Creative Freedom: Is There Such?
Seriously, where is it?
I’ve learned a lot about the FS technique and social life while on this forum but there is still the artistry. Please, help me out with that! FS is supposed to be (generally, partly, or thoroughly subjectively ) an art. So, what makes the artistry happen?
Is artistry a teamwork effort or a talent?
If a skater has that specific talent, can he/she actually put it into effect these days? Meaning, there is not just the skater but also the coach, the choreographer, the judging panel, the officials (who’s making decisions about the rules and the overall development of FS) who seem to know better what skaters should do.
If there is creative freedom then whose creative freedom it is
Size 7 Knifeboots
Is there artistic freedom? One must first define what is art.
Artistry is putting an individual stamp on a program. It's the ability to execute a highly technical program that shows a brash athleticism yet takes the time to share a part of the skater's soul while doing so. Close your eyes and draw on an image of your favorite skaters. The images you most likely see are the answers to your question. It's not unlike a rainbow. You can see it and even tell me exactly what it looks like but outside of a feeling it gives you, you will never actually put your finger on it or its creative beauty.
The thing I believe that makes the artistic aspect of the sport hard to spot sometimes is simply certain skaters show their artistic side in different elements. It's not like all skaters display their artistic aspects during their step sequence and you'll be able to expect it and say "there it is". For some the jumps are art and for others it's their spins. For example Yulia has an amazing choreographed sequence where she holds her arms up and very soulfully melts her arms toward the ice followed by one of my favorite spirals ever. It's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. It's a brief moment where she shows what depth she has and what she offers outside of the required elements she needs to stay relevant. I would argue that Mao's footwork is not only a powerhouse of perfection but the embodiment of artistic interpretation. It's amazing how sure footed she is. I look forward to her footwork more than anything else from her sometimes. It's like she draws a picture of the music right there on the ice for all of us. What could be more artistic than that?
Having said all this I do think there is not only a place but a need for it in skating. Or as you ask is there still freedom for the skater to utilize their artistic skills. Yes! The elements themselves are an artform to some. While COP may limit the artistic nature of programs there is plenty of room and freedom for skaters to execute artistically. There is freedom but its up to the skaters to utilize it by baring their soul on something simple like a look over your shoulder or arm gesture after a jump. The ones who master it are the ones whose programs seem to go by all too fast. I suspect they are the ones people watch over and over on YouTube.
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."
What makes it not thoroughly an art, is that it's competitive. What makes it not thoroughly a sport, is that rank is determinied partly by artistic merit.
What makes the artistry happen starts with the music. I'm glad they have finally decided to let the skaters pick music with lyrics, because it does grant more creative freedom. Not only that, but it will make the programs more engaging and entertaining for the audience (lyrics offer a built-in theme, story, vision, etc. that the choreographer can interpret. Good choreography will help the skater connect with the judges/audience).
To bring artistry to skating, I think it's a combination of talent (natural musicality and charisma) and teamwork (coaches, choreographers, designers/seamstresses, not to mention skate makers lol). Creative freedom is restricted by the rules, and the ISU makes the rules. I haven't read the rules section yet, so I can't say how much creative freedom I think they have, or don't have... One thing I can say, tho - creativity is largely a matter of thinking outside the box - always looking outside of your discipline for inspiration. From there, the creative process is all about pursuing the vision through experimentation, and constantly refining the work you create, until the vision is attained.
I don't think that for competition programs we can speak about freedom. You have a fixed time, required elements and espceially under COP too little time to be "free".
In the ex programs one would expect that the skaters would like to express their freedom and really do something special, out of the box and individual. But the most makes the most boring programs in the ex, as if they are so afraid to be free that they don't know what to do with it.
I think 99% of the time the skaters just try their hardest to land the jumps and to do the moves that their choreographers and coaches set out for them. Just like musicians play the notes that the composer wrote and actors speak their lines in the manner that the director prescribes.
Aschiutza makes a great point about exhibition numbers, which the skaters often choreograph themselves. Um…
I think the exhibitions are a bit boring because they have to prioritize competition programs. If they had all the time in the world to be creative, like in the pro ranks, I think it would produce a better result (most of my favorite programs are from pro-competitions).
Originally Posted by aschiutza
Gotta Have Music
I would think there is a lot more creative freedom once the skaters become pro/non-Olympic eligible.
I admit I don't know much about pro skating. That's why I even started a thread here. Use this if you, like me, need to catch up:
So what would you say, what made pro skating so succesful artistically? Was it about the freedom this format gave them or do you think it was because the pressure was lifted?
I think that by and large the skaters who seek careers as professional entertainers are those at the very top who have a special interest in and talent for artistic expression. I believe that it is largely a question of what you are trying to accomplish. In amateur competitions the goal and motivation is to score as many points as possible and win the contest. As a professional, you are involved instead in performing art.
Originally Posted by Anna K.
All of the above, I would think.
Also some skaters start out as jocks focused on technique and athleticism early in their careers, but as they mature as people their interests may change.
As a teenager the focus may still be on trying to learn and showcase new skills. By 20-something the skater may have mastered all the skills s/he's going to, and even lost some (jumps, flexibility moves). So then the focus can be on using the skills s/he does have, to combine skills in new and creative ways, for more interesting purposes.
I actually feel that nowadays the category in which there is almost 0 "creative freedom" is Ice Dance: most of the top-30 (more or less) couples in the world are trained or usually train with the same 4/5 coaches/clubs, so there is no variety in their styles, and most of the programs we see in the important competitions are really similar each one to the other
Agree. I kept falling asleep during dance competitions during the past two years until I gave up For me, after P/B retire there's nobody left to watch.
Originally Posted by FSGMT
But I have seen many fans here who can appreciate the nuance of modern ice dance
How did actually it go on? Did they just call Dick Button saying, Hi, i have two medals and I want to do art? Or was it vice versa, or some independant qualification criteria were applied?
Originally Posted by Mathman
That’s a good question. I don’t know how producers go about rounding up the cast.
Originally Posted by Anna K.
I remember reading once about how Kristi Yamaguchi came to Stars on Ice. (I think she had a brief gig with a rival tour organized by Brian Boitano just before. Boitano has his own production company and was about the only U,S, skater with enough clout to organize is own shows and invite other skaters.)
Anyway, the way I heard it, Stars on Ice founder Scott Hamilton sat down with his marketing people after the 1992 Olympics and said, “We need to bring new life to the tour by signing some of the new Olympians that are in the public eye. Like Kristi Yamaguchi.”
The marketing people said, “No Scott, you don’t need someone like Kristi Yamaguchi – you need Kristi Yamaguchi.”
I think for the professional competitions, like the World pro and also like the silly cheesefests of the 1990s, the same principle was in place. Invite the skaters who, for whatever reason, you think will have the most appeal to audiences. Skaters who captured public attention by winning an Olympic medal had the inside track. Then after they had done a few, the skaters who lived up to their billing and delivered “artistic” programs that the audience liked – those are the ones that were invited back.
In the U.S. there were some competitions that were more scripted. They had a “hero,” maybe Brian Boitano or Todd Eldredge, then they brought in someone like Alexei Urmanov to be the scary Russian villain and lose a close one to the hero.
There was a very silly series of team “competitions” called U.S. against the world. The U.S. always won. But one time the World team, featuring Surya Bonaly and Philippe Candeloro, skated such entertaining programs that the audience cheered and cheered for the world team and the judges had let them win.
Well, those days are long gone, and most skating fans say good riddance. They took the serious pro competitions like Dick Button’s with them. There is essentially 0 opportunity for a post-competitive career for any U.S. skater now, artistic or not.
Would you say that pro wrestling makes a good analogy? Which means, it was probably all up to the management like it is in all shows that pretend being a sport for some reason?
Originally Posted by Mathman
Don’t get me wrong, I like wrestling. I like real contact sports but I also like wresting. Didn’t dig it at once – there’s an ocean between us – but then I watched the movie. What was the name of that flick with David Arquette? It had some awesome quotes that I can’t share in a PGunder13 forum. Anyway, I saw it and then I watched some events. Not like I take it serious as a competition but these guys do good stunts and I like stunts. Truly, I don’t want these big dudes to kill each other for real. If they lift each other and throw each other it’s impressive enough for me. I respect the fact they do art and I know very well that in real life they wouldn’t be allowed to kick commentators out of their seats and throw managers into artificial graves and otherwise show the inner significance of things to the cheers of the public.
For figure skating, I think it can be a sport or an art but it should be sorted out what is what and when it is performed. In this sense, trying to control pro skating, Mr Ci has bitten off the head of figure skating pyramid that led from sport to art and/or show business. There’s no point to create impressive ex programs because there are no pro managers to impress so Galas are becoming but formal appearances on the ice wearing informal clothes.