World Pros Review - Technical Programs

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by Ann Lewi » Tue, 15 Dec 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> First up was Oksana Bayul, who skated the ??Ballet/Bach program in a
> black lace dress.  I love this program and find it very powerful and
> evocative, but unfortunately she popped the triple lutz.

Hmmmm.  Methinks that she's off the wagon.  <g>

Quote:
> Overall, this was a good performance for
> Oksana and she may have been a little unlucky to skate first.

Luck has nothing to do with it.  If she had talent, she would have
placed higher than LAST.  LAST PLACE is alll she deserves. <giggle>
 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by Eda Tseinye » Wed, 16 Dec 1998 04:00:00

This is a SPOILER for those people who don't want to know results until
the event is shown on TV.  

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

I have never been to*** Button's World Professional Championships
before, and it would take great effort to convince me to go again.  I
think I would be more willing to go if it were simply a pro event with
no pretense of legitimate judging.  I've never attended a "pro-am" event
before and the whole thing seemed awkward and badly thought out.  I went
primarily to watch the ice dance competition, which was disappointing
and weak.  Adding professional ice dance couples like Susanna Rahkamo &
Petri Kokko, or even Diane Gerencser & Pasquale Camerlango, would have
made for a much more interesting and diverse competition.  As it was,
the main interest in dance was the off-ice publicity campaigns on both
sides of the fence.  As I entered the
MCI Center on Friday night, I was handed a flyer (by a woman who was
probably the infamous aunt) detailing the individual achievements of
Pasha and Sasha and building them up.  Meanwhile, a campaign to hand out
noise-makers to support Maya and Yevgeni was nipped in the bud by arena
security.

I didn't take detailed notes because I was sure many other people would,
and so I tried to take a few photos from my seats, which wasn't too
successful since I was in a corner on the opposite side of the judges.
I spent most of my time literally or figuratively scratching my head and
feeling confused.  My principal desire was to go back to nice, normal
eliglible skating, where I may not understand all the results all the
time but at least I have some hope of finding somebody who can explain
it to me.  In any case, here are some of my thoughts and impressions on
the competition from my seat in the corner.

A representative from corporate sponsor Equal Sweetener spoke each night
and noted that for each triple jump landed, the company would be
donating money to charity (diabetes).  Yagudin and Kwan did most of the
work for this worthy cause (and of course, to earn their commemorative
turkey platters), while Woetzel & Steuer donated two triples
themselves.  I don't know if throw triples counted, but this turned out
to be moot.  ;^)  The evening got off to a spectacular start when the
reigning Miss America, who apparently focuses on diabetes charity work,
sang the National Anthem in several different keys.  I was nearly in
hysterics, but somehow managed to control myself.  Philippe Candeloro
was in the audience, looking tres chic in a long duster coat, and doing
commentary for a French channel.  Also spotted off ice were Elvis Stojko
and Anzhelika Krylova.

PAIRS TECHNICAL PROGRAMS

First to skate were Mandy Woetzel & Ingo Steuer of Germany, who did
their "Out of Africa" number in unappealing green costumes; Mandy's
looked bought off the rack at Banana Republic.  Their speed over the ice
is fantastic and they began with spectacular side by side triple toe
loops.  They mixed eligible pairs lifts with pro moves, and for some
reason did not include a split twist.  Neither pairs spin was very good,
but they hit the throw double axel and had some nice variations on the
traditional moves.  

Next up were Yelena Leonova & Andrei Khvalko, using the very often used
"Live at the Acropolis" music by Yanni and wearing
tie-dye/multi-coloured blueish costumes with fringey bits.   They were
noticeably slower than W&S and don't have as much e***ment in their
skating, although some individual moves are impressive, particularly the
split lift that evolves into a split Detroiter variation.  They also had
better unison that W&S in this performance, with excellent SBS 2 axels
and flying spins.  She did brush the ice with her free foot on the throw
2 axel.

Last to skate were Oksana Kazakova & Artur Dmitriev, using a Frank
Sinatra program ("Fly Me to the Moon").  What is it with Artur and
The Chairman of the Board?  They wore black and white costumes, Artur's
with a plunging ruffly neckline and much illusion fabric.  This was a
cute program, but a little dull.  This was not an exciting night of
pairs skating.  They included clean SBS 2 axels, triple twist, throw
"whatever," but popped the throw 3 toe to a double.  Overall, they had
the speed of W&S, the unison of L&K, lots of innovative moves, and some
charm too.  The program just needs a bit more oomph.

WOMEN'S TECHNICAL PROGRAMS

First up was Oksana Bayul, who skated the ??Ballet/Bach program in a
black lace dress.  I love this program and find it very powerful and
evocative, but unfortunately she popped the triple lutz.  Salchow and
toe loop were fine, long posing sections, a double toe, and then a
double axel that is supposed to be landed on the final beat of the music
or just one second after, but it was a bit later and lost some
of its impact.  I still like the idea of landing the jump and holding
the landing in silence.  Overall, this was a good performance for
Oksana and she may have been a little unlucky to skate first.

For the much-anticipated "Ariane," Michelle Kwan wore a Yamaguchi-esque
lilac dress and hit lots of triples - 3 lutz, 3 toe-2 toe, 3 loop, 3
flip, 3 sal, 3 lutz, 3 toe, and a 2 axel.  Combination spin was very
slow, spins in both directions nice, no extended spiral sequence, but a
nice split back spiral into a spin.  The music was engaging at some
points, boring at others, and there was very little connection to the
music, which is common for Kwan.  Not much footwork.  Overall nothing
new; people who love Kwan will probably like it and those who only "get
into" her infrequently, like me, will be bored.  

Yuka Sato was next, skating to the "Waltz of the Flowers" from "The
Nutcracker" in an ugly bright yellow dress.  She just barely got
in the triple toe, and the triple loop (into 2 toe), but the sal
was fine.  2 axel was on a lean but okay.  Fast, gorgeous spins,
wonderful use of the music and connecting steps.  But the program
felt a bit long to me and wasn't perhaps as interesting as some
of the other programs she has done.

I was thrilled to see Chen Lu wearing her dress for "Butterfly Lovers"
and although she can't seem to get the jumps anymore, this program
was beautiful to watch, an exquisite meeting of music and skater.
Nobody uses their arms and upper boy like Chen Lu, and the passion
that she had for "Claire de Lune" and the Rachmaninov Concerto #2
came in with total body movement and sumptuous gestures.   She could
jump only a 3 toe, 2 axel and then botched a 3 loop and I just did
not care, the quality of her movement is so unique and so moving to
me.  I'm still glad I got to see this program in person.

Nicole Bobek skated next, doing her "Zorro" eligible competitive
short program in the over-glittering toreador outfit.  Big triple
lutz to begin with (no comment on any change of edge since it was
impossible for me to tell from my seat, but unfortunately with
Nicole we can assume it was from an inside edge), 3 toe, turned
out of a 3 loop that was thrown in, and then a double salchow.
Fast spins, especially for the last combination spin.  Steps,
spirals and Latin attitude were all great.  It's so exciting to
see Nicole when she is on.

Last up was veteran Katarina Witt in a grey mesh dress that
reminded me of chain mail.  Unfortunately, this program was quite
a struggle for her, with an overrated double axel that she stepped
out of, sort of a layback, and then fell out of a double flip (I
think it was a flip).  Moreover, she was slow and did not cover most
of the ice in the program.  The footwork in particular did not move.  
The music was also some kind of "chick music," a genre I'd hear much
more of in the artistic numbers.

ICE DANCE TECHNICAL PROGRAMS

Only having three dance teams was already disappointing, but even
the warm-up for the dance event looked forboding.  Usova & Platov
and Grishchuk & Zhulin both have about half the speed of Grishchuk
& Platov.  There weren't even any exciting near-collisions.  Blah.

First to skate were Maya Usova & Yevgeni Platov, who wore black
(him) and red (her) and skated to some dreadful heavy metal ballad.
Yevgeni's costume reminded me of Mike Weiss' "Mulan" outfit (the
"ripped flesh" motif), whereas Maya's looked like Pasha's orangey
red outfit for "Frozen."  I never imagined that I would see Maya
in anything that made her look heavy.  Of course, she is tiny,
but the dress (actually a pantsuit sort of thing) was awful on her.
The program was fairly slow, contained lots of interesting lifts
and pro dance moves, almost no footwork, and I felt that it had
no connection to the music or anything that could remotely be
considered "dance" beside the fact that music was playing at the
same time.

Liz Punsalan & Jerod Swallow of the U.S. performed their tango free
dance from last year, the most refined and technically competent
thing they've ever done and a good choice for this competition.
However, I did notice that she does a lot more of the difficult
footwork than he does.  They skated fairly close together (the
arms-length thing was what I always picked on them for in the past)
and overall this was well-performed, smooth, but lacking in the
charisma factor.

Last up were Pasha Grishchuk & Aleksandr Zhulin, who wore white
mismatched sort of costumes (her in tight pants and crop top,
him in suit with black shirt underneath) and skated to "Smooth
Operator."  They had many of the same problems as U&P; they skated
a bit tentatively, started out fast but lost speed, skated too
far apart, and gave the impression of needing a lot more time
together to gel as a team and get the unison, to say nothing of
being able to increase the level of complexity in their
choreography.  Both teams had a lot of two-foot skating.  I would
give U&P the edge on smoother transitions.  However, I would have
placed G&Z ahead of U&P in this program because I felt that they
did a nice job of interpreting the dance rhythm of the music
and had a bit more in the way of connecting steps.  
...

read more »

 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by PegLew » Thu, 17 Dec 1998 04:00:00


writes:

Quote:
>This is a SPOILER for those people who don't want to know results until
>the event is shown on TV.  

Question: In part two, you mention that you felt the judging was suspect, but
you never explicitly addressed it except in dance. Were there other instances?

Peg

Any request to cancel this post is a forgery.



 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by Sally4s » Thu, 17 Dec 1998 04:00:00

Quote:
> there was very little connection to the
>music, which is common for Kwan

Eda, I think this is an interesting comment.  First of all, I will have to
retort:  "Yes, that's your opinion."  I know you don't like Kwan, but to say
that she her lack of connection to the music is "common" is, in my own humble
opinion, incorrect.  I do, however, agree that, at times, she is
overchoreographed and pays more attention to the choreography or what she is
"supposed" to do.  For example, I think that Kwan is "supposed" to or has been
told to do a little leg movement during her entry into her triple lutz combo.
It is there in every program and there is very little sense to it.  Also, in
Lyra Angelica, there is a point in the program where she is skating backward
and throws her arms into the air to accent the music.  Unfortunately, she had a
very hard time placing that movement right at the time of the accent and it
often came before or after the place it was choreographed to come.  Does that
make sense?  So yes, she is does lack connection to the music at times.
However, with programs such as a Romanza or Rachmaninoff, I felt that she was
very much "in" her music, that she could improvize that type of music.  Anyway,
I thought that your your "common" comment was a little "across the board" for
my taste, as though all other people know the commonality of Kwan's lack of
connection to the music.  I don't think it is common.  I think it is
occasional.  Yup, my opinion, coming from a skating fan that roots for Nicole
like mad, but thinks her "connection" to her music is sloppy and often
uninteresting, as, I believe, is her taste in music.  

SallyH

 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by Eda Tseinye » Thu, 17 Dec 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> > there was very little connection to the
> >music, which is common for Kwan
> Eda, I think this is an interesting comment.  First of all, I will have to
> retort:  "Yes, that's your opinion."  I know you don't like Kwan, but to say
> that she her lack of connection to the music is "common" is, in my own humble
> opinion, incorrect.  

First of all, I don't dislike Michelle Kwan; I just find her overrated,
and I do like to play devil's advocate with some of the goopy "angels
and clouds" fans she has.  Like Kristi Yamaguchi, I don't mind watching
Michelle, but she doesn't interest me as much as many others do.  I
don't begrudge her her wins when she earns them, but sometimes I don't
completely understand her high marks.  

Quote:
>I do, however, agree that, at times, she is
> overchoreographed and pays more attention to the choreography or what she is
> "supposed" to do.  

Kwan is a graceful, polished skater, but I don't find her to be a very
soulful or musical skater, and I simply prefer the skaters who are.  She
sometimes comes across to me as mechanical, and I never liked the
Rachmaninov short program that sent most people into raptures.  

Quote:
> However, with programs such as a Romanza or Rachmaninoff, I felt that she was
> very much "in" her music, that she could improvize that type of music.  

I could propose that her lack of connection to the music shows up less
clearly with faster and more dramatic music and movements.  ;^)  

Quote:
>Anyway,
> I thought that your your "common" comment was a little "across the board" for
> my taste, as though all other people know the commonality of Kwan's lack of
> connection to the music.  I don't think it is common.  I think it is
> occasional.  

I'm sorry that my comment irritated you, but of course that kind of
statement (about connection to the music) is just an opinion!

Eda

 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by Ellen B. Edgert » Thu, 17 Dec 1998 04:00:00

: First of all, I don't dislike Michelle Kwan; I just find her overrated,
: and I do like to play devil's advocate with some of the goopy "angels
: and clouds" fans she has.

In other words, your posts about Michelle's skating are partly about your
lack of response to her actual skating, and partly about your loathing of
a particular contingent of her fans.  :-)  Well, at least you're honest.

It seems to me that it's Kwan's *image* (in the minds of some) that you
are often keeping in mind when you see her.  I understand that a skater is
never really just a skater -- they're also an image, whether it is one
that is aggressively marketed, or one that gets somehow passed around from
fan to fan.  Is it possible to separate the larger-than-life perceptions
from "just the skating"?  

Not to read too much into you (since we haven't met) but is it possible
that your reaction to Michelle isn't just wholly about her skating, but
also about what she represents to you?  (which is clearly not what she
represents to certain others?)  This isn't meant to be a criticism of what
you've said or how you see things, but your frank comments (about playing
devil's advocate to some fans) make me curious for your views on this.

 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by TCAX » Thu, 17 Dec 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>: First of all, I don't dislike Michelle Kwan; I just find her overrated, :

and I do like to play devil's advocate with some of the goopy "angels  and
clouds" fans she has.
Quote:


>In other words, your posts about Michelle's skating are partly about your lack

of response to her actual skating, and partly about your loathing of a
particular contingent of her fans.  :-)  Well, at least you're honest.
Quote:

>It seems to me that it's Kwan's *image* (in the minds of some) that you are

often keeping in mind when you see her.  I understand that a skater is never
really just a skater -- they're also an image, whether it is one that is
aggressively marketed, or one that gets somehow passed around from fan to fan.
Is it possible to separate the larger-than-life perceptions from "just the
skating"?  
*********
Very hard to for many people. Including myself.   Look at the strong reactions
to Boitano, Kwan, Lipinki, Stojko, Kulik, Todd, etc.  I myself, while admiring
some aspects of (fill in the blank with any of the above per your preference)
skating, never could see why some painted rapturoursly his/her every program
like some sort of artistic  revelation.

And then we get the strong reactions to people who react to the strong
reactions of others  about certain skaters.
*******************

Quote:

>Not to read too much into you (since we haven't met) but is it possible that

your reaction to Michelle isn't just wholly about her skating, but also about
what she represents to you?  (which is clearly not what she represents to
certain others?)  This isn't meant to be a criticism of what you've said or how
you see things, but your frank comments (about playing devil's advocate to some
fans) make me curious for your views on this
****************
 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by Pope Jocko MLX » Fri, 18 Dec 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

>Not to read too much into you (since we haven't met) but is it possible
>that your reaction to Michelle isn't just wholly about her skating, but
>also about what she represents to you?  (which is clearly not what she
>represents to certain others?)  This isn't meant to be a criticism of what
>you've said or how you see things, but your frank comments (about playing
>devil's advocate to some fans) make me curious for your views on this.

Or perhaps a reaction to one more instance of the hype-happy society
trying to elevate a nice little girl to mythic proportions.  Right up
there with Jesse "The Bod".  I mean we get put thru this by the media
and PR people so often that we pre-emptively react with disgust. It
might not always be fair to the person being hyped, but what can you
do when you are hyped to death?  I'd love to take all the PR people,
line them up against a wall, and, well, you know  (BEFORE the lawyers,
some of whom do useful things like write wills and fight employer
discrimination.....whereas I can't see that PR people do anything
useful at all)
 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by Pope Jocko MLX » Fri, 18 Dec 1998 04:00:00

On Wed, 16 Dec 1998 10:08:22 -0500, Eda Tseinyev

Quote:

>First of all, I don't dislike Michelle Kwan; I just find her overrated,
>and I do like to play devil's advocate with some of the goopy "angels
>and clouds" fans she has.  Like Kristi Yamaguchi, I don't mind watching
>Michelle, but she doesn't interest me as much as many others do.  I
>don't begrudge her her wins when she earns them, but sometimes I don't
>completely understand her high marks.  

I think this is true. In fact, the most common thing with all skaters
today is to over-rate them.  Not to take anything away from the
quadmasters.  Their achievement is undeniable. But some of the other
judgments, such as "historic" levels of presentation do not, I think,
hold water.  I really don't think that much has been added to
presentation since the days of Janet Lynn.  Most of the increasing
skill comes in the technical area.  
 
 
 

World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by Trudi Marrapo » Fri, 18 Dec 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> I'd love to take all the PR people,
> line them up against a wall, and, well, you know  (BEFORE the lawyers,
> some of whom do useful things like write wills and fight employer
> discrimination.....whereas I can't see that PR people do anything
> useful at all)

Hey...I'm a PR person...

Trudi

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Don't reply with angry/clever posts of your own!

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World Pros Review - Technical Programs

Post by PegLew » Fri, 18 Dec 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
MLXIV) writes:
>Or perhaps a reaction to one more instance of the hype-happy society
>trying to elevate a nice little girl to mythic proportions.

Blame it on society. Don't form your own opinions independent of same. Is that
what you're suggesting? I think it's absurd to base opinions on hype or
kneejerk reaction to hype, or to fan behavior, or anything other than a
personal evaluation of the thing/person under consideration.

Quote:
>  Right up there with Jesse "The Bod".  

I don't see the connection, but then I'm not living in Minnesota, so you've got
a completely different perspective on that hype. But again, why base your
opinion on hype (by either getting sucked up in it, or reacting against it)? Be
independent! Make up your own mind!

Quote:
>I mean we get put thru this by the media
>and PR people so often that we pre-emptively react with disgust.

I don't react that way. I exercise my right to think independently.

Quote:
> It
>might not always be fair to the person being hyped, but what can you
>do when you are hyped to death?

Stick to your ground and use your own brain.

Quote:
> I'd love to take all the PR people,
>line them up against a wall, and, well, you know  (BEFORE the lawyers,
>some of whom do useful things like write wills and fight employer
>discrimination.....whereas I can't see that PR people do anything
>useful at all)

But that's just empowering them. Don't let them anger you or seduce you.
They're just doing a job, like selling Fuller brushes or selling groceries. You
don't *have* to buy what they're selling, and you don't have to try to
eradicate them instead. Just *don't* buy the merchandise. Make up your own
mind.

Peg, who will *never* understand why people let others color their thoughts for
them

Any request to cancel this post is a forgery.