2023 NHK Trophy: Ice Dance Thoughts? | Golden Skate

2023 NHK Trophy: Ice Dance Thoughts?

gsk8

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There was some movement at the top which made this exciting!

What are your thoughts overall on the ice dance event?

Your Finalists!

 

lariko

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Jan 31, 2019
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Dance worked out literally on seniority. I wish that newer French and Finish teams got better break out chance, let alone M/M and L/Q. But that's now how it works in ID. The one good news is that S/D didn't get too much nostalgic/prestige push.
 

sisinka

Final Flight
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Nov 25, 2006
Interesting posts from @4everchan and @kolyadafan2002 about technique in NHK Trophy FD's Thread.

I would like to ask @Ic3Rabbit for an opinion and explanation. And of course everybody else especially dance coaches and ice dancers are welcomed with their opinion.

In my opinion Lilah Fear has one of technical issues for years – lack of free leg extension. She slowly improves technically free leg extension included. Her choreographers are smart people and come with choreographies whose are hidding this lack of free leg extension as much as possible – let’s say about one third of the dances. Then for let’s say for another third of movements Lilah worked hard and learnt to extend free leg properly. But then there is last third of movements with not fully extended free leg elements including.

Even in cross overs she cuts the moment of leg extension to smallest possible time immediately. Back cross overs are even worse.
https://ibb.co/M9BjXcS (This is her maximal right leg extension in back cross overs.)

Assisted jump in Spin exit – both legs extension is missing. Then she has good free leg extension in camel spin. Assisted jump choreo element, first jump – not extended free leg in landing, third jump - no legs extension in entry and during the jump (laying on Lewis’s thigh was with planned knee bend, which was OK). Then lack of legs extension in positions in all Lifts.

In past years when Lilah’s lack of leg extension was there all the time, I was even rethinking that Lilah had some kind of artritis, so her legs extension was limited from medical reason. Then I saw her dancing on the floor with free leg extension without troubles, so I deleted the idea about health issues and came back to opinion about her being poor technician.

Overall I am persuaded that lack of free leg extension IS BIGGER BASIC TECHNICAL ISSUE. Also it is not aesthetic in my opinion, it doesn’t allow to have beautiful lines. In my opinion it puts down Skating Skills and Grade of Execution of elements with leg extension issues.

Sure Skating Skills and elegancy are not about free leg extension ONLY, Lilah is decent in edge’s work. But how would you judge this lack of free leg extension? Is it a small problem / big problem? Technical, aesthetic? Can be somebody with this issue taken like good technician?

And how to compare it with others dancers who are not only concentrating on edges and arms, but are also able to control free leg position in elements and transitions? Not only for one third of the dance, but for whole or almost whole dance?
 

rain

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Jul 29, 2003
So many questions. I hope we get a GPF of great skates, not nervy ones, which could happen due to the uncertainty heading into this. Will Lilah and Lewis challenge the traditional top 3, or will NHK scores be an outlier? Will LaLa challenge FB/S and the others ahead, or will they also be knocked down? And if last year is any indication, it could be a whole new ballgame again at worlds, no matter who comes out on top here.
 

kolyadafan2002

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Jun 6, 2019
So many questions. I hope we get a GPF of great skates, not nervy ones, which could happen due to the uncertainty heading into this. Will Lilah and Lewis challenge the traditional top 3, or will NHK scores be an outlier? Will LaLa challenge FB/S and the others ahead, or will they also be knocked down? And if last year is any indication, it could be a whole new ballgame again at worlds, no matter who comes out on top here.
NHK will probably be an outlier in Lilah and lewis coming ahead of Charlene Marco (lilah and lewis are favourite skaters for lots of japanese fans), but charlene and marco will probably now not be able to challenge for GPF win/silver (due to start order, but also reputation stuff).
 

DancingCactus

Final Flight
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Jan 17, 2022
Ok, stupid question maybe, but what does leg extension have to do with skating skills per se? Does it have an effect on balance or blade angle or is this just about aesthetics?

Personally G/F bore me to death and I think their lifts aren't that great, but I also don't like the Rocky program. I love the idea of it, but not the actual choreo and music cuts. The boxing moves are cool, I find the rope jumping funny but I hate the break in the program with the push-up and the but wiggling. So really, I feel Lewis and Lilah shouldn't have won but I also didn't want the Italians to win. lol

I also still don't understand the Lithuanians and her dress is hideous in both programs.
I liked the Finns better last year. Liked Loicia and Theo a lot. But their RD costumes were also terrible....
Why doesn't anyone but Piper and Paul get the 80s right at all in terms of costumes?
 

kolyadafan2002

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Ok, stupid question maybe, but what does leg extension have to do with skating skills per se? Does it have an effect on balance or blade angle or is this just about aesthetics?

Personally G/F bore me to death and I think their lifts aren't that great, but I also don't like the Rocky program. I love the idea of it, but not the actual choreo and music cuts. The boxing moves are cool, I find the rope jumping funny but I hate the break in the program with the push-up and the but wiggling. So really, I feel Lewis and Lilah shouldn't have won but I also didn't want the Italians to win. lol

I also still don't understand the Lithuanians and her dress is hideous in both programs.
I liked the Finns better last year. Liked Loicia and Theo a lot. But their RD costumes were also terrible....
Why doesn't anyone but Piper and Paul get the 80s right at all in terms of costumes?
I'm going to do my best explaining this as much as possible, but from a coaching perspective I find this much easier to demonstrate. In my opinion Extension, from a push, directly relates to both kneebend and pushing. The kneebend link is difficult for me to explain, the pushing is easier. I'll try explain both as best as possible.
Either way, not a stupid question. I wouldn't realise this if I didn't learn it as a skater.

Weirdly enough, leg extension is both connected to kneebend, body tension and balance. If proper tension is maintained within the leg line, then an increase in ankle bend usually produces the extension, and then pressure in the back dictates the height. In terms of balance, to lift the leg off the ice in a low knee position you need to do one of three things: Put pressure in back or glutes, tilt forwards (like a see-saw), or relax the leg line. 1) Pressure in back or glutes is ideal. There is however a limit, and at some point you will need to tilt forwards in lowest positions (see guillame cizeron). relaxing the leg line, to me, shows weakness in the skating as they can't maintain kneebend whilst keeping the pressure in back and tension in the legs.
It is also directly related to the push. When you push down into the ice, you don't want to necessarily lift the leg sharply. the leg needs to push into the ice, and if it never extends from the push, you do lose power. The final extension gives you power from the push. Note, that you do not need to extend every push you do from the ice or into the ice, and in some cases it's undesirable. But if you can never extend the leg fully, you never get maximum power conversion from a push. This is one area Cizeron really excelled at (he also excelled at flow and one movement into another, but his extension and kneebend is what gave him so much effortless power).

I love this video of Papadakis and cizeron, as throughout you can closely see his feet and extension on every push, (which unhelpfully is not the case on most grand prix or competition videos): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4ZainLBa58
Of course in that program there are three or four he doesn't extend on (for choreo purposes), but to get the power he always uses his extension.


In terms of other points, Piper and Paul get it right with costumes - apart from one caveat: the costumes don't match each other, so that part looks a little jarring. In terms of Loicia and Theo, they had completely different music at the start of the year, but kept the costumes - so this may have an impact on their costumes being bad. They might not have the financial resources to purchase new costumes in such a short time period for their new program. I like their originality with their music choice though.
I like the Finn's programs even more than last year, but the technical this year is really letting them down.
 

kolyadafan2002

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Thanks for the explanation! Also, damn after watching P/C again after some time, there really isn't a pair today that can hold a candle to them in terms of pure skating skills. G/F look way less sharp.
The biggest benefit for me for P/C over G/F for me is the flow in and out of every movement. The sharpness of each movement itself is great of course (but I find that a lot with G/F too), but the thing P/C do for me that blows everybody out the water is how soft and natural they skate, everything just cascades together instead of looking like a series of movements. G/F are very intense, almost static in terms of movement compared to P/C - I do find often that it is the Italian skating brand vs the french brand (taught by Romain to P/C from young age). Looking back it's where the French skaters often shined.

I also want to point out a comparison between P/C and C/B, and no it's not related to skating - but height relative to partners. Having that much height difference isn't advisable, but I think Cizeron found a clever way to deal with it. Cizeron is much taller than Papadakis, but he does a good job framing her and really getting down as low as possible to the ice, and together it works really well as a match, whereas I find Madi'smovements to always be small compared to Evan. Guillame not only bends his knees, but also gets his body much lower to the ice in many situations, and that makes the height difference look a lot more natural.
 

sisinka

Final Flight
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Ok, stupid question maybe, but what does leg extension have to do with skating skills per se?

It is not stupid question at all.

Thanks for explanation @kolyadafan2002.

In my opinion (I am not coach) whole body...position and how you lead your whole body free leg including in steps is a part of skating technique. And timing.

Once you learn basic technique, then you learn additional things - arm ballet positions, lean to the side and so on - to increase originality and difficulty in steps.

That is how little kids are skating - https://youtu.be/F20wqiXy9mk?feature=shared - no legs extension, low knee bend, it is shaky, no strengthening. It is absolutely OK in this age.

With years skaters are learning to do all elements with clean right technique working on whole body position and right moves and strengthening of all parts of the body.

The first part of Tessa & Scott's Original Dance in 2004 - https://youtu.be/e_Ezft35714?si=8OAPpckcMmlAwcNT - their technique is looking great at their age (14 and 15 years old), but it is still work in process perfect extension including.

Almost 10 years later in 2014 - https://youtube.com/watch?v=b5_5yaJXnpw&si=DechV7CNR0a6X64U starting at 30:04 - both Tessa and Scott have better technique with better extension, posture, edges...

The same in ballroom dancing:
- 5-6 years old - https://youtu.be/4JZ7IGk_i6I?si=BGx_vceTAOoRW34R
- 11- 12 years old - https://youtu.be/r00id0UT7Hc?si=2d5doVAK9DkVHOld
- senior stage - https://youtu.be/vSQjXuKgjnE?si=Aa-e4JBd3FS8nSIF

Ice dancers have more time to train steps because they don't need to train difficult jumps and different kind of spins. But looking back - for example Robin Cousins, John Curry, Oksana Baiul...Sasha Cohen, Patrick Chan, Evgenia Medvedeva, Shoma Uno...they had no problems with extension despite the fact they were / are single skaters.

Not full free leg extension is one of indicators for me that the skater is not that strong technically. At least not at the moment.
 

zebobes

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Mar 29, 2012
F/G do have their weaknesses, but I appreciate that while they work on their weaknesses, they are also strategically taking advantage of their strengths, and the Japanese audience was fully captured by their performance.

I think that G/F do have greater technical skills, but they have yet to skate to their full potential, and thus they were outscored. I wish that they were able to get some additional perspective to help them with the choreo side, to break out of their box. Out of the top six qualifiers, I have the least impression of their programs, while I can remember key aspects of the other five's programs. That's a huge consistent problem for them, and one that they need to work strategically on as well.
 

throw_triple_flip

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F/G do have their weaknesses, but I appreciate that while they work on their weaknesses, they are also strategically taking advantage of their strengths, and the Japanese audience was fully captured by their performance.

I think that G/F do have greater technical skills, but they have yet to skate to their full potential, and thus they were outscored. I wish that they were able to get some additional perspective to help them with the choreo side, to break out of their box. Out of the top six qualifiers, I have the least impression of their programs, while I can remember key aspects of the other five's programs. That's a huge consistent problem for them, and one that they need to work strategically on as well.
I agree with this. I actually felt sorry for the Italians having to skate last because you know that Japanese crowds will respond well to Fear and Gibson and their program just doesn't have that wow factor this year. But- conversely for the Brits, that's an awful lot of pressure and they lived up to the expectation.
 
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throw_triple_flip

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The first time I saw Fear and Gibson's Rocky Free Dance at the test skates thing on youtube, my immediate thought was they were going to win the NHK trophy.
GB's first ever Senior Grand Prix Gold. So proud of them!


I really liked the French team and was wowed by how powerfully Bratti and Somerville skated.

The rivalry between the Finns and Lithuanians is really interesting- neither team is pulling ahead if the other. Add in other teams like Lopareva/Brissaud, Taschlers and european bronze is likely to be a bit of a battle.


(Also to add.. best to avoid the comments under the youtube videos. Predictable but no less depressing for it.)
 

throw_triple_flip

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Also, damn after watching P/C again after some time, there really isn't a pair today that can hold a candle to them in terms of pure skating skills. G/F look way less sharp.
I think there are some teams who do have that quality (or are on their way to having it)- they're just not at the top at the moment because they don't have the full package yet- maybe they don't have the programs or performance quality. Or other elements (like lifts or twizzles) aren't up to standard just yet.
 

Seven Sisters

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Jul 17, 2018
The ISU appears to have a vision as to how the sport should progress—away from compulsory dances and challenging patterns (such as the waltzes) and towards more “entertaining” themes and elements. The implementation of that vision has allowed Fear & Gibson to flourish. They may be the team of our age, just as, say, Virtue and Moir were the team of their age.

I don’t believe Fear & Gibson would have been nearly as successful say, 10-15 years ago.
 

Ic3Rabbit

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The ISU appears to have a vision as to how the spot should progress—away from compulsory dances and challenging patterns (such as the waltzes) and towards more “entertaining” themes and elements. The implementation of that vision has allowed Fear & Gibson to flourish. I don’t believe they would have been nearly as successful say, 10-15 years ago.
I don't think this is as much as an ISU vision or whatnot. But then again TBH, I highly doubt any of these teams would have done a successfully 10-15 years ago. :shrug:
 

throw_triple_flip

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NHK will probably be an outlier in Lilah and lewis coming ahead of Charlene Marco
I don't think that's guaranteed at all. Even though the italians always beat the Brits last year, there were occasions when Fear and Gibson got very close. In some instances, they might've been ahead if not for mistakes. If they can maintain decent levels and that high standard of performance they can certainly beat them again this season.
 
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deedee1

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Nov 14, 2007
I do feel for Charlene/Marco. Was a surprise for me the judges didn't let them win this competition... they could have done so even with 0.01 overall TSS, adding some +GOE more in any desired element, if they wanted to. Reminds me of the Ice dance outcome of Worlds 2014 in Saitama, only 0.08 point difference btwn top 3 teams. I was there, broke my heart and cried badly over Nathalie and Fabian;;;

I just hope Charlene and Marco will go 'Chock/Bates' en route'; regroup themselves by GPF and have the better results at the Euro and worlds.
 

kolyadafan2002

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The first time I saw Fear and Gibson's Rocky Free Dance at the test skates thing on youtube, my immediate thought was they were going to win the NHK trophy.
GB's first ever Senior Grand Prix Gold. So proud of them!


I really liked the French team and was wowed by how powerfully Bratti and Somerville skated.

The rivalry between the Finns and Lithuanians is really interesting- neither team is pulling ahead if the other. Add in other teams like Lopareva/Brissaud, Taschlers and european bronze is likely to be a bit of a battle.


(Also to add.. best to avoid the comments under the youtube videos. Predictable but no less depressing for it.)
I do give Lopareva/Brissaud the outside chance for europeans Bronze based on technical consistency. The Lithuanians and Finns can take it if they get their levels up, but Lopareva/Brissaud are extremely consistent with levels. That being said, a home europeans in lithaunia does bode well for the Lithuanians. Taschlers had an injury I believe (Not sure the nature of the injury), but the rules this season have definitely not being to their benefit as they haven't made the impression I thought they would.

I think there are some teams who do have that quality (or are on their way to having it)- they're just not at the top at the moment because they don't have the full package yet- maybe they don't have the programs or performance quality. Or other elements (like lifts or twizzles) aren't up to standard just yet.
There are also some teams where one partner has it, and the other doesnt quite have it yet. Hannah Lim for example has very precise footwork, whereas Ye Quan doesn't do as well with the basic stroking/extension (If you watch his chasses in the samba, his pushing and draw isn't neat). Both are quite soft, much like P/C though.

I don't think this is as much as an ISU vision or whatnot. But then again TBH, I highly doubt any of these teams would have done a successfully 10-15 years ago. :shrug:
They need to do something random to justify existence. Sometimes I think they do something for the sake of change, rather than something that they think they should be doing. Chock and Bates of course got their first Grand prix medal around 2013 and won multiple GP in 2014. Of course, if you transported the team in current form, they wouldn't have succeeded but they were successful back then. Charlene and Marco had to do golden waltz in their first season, and they didn't do it at a top level standard, but granted it was their first season - but they weren't known for being strong in pattern dances back then, and I do feel the lack of height difference would make many of the pattern dances a struggle though. Piper and Paul I could see performing pattern dances very elegantly, but possibly lacking a lot of speed and flow vs the top ice dancers back then.

I don't think that's guaranteed at all. Even though the italians always beat the Brits last year, there were occasions when Fear and Gibson got very close. In some instances, they might've been ahead if not for mistakes.
In figure skating nothing is guaranteed, ice is slippy. With both skating clean, I don't see them winning as they did in NHK. But even the most consistent make mistakes in this sport.

I do feel for Charlene/Marco. Was a surprise for me the judges didn't let them win this competition... they could have done so even with 0.01 overall TSS, adding some +GOE more in any desired element, if they wanted to. Reminds me of the Ice dance outcome of Worlds 2014 in Saitama, only 0.08 point difference btwn top 3 teams. I was there, broke my heart and cried badly over Nathalie and Fabian;;;

I just hope Charlene and Marco will go 'Chock/Bates' en route'; regroup themselves by GPF and have the better results at the Euro and worlds.
Judges aren't supercomputers, they can't calculate the scores in their head. They mark each element and PCS factor, and then the score comes together. They don't come together and collectively decide a score to announce, it's individual marks (In this case lift GOE and Lilah STSQ4 was the deciding factor). Technically, theres not much more charlene and marco can do - they just have to work on program coherency and flow etc, and figuring out a way how to move/connect with the audience. I'm not sure this is possible by GPF, but they have a lot of work they can do for Europeans.
 
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