Proper death spirals - a lost art? | Page 2 | Golden Skate

Proper death spirals - a lost art?

Diana Delafield

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I remember thinking this was a nice spiral when I first saw it. Can someone who knows more about them critique the pros and cons so I can learn more: https://youtu.be/Jay6_9gy9Lw?si=KCABapChSF0KbB3G&t=708
Going out for the afternoon to the club, where I'll probably be doing a few FI death spirals myself. What did you want critiqued? The spiral itself, or these performances of it, or......? It's the easiest one to do and the first one you learn.
 

drivingmissdaisy

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Feb 17, 2010
Going out for the afternoon to the club, where I'll probably be doing a few FI death spirals myself. What did you want critiqued? The spiral itself, or these performances of it, or......? It's the easiest one to do and the first one you learn.
I like the straight body she keeps on the entrance, but maybe we don't see that as much now because the pairs are doing harder spirals?
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
I remember thinking this was a nice spiral when I first saw it. Can someone who knows more about them critique the pros and cons so I can learn more: https://youtu.be/Jay6_9gy9Lw?si=KCABapChSF0KbB3G&t=708
Thanks for posting that. If you let the vid continue after Meno and Sand there is an intersting contrast between their smooth lyric style and the more rambunctious performance of Ina and Dungeon (death spiral at 14:20).

And if you go back to the beginning, you can check out the bronze medalists Courtland and Reynolds. She actually succeeds in brushing the ice with her pony tail. :)
 

Diana Delafield

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I remember thinking this was a nice spiral when I first saw it. Can someone who knows more about them critique the pros and cons so I can learn more: https://youtu.be/Jay6_9gy9Lw?si=KCABapChSF0KbB3G&t=708
Back home now, and glad I didn't ask anyone to film the first FI death spiral we did this afternoon. He sat down on his pivot, and spun around on his butt, laughing his head off and dragging me around in a circle. Not something I wanted preserved for posterity, except maybe as How Not To :palmf:.

Anyway, to return to your question, I suspect the position on that FI, the easiest death spiral and the first one you learn, was straighter in the past because we were the school figures generation and we all owned scribes (for the benefit of the kiddies, a scribe was like a large compass -- 6' long? I forget now -- with which you drew a pattern of two or three perfect big circles on the ice to trace in patch sessions, to practise your figures). Beginner pairs learning FI death spirals were taught to think of themselves together forming a scribe, with him as the centre spike and her blade as the outer spike drawing the circle, and your joined arms as the rod of the scribe locked in one immovable bar. You worked on keeping your elbows locked, her pulling against his hand and him pulling back to resist the pressure. You start off doing it upright as a spiral figure, and then lower it to ice level, now thinking of the arms and her whole body as the arm of the scribe. At least, that's how it was taught in Canada. The girls were taught to think of their whole body from head to boot as a unit, with no breaks in the middle. I have a picture of us doing a BO spiral figure somewhere, but don't think I have a FI one.

Death spirals demand a lot of body strength in the woman. Not just core, but the whole body, and Barb Underhill was one of the best ever at that, not stiff, but still rock-solid from head to foot. This is a great excuse to post one of my favourite performances, their 1984 Worlds win in Ottawa. It includes a BO death spiral early on, and near the end, a FI ds, in both of which her short hair brushes the ice. I was in competition at the same time (more accurate than saying I competed against her, since I was never in her league) and had a lot of opportunity to observe her in practice sessions. The rest of us tried to imitate her, and sadly figured sweeping the ice with a ponytail didn't count by comparison.

Right at the end, they also do a lateral twist, which you hardly ever see anymore. Isabelle Brasseur was noted for that, but you had to be really tiny to keep your centre positioned directly over your partner's head. I couldn't do it on the ice, although we tried it in the gym. I was three or four inches taller than Barb and Isabelle, and my legs were too long. Too much of me hanging off to one side in the lateral:

 

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4everchan

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Back home now, and glad I didn't ask anyone to film the first FI death spiral we did this afternoon. He sat down on his pivot, and spun around on his butt, laughing his head off and dragging me around in a circle. Not something I wanted preserved for posterity, except maybe as How Not To :palmf:.

Anyway, to return to your question, I suspect the position on that FI, the easiest death spiral and the first one you learn, was straighter in the past because we were the school figures generation and we all owned scribes (for the benefit of the kiddies, a scribe was like a large compass -- 6' long? I forget now -- with which you drew a pattern of two or three perfect big circles on the ice to trace in patch sessions, to practise your figures). Beginner pairs learning FI death spirals were taught to think of themselves together forming a scribe, with him as the centre spike and her blade as the outer spike drawing the circle, and your joined arms as the rod of the scribe locked in one immovable bar. You worked on keeping your elbows locked, her pulling against his hand and him pulling back to resist the pressure. You start off doing it upright as a spiral figure, and then lower it to ice level, now thinking of the arms and her whole body as the arm of the scribe. At least, that's how it was taught in Canada. The girls were taught to think of their whole body from head to boot as a unit, with no breaks in the middle. I have a picture of us doing a BO spiral figure somewhere, but don't think I have a FI one.

Death spirals demand a lot of body strength in the woman. Not just core, but the whole body, and Barb Underhill was one of the best ever at that, not stiff, but still rock-solid from head to foot. This is a great excuse to post one of my favourite performances, their 1984 Worlds win in Ottawa. It includes a BO death spiral early on, and near the end, a FI ds, in both of which her short hair brushes the ice. I was in competition at the same time (more accurate than saying I competed against her, since I was never in her league) and had a lot of opportunity to observe her in practice sessions. The rest of us tried to imitate her, and sadly figured sweeping the ice with a ponytail didn't count by comparison.

Right at the end, they also do a lateral twist, which you hardly ever see anymore. Isabelle Brasseur was noted for that, but you had to be really tiny to keep your centre positioned directly over your partner's head. I couldn't do it on the ice, although we tried it in the gym. I was three or four inches taller than Barb and Isabelle, and my legs were too long. Too much of me hanging off to one side in the lateral:

thanks for this! Gosh, Barb's position is just exquisite. I would give the edge to Brasseur for the lateral twist though :) What a performance for these two !

I miss old fashioned pairs programs... with lots of small jumps 3 throws here and 2 DS. It was so exciting to see them perform so many moves. Even two twists :)
 

4everchan

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Joined
Mar 7, 2015
Country
Martinique
One thing I do not miss from that era... having to wait for the "computer" to sort things out with the ordinals... what's the point of getting excited for 5.8s and 5.9s if you don't even know if it's enough...

Does anyone know what the breakdown was ?
 

Diana Delafield

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Oct 22, 2022
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Canada
thanks for this! Gosh, Barb's position is just exquisite. I would give the edge to Brasseur for the lateral twist though :) What a performance for these two !

I miss old fashioned pairs programs... with lots of small jumps 3 throws here and 2 DS. It was so exciting to see them perform so many moves. Even two twists :)
Their speed gets me every time I watch this. I'm not surprised she went on to teach power skating to hockey players :biggrin:. And the Ottawa arena was packed, with the audience blowing the roof off from the first note of their music. They said later they couldn't hear the last bars of their music and Barb just had to trust to muscle memory to do her jump-stop finish right on the beat.

They just did single lateral twists as a sort of throwaway move :jaw:. Isabelle did triple laterals, I think. Certainly doubles. It was one of her signature elements.
 

4everchan

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Joined
Mar 7, 2015
Country
Martinique
Their speed gets me every time I watch this. I'm not surprised she went on to teach power skating to hockey players :biggrin:. And the Ottawa arena was packed, with the audience blowing the roof off from the first note of their music. They said later they couldn't hear the last bars of their music and Barb just had to trust to muscle memory to do her jump-stop finish right on the beat.

They just did single lateral twists as a sort of throwaway move :jaw:. Isabelle did triple laterals, I think. Certainly doubles. It was one of her signature elements.
I think she may have done triples but the one in the video I posted earlier in this thread is a double if I recall correctly. Isabelle had a rib injury (again, if I recall correctly) and they opted to do double lateral twist.

I think pairs nowadays, with all the requirements is not allowing for these moves.... like the axel double twist. In some ways, the OP is mentioning about the lost art of the death spiral but are we losing a bit the art of pair skating since it's becoming more one-note these days ? The programs are so similar, their content too. Something needs to happen I guess... we will see. This is perhaps why I am such a Deanna and Max fan because they are doing things others aren't doing... same with Lubov and partners...
 

Diana Delafield

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Oct 22, 2022
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I think she may have done triples but the one in the video I posted earlier in this thread is a double if I recall correctly. Isabelle had a rib injury (again, if I recall correctly) and they opted to do double lateral twist.

I think pairs nowadays, with all the requirements is not allowing for these moves.... like the axel double twist. In some ways, the OP is mentioning about the lost art of the death spiral but are we losing a bit the art of pair skating since it's becoming more one-note these days ? The programs are so similar, their content too. Something needs to happen I guess... we will see. This is perhaps why I am such a Deanna and Max fan because they are doing things others aren't doing... same with Lubov and partners...
I don't normally agree with my contemporaries when they say about virtually everything "it was better in our day", but I do think pairs programs were more interesting thirty, forty years ago. There was much more going on and much more variety. Today's pairs have to take too much time over each element with triple jumps, long lifts with multiple changes of position and the like, so they don't have time to put in all the little extras we did. Make those elements as done today required, and you end up with Cookie Cutter Syndrome, where everyone does the same things in pretty much the same order. They only have time to fit in all the required things.

And I won't get started on those vulgar lift positions, with the woman tangling herself up in a knot and then her partner coasting around carrying that bundle over his head in one hand, like a waiter with an overloaded tray of dishes. I'll take Barb Underhill's favourite lift position any time, a split into a rock-steady crossed foot platter or handstand.
 
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