Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Worlds

As an FYI, I am in the middle of (trying to) travel, and I don't know what the internet situation will be when I arrive at my destination, although it's supposed to have WiFi. But it's also a very outdoorsy trip. I'll be away from my reliable internet, IOW, during most of Worlds.

Here's a placeholder:

10th place. Sheesh. No matter what my attitude has been, they're better than that.

Notable head styling on Marinaro. A little Evan Bates-ey.

I see Virtue Moir are still being cagey re their status AND have yet to go one way or the other about retirement.

We know how ice dance will play out, goldwise at Worlds. Enjoy it, P/C.

Kostner ahead of Zagitova? I need to check that out.

P.S. - re MTM 2, noticing the streamlined presentation. Wish they (and MTM V.1) had gone that way from the first.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

You be the judge

canadablue's clear, bite-sized, apples to apples PC versus VM comparisons

Someone should retweet to @LynnRutherford. It's a safe bet Rutherford would respond that canadablue is partisan, which is why someone should ask Lynn if she thinks the actual skating on evidence is partisan. I doubt she'd be able to say. We all know you need to be a super expert to discern these things.

Me, I love the butt jut call outs on Cizeron. Tired of Gabriella getting saddled with the role of the skater dragging down the team. No fan of her, but he's nowhere near top drawer. He's ragged. Show me a case of his sublime edgework, stroking, and beautiful, un-enabled glide. Just show me.

In the comments section of the preceding post, there was some discussion of 2002 Worlds and what a brouhaha ensued when the Israeli team beat the Lithunanians to the bronze.

Setting aside that outrage in figure skating is always super selective and ultra hypocritical, here is the Lithuanian free dance.




Here are the Israelis:




Who can tell? The Lithunanian program is exactly like most of the programs skated by most teams from 1999-2002, or it feels that way. It's bravura in style, with a lot of hair work by the woman, but how much skating is going on? He's on two feet much of the time, on a flat a lot of the time, and mostly uses his edges for stroking, working up the momentum for his next bout of flinging her around.

I'm not saying the Israeli skate deserved to finish ahead of the Lithuanians, but it's one of those cases where, if it WAS rigged, I can't get bent out of shape. Chait is unsteady at least once during her skate, but she's not being dragged and flung around as much as Drobiazko. In fact, they do more skating than the Lithuanians, more non-stroking skating. Assessing skating bona fides amidst the flinging and running, rotating and sliding, posing and presenting by Drobiazko Povilas is challenging. There's less gratuitous non-skating with Chait Sakhnovski, but yes, I'm left with the impression that if I sent the two teams stroking around the ice, the Lithuanians would be stronger. But with the content being what it is, how can all of those who protested the outcome assess who deserved to win. The good skaters who didn't do a whole lot of skating, or the lesser skaters who skated quite a bit, at least comparitively?

The Israelis probably are a cut or so below as far as skill level, but to balance that out, I prefer their costumes (the black and white is really refreshing for that era) and their skate-y (for 2002) program. And they're pretty.

Speaking of pretty:



And the team I understand is ice dance's latest wunderkinder:



We can see the difference, right? Anyone can. Yet among the internet fandom I believe Saucise Firus are gearing up for a PC-esque cult.

Is "ironic" the word for the prevalence of figure skating/ice dance fans who are bored to death by both skating and dance and prefer as little as possible in their ice dance programs? Whatever, they're in luck - the ice dance world agrees with them.


Skating. So nice to see in a skating program.
Please please don't let them
be Paul Islam'd. Somebody give them a
Fix You.

ETA - as I've done a lot, I again googled "lyrical contemporary, origins of" because, as our academic in the comments below surely realizes, "Modern" is relative. In certain historical contexts, it can mean a mere thousand years ago. In other contexts, "modern" can mean my Fitbit.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Same same same

Here's a chat from Chock Bates:

Chock Bates chat

They describe two of the requirements in ice dance (other than, you know, skating skills):

"You must have a beat, in both programs, that is one of the many rules."

So when it comes to Papadakis Cizeron, is the rule that the music have a beat, and it doesn't matter if they, the skaters, do?

And

"You have to have a change of rhythm, change of mood."

Okey doke. Obviously, an exception has been made for PC, this record-scoring free dance team.

My favorite comment:

"Picking music is definitely the most challenging process. You want to pick something that will stand out, and be different. Also, be different for you. You don't want to keep doing the same style of dance every year." Setting aside that Chock Bates themselves only really changed it up this year, Davis White and Papadakis Cizeron beg to differ.


 Let's look at 2014:



Of note, the supposedly sublime Cizeron wobbles like a son of a bitch when he attempts any type of one-foot when lifting Papadakis. Even on a flat. Oh I know, he is the god of skating skills, as long as he's on a flat. And even then it's iffy.

Notice how much skating is in this 2014 program. It's a lot of skating. They both keep their blades on the ice for extended periods of time, criss-crossing that rink. They finished in 13th place. There's a reason.

Been reading in the previous post's comment section that PC fans point to this program as evidence they can be versatile. Come on people, get a grip. The reason they don't DO programs such as this anymore is they don't want to end up in 13th place, or, more to the point, have skating fans think they should. Skating fans don't notice when a team two-foots throughout a program, does things one at a time, doesn't sustain, and performs dumbed down elements. As long as it looks smooth. Skating fans do notice when things are awkward and wobbly.

Their skating skills are the same as they were in 2014. Their programs changed, and the rules altered to help them out, so as not to expose them. They're fake.

Finally, my favorite program from when Virtue and Moir were juniors:


How many podium contending senior teams could do that today

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Oh so innovative


Papadakis and Cizeron are innovative, ground-breaking, all modern things, at least that's what their fans claim. Reinventing the wheel whenever they take the ice with their very very very very modern way of ice dancing.

Here's 57 year-old Sergei Ponomarenko, whose son Anthony is an ice dancer. Sergei won the 1992 Olympic gold medal in ice dance (in Albertville) with his partner/spouse, Marina Klimova.

The Artiste today(ish). So his gold
medal-winning days are awhile back.
There's a whole lot of lead up to this exhibition, but the point will be clear when they begin skating.



Papadakis & Cizeron's so-called breakthrough program was based on Le Parc, a 1990s "Modern" ballet that is more representational than dynamic, just what you want for an ice dance program. Looking at old Klimova/Ponomarenko, I'm wondering if PC's team went back to the 1990s for more than just Le Parc. But it just kills me that this lyrical arms stuff is seen by ANYBODY as avant garde (which, google tells me, means new, experimental. It means unusual ideas, particularly in the arts). Skating aside, in all of figure skating, including ice dance, lyrical ballet-ish is common as mud and has been for over thirty years.  One reason ice dance established specific elements for the free, IMO, was that, since the 1980s, lyrical ballet was taking the "discipline", at least where the free dance was concerned, into amorphous mush, where the sport piece of it could hardly be located. There was later some encouragement, for one hot second, to bring ballroom back to the free for a needed re-set before ice dance found itself sliding into complete irrelevancy. Particularly as the compulsory dance (required pattern) portion of the competition was being cut. The compulsories are where these 1990s ice dancers like Klimova Ponomorenko established their "ice DANCE" bona fides before venting their inner Isadora Duncan, or borrowing myopically (but innovatively!) from indigineous dance traditions in the free. So no matter what this show program looks like (or their 1992 Olympic championship program looks like), we know Klimova and Ponomorenko had to skate in closed hold and show mastery of a number of pattern dances/steps and footwork, in order to place themselves into contention before the free. Which is not something Papadakis & Cizeron have ever had to do.

****


Wanted to do this gif of their gala Goose. The bad ass
way she puts her arm behind her head, and the even
badder ass way she steps off without an assist.
You can see Scott drop the mic with his facial
expression (that's how I choose to read it), even if
it looks so easy many people just don't get it.
More than how they execute the elements, which is superior, it's how Scott and Tessa transition into and out of them that sets them so far above every other ice dance team.

Followed the gala on Goldenskate, then watched videos later. When P/C skated, one fan said "The GLIDE."  They are on two feet 90% of that skate. Scott and Tessa's exhibition was lift-centric and position change-centric in lifts, yet they were on their edges far more.

Some speculation on the boards as to who can possibly challenge PC in the next quad. (Provided VM retire, and please please please.) Well, good luck, ice dance. The reaction to them, generally and IMO, this entire competition, was a yawn outside their fan base. If they win everything from now til 2022 nobody's going to be watching. I don't know if I can stand another "actual skaters versus non-skaters" rivalry - in fact, I pretty much couldn't stand it this last go round. Maybe they'll come up with another non-skating team to go against PC's non-skating. Going by the judges, the US has made its bid in the deal room, but it probably won't be the Shibs.

P.S. - a truly wonderful fan cam of Virtue and Moir's fd. Most fan cams flatten out the performance, but this one is visceral:


Friday, February 23, 2018

These are their good twizzles

I'm not kidding. These are decent twizzles. If you stop motion any set of twizzles, you're going to catch small out of sync moments where one partner is slightly ahead, and it's the same here. However, essentially, when they are mid-twizzle, when you stop-play, they are at the same point in the spin.

The trouble happens during transitions.


This happens (image above) because Gabriella and Guillame's free legs are held at different angles, which is typical for them. He opens out of twizzle before she does, and clearly so, in real time. She's quick enough to catch up by the time they finish the turn, and their free legs hit the ice at the same time. However, him opening up before she does is very obvious. It's not because they're out of sync during the spins. It happens during the transition - she's behind, and it's because their angles don't match. Whoever has the issue, the other one should be matching it, but nobody bothers. Why should they. It's 10.0, L4 and + 3 regardless.

OK, this is a little obvious, but only if you look.
They really do match most of the time
when they're spinning (in this performance). By "match" 

I mean where they are in the rotation, not how they align their
bodies. Because that never happens. She's got her way,
he's got his way, but as long as they're both limpid and
relaxed, who cares.

Even some of their fans are calling on them to do
a different sort of program, as if they have genius
versatility they've been holding out on us. But I
really don't care. I just want them to quit this shit.
This is their go to move. I think it's over 50% of their
choreography. Squat, squat, squat (which is, of course,
a two-footed move. But they are two-footed "skaters")

Ok, look at the angle of her working blade look at his.
Look at her arms, look at his. Look at her free leg, look at his.
Look at his carriage, look at hers. No wonder they're
extolled for their unison. (And not to mention, what

magnificent deep edges from both, am I right?)

More twizzling. Here's what happens. He
obviously catches his foot before she does.
She doesn't catch her foot until she's rotated, so she
pre-rotates this twizzle, not adding the feature until
she's half rotated, but who's paying attention, right? These
are their good twizzles. If VM had done these, it would
have been yellow boxes for days. As I said, once they're
spinning in this particular performance, they are as in 

sync as any other good team executing a strong twizzle 
pass, and she usually gets where she needs to be when the 
twizzle is underway, and when it ends. But transitioning? 
This keeps happening. But it's them, so let them set a WR.
A squat, plie or crouch also, of course, lowers the center of balance, and center of gravity, and the very wide foot stance makes their gravitational centers enormous, which everyone knows is a defining attribute of quality skating skills and top notch athleticism. It's a favorite stance of the supposedly sublime Cizeron. He loves to go low.

It pretty much takes any high level skill out of the equation, particularly using an inside edge, as they both do in the image further up. I once saw a grandfather on a train instructing his small granddaughter to plant her feet far apart when she wanted to stand.

Just looking at this performance called to mind Madison Hubbell saying that Virtue and Moir make "lots of little bobbles." Jesus, gaslighting is just a way of life these days, I guess, because her French friends have made a whole bunch of little bobbles their calling card.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Didn't you have a reality show?

Inserting this here: Beverly Smith breaks it down

This is interesting, although she fawns over Cizeron, who, IMO, is as fake a skater as ever faked (stroke stroke SQUAT. Stroke Stroke GET LOW. Stroke Stroke - TWIZZLE, then do something other than change direction or use your blades to arrest momentum. If he can change direction using his blades without some external support or non-skating assist, I haven't seen it). She doesn't address that not only do P/C's extensions not match, their angles don't match. She sees them as limited, though, and Virtue and Moir as superior, and seems to find P/C inferior mostly due to Papadakis not matching Cizeron.

BUT, then she goes deeper, and reports where the judges placed the rest of the field. It's a tire fire. One judge places a team third, the other places them ninth. It is like this all over the field, not just with placements, but GOE. Are judges even trained anymore, or is it out in the open that the skating is irrelevant when it's all about deal making? It seems to me that the belief the judges get together and review anyone who scores far outside the rest of the panel is myth. Everybody is doing what they want outside the podium, there is no standard, there's nothing.


Uh huh.
One of the most characteristic facets of Scott and Tessa's endless are they or aren't they games with the media is how they just whisk their own elaborate webs of bullshit straight to the curb whenever they feel like it. It's so rude. They spend all this effort ordering fans to buy into their latest re-written crap version of their history or relationship; while fans work overtime letting them know: "Yes, we believe you. That's such a great story." Virtue and Moir address "fan suspicions" that they're together, when these suspicions are, objectively, invisible outside one solitary, insane corner of a google blogspot, and most fans tsk tsk and decry the few crazy fans that make the rest of them look bad.

Why are they taking a niche blog run by a crazy person as representative of the fan base? If I were a regular fan on the forums, I'd be insulted. I actually believe Virtue Moir/their media buddies would pretend fans doubt them even if this blog weren't around, but it sure is convenient for everyone that it is.

Did I imagine they did a 2014 reality show that Scott insisted was a documentary,? Why is he sitting there at a press conference acting like he and Tessa have kept their personal lives in a vault this whole time.

Where is the media getting the idea that fans think they're together when all fans deny they're together, and why is Scott saying he and Tessa might be able to open up their private lives if they retire, when we all saw him having his post-coital coffee at Cassandra's house, and when he told the world he was bringing two condoms to Sochi?

I think they're getting it from Scott and Tessa, who, despite their denials, obviously want fans to think they're together. They can climb down from the cross about it any time now.

Finally, please please please Scott and Tessa, RETIRE. Just for me. I don't care if you "open it up a little bit" or not. I don't care if you remain official platonic best friends for the rest of your lives. I just can't handle 2022 when it's gonna be Papadakis & Cizeron's "turn" to win gold even when you blow them out of the arena. Alternatively, I can't handle watching Tiffany Zahorski and Jonathan Guerreiro (13th place ice dance finishers in Pyeongchang) crowned world champions in 2019 after a year in Gadbois unearths the world's most superior skating skills that were heretofore invisible to the judges until Marie-France discovered how to package them. This is the first time in nearly a year I can visit my own blog w/out getting agita. Yet even though they won, I still get nauseous watching that brilliant Olympic free skate come in second to Papadakis Cizeron's load of crap - in fucking TES. I love that they won gold but the feeling is relief. It would be more joyous if the scoring weren't as sour grapes as it gets.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018



She's enjoying herself. She's loving every second out there. I never even knew Madison Chock liked to figure skate. Who could tell?

What a shame that of all their programs, this one that is actually semi-warm blooded literally crashed at the Olympics.

I've always hated both Chock and Bates' skating and their aggressively frozen performance mode. Enough with the face skating. However, Madison's face after her and Evans' fall had a quality to it that was more than sorrow - there was a naturalness to it I hadn't seen in her since her previous partnership. So I went to watch a clean version of "Imagine". Cup of China.

It *is* their best program since they teamed up, a direction they should have taken ages ago, instead of the S&M-y, dominatrix-y, we're-so-humorlessly-sexy stuff it seems they did over and over. That hard as nails shit made such an impression it feels as if that's all they ever did, although that can't be true.

Madison spends more time off her feet than I think should be permitted in ice dance, but it's the most fluid skating, and the most actual skating - well, at least the most fluid movement -  they've done in forever. And what a relief not to watch Evan try to be hot.

What strikes me most is how into it she is, how much apparent joy she is taking in simply moving to that music. Every part of her body is animated to the very end of her extension with a natural flowing, confident energy. Apparently the real her was locked inside Drama Chock all this time. Why didn't they break out of it until now? Most teams make some type of contribution, have an input into their programs. I am guessing they knew they were more of a manufactured Davis White type of deal versus exceptional talents, so they went hard - so to speak - into packaging, just as Davis White did.

Noticed this also:


This is familiar. Not as high scoring as
the L4, dumbed down, four-handed
clutch job we see from the French however.

I never thought I'd ever use Chock Bates as the positive example in a comparison.

Side thoughts: if VM's return put any kind of glitch into the Kaitlyn Weaver/Tessa Virtue bff-ness, it certainly turned out to be irrelevant.

Have I missed where Papadakis and Cizeron praise VM's skating, their skills, their musicality? Or is it mostly lip service to their resume and competitive drive? I'm just curious if we've got another one way street situation where Virtue Moir prop up their inferior competition, loading them up with praise, while the competition is like, "They're very nice people. Tessa is so stylish."