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Thread: What makes a skater artistic?

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    Nutjob On Ice Layback11's Avatar
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    What makes a skater artistic?

    As a fan, something I've always wondered about is what makes a skater artistic. There are things like interpretation of the music and flow that skaters get scored on, but what truly makes one an artist? Is it tiny details (their facial expression, arm movements), or bigger things like how much ice they cover and their transitions? Is it a purely aesthetic trait or is it determined by the specific skating abilities of a particular athlete?

    PS this is a very personal opinion question. It would be greatly appreciated if posters would recognize this and thus respect each others' opinions. Please do not make comments that could upset other members enough to start a fight. Have fun, though!

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    Team Russian Silver Foxes gallavich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Layback11 View Post
    PS this is a very personal opinion question. It would be greatly appreciated if posters would recognize this and thus respect each others' opinions. Please do not make comments that could upset other members enough to start a fight. Have fun, though!
    It might be a quiet thread, then. Well, I don't believe artistry is an either/or quality that only certain skaters possess. I think every skater has some capacity to be artistic, but not all of them are equally capable of expressing it (they might need some help, like dance or drama classes, esp. if they are more introverted naturally), and not all kinds of artistry are recognized by all kinds of people. It will always be subjective, but it seems like common perception is that only one kind of skater - the lyrical kind - counts as "artistic." Also that one must be highly refined to be "artistic." That isn't true for other kinds of art, so I don't know why it should apply to skating.

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    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    The idea behind 'artistic' boils down to a few key elements.

    Assuming aesthetically pleasing body positions (esp in spins, spirals, footwork and in basic skating,

    Tailoring body position for the mood of the music (no jazz hands during swan lake for example)

    Timing moves well with the music (fewer changes of position in slower music more in fast),

    Extension (not the same as 'flexibility')

    Seeming to skate in their own little world (not ignoring the audience but not playing for applause either)

    Costuming that does not interfere with the music/choreography

    That'll do for a start.

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    The ability to LISTEN to music and move WITH it. That's a definite criteria. Regardless of type.

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    as already said there are some ways to become a figure skating artist:

    -unique skating skills, smoothness, flow (e.g. pang tong this season)

    -capture the space with aura, big elements, drama and good timing (volosozhar/trankv´s masquerade waltz)

    -create and perform a new and unseen choreography of a well-known peace of music (e.g. Kostner´s Bolero)

    -high point: find a new way to perform figure skating with new music which fits well with new elements and timing (Savchenko Szolkowy´s Pina)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCzar View Post
    The ability to LISTEN to music and move WITH it. That's a definite criteria. Regardless of type.
    I agree. Great extension and beautiful lines are obviously important, too, but if the skaters (or skater) cannot listen to and feel the music, they cannot really express an idea or story behind the music and choreography either.

  7. #7
    Cheering Wildly from the stands
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    I think each skater has it in them to be artistic if the circumstances are right.
    Some more often than others.
    Connection to the music, commitment to the program, and making me feel something. -That's aaall IIIII aaask of yoooooou. (POTO)

    Elvis Stojko's Jet Li program was artistic in its own way.
    Kevin Reynolds Excelsior program when he did it at the Olympic Team event.
    Akiko Suzuki's 'O' program at NHK
    Yuna's James Bond Program at Olympics
    Yuzu's R&J part 1
    Yulia's SL
    Max Aaron's Tron
    Joshua Farris SP
    Jason Brown's River Dance program
    Daisuke Takahashi's Cyber Swan
    Mao Asada's I Got Rhythm

    This is all across the spectrum of music and genre of skating but these programs were an artistic success in my mind because they all made me feel something. -And I enjoyed them.
    Last edited by Newbiespectator; 04-08-2015 at 11:47 AM.

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    God, how I hate the word "artistic". It's a blanket term that means whatever people want it to mean in a given situation and thus completely, utterly meaningless. We'd be better off if we stopped using it, it would save us many futile forum arguments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moria Polonius View Post
    God, how I hate the word "artistic". It's a blanket term that means whatever people want it to mean in a given situation and thus completely, utterly meaningless. We'd be better off if we stopped using it, it would save us many futile forum arguments.
    Agreed honestly. I find it's often used to put down skaters who aren't favourites

  10. #10
    Custom Title andromache's Avatar
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    I think artistic is too vague of a term, but it's useful to us when discussing skaters/performances who make you *feel* something when you don't want to pick apart the nuances of a performance to give specifics about how it makes you feel something. I think saying it's used to put down skaters is a little unfair; if a skater doesn't bring out any emotions in the audience during their performance, it's a valid critique. Of course it's subjective though whether or not someone has an emotional quality to their performance, but some skaters seem to connect with far more people than others. Michelle Kwan is the obvious one .

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    Medalist loiza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kresslia View Post
    Agreed honestly. I find it's often used to put down skaters who aren't favourites
    I agreed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kresslia View Post
    Agreed honestly. I find it's often used to put down skaters who aren't favourites
    Exactly.

    "X lacks artistry."
    "I find X very artistic."
    "No they aren't because a, b and c."
    "That's not how I define artistry. It's d, e, and f. That makes X very artistic."
    "I don't agree with your defintion of artistry."
    etc etc etc ad nauseam

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    And that is why the current judging system has no PCS component for "artistry." It does have mentions of choreography, interpretation and performance, however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moria Polonius View Post
    Exactly.

    "X lacks artistry."
    "I find X very artistic."
    "No they aren't because a, b and c."
    "That's not how I define artistry. It's d, e, and f. That makes X very artistic."
    "I don't agree with your defintion of artistry."
    etc etc etc ad nauseam
    Agreed.

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    I once invented two fictional male singles skaters who had competed against each other since novice level.

    A started out being known for his athleticism, specifically speed, difficult and big jumps, ability to perform complex footwork with ease. He was a mediocre spinner and didn't pay much attention to body line or to the second mark in general. As he reached senior level, his team made an effort to package him in ways to highlight masculinity. By his early 20s, A took more and more responsibility himself for coming up with creative choices in terms of performing masculine characters/storylines and playing with the vocabulary of skating with unusual program layouts, combinations of moves, unusual music choices, etc. He eventually started working more on body line (e.g., ballet classes) and spin technique, but those remained relative weaknesses. He did best with jazz, rock, experimental type of music, or powerful classical music without aiming for a classical movement style. Gene Kelly was a role model for him (inspiring my user name). As he got more interested in exploring music and choreography for himself, he also branched out to choreographing for other skaters and ended up making that his profession after retiring from competition.

    B was less athletic in terms of power but more naturally coordinated in terms of body awareness. He approached his skating as a biomechanical challenge, focusing on precise technique and body line, including extensive ballet training. He mostly stuck to 19th century classical music, which suited his movement style, or lyrical classic rock for exhibitions. B sometimes worked with creative choreographers who challenged him to develop new spin positions, etc., but wasn't especially creative himself. His skating could often be described as very beautiful to the eye, his musicality only average/adequate. He went on to get a graduate degree in engineering and did some technical coaching on the side.

    So who was more artistic? Their respective fans would disagree.

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