Underrated choreographers

theharleyquinn

Medalist
Joined
Feb 25, 2014
I would say the most resent competitive program of her is/was Medvedeva's 2018-19 SP.
Evgenia of course felt not yet ready to skate this program but choreography itself, I dare to say that it was a real gem.

I think she is exactly the type of skater I could see Sandra being inspired by to choreograph more for competitions again. She may see a bit of Katarina in her.
 

cohen-esque

Final Flight
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
I personally don't see the need (for me at least) to analyze how exactly every single movement would match the musical phrasing... I think that's very mathematical, and some music doesn't lend itself to "clearly matching" movements.
I focused a lot on the many individual movements mostly because of the context of the posts I was following, about the business and multitude of moves.

With Kostornaia’s program, the parts of it I thought were successful just all happened to be individual movements or very short sequences. For the rest of the program I thought it failed both as “every single movement” and as longer sequences of movements. It isn’t necessarily that those sections aren’t a 1:1 match with the musical phrasing, although the repeated matching of multiple big choreographic highlights to the music does really drive home how mismatched the other sections are by comparison. It’s that I also didn’t think they achieved much of anything else. She could have gone more conceptual—I think they tried, but if so I don’t think they were at all successful—or just carried a mood or something, but I thought the musical feeling and the feel of her movements weren’t matched, and the feeling of the movements themselves was neither consistent, nor contrasting in any good way.

I think any music you’ll ever hear in skating lends itself to matching movements. Every note or nuance doesn’t need to have its own movement, that would be awful. But there’s a feeling and character to every piece, and the movements can be designed to accentuate that. Or there can be a theme, or a concept, or a character, or a story, that’s captured in the music, and the choreography can be designed with that particular character/concept/narrative in mind. We all know that skating is replete with character pieces, for instance. For another example in juniors, I thought Kanysheva had a nice conceptual type of free program. But if there is no overarching concept or mood or character or story, then I think there’s nothing else left but to pay attention to the music itself and try to match the phrase and form as closely as possible, and let that carry you along. I didn’t think Kostornaia’s program successfully managed to do any of that.

I am curious if you think her Adios Nonino program is choreographed, although that one was done by Eteri I think.
It still definitely doesn’t rise to what I’d consider a masterpiece, nor is it my favorite program to this music. But I do like it much better. That program captures the feeling of the music better, although not perfectly; it’s still brought down by the same kind of busywork I disliked about the other one and Kostornaia’s own interpretative limits. The spins are a little more well-placed, and the jump entries which were literally just copy-pasted into the new program work better with this music. The design of movements in the Adios program is also better; they’re more varied and interesting, and just makes better use of her space. I think the pattern itself is more interesting on the whole. The contrasts in speed and mood are more meaningful. I think she paid more attention to her delivery of the movements, as well..

I’m wondering now how much of his staple choreographic set pieces Daniil originally cribbed from Eteri, though, or if it was vice versa.
 

withwings

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
No, I misunderstood part of withwings post. I didn't know Medvedeva skated that program at least once. Now I need to go find video. :)


It is my clumsy expression in English, not your misunderstanding of my post, Ic3Rabbit!
I have to be more careful with my posting :)...
 

withwings

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
I might have misunderstood your post, but— we have seen it; she did the Orange Colored Sky short from the beginning of the season. That’s what withwings was referring to. (David Wilson was also involved with the choreography. I’m not sure how much of the work was split between them.)

Thank you!
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
whole post

First, I sincerely believe that the method of criticism that I call “getting close to the wall, and studying the irregularities of the bricks, instead of admiring the architecture of the building” is not well suited to the description and study of art. Art operates with whole, complex, images. Select a separate movement and say "I do not think that it is necessary" this is an approximate same thing as isolating a separate sound element from a chord. You just destroy chord. You can describe Mona Lisa in the language of the police report. But who needs it?

Second, when you write like:

There’s no reason for them to be there, they don’t correspond to the music as she does them.

or

they seem out of place or even contradictory next to the atmosphere that had already starting to be built up.

on your part it would be nice to add "... for me". People are different. Playing the piano of our souls is very difficult for a creators. The "chord" of movements that will cause a flash of images and emotions in one person can leave the other indifferent. And this is absolutely normal and natural cuz people are complex creatures. And in such cases, polite people say "this is not my cup of tea".
 

cohen-esque

Final Flight
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
First, I sincerely believe that the method of criticism that I call “getting close to the wall, and studying the irregularities of the bricks, instead of admiring the architecture of the building” is not well suited to the description and study of art. Art operates with whole, complex, images. Select a separate movement and say "I do not think that it is necessary" this is an approximate same thing as isolating a separate sound element from a chord. You just destroy chord. You can describe Mona Lisa in the language of the police report. But who needs it?

If you take the time to inspect the bricks, then you’ll be a lot less surprised when the whole damn building comes crashing down.

Pretty much anyone who’s ever painted—professionally, as a student, even just as a hobby—knows that adding too many unnecessary elements ruins the entire image. And a professor or a critic will say: “What was the point of adding this and this and this? ....You’ve really just diminished the impact.” Or: “It seems like you didn’t spare any thought towards space and balance when you threw all this down.” The critic will usually say it less nicely, though. This same idea is true of musical composition, of choreography, of all design.

Otherwise I think I and others have essentially covered my basic thoughts about the “bigger picture” already in this thread, and so there’s not much point in rehashing it here.

...on your part it would be nice to add "... for me".

To refer you to the first paragraph my post, among other things:
I’ll just [...] point out my most obvious impressions from the program...
...I like the placement of...
...I also don’t know what they’re supposed to be conveying...
...I don’t like her execution of...
...I do enjoy the impression that’s created while she's doing those deep edges after the 2A. She sells that moment better than any other IMO...
...I do think, though, that at the end of this sequence...
...I though[t] that these extra moves actually served to detract from...
Embarrassing to see my typos, though.

And in such cases, polite people say "this is not my cup of tea".
As opposed to the kind of people who declare their particular cup to tea to be the best and most masterfully brewed cup of tea, try and pour it down your throat, and have a meltdown at anyone who dares to say they’re happier drinking something else...
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
To refer you to the first paragraph my post, among other things:

Embarrassing to see my typos, though.

Interesting. I do not understand. Does this seem to be a series of extenuating expressions? Perhaps this is a language barrier cuz i' don't get it. If there are Russians who know English well, explain what she means? Is it some kind of softening speech?

I saw your message as a series of uncompromising statements. May be a wrong, and your wrote nice in your own language.

UPD. I mean, for example, why did you bold "thought":
"I thought that these extra moves actually served to detract from..."
what this bold mean?

UPD2. And this - "then you’ll be a lot less surprised when the whole damn building comes crashing down" - this is definitely not nice.
Well, that goes beyond all decency. I understand that you may not like the dominance of Russian ladies. Fine. But talking with such expressions about the best team in Russia is not good. I urge you to cultural appeal.
 

cohen-esque

Final Flight
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
explain what she means?
They might have a hard time with that, seeing as I’m not a woman.

Is it some kind of softening speech?

I saw your message as a series of uncompromising statements. May be a wrong, and your wrote nice in your own language.

UPD. I mean, for example, why did you bold "thought":
"I thought that these extra moves actually served to detract from..."
what this bold mean?

I was illustrating that I thought I had made it perfectly clear that I was expressing my own opinions. Of course I made uncompromising statements: I know what I think. No point compromising my own opinions when giving them is literally what I’m trying to do.

Often, in English the preface “I think” is kind of a softening expression, actually. It necessarily means it’s your own interpretation, and so not necessarily correct or true. It implies that if you can think this, someone else can think that. In this case, it would mean exactly the same thing if I had written, “For me, these moves actually served to detract from...”

And this - "then you’ll be a lot less surprised when the whole damn building comes crashing down" - this is definitely not nice.
Well, that goes beyond all decency. I understand that you may not like the dominance of Russian ladies. Fine. But talking with such expressions about the best team in Russia is not good.
I am utterly indifferent to the dominance of the Russian ladies. I do not care where the winners come from as long as there are chances for all countries to send skaters to events and develop their teams, and there are. I was not even talking about the Russian Ladies team. It was a general point about the importance of details.

I urge you to cultural appeal.
And now I don’t understand.
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Pretty much anyone who’s ever painted—professionally, as a student, even just as a hobby—knows that adding too many unnecessary elements ruins the entire image. And a professor or a critic will say: “What was the point of adding this and this and this? ....You’ve really just diminished the impact.” Or: “It seems like you didn’t spare any thought towards space and balance when you threw all this down.” The critic will usually say it less nicely, though. This same idea is true of musical composition, of choreography, of all design.

And do you perceive yourself as such a professor? :) In fact, communication of such a tonality is possible only between a professor and a student. Between the master and those who are still only at the initial stage of development. You and Gleichenhaus are in completely opposite positions.

For me, your method of researching choreography it's just overly detailed description of movements and gestures. So detailed that it kills the overall composition. I will continue your analogy - look at this painting. It's as if you were talking: "What is the meaning of the red-orange little square in the upper left corner of the picture?" or "why rectangle of flame yellow color in the center is bounded to the right and top by dark blue stripes? There’s no reason for them to be there, they don’t correspond to the local color set ", etc :)
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Often, in English the preface “I think” is kind of a softening expression, actually. It necessarily means it’s your own interpretation, and so not necessarily correct or true. It implies that if you can think this, someone else can think that. In this case, it would mean exactly the same thing if I had written, “For me, these moves actually served to detract from...”

Okey. Interesting, thanks. In Russian, this is not so. Even, perhaps, the opposite. When you write something like - "Думаю, эти движения в действительности..." (direct google-translation: I think these movements actually...) you, perhaps, strengthen your point of view, indirectly emphasize that this is your personal, thoughtful point of view (and not that you heard it somewhere on the forum).

And now I don’t understand.

I made a typo on russian (when use google-translation), sorry :) "обращение instead "общение" . I mean - "I urge you to cultural communication"
 

cohen-esque

Final Flight
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
And do you perceive yourself as such a professor? :) In fact, communication of such a tonality is possible only between a professor and a student. Between the master and those who are still only at the initial stage of development. You and Gleichenhaus are in completely opposite positions.
Well, no. I guess in this case, I consider myself to be more like the critic. But I certainly didn’t mean to imply Daniil is the master in this scenario. He's the student. Or to use your expression, he’s the one at only the initial stage of development. It's the program that's being criticized and he is the one who created the program.

For me, your method of researching choreography it's just overly detailed description of movements and gestures. So detailed that it kills the overall composition.
I’ve already explained elsewhere the context behind why my post focused so much on individual movements and musical phrasing— it was in response to several posts about how others are just left with the impression of a busy “move move move move jump move move move” programs by Daniil and lack of real musical connections. In fact, I was really just basically pointing out the unnecessary elements that, to me, kill the overall composition, as it were, within that fairly narrow lens.

But that’s the thing. I gave, as I said, only a superficial overview, and it was only based around that one particular aspect of the choreography. I really did not go into very much detail about the program, the movements, the gestures. I'm honestly surprised that many people seem to think that I did, and it makes me feel like they think of and experience art only on a very superficial level. But then again, pretty much any level of detail on these forums can be lacking, so maybe it's an anomaly.

I mainly just considered some very obvious aspects of the musical phrasing and some major choreographic moments/passages that went along with them. Since I decided to cut off my post to only the first half of her program, I didn’t even really go into the relationship between the choreography and the musical form. I did not analyze every gesture, every upper body movement, every movement of her arms and legs and head throughout every single turn. I didn’t even begin to get into the pattern and the design of the program from the perspective of the variety and contrast of movement, of the form and shape of them, which is my least favorite aspect of the program. The speed, type, and frequency of movements and position changes as compared to the speed and structure of the music wasn’t something I explicitly went into, either, even though it's a frequent issue with skating programs.

I also didn’t really go much into the actual feeling of the music and her movements from my point of view; how I think the music actually feels, what specific emotions it invokes, the feelings that her movements invoke, whether those things match, whether they’re consistent; what kinds of movements and arrangement that I think would best convey that feeling; and so on. I was trying to avoid getting into the most subjective aspects, to avoid saying what I thought would be better, but in hindsight, I think that was a mistake because it makes the whole thing feel pretty cold and limited.

But as I also have said both in my original post elsewhere in the thread: it’s not just about the individual moves and gestures. When I look at the whole composition I just get nothing. It doesn’t make me feel anything but bored when I step back and consider it as a whole program, and as an ongoing viewing experience, it even makes me mildly annoyed at some points. I don’t understand what the concept is actually supposed to be, or if there really is even a concept at all; what the program is supposed to be conveying; how the choreography as specific movements, as specific passages, as entire sections, or as a whole program serves to complement the music and communicate anything. It’s all just blah to me.

And on a broader level, I don’t understand the criticism of considering the individual components of a program when analyzing the choreography. Do people think that Daniil or any choreographer can just go out on the ice and come up with an entire program on the spot, without giving any thought at all to the construction? Thinking about the individual movements and their connection to the music and the theme, and the way that those individual elements are joined together is integral to the process of creating any composition.

A post that encompassed all of those things in detail would have been thousands and thousands of words long, though, and it was about 5 in the morning when I wrote mine so I was not about to do that.

I will continue your analogy - look at this painting. It's as if you were talking: "What is the meaning of the red-orange little square in the upper left corner of the picture?" or "why rectangle of flame yellow color in the center is bounded to the right and top by dark blue stripes? There’s no reason for them to be there, they don’t correspond to the local color set ", etc :)

*shrugs* When I see that image I immediately think of a sunset. (Which is already an improvement over the program Daniil gave to Alyona for me, since I actually get something out of it.) The yellow in the center is bounded at the top by the dark blue because that’s how the colors of a sunset are distributed: brighter, stronger colors centered around the sun (lighter yellow center) fading to less saturated colors (oranges and darker reds) and the darkening sky (blues). The colors aren't just arranged randomly, but sort of in an kaleidoscopic array around the center in a basically blue--red orange-- blue pattern; that sort of fractal, predictable breaking of the different colors into mostly distinct units makes me think of viewing though carved glass like what might decorate a door or something, where it isn't a clear image and instead there are distortive and filtering effects. But that's just my interpretation, and I don't think that what is being depicted is very important for this painting, which is why it's abstracted; it's more about the interplay of the colors themselves.

I guess someone could feel similarly about Kostornaia’s program. “Angel in the abstract,” maybe? And there’s always the possibility that maybe I’m completely wrong, and the painter didn’t create this with the goal that it would be reminiscent of 'sunset through carved glass' at all. But it’s a point in favor of any competent work of art that it can communicate some coherent concept or theme to a viewer even when they have no way of knowing exactly what it was that the creator had in mind.
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
But that’s the thing. I gave, as I said, only a superficial overview, and it was only based around that one particular aspect of the choreography. I really did not go into very much detail about the program, the movements, the gestures. I'm honestly surprised that many people seem to think that I did, and it makes me feel like they think of and experience art only on a very superficial level. But then again, pretty much any level of detail on these forums can be lacking, so maybe it's an anomaly.

I mainly just considered some very obvious aspects of the musical phrasing and some major choreographic moments/passages that went along with them. Since I decided to cut off my post to only the first half of her program, I didn’t even really go into the relationship between the choreography and the musical form. I did not analyze every gesture, every upper body movement, every movement of her arms and legs and head throughout every single turn. I didn’t even begin to get into the pattern and the design of the program from the perspective of the variety and contrast of movement, of the form and shape of them, which is my least favorite aspect of the program. The speed, type, and frequency of movements and position changes as compared to the speed and structure of the music wasn’t something I explicitly went into, either, even though it's a frequent issue with skating programs.

I also didn’t really go much into the actual feeling of the music and her movements from my point of view; how I think the music actually feels, what specific emotions it invokes, the feelings that her movements invoke, whether those things match, whether they’re consistent; what kinds of movements and arrangement that I think would best convey that feeling; and so on. I was trying to avoid getting into the most subjective aspects, to avoid saying what I thought would be better, but in hindsight, I think that was a mistake because it makes the whole thing feel pretty cold and limited.

But as I also have said both in my original post elsewhere in the thread: it’s not just about the individual moves and gestures. When I look at the whole composition I just get nothing. It doesn’t make me feel anything but bored when I step back and consider it as a whole program, and as an ongoing viewing experience, it even makes me mildly annoyed at some points. I don’t understand what the concept is actually supposed to be, or if there really is even a concept at all; what the program is supposed to be conveying; how the choreography as specific movements, as specific passages, as entire sections, or as a whole program serves to complement the music and communicate anything. It’s all just blah to me.

Only one question - is there a program that meets your high demands? You can give a link to a video with a program about which you can say "this is it!" ?


*shrugs* When I see that image I immediately think of a sunset. (Which is already an improvement over the program Daniil gave to Alyona for me, since I actually get something out of it.) The yellow in the center is bounded at the top by the dark blue because that’s how the colors of a sunset are distributed: brighter, stronger colors centered around the sun (lighter yellow center) fading to less saturated colors (oranges and darker reds) and the darkening sky (blues). The colors aren't just arranged randomly, but sort of in an kaleidoscopic array around the center in a basically blue--red orange-- blue pattern; that sort of fractal, predictable breaking of the different colors into mostly distinct units makes me think of viewing though carved glass like what might decorate a door or something, where it isn't a clear image and instead there are distortive and filtering effects. But that's just my interpretation, and I don't think that what is being depicted is very important for this painting, which is why it's abstracted; it's more about the interplay of the colors themselves.

I guess someone could feel similarly about Kostornaia’s program. “Angel in the abstract,” maybe? And there’s always the possibility that maybe I’m completely wrong, and the painter didn’t create this with the goal that it would be reminiscent of 'sunset through carved glass' at all. But it’s a point in favor of any competent work of art that it can communicate some coherent concept or theme to a viewer even when they have no way of knowing exactly what it was that the creator had in mind.

Come on, choreography is always an abstraction. Yes, there is a common core of the "Angel" given by two musical themes: first - cold, detached, candid, the second - disturbing, rushing, darting. On this imposed concept - before us an Angel, which has undergone some transformation. That's it. Everything else is a personal interpretation of the viewer. Daniel has his own interpretation when created this, I have my own, you have your own. And it's wonderful, the nature of this art - figure skating (as well as abstract painting) is such that it is very tolerant to different interpretations. Thousands (or rather two hundred thousand) of different people looked at this program. They had thousands of interpretations. And many of them got aesthetic pleasure.

Okay, I see that we have very different approaches to the perception of art, so I think we should end the discussion. I'm only interested in answering my first question in this post. I really want to see what is beautiful in your eyes :)
 

Roo87

Medalist
Joined
Nov 12, 2017
What Lance Vipond did for Kaetlyn was something special, maybe one of the best ladies SP of all time.
 

Shani

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 11, 2014
Probably Stephan Lambiel who has a great young group of skaters he is training and creating programs for. They seem to connect well with him at European and World events. Lets see where he is in 5 years as a coach and choreographer.
 

cohen-esque

Final Flight
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
Only one question - is there a program that meets your high demands? You can give a link to a video with a program about which you can say "this is it!" ?
LOL. I could give you many programs that I loved… my standards aren’t really that high. I mean, I don’t think there can be a literally perfect program, but it’s not some insurmountable task to make an enjoyable program for me. Even Daniil has managed that before.

I suppose you mean truly great and exceptionally choreographed programs. That’s tough, because I don’t exactly keep a list of what I think the very best choreographed programs are. And it would *not* be the same as a list of my favorite programs, because whether I enjoy watching a program is a lot more important to me than how good it actually is. Most of my favorite programs depend on very good choreography, coupled with absolutely outstanding interpretative and performing ability.

Michelle Kwan’s 1998 East of Eden is my favorite competitive singles program from a choreographic standpoint, but that was only at a pro-am, not a "real" event.

But if I really had to try and make a list of favorites that also have exceptionally good choreography, then in chronological order...

Savchenko/Massot 2017-18 La terre vue du ciel FS: I think the GPF ending was a better fit to the music, though the Olympic ending pose was more difficult and visually interesting.

Savchenko/Massot 2016-17 Lighthouse FS: this program is maybe slightly better choreographed than the Olympic season FS.

Sui/Han 2016-17 Blues for Kook SP

Gilles/Poirier 2013-14 Hitchcock FD: a rare program that is actually very creative.

Stéphane Lambiel 2007-08 Poeta FS: although I don't love the opening music

Sasha Cohen 2005-06 Dark Eyes SP; Romeo and Juliet FS

Shen/Zhao 2002-03 Turandot FS

Chen Lu 1997-98 Butterfly Lovers FS

Michelle Kwan 1995-96 Romanza SP

Chen Lu 1995-96 Spring Breeze SP: this program made good use of her spins choreographically despite them being her weakness technically.

Katarina Witt 1987-88 Carmen FS: this one is odd, because I think I could argue equally as well for it being a masterpiece as being just "good," but it's among my all-time favorite singles programs.

Goordeeva/Grinkov 1986-87 Jazzy Piano SP: my absolute favorite Step Sequence, bar none

Bestemianova/Bukin 1984-85 Carmen FD: a better program than Witt’s, although I don’t enjoy it as much

Torvill/Dean 1983-84 Bolero FD: an example of a brilliantly choreographed program which I don't actually like (ducks for cover).
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018

I really prefer female skating. So I looked at the first event lady on your list. What can I say .... we have radically different tastes :)
I understand that they have mediocre technique there in 2006, this is understandable. But what with her hands? They .... they are terrible (okey, "...for me" :)), sorry. They are like two little straight logs all the time ("...for me"). A lady skater can never reach me with such hands. I'm sorry again. This program leaves me completely cold. In fact, I don’t even understand how it can be compared with Kostornaya's "Angel". But, it's only mean that we are different person, with complitly different taste. And I will never impose my tastes, writing long stories about this program :) Okey, peace, man!
 

Lunalovesskating

Moonbear power 🐻
Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 3, 2018
I really prefer female skating. So I looked at the first event lady on your list. What can I say .... we have radically different tastes :)
I understand that they have mediocre technique there in 2006, this is understandable. But what with her hands? They .... they are terrible (okey, "...for me" :)), sorry. They are like two little straight logs all the time ("...for me"). A lady skater can never reach me with such hands. I'm sorry again. This program leaves me completely cold. In fact, I don’t even understand how it can be compared with Kostornaya's "Angel". But, it's only mean that we are different person, with complitly different taste. And I will never impose my tastes, writing long stories about this program :) Okey, peace, man!

Those "straight logs" are balletic arm positions. Sasha hit many arms positions from ballet during her programs, especially on the music accents. Sasha's mom was a ballerina, from whom Sasha got her talent for ballet from.
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Those "straight logs" are balletic arm positions. Sasha hit many arms positions from ballet during her programs, especially on the music accents. Sasha's mom was a ballerina, from whom Sasha got her talent for ballet from.
Sorry, i don't think so :) it’s definitely not the ballerina’s hands for me. But whatever, if it's ballerina’s hands for you - fine.
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Those "straight logs" are balletic arm positions. Sasha hit many arms positions from ballet during her programs, especially on the music accents. Sasha's mom was a ballerina, from whom Sasha got her talent for ballet from.

if you want to see the hands of a real ballerina, I recommend looking here. Not every girl who straightens her arms is a ballerina. This is a very big and difficult deal - hands.

UPD. Her hands are always tense. They never for a second become soft, flexible. Is that what? Who could like that?

UPD2. Come on, what are you talking about? What hands of a ballerina can be, for example, here? These are not hands, this is some kind of windmill. Who needs this? Who can admire this? Before each jump, she simply forgets about the existence of her hands. No, this is definitely not for me.

UPD3. I'm sorry for my harsh opinion, really. I understand that she is seems to be the treasure of the Americans, but it's not my cup of tea, sorry.
 
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