Saturday, October 31, 2015

(Very) Small Mercies. The Shibutanis at Skate Canada

 The only upside to the Shibs coming in second at Skate Canada was at least it wasn't: "Did you hear something?" "Nope, I didn't hear anything."

They're in the runner-up mix now. Oh joy. Leaps and bounds for the ice dance team that I, for one, now consider the best in the world. If only ice dance could become a sport.

For me, Skate America was a huge what else is new, although a poster on Goldenskate had a belated observation, which will be cited later.

Before touching on the Shibs at Skate Canada, let's check in with life along the Milk and Honey Route, where Tessa plays model, hawks her jewelry line, and fiddles with filters and photoshop on instagram, while Scott's menage a trois continues strong:

I've followed this crap enough to be
pretty sure those are Kaitlyn's feet.
Nothing to brag about, not saying it is.
 What a life. It's almost a sister wives arrangement he's got going here. Scott Moir, who knew. Still, it's a bit odd to me that this is a guy whose primary influences in his career have been women (no matter what he pretends, it ain't Mike Babcock), and yet it's the women who appear to have more insecurity about the perception of Scott's traditional masculinity than I imagine any man could possibly have. Maybe some feminist consciousness raising is in order in Ilderton.

So, Skate America. These remarks from Goldenskate, I think, cover everything:

From "Moon" at Goldenskate. About Gilles & Poirier, but could easily be about Chock & Bates:
 I think that this is the point many people are trying to make. They are fun to watch but ice dance is a sport and is and should be marked predominantly on technique and quality of the blades knees and hips. This is the quality that makes good icedance versus pairs without lifts.
 I think sloppy feet and poor extension is a quality that any dancer is trying to show no matter what style they choose. This is not just a G/P problem. So many teams are trying to emulate SYTYCD programs and it has turned into messy show dancing. If you cant control your body movements and are constantly clutching and grabbing your partner for balance then scale back on the OTT moves and concentrate on partnering properly and blade work.

Oh come on now Moon, that horse left the barn after 2012. Why would anyone scale back when every deficit you're highlighting put an Olympic gold medal in Davis and White's possession vis a vis a team that not just did everything better than they did, but did it better than anybody in the world to that point. More accurate to say the "silver medalists" did everything, and the ones wearing gold didn't do anything that the rules, standards and critieria tell us are needed to get the highest protocols. Not to mention Virtue and Moir weren’t the only ones who beat Davis White on the actual ice.

Okay, Skate Canada. Duhamel Radford won pairs:

My problem with their skating is that Megan's run of blade is miniscule, and she is so stiff, so tight, so cautious, so pitched forward, she seems not to be breathing, let alone breathing through her movements, and, strikingly so compared to Radford's fluidity. The poverty of her range of motion makes Meryl Davis look like Misty Copeland (okay, not really. They both suck). This is another team scored on the stronger partner, contrary to what the rules proscribe. Duhamel used to be a demolition derby. I guess everybody's decided clenched is an enormous improvement. There's also this:

Lutz entry to the split triple twist, without the actual lutz part. Look at the protocols. Let's not get the outside edge, and just say she did.


Skate Canada and the Shibs:

Their two magnificently skated programs came in second to a couple of polished (but not as polished as the Shibs themselves) journeyman efforts by the home team. Naturally and as ever, the team that crushed their competition in pcs, on paper, LOST the competition in pcs.

Quote from Sun Dae on Goldenskate:

Free dance practice was also very convincing for The Shibutani's. Hard to put my finger on it but they are skating with a lot of "moxie" and confidence. New music section works well with footwork which had emotion and expression throughout. Maia looks completely different this year. Not a little girl any more at all.

 I'll put my finger on it, Sun Dae. They're skating their programs, and at the highest level. Clean feet, speed, power, unison, fluidity, musicality, run of blade, tremendous ice coverage, seamless transitions, using the entire rink. Remember that? Weaver and Poje were pedestrian compared to the Shibs.
Love this from the Shibs short program:

In terms of gifs, it was between this and the stunning rotational in the long. Compare either of this programs with - forget Weaver and Poje - anything the current World Champions have ever tried.

If I were scoring this, the Shibs would have run away with the competition, Brobrova and Soloviev about six points back in second, but neck and neck with Weaver and Poje for third.

I'm only slagging off on Weaver and Poje vis a vis the Shibs. Weaver and Poje are Virtue and Moir compared to Chock/Bates and Gilles Poirier, yet the Grand Prix final and Worlds set up to score ice dance in inverse relation to what any team delivers on the ice so that God forbid a Marina Zoueva team win a major title in a third Olympic cycle. That's all we're looking at here. Paul/Islam, unfortunately, are elbowing a bunch of other teams for consideration up in Montreal, and the fact that they're Canadian probably works against them there.

Maia and Alex Shibutani after the free at Skate Canada.
Considering how they've been fucked over, their
passion and their skill are extraordinary. Even NOT
considering that, they're extraordinary.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I'm sure they've got a lot to say.

And now, "skating":

Weaver and Poje
Finlandia 2015 short dance

The skating got rough with the music change, but then they actually do skate their programs while remaining engaged with each other.

And here's Bratislava:

Oh  hey. Power and speed.
Let's ignore it.