Archive for the ‘plushy’ Tag

Vancouver Games: Week 2 Recap (Part 1)

As week of the Olympics launched, we were still treated to a barrage of continuing debate over Evan vs. Plushy. I did, however like this particular comment on the outcome: “Judges judge the beginning, middle, and end of the jumps, and although it (Plushy’s quad) was an amazing athletic feat, the GOEs reflects all three of these things.” (Excerpted from a Yamaguchi/Carruthers post-competition online chat.) BTW, I was pleased to her commentator Susie Wynne briefly on Terri Gannon’s “FSR&P” show. I miss her!

Although I respect Evan’s apparent “good training,” it too has been discussed ad nauseum. Fine, so he trains well, and runs through his programs 3+ times a day, and does cardio every other day, and… I imagine this is an effort to try to drill it into viewer’s heads that figure skating is actually HARD WORK! Well, when you look at a skater like Lambiel doing his Olympic ice run through, perhaps some of the other skaters do need to take note of Evan’s training. He doesn’t attempt or land a single jump in this run through.

Ice “Prancers”: OD Top Four

As Tracy Wilson said, ice dancing used to be mocked as ice prancing. Well, these days, with the degree of technical difficulty and artistic brilliance, that’s a less commonly held sentiment. Now, ice dancing is hipper than ever, particularly thanks to coaches Zoueva & Shpilband (“The House of Z&S”)…which embodies the best taste musically and choreographically, as well as peerless training.

The Original Dance event was VERY impressive. Not a single team that was aired made a substantial mistake, and I only witnessed a single fizzle from John Kerr (which was very minor). What a change from Torino. It’s likely because ice dancers are just more comfortable with the demands of the CoP now, whereas last time they were still adjusting and pushing themselves, apparently too far.

Domnina & Shabalin (DomShabs): Aside from ALL the controversy surrounding this “Aboriginal” program, it just didn’t technically or artistically stack up next to the programs that followed. The transitions appeared rough around the edges, and not of the highest difficulty. Their characterizations and interaction were über cutesy and clowny (I love me a good clown, in the right context!). I’m very surprised they didn’t make the easiest change to her costume under-color, from the controversial red to any other friggin’ color. At least some adjustments were made, thankfully including the removal of his brown face makeup. I wondered why Aboriginals would do an Eskimo kiss (their final move). Well, in 1982 Inuits (“Eskimo” is considered pejorative) were officially recognized as Canadian Aboriginals. BTW, where were their CD tribal Snuggies in the kiss ‘n cry this time?

Davis & White (Marlie): They were on fire, and threw all caution to the wind! Their twizzles were smokin’. This youtube sensation continues to draw in audiences (and more skating fans…please). It’s one of the few ice dances I find myself returning to again and again, because it’s so fun, infectious, and fresh. Good for them for crafting something that truly reflects the dance and culture it aims to revere.

Virtue & Moir (Voir): Perfection! They delivered flawless character, confidence, carriage, and edging. Their choreography was strongly linked to the music, down to flamenco head snaps, dress whips, and arm accents. The integration of their moves is astounding, true ice DANCING!

Belbin & Agosto (Belgosto): I wonder if they are wishing they had stayed with Z&S, as they seem to have the magic touch with the top teams, and are creating programs that are unique and unbeatable. This Moldavian folk dance (by Linichuk) felt emotionally junior. Their technique is so strong, a more sophisticated program would have landed them higher, I fear. They should have been placed in third for this dance, but with three points to make up, I felt it was unlikely they’d medal. I’m disappointed, but their program didn’t make me want to defend them as much as I otherwise would. I noticed Tanith say “it’s OK,” after the scores were posted. I can’t tell if she really is OK with it, or if she’s just resigned to being the forgotten team here. Frankly, I almost sensed that energy out there on the ice, that they knew it wasn’t their time. (Am I projecting?) We all knew that even if they skated great in the FD, they were up against the wrath and waning medals of Mother Russia.

jcm’s costuming thumbs-up: There was a lot to like here! Marlie’s Indian, elegant and perfectly suited to the program, with her Choli (beaded top), Lengha (split skirt) and his Sherwani (wedding jacket); Voir’s Flamenco, her red silk charmeuse dress and his waist-coat were romantic and lush. I couldn’t keep my eyes off them; Delobel & Schoenfelder’s (DelShoes) Can-Can, complete with tulle skirt for her and scarf, beret and vest for him, all with pink accents. Thumbs-down: (surprise!) DomShab’sAboriginal”, nuff said.

Continue reading recap —>

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Dishin’ Up Surprises at Rostelcom Cup

Pairs’ SP

What a relief to see the old (yet new) “McBru” back!!! They appeared so relaxed and calm. Their 3T had great height, and is close to competitive with the best in the field. On an aesthetic note, I’d vote for Rockne to wear a single color/piece costume, as it would lengthen his line. His current two-tone top and tights ensemble instead accentuate his stockiness.

I was once again reminded that the gamine Yuko Kavaguti (of Kavaguti & Smirnov) is indeed THE most flexible contemporary ladies skater. Her extension appears unstoppable. Every position and even jump seems to be finished off with a spiral position or pointed foot. It is both beautiful, and yet coltish at the same time.

I was thrilled to discover that Pang & Tong’s SP music was from Bizet’s opera Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearfishers). I’ve never heard it used by a skater, and it was ripe for the pickin’. I’m, of course, a big proponent of using fresh operatic selections for skating programs (that of course excludes Carmen, Turandot, and much of Madama Butterfly). It is the tenor aria Je crois entendre encore”, sung by the character Nadir. Enjoy this most beautiful rendition of it, sung very idiomatically by the great french tenor Alain Vanzo. Amusingly, a pop recording of this aria was also made in ’05 by Alison Moyet (formerly of Yaz)

They proved to be in top form, even at this early phase. I hope they medal in Vancouver (just below Shen & Zhao, that is).

I have a new skater crush (which could land me in jail, as he was born the year I graduated from high school) on Alexei Rogonov, of up-and-comers Martiusheva & Rogonov. This team, new to the Seniors, has a beautiful aura and presentation. They have great “backs” (ie: posture), and she looks like a young Grace Kelly, and he a young Val Kilmer…well, sort of.

Men’s SP

It was so great to finally get to see Johnny’s new SP. Unfortunately, I do agree somewhat with Paul Wylie’s assessment that the sizzle was greater than the steak. BUT, in some ways I feel like this program presents Johnny in a light more true to himself than any before (ala pop star/diva-on-ice, or runway model)…that is, more flirtatious, and less restrained. I feel that Johnny was more passionate and told more of a story than he has for several seasons. The costume is certainly his most flamboyant to date, complete with man-corset. I love the daring black and hot pink color combo. However, the music itself (by di Blasio), which I believe is in part Plushenko’s old music (perhaps from his ’01-’02 LP?), resembles tinny elevator music. I didn’t see much of David Wilson’s stamp on this program, and it just doesn’t feel on the level of his programs for Yu-Na.

Speaking of “Plushy”…he layed out perhaps the most beautiful 3A I’ve ever seen (not to mention his 4/3 combo). It had a delay, before the set down. I suppose I have to learn to live with his wavy arms, as they are just part of his signature movement, and I’ve decided to surrender my previous judgement of him and welcome him back enthusiastically (not that he needs it). He offers a competitive excitement that I’ve missed, and I honor his chutzpah. Who else can sit out of this current COP field for four years, and come back like that? In the old days, when the bar was lower it was easier…now it’s close to miraculous.

My partner, CJ, was complaining that Plushy had “had his time”. I replied, “skaters aren’t like bread…they don’t have an expiration date!” Hell, my argument is always, if they can get back into fightin’ shape, it is their right, and our privilege to see things shaken up a bit!!!cow tipping

Also, amusingly, when Florent Amodio went down on his 3S, CJ called it “Salchow Tipping” (see right). BTW, it was great to see Florent on Senior ice. He has a lot of promise. And, keep an eye on that Artem Borodulin!

Ladies’ SP

Alissa is starting to put the sizzle back in Czisny again!!! She looked so composed, and yet so engaging. I was very proud of her for not rushing her jumps, and skating a nearly clean program. I hope this is a continuing trend!

Amber Wagner really has evolved into a very sophisticated and sexy skater. The details and nuance of her SP are notable. I felt she was a bit undermarked, especially as there were no visible mistakes. Perhaps her jumps were not as big or her glide as fast as Júlia Sebestyén’s (who staged a major upset, and is in first).

Many years back I often found myself rooting for Júlia. When she won her European title in Hungary, I was ecstatic. However, much of her glow wore off for me in recent years. Well, the joy and energy in her skating was visible again, and she looked positively renewed. Even her physical appearance and hairstyle are much more warm and “open” than in recent years, which offered a much less appealing (to me anyways), edgy, Euro-trash look.

Drag Me to HellMiki Ando’s SP is billed as the “Mozart Requiem”. Well, it’s really a musical mash-up, also incorporating what sounds like some generic horror movie soundtrack music. That was a disappointment. Perhaps I’m a purist, but Mozart’s Requiem doesn’t need anything added to it, and should stand on its own. On the whole though, I think the drama and severity of her program actually suit her style of movement and look. Having just watched my fifth suspense/horror film of the Halloween season, “Drag Me to Hell”, I kept expecting her program to summon up a demon (ie: the “Lamia”!). Cue evil laughter!

In the sea of the average Russian Seniors ladies’ skaters, Alena Leonova has won me over. No, I don’t consider her to be a real contender for an Olympic medal, I despise folk song programs (Americans don’t skate to Peter, Paul & Mary, or Woody Guthrie, why do singles skaters feel the need to explore their folk roots on ice? In ice dance, I know it’s often a requirement.), and her style is not very evolved, but she has the most infectious smile, and a genuine verve…shades of Slutskaya.

Signing off, for now…