No, no, it was very interesting and I learned something new. But perhaps they are having a similar problem with their FD that Hubbell and Donohue are having with theirs: it's too culturally specific. I had no idea of the flamingos in Donana, so the entire first part of the dance, if you pardon the expression, went over my head.
And yes, I like the idea of a contemporary flamenco. Which is why I really liked the original black and white costumes: they fit that vibe.
Very interesting post. Thank you!
I'm gonna have to desagree about H&D because, after being flooded for near a century by US movies, music, food… I don´t think that "culturally specific" is a term that US can use in the sense that the rest of the world (with access to mass media, of course) do not understand their references . But this is not the place to talk about H&D, maybe I'll expand in their own thread later…
Now is later…
I was saying that I don´t think there is a problem of "culturally specific". I haven´t seen their programs since Skate Canada and this is what I remember about them:
I had the feeling that they where looking for some kind of "national identity" and that's interesting because it's a difficult task, look for identity images and shared values without falling into nationalist/conservative areas.
Marilyn in the sort dance... American pop culture at its purest version (if that is a valid expresión). The problem is that they chose "my heart belongs to daddy" (really? in the times where pederastia is finally prosecuted?) instead of the comic version of "some like it hot" or the pop version of a Warhol picture (they have to créate a program for that...) or… The original idea was good…
I found the FD full of references, what I didn´t find was an emotion I could connect with. The costumes in the colors of the US flag (I like them); direct allusion to "two american royals" (can I call them that?) Lady Gaga and B Cooper; the theme, the last version of the movie "A star is born", a classic of US cinema wih a lot of remakes, with a very "american theme": the american dream, but showing the two faces, because there are winners and losers (a saw the original version lots of years ago).
Finally, I have to add one more reference, Madison message in the k&C at skate Canada: "Te quiero guapo, te echo de menos" (=I love you, handsome, I miss you). That was the best part. Maybe it was just a love message with no other intention but, for me, speaking in spanish after all that national pride, she was trolling!
EDIT: I was not finish.
For me she was trolling, but in the most classy style of trolling. She reminds me the Queen of England, when she went to the Parliament to aprove Brexit wearing a hat with the flag of the EU That kind of trolling, because looking for a national identity and being proud of who you are doesn´t mean to be nationalistic, racist, xenofobic or any of that. Good for Mady!! But if her only ntent was to send a love message, please, don´t let us know.
That's my view of their programs, I like the intent, I do not like the execution...
Sorry, Weakankles, I left this conversation unfinished.
Yes, I remember that one pìece of music was country, but my knowlegde here is cero (because the image of singers wearing cowboy hats and boots doesn't count as knowledge…). If you want to explain a bit about Alibi, country music and country rock and the music in their FD, I'd love to learn and I'm sure that H&D have more fans that would love that too.
I enjoyed your posts too. Thanks!
That's my best educated guess as to why MF-D warned H/D that their program is "too American."
I saw them debut their programs at Skate America and while I hate to say it, I was left scratching my head to both. Neither resonated in person and it's amazing their coaches let them do either program , which makes me believe they were headstrong about sticking to their own choices and don't really know what suits them.
They had seen the 2018 film starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, but had not considered it for free dance music; they typically prefer music that is more obscure than mainstream.
But then coach and choreographer Marie-France Dubreuil brought it to them.
“We were looking at all different options and she had a moment, saying, ‘I know you weren’t thinking of this, but for me this is music that you and Zach can embody so well; I don’t want to do just the ballad, I think you guys could pull off that kind of dance, Southern rock vibe, and if there’s a year to do it, it’s only this year,’” Hubbell recalled.
I'm dying to know if Hubbell Donohue have changed either of their programs/music since Skate Canada. Anyone have inside information? I saw them debut their programs at Skate America and while I hate to say it, I was left scratching my head to both. Neither resonated in person and it's amazing their coaches let them do either program , which makes me believe they were headstrong about sticking to their own choices and don't really know what suits them. It's like you have this great piece of art but it's encased in the wrong color frame. If you tune out the packaging it looks great, but in reality you can't display the art without the package. It's a shame because they are/were my favorites, but we've now had 2 years of poor choices from them. And this is despite so many good ideas and constructive critiques lobbed their way from people who really do want to see them get to no. 1.
Could you elaborate a bit on why the programs made you scratch your head? I’ve seen this reaction a couple times and I am still not understanding where people are coming from. Both programs to me have a clear voice and vision. And stylistically very coherent with the music/theme/story of origin/time of origin. The RD esp is one of the best this season along the “old-times” vein. Certainly a lot better than the generic RD of C/B. And more exciting in execution than S/K’s Singing in the Rain.
Sure. H/D will always win on speed and edges (the latter really show up if you're watching on TV since you can see things much closer) but there is nothing particularly noteworthy (or well suited) about either program in terms of the choreography, music choice and costuming. Especially when you're in front of a live audience, you want to create a moment - make the viewer forget where they are for a minute, and neither program did that for me. I was thinking about what they were doing and feeling their effort the full way through. They rely a lot on their power in this year's programs. This is probably smart since it's their biggest asset, but like every beautiful song a skate needs to have lows and highs and build-- the FS especially screams the whole way through. Even in the "softer" sections they continue to skate all out. As an audience member, you feel accosted by the end of each program -- especially the FD. They received polite applause at Skate America whereas the lower ranked Smart/Diaz were probably the best received all around, followed by Stepanova and Bukin not too far behind. I think that says a lot about the current state of their programs this year.
Anyhow, it seems like H/D have indeed kept their FD, though they've eliminated the opening character step in favor of showing off their excellent skating skills and edges from the get go. https://www.instagram.com/p/B5nNKPinjxK/. Will it be enough? We'll see in a few days.
Now seems like a good time to reinvigorate the thread after FCC. It's well established their programs are not great, nor are they a likely contender for Worlds. So, I think a more productive conversation is how they can salvage their standing and reputation if they really want a shot at the Olympic podium. To me it's going to be a mix of things:
- Bring in outside choreographers and counsel, and publicize they are doing this. They might need to stay at Gadbois politically, but they need new eyes and ears on how they should be presenting themselves on the ice. This is less about skating at this point, it's branding and packaging.
- Get knocked down a size by someone they respect. Is anyone telling Zach his prick attitude is making them unlikeable? They need someone in their lives to be much more honest with them who they will actually listen to. I fear they might not have that person at Gadbois. Zach is a guy's guy and I don't really see Marie France getting through to him...
- Do some stuff outside of skating and bring that back to the ice. Volunteer this summer, or spend a couple weeks taking a college class in Montreal. Meet new people who do things other than skate and expand their world view.
- Not have Madison's mom make their costumes. It's sweet she still does some of them, but sweet doesn't win medals.
- Show they are listening. They've stuck by and defended both this year's and last year's program to the end. What's wrong with starting to admit this program didn't work as well as they imagined? Or, genuinely taking into account fan's suggestions for programs? Can you imagine if they did that how many more people would be rooting for them? Madison started to show some level of self-awareness in the press conference after the FD. More of that please.
- If I were them, I would start mentally focusing on 2020/2021 season now. Forget this season. Be spending 70% of your time working through these changes vs. trying to tweak their FD once again.
I could go on But I'm interested in what others think. If they want to medal at the Olympics, what will get them there?