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Thread: What is "Russian" style?

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    What is "Russian" style?

    I am American but I have been captivated by Russian-style artistic movement since Olga Korbut and Ludmilla Tourischeva in the 1972 Olympics when I was a child and then by Nureyev and Barishnikov and Godinov and  then by Russian skaters (notably G&G/B&S and Yagudin and Plushenko). I could not root for American herky-jerky style gymnastics (dynamo power and then cutesy pose) even when I was supposed to root for my country-women in the 1996 and 2012 Olympics when U.S. women gymnastics had strong teams. I am an artist and painter who pays a lot of attention to anatomy and I have traveled to Russian and have a Russian child. In my observations (admittedly amateur when it comes to figure skating), it is not just training and tradition in the arts and hardship (per Mishin) and plucking talented 3-year-olds under a governmental system demanding excellence for reasons of nationalistic pride; it is physicality and carriage and skeletal structure and posture, where the head on a long neck sits in alignment to the spine. At the risk of writing the poetry out of something by being too literal, could someone describe what "Russian style" is to me? I was reminded of it listening to Dick Button commentary (who was no Yagudin fan) saying about his Overcome Exhibition he was "so Russian, so dark." I think a particularly "Russian" move of Yagudin is during the hunched shoulders "unmasking" part in Man in Iron Mask routine as very "Russian." Is my sense correct?

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    I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Russian style is very showy, very exaggerated. One of the other common comments during the 6.0 era was "the classic Russian setup, with everything right in front of the judges". And I think it also suggests darkness, melancholia, things that are quite serious and sombre. When not dark, perhaps quirky or strange according to American humour.

    When I look at nationality styles, I tend to refer to the technical elements. For example, almost all of the Russian men have very straight, very good jump quality. A lot of the Americans have tilted, angular jumps with the head tucked onto the shoulder. Of course, there are always exceptions.

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    Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance. Alba's Avatar
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    To me it means the pure classical style.
    Beautiful body position and lines, elegance, beauty, poetry, drama, romanticism, melancholia, darkness as karne mentioned above. All these elements put together. If we speak from an artistic POV.

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    Love popcorn, hate horrendous costumes. Meoima's Avatar
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    If for men, then I think it's showy, powerful, dramatic and manly: http://youtu.be/9gMimBlGdPA

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    Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance. Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    If for men, then I think it's showy, powerful, dramatic and manly: http://youtu.be/9gMimBlGdPA
    Yep. I agree with that. Although if you think of Urmanov and Petrenko they were very classical. Kulik also I think of him as more classic and gentle.

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    Love popcorn, hate horrendous costumes. Meoima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alba View Post
    Yep. I agree with that. Although if you think of Urmanov and Petrenko they were very classical. Kulik also I think of him as more classic and gentle.
    Kulik was very showy with his costumes, though. Urmanov's costumes were kinda dramatic to look at, too.

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    Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance. Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    Kulik was very showy with his costumes, though. Urmanov's costumes were kinda dramatic to look at, too.
    That's just because they had a bad taste, as most of the russian skaters.

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    Whats American style? Hiring a Russian coach

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    Size 7 Knife Boots Sam-Skwantch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YLFan View Post
    Whats American style? Hiring a Russian coach

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    Yulia forver! I'm on team dumped Ice Dance. Alba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YLFan View Post
    Whats American style? Hiring a Russian coach


    Well, Dance only.

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    Rinkside
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    Fluidity. I think that integrates effortlessness, musicality, extension, and precision.

    There are little nuances that people overlook in "classically Russian" programs that must take an eternity to master like the way Yagudin's arms smoothly open to the audience (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3epqHXQUeHY#t=228) or the way Lipnitskaia's hands roll down in her Ina Bauer here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH9pt4xWAbE#t=252).

    Skaters can be "classically Russian" even if they are not Russian nor can all Russian skaters perform like this. Arakawa and Cohen have an ease in the way they move with the music that's just so fluid to watch. This season, I think Asada's SP was the most "Russian" out of all the programs. The way she performed her program was like she was tracing a figure on the ice. It just made sense with her music. Not a coincidence that all three of these were coached by a Russian at some point in their careers. I feel John Curry also had this Russian sense of style. When it all boils down to it though, I think ballet is the answer to this.

    By the way, I love that you mentioned Tourischeva. I love her gymnastics.

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    Love popcorn, hate horrendous costumes. Meoima's Avatar
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    Come to think of it, can anyone define the style that are not Russian? Canadian style, American style... something like that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meoima View Post
    Come to think of it, can anyone define the style that are not Russian? Canadian style, American style... something like that?
    Well, for the Canadian men at least, it's a type of program that will always get silver at the Olympics.


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    That's very interesting karne because throughout the 2014 season, the Eurosport commentators frequently commented on Wagner and Gold's American style- one that is showy and full of pizzazz. I find the 'Russian style' to be very polarized. It's either very sombre or very flashy but never in between. I guess its the whole conceptual feel of it all. Between Slutskaya, Butyrskaya, Plushenko, Yagudin, Lipnitskaia and Radionova I guess it's pretty obvious.

  15. #15
    Love popcorn, hate horrendous costumes. Meoima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravy View Post
    Well, for the Canadian men at least, it's a type of program that will always get silver at the Olympics.
    Yuna Kim has the Canadian Style from David Wilson and Brian Orser I suppose, she got the gold. Yuzuru also got the Canadian style from them, his PW short program is nothing like a Russian Style, he still got the gold. Maybe the Canadian Style only applies well for skaters that are not from Canada?

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