanied by other factors like fearlessness, hard work and calmness (all personal attributes) and opportunity to have the best coach and training environment. This is the second time someone mentioned 'fearlessness'. I just recently read an article where a skating coach described her student as 'fearless'. Looks like it is a personal quality which is valued in figure skating.

    Is 11yo too late to train a talented student? I think those showing talent should be given the right training from the beginning before 'bad habits/technics' set in. It is so much earlier to groom from the start than to undo and redo.

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    I wouldn’t put fearlessness in another category, since IMO that trait is a natural extension of one’s being proprioceptive of one’s body positions in space and being capable of quickly controlling/aligning body motions. One with such talent can also move faster, and throw the body with seeming abandon. That of course helps one learn faster too.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by plushyfan View Post
    Really? Look at this page! http://www.kingonice.com/evgeni6-0.htm I don't understand you..he isn't a dancer..maybe..but lacked much artistic vision???? If you watched that page your opinion becomes funny..
    I think your favorite can't come to close to him..

    I'm a little bit always angry-don't really, just a little -. Why do the Americans think, that is the good choreography what they like???
    I agree! What exactly do people want? Is it a specific kind of move? A kind of costume? Music? Did he have to work with Lori Nichol? Work with Morozov and Tarasova like Yagudin did?

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackPack View Post
    You're right of course...

    But if you were a coach when Baiul was 12 like Zmievskaya, you would have thought she was a skating angel sent from heaven to save us all. She was so talented, which is the topic of this thread. The obvious potential you see during childhood. Some skaters had it all from the beginning but somehow didn't realize their potential. It's a constant theme everywhere. Johnny Weir comes to mind. Baiul isn't so much an unusual case, but rather an extreme case. Her life is a result of all elements of failure, but lucky for her she scraped the OGM before she went to hell.

    Yet talent isn't all that it takes to get to the top. Hard work, definitely luck, and support (actually just a certain level of popularity) from others.

    Maria B. was told she had no talent and that she should quit. But she was talented, albeit limited, and still reached as much success as stiff knees and delicate nerves could take her.
    I agree that Baiul must have seemed like some miracle to Zmievskaya. I don't doubt Oksana's talent, but such talent takes service if it is to be maintained. Baiul did not continue serving her talent, alas. Even with the change in her body, she could have continued to be a breathtaking skater, but she did not seem to put in the work for it.

    As for Plushenko, his artistry works just fine for me. It's a different kind from, say, Lambiel's or Takahashi's, but there's more than one kind of artist. I think he's one of the skaters who truly strives to express something on the ice.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by spikydurian View Post
    Is 11yo too late to train a talented student? I think those showing talent should be given the right training from the beginning before 'bad habits/technics' set in. It is so much earlier to groom from the start than to undo and redo.
    If I right remember, Johnny Weir started to skate at 10-11 y.o, and he won his JWCH when he was 16 y.o.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whitebamboo View Post
    You mean instead of the choreographers from the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky?
    It doesn't matter if they are from Mariinsky, Bolshoi, etc. I've seen programs made by famous choreographers which simply did not suit a skater's style or artistic skills.

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    Great post as always Gkelly. The only thing I'd add is 'depth of improvements'. Not everyone are given equal quality of training facilities, equipment, advice, technical coaching at the beginning, but the best ones are usually the ones who can overcome these deficiencies to eventually even teach themselves, surpass their coaches, then surpass themselves.
    I seem to recall an old Chinese proverb along the lines of:

    "The practiced can be beaten by gifted. The gifted can be beaten by geniuses. Geniuses can be beaten by the headstrong. The headstrong can lose to those with humility and bravery."

    Which summarizes my point that probably strays off the thread a bit. To have great skating talent alone is not enough to conquer this nerve wrecking sport . To become very self aware and maybe even a bit philosophical at times can do wonders to extend any skating talent alone.
    (Sorry this was meant to be post 8, I deleted the post accidentally when I meant to edit it. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Holy smokes! Those videos are unbelievable. No wonder these two have had such careers.
    Aww, Plushy had his wonderful posture even at that age, and that hair.

    These are great! Thanks so much. They prove that genius can show up really early sometimes.

    Os168, I like that proverb. Certainly there have been times when sheer grit has gotten someone to the top, and not just in skating. On GS we've often talked about the importance of a skater's having mental toughness, or the other gifts don't matter as much. For all we talk about Kwan's musicality and gorgeous technique, it's her coolness under pressure that made her the top contender in so many competitions. The same is certainly true of YuNa, who had to have a will of titanium steel to get the job done in Vancouver with so much pressure on her from her country--and so many other skaters peaking that night, with no falls.
    I agree with what you said about Liza, I felt the same way when I saw her the first time, same with Julia Lipnitskaya, Hanyu, and Karen Chen these last few years. I am certain great deal many more champions of the past also fall into these categories. It is these sort of similar marveling experience when one witnesses a child prodigy for the first time that excites and totally gobsmacked the observer. Skating coaches may do this all the time scouting the next great big thing, but I am really curious how many times in their career do they really see someone yet undiscovered that totally shook them up!. The total Eureka moment! I have always been curious on who or what was Michelle Kwan's Eureka moment that sealed the deal for American Kwan instead of just an Asian kid/jumping bean? It is just a matter whether the camera is there to capture it, whether their talented are properly validated by critics/press/people and whether their gifts are properly nourished, maintained and fully realised by self and those who surround them. There might be dozens, possibly hundreds of prodigies out there all over the world whose talent never get discovered or realised to their true potential. Many prodigies grew up normal and became average since various factors including the life’s grind can all affect their talent and development. At worse, being keenly aware of what they have lost can turnout to be a baggage in life. Tania Harding may be one of the most technically gifted American skaters ever, she could have ended up like an Ito, but look at how one bad decision lead to another have propelled her talent into something else regrettable.

    On the abstraction of musicality talent. Personally but I have always felt although there are those whose style can seamless integrate with a particular style of music (usually European classical, the de facto lingua franca of figure skating), when the styles matches, it looks musical, but it does not mean the skater themselves are musically gifted. The simple fact is, great artistry and musicality cannot be developed over 1 season, it must be an evolving process. Those who lucked it out from one season to the next are merely strategic packaging (or happy accident). That is why I think people are being really unfair giving Gracie such a hard time right now. She is 16, she is not instant noodles!

    Maybe something about the fact we live in a consumerist society, with the fast pace of digitalisation, instant messaging, everything can be delivery to your door, made just the way you like it (it is all about me society), ie/ life of instant gratification, why bother do the work anymore just download an app etc.. people lose the sight of the fact, true artistry/musicality is an organic process of life learning and evolving, often tedious, long, painful, experimental and often mistake ridden that certainly include failing (Some of the greatest arts came from suffering). It might not work for COP which are point driven which certainly means the cost of organic development became a hindrance. So we have all these instant coach changes, stick with the named choreographer for that extra padded safety net like a plug in. After Sochi, I am really curious if we will get any truly great artistic skaters anymore? And how genuine these artistry are, or merely an imitation of an universal template ideal, a design by consent type of package that devoid of performer’s true soul. I hope people will never afraid of being unique, being original, being different, and that judges will not be afraid to reward things to compensate for the inadequacy of the system.

    Ultimately, the critiques / judges may have their moment of reverence, but it is the opinion of skating community’s peers, fans of the sport and the longevity of the skater’s work being referred (transcendence) as well as the popularity and influences of the work that determines the true value of their work. It is why Janet Lynn is still marked as the most artistically significant skater of all time even without much medal to show for it. Or that Michelle is the epitome of artistry for US. (Although I always wondered whether this opinion is shared by the Russians or the Europeans? Who is European's version of Janet Lynn? Or surely there’s none. )

  10. #25
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    I love your point about how the skating community is the final arbiter of the value of a skater's work. I think in some way, a lot of the final decision about talent is best made looking backward to the past, rather than looking forward to the future. There are quite a few amazing young skaters, but a lot of them don't achieve the complete arc of a career. They are injured, or they lose interest, or (sadly, Caroline Zhang is an example of this) their technique is too shaky to sustain them through a stage of physical growth. The ones who do complete the journey, though, make it worthwhile to be a skating fan, and we fans can look back and examine how those skaters got here.

    Skating is a very delicate flower, it seems. When a music teacher hears an astonishing voice, that teacher can be fairly sure that with careful training and hard work, the singer will become a great performer and maybe a star. It's a competitive world, but a good voice will find its place somehow. Skating is more perilous. There's the possibility of injury every time a skater takes to the ice. And with girls, there's the possibility that body changes will affect the skater's abilities at least temporarily. Which all makes the creation of a great skater a mysterious process akin to alchemy.

    Wouldn't it be wonderful to ask various coaches about that Eureka moment. Slavka Kohout with Janet Lynn, Frank Carroll with Michelle, whoever in Korea first noticed YuNa, Mishin with any number of skaters.

  11. #26
    Custom Title plushyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ciocio View Post
    It doesn't matter if they are from Mariinsky, Bolshoi, etc. I've seen programs made by famous choreographers which simply did not suit a skater's style or artistic skills.
    And do you think, Plushy's programs didn't suit for his style? His team perfectly knows what is his style, for example in 2011 Zhulin choreographed a program for Plush, I'm sure majority of poster very like it here. But his team, and majority of his fans didn't like it, that was a very playful program with many TRs, and he could skate that-his enemies said he can't skate programs with TRs- but didn't suit for him, and they changed it. And after we could see, their decision was right, because in Sheffield was an impromptu standing ovation and wild enthusiasm following Plushy's skating. I'm sure that it would not have happened with Zhulin's program.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmyers View Post
    I agree! What exactly do people want? Is it a specific kind of move? A kind of costume? Music? Did he have to work with Lori Nichol? Work with Morozov and Tarasova like Yagudin did?
    I don't like Lori's programs,except Caro's Bolero in last season. The skaters are too busy on ice, many many TRs. Lori's choreographies give the skaters many tasks, but they can't pass the emotions, it is not art, if anybody learn how raises his arms beautifully, but not visible emotions ..Nevertheless I would never say those are bad choreographies.
    Therefore I prefer the Russian choreographies, full of emotion, passion and pathos. Good example Hanyu's Romeo and Juliet program in 2011 by Bestsemionova and Bobrin. That was his best program, he skated it with passion, emotions. I never forget his face before the last step sequence.

    The North- American posters always say that they don't like the Russians's arm movements. I think they use their arms because of the ballet choreographers who made ​​the choreographies. The ballet dancers emphatically use their arms.

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