Sunday, February 10, 2013

TSL: Four Continents Dance and Pairs Recap



Our thoughts of the dance and pairs events at the 2013 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. We shared our views with you and hope you will do the same with us.

54 comments:

  1. I'm glad you raised the point about V/M having problems at 4CC whenever D/W skate lights out - I was thinking about that this morning too when I saw their free dance. If Tessa was able to continue the program after a 30 second pause, she should have been able to continue through to the end (they were nearly done!). I wonder if maybe it's more mental. Or maybe they've lost their competitive zeal. The V/M that won the Olympics would not have stopped so near the end.

    Anyway, great recap!

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    1. No, some fans noticed her leg wobbled before going into the lift and it looked like it wasn't stable at all. I'm glad the stopped. Had they done the lift, they both could have toppled over and injured themselves. The V/M that won the Olympics skated through pain, but that also resulted to a second surgery.

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  2. I think it's probably psychological too. Seems like they never want to give D/W anything.

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  3. Great analysis, AJ! Another oddity about Voir stopping is that she didn't rub or massage her leg, or even appear o be favoring it. The cramp excuse doesn't make sense to me, and I'm not sure if it's for the reasons you noted, or because they want to conceal another more serious injury.

    Also, I don't think it makes sense to allow a team to go unpenalized, whether or not the interruption is legitimate. Like Jenny said, every team is winded and pausing for a couple minute is obviously going to help with the remainder of the program. One judge gave Voir a 10 for Performance, which is absurd.

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    1. It's the IJS rules though; no penalties for injury interruption. They did take a hit for GOE though. Before the stop, they had better GOE on the elements than D/W. after the stop, they were marked lower.

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    2. Cont. Regarding Tessa's leg, Scott massaged her thigh for a moment in the video then she immediately removed her skates upon sitting at the KnC area.

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    3. It's not their fault; the rule is stupid and invites abuse.

      And if you think that's how someone would react to a serious cramp -- skate to the boards and get some water for a couple minutes -- then I guess you've never really had a cramp. Why does figure skating have so many gullible fans?

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    4. Pain is subjective though. It can be on different scales for people. It could have been a fleeting moment before they attempted the lift so I think they had to stop before they injured themselves by falling.

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    5. These things happen in sports, e.g. in gymnastics people bail out of skills all the time. But they don't just get to stop and restart because they were concerned they might fall.

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  4. Thank you Jenny for pointing out that Meryl and Charlie have the more visually appealing lifts! V/M keep picking lift positions that are ugly and heavy-looking and not to their strengths (except that insane backflip lift which is awesome and very D/W-ish).

    Lifts = advantage D/W.

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    1. I've thought up better wording: D/W have the more aesthetically pleasing lifts.

      Who'd have thought 3 years ago that one day D/W would have the absolutely beautiful ones and V/M the purely point-grabber ones?

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    2. I will agree that V/M's lift in the SD doesn't look fresh at all. It looks like a variation of old ones. For the free dance, though, I thought that their lifts (particularly the second one) and choreo were more in keeping with the modern dance background of their particular Carmen interpretation. At least, the lifts and choreography in the original version of the FD...

      Tessa is a particularly balletic skater, and she and Scott have gorgeous lines. I think they're working a bit against some people's expectations of them. Well, at least in the Carmen FD. That short dance of theirs is a bit too sweet for my taste, even if their dancers' lines are to die for. I will always wonder how that Giselle SD would have looked like if it had been given to V/M instead.

      I wonder if the difference in size/height plays into it. Might V/M be now more limited in thinking up new lifts because they're closer to the same size than D/W?

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    3. D/W have recycled some lifts too. Some of their lifts are also variations of their previous ones. D/W have athletic lifts, but IMO some aren't pleasing to the eye. If you look at pictures and in video too, Meryl doesn't have toe extension and doesn't exactly hit nice positions during their lifts, but sadly, the IJS doesn't care about that.

      I've seen comments that Giselle would have been better suited to V/M since obviously, they are more balletic than D/W. Nevertheless, the choreography in Giselle is wonderful. I do think that V/M will do ballet for the Olympic year. Ballet is definitely one of their strengths.

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    4. Now there's a thought. A ballet-inspired dance for the Olympics in Russia, where ballet is a major thing.

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    5. I can understand why Marina gave ballet SD to D/W. They've definitely worked hard to face this challenge. And they're absolutely wonderful in the polka section (right in their wheelhouse). On the other hand, as a person who has watched various Giselles on youtube, there is a part of me that really wishes the SD had gone to V/M. The movement of the arms, hands, fingers; the placement of the head; the upper body-- Tessa would have nailed it. But again, I can understand the need of the two teams to expand their horizons with their program choices.

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    6. AJ has mentioned he'd love it if they do that. That would be grand tbh. Let's just hope they do ballet. I have no idea what piece they'll do though if they go in that direction.

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    7. If they do go in that direction, I don't think the Petipa ballets will suit. I don't think the classics like Swan Lake, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, or Raymonda will fit-- too populist, too costume-y or something. I can't imagine Scott as Siegfried, Basilio, Solor, or Jean at any rate. And I don't see them doing any Balanchine.

      Giselle has already been used. Maybe Marguerite and Armand (Lady of the Camellias). Anyuta, Eugene Onegin, or Anna Karenina if they want to go Russian might be good. A sad, romantic Tudor ballet such as 'The Leaves Are Fading' could also work.

      Perhaps a MacMillan ballet like Manon. I would be interested if Tessa could portray the young woman seduced by the lure of riches. Or another MacMillan work, the dark Mayerling, featuring royal infidelity and insanity (the focus would be on Scott, though, as the main character is a guy). Or his most popular work, Romeo and Juliet--that would be right in V/M's alley.

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    8. V/M are using variations of old lifts as well. Why were nearly all their lifts last year around Scott's neck? Their rotational lifts are just variations of the same position, with Tessa looped around his shoulders.

      As for Giselle, the SD is to ballet music but it's not a ballet itself. It's supposed to be a playful folk dance, like a polka. The ISU docs specifically say you should NOT be pointing your toes in the SD, because it is not in the character of a polka. It gets confusing because Marina put in ballet poses.

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    9. Great suggestions! I agree Rome and Juliet would be would be right in V/M's alley. They can play to their strengths.

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    10. Actually, I think Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet would be perfect for D/W, powerful and passionate, an updated version of Anissina/Peizerat's. D/W excel at classical character pieces.

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    11. Here I have to respectfully disagree. While Anissina/Peizerat's R&J was powerfully skated and a unique take on the piece, I didn't really feel they were Romeo and Juliet. They had intense chemistry, but not the type that characterizes the young lovers. At least, that's what I think. D/W certainly made immense strides in their connection, but I don't think R&J suits them. At. All.

      Prokofiev wrote that music for a ballet, but when I watch Vishneva/Gomes or Ferri/Bocca dance the roles, or the likes of Obraztsova essay Juliet, even if I ignore the ballet choreography, I cannot ignore the characterizations. D/W has connection and spark, but I don't think they'd be convincing as Romeo and Juliet.

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    12. Anon at 9:03, I totally agree that V/M use variations of old lifts. Which is why I said I wonder if V/M's size and height difference play a part. Maybe it's easier for Scott to carry Tessa that way. He certainly can't do it like Charlie, who has a smaller partner compared to Scott. Maybe V/M should get new acrobatic consultants who could suggest new lifts.

      I think Marina gave them that SD because 1)D/W are fantastic at polka and 2)it would show off all their hard work/immense improvement concerning extensions, port-de-bras etc., which were in the past, not really things they excelled at. And in my opinion, they can't really escape the ballet poses, or at least the balletic character, because of the particular music chosen. Again, I think Marina and D/W chose this music specifically *because it's from a ballet*, and they are hitting 2 birds with one stone. And certainly you can perform folk dances in balletic style--it's done in Swan Lake Act 3, and in Giselle's Act 1, where D/W's music was taken.

      I've always thought that skating to ballet music is quite tricky, because there's already an established choreography and dance style, unlike if you're skating to opera music, or other classical pieces. I feel that there are certain expectations when skaters perform to a ballet piece. Though I do think it depends--for example, if a skater uses Don Quixote, I look if they express the Spanish 'flavor' of the music more than if they extend their legs.

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    13. Anon 4:40, yes, I think V/M's size and height difference are responsible. Tessa's frame has grown since the Olympics (as it should) and you can see the struggle in their lifts now.

      It is nice that the short and tall girls each have their own advantage in ice dance now. Short girls can pull off the acrobatic lifts and tall girls can show off their extensions. Things are going to come more naturally to one group than the other.

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    14. d/w have the most boring and generic ass lifts this season though. if v/m's lifts are too vulgar for you perhaps you shouldnt be watching figure skating.

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    15. chill out, rainbowkisses. didn't say anything about v/m's lifts being vulgar.

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  5. Great discussion especially about the ice dance. One point I don't really agree with was when you mention that with an ice dance couple you always need a strong female "flower" presence by the woman. I think of Torvill and Dean where Christopher Dean was the focus of that couple and Jayne was the perfect back drop and foil for him. In that instance he was the flower. I think with Maia and Alex that you're right they need to bring out one partner more- they should emphasize Alex more than they are now. He has that spark that could really blossom into an even stronger star performer than he is now.

    You guys are right that the Shibutanis need new eyes in terms of packaging. Their FD is beautiful this year but as you both said the SD was a mistake and it's harming them in the standings not just internationally but now nationally. Such a pity because they're such a strong technical team.

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    1. I like the Shibs' FD too, but I even wonder about the idea of skating to Memoirs. First, it's music they skated to years ago. Second, if they wanted to incorporate traditional Japanese dance, why not skate to authentic Japanese music (as they did for their OD years ago) that we haven't heard before? The program they have now is nice, but not really memorable or particularly interesting IMO.

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  6. I kind of miss the days when you used to post actual blogs. I've been waiting to read your recap of 4CC, but I don't have time to watch a 30 minute video....

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    1. Put it on in the background while you do other things, you don't need to watch it to hear what they're saying. I listen to it at work during lunch.

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  7. Why was Scott so quick to tell the cameraman to go away? Shouldn't he be focused on Tessa in that moment and not checking for cameras? If it's just a leg cramp, then it shouldn't matter if it's caught on tape and their words overheard. In fact, video and audio would help their case right now.

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  8. Totally agree with Anonymous above at 9:07! Who is he to interfere with the camera guys doing their jobs? I think he knows that he could not perform the lift properly maybe because her leg was sore and they were both out of breath so he did not want his words to be minsinterpreted. They even got to redo the lift. I hope she feels better asap.
    Is it true he did not "let" Tessa talk at the press conference? Who is he to interfere with the conference or the broadcast in any way? If an authorized person makes changes or there is an emergency ok. Otherwise, this is supposedly a sport, not your dance recital so deal with it.

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    1. paparazzis are only just doing their jobs but that doesnt excuse their disrespectful behaviour

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  9. Man, that youtube screenshot still gives me the creeps. LOL

    -Resident Heterosexual

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    1. lmao the matching smiles are creepy

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  10. Tessa and Scott had some issues with that same lift @ Cdn Nationals and it wasn't held for the right amount of time....I guess we'll see what happens with it @ Worlds.

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    1. Thanks for this insight. My theory right now is that they stopped because they knew they were going to mess up that lift, due to a botched entry, nerves, or some other combination of reasons.

      If they had skipped it completely, they would have lost about 10 points and might even come in 3rd. By stopping and redoing it, they would lose far less points and it allowed Tessa a moment to collect herself.

      Remember Tessa had to leave the medal ceremony at SC because she was sick? All this season, she's getting suspiciously close to Jeremy Abbott's pukey face. She made a couple mistakes in the FD at Worlds last year too.

      The girl has developed a bad case of nerves. But V/M should not be abusing the rules this way, the ISU needs to close the loophole somehow.

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    2. I think this is a logical explanation. My complaint in all of this is that very few will even entertain the notion that the stop might not be legit. And beyond even questioning the validity of the stop, the ISU has got to address this stopping with no penalty nonsense. Especially since it's happened twice this season. It's ridiculous.

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    3. How does a cramp go away that quickly? And especially without much of any massaging? And she magically delivered the rest of the program? I wonder if Marina tells her teams to stop when they are off.

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    4. idk, to me it looked like Scott wasn't ready to lift her

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    5. Don't think it's nerves. Even as a kid, Tessa already felt sick before competitions but always did well. It's in their book if you read it. I think they felt the lift wasn't going to be stable, either from the cramp or idk.

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  11. Next year the Shibs are gonna pull out West Side Story.

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  12. Please keep doing these video recaps, I actually prefer them to the written blogs!

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  13. I hope people appreciate these recaps. These strike a good balance between the back-and-forth dialogue of the last recap but it's a little less irreverent. Kinda reminds me of the post-event analyses we'd get on "Olympic Ice" in 2006.

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  14. I love these recaps. So much insightful commentary told with humor-perfect length for four continents. This is the skating podcast I have been waiting for forever but I do love the live blogs too.

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  15. I have no inside info but my feeling with the Shibs is that there is a long-term strategy going on: in their first season they were skating programs designed to play to their strengths - and in this and last season have been intentionally actually skating INTO their weaknesses in an effort to become as well-rounded as possible with the goal being to be at the top of their game for the Olympics.

    The quickstep should be THE perfect dance for the Shibs next year, and if my presumption is true, Marina will come up with a real showcase-y FD for them, so I don't think things are as bleak for them as they may seem.

    Anyway, I LOVE D/W and I LOVE V/M - they are both such great teams I just cannot root for one over the other.

    D/W's FD is a little pedestrian IMO but they sell it so well they elevate it to greatness and I think Marina's Carmen FD is PURE genius but I don't know - maybe its too much fierceness for V/M to handle? They certainly seemed slow at times at 4cc.

    I don't even know what to think about that stop during Carmen. To ME it looked like Scott was just not ready to lift Tessa - just as he has seem to have struggled with lifting her all season - but I'm not a skater so maybe it really WAS a leg cramp or whatever.

    I have to think all these teams see Marina as a genius choreographer, and nobody is willing to leave her because they fear the other will end up with a better program for the Olympics if they go to somebody else.

    As for pairs - I've been watching skating for a LONG time, and IMO pairs are in the worst shape they have ever been in. I have liked S/S in the past but even THEIR programs this year suck. It's a sad state of affairs.

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    1. I'm the above anon - and forgot to say, Jenny and Dave - thanks for another great recap!

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    2. Marina is fantastic, but sometimes I think that one team (either V/M or D/W) should have left with Igor so that for the Olympic year, the coach's attention would be solely on one team.

      I disagree with V/M being slow at 4CC. For the SD, they seemed to be floating. Aside from the stop for the FD, I think they did better than before. Their lines were more well-matched, skating closer together & their speed has improved (esp. twizzles & spins).

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  16. I think with this FD, Tessa and Scott tried to push themselves by doing an incredibly difficult dance, perhaps the most challenging ever under IJS. But with each competition, they seem to be watering it down a bit, first with the step sequences, then the choreographic lift, and now the dance spin. (Scott hinted after the FD that they may need to change the lifts now too.) I don't think they've risen to the challenge yet, but we'll see if that changes at Worlds. Marlie had similar issues with their tango, another technical masterpiece, but they seemed to keep pushing themselves, and by Worlds, they totally owned it.

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    1. I do hope they get it together by Worlds. Carmen is such a gorgeous FD that it needs to be skated to full potential. They need to get used to all the changes they've made. (It seems they've been changing things constantly in their FD. Their SD is good to go - just up the levels.)

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  17. i wouldnt be surprised if the usfsa blackmailed tessa to do this/ injured her a la tonya harding just so d/w could win

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    1. That doesn't make any sense. If anything it's the opposite: Tessa stopping tarnishes D/W's win.

      You're rainbowkisses from FSU, aren't you?

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    2. nope i dont even have an account on fsu
      fsu sucks
      plus i was just speculating

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  18. I love you for saying what everyone has been thinking re: the rivalry and things changing. I am fascinated!

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