pangtongfan, I know it's just the French, but are you still confident about Federer winning Wimbledon, when he can't get past the 4th round in the French Open (not to mention, he was out in the 2nd round last year at Wimbledon).
I don't remember if I commented on this previously but two things came to mind when I saw the thread title. No, the art and flow and grace aren't gone. Firstly, many of us will see grace and flow in different skaters and teams, and secondly we don't always want just grace, although it helps if there's some sort of flow no matter what type of skating is beings shown.
I started watching skating regularly again back in March 2012 when I saw Yulia skating to R&J at the 2012 Junior Worlds. To me her skating is pure art and grace and flow wonderfully. although maybe not last year when she was struggling a bit with jumps. Comments I've read about not finishing movements off or holding them make zero sense to me because all I see is skating that flows so smoothly and effortlessly that her programs seem like they've passed too quickly and you want to see her skate for another ten minutes. Tessa & Scott are so graceful and Stéphane Lambiel is the epitome of grace in men's skating. (Most would agree with these two examples, I think.) Also I like watching Eric & Meagan, and I think they are very graceful, even though I have read many comments on here critiquing phantom things (to me, at least) such as line and extension. I don't see those at all, all I see is art and grace. So I think that there is always art and flow and grace in all skating it's just not always done in a way we individually appreciate.
^Wow, your definition of grace is really all over the place.
Hindsight always wears rose-colored glasses. You left out innumerable programs that substituted facial theatrics and Uber! Drama! for technical skill and fine choreography. And frankly, there's more than one kind of dance.
And trust me, as someone who spent a small fortune seeing dance companies over the years (NYC is one of the great cities in the world for dance), I've seen some lifts in programs that can rival the most acrobatic lifts in ID AND Pairs.
But hey, de gustibus non est disputandum.
Last year there was Daisuke Takahashi, Jason Brown, Mao Asada, Yuna Kim, Julia, Hanyu, Fernandez and Chan. Each of these skaters has performed at various times this year with flow or art or grace.
So, at least to me, it is not gone at all.
I would add Machida to that list. He really "feels" his music and I love his expressiveness. I think he could be like another Takahashi if he tries more demanding/explorative choreography.
With Mao, Carolina and Akiko out of the line up, I do think there will be a decline in that type of "art" in the sport. Yu-Na is included in this list too, but the fact is she's been more absent than present this past quad which is why artistry was pushed to the forefront of the sport. Yu-Na's absence resulted in a sort of technical regression among the veterans BUT it did give way to much more refined, artistic, elegant and mature skating and that was the deciding factor in a number of competitions.
With all of the top veterans departing, the field is a bit more open for the newer girls who have a style that isn't nearly as refined/mature/deep as the ones who are leaving. That's not to say they won't get there eventually, but as of now I'd say Ashley Wagner is the only veteran remaining who has that type of artistic packaging (presence, feel for the music, performance ability, great interpretation).
I'm feeling like this quad is going to be more focused on the technical side of the sport than the artistic. The fact that the judges regularly throw out 68+ PCS for skaters like Julia, Adelina and Gracie is proof that the PCS isn't carrying as much weight or distinction as it used to. It will be a different type of artistry, that's for sure but I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. There are many different kinds of "art" and it's all subjective. There are no well-defined parameters for what constitutes it which is why it's so varied.
I prefer skaters like Mao, Carolina, Akiko and Yu-Na but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy skaters like Adelina, Elena or Julia. They all have different styles and different strengths and I'm fine with that. IMO, it'd be a much more beautiful sport if every skater was a Mao, Carolina, Yu-Na or Akiko...but they aren't, and that's okay.
I'm posting an adoration post on my blog about Akiko some time next week. I posted my one for Yu-Na earlier today.