Wednesday, October 11, 2017

No, it isn't

I know fans on skating forums hate having their screen names dragged onto this blog, but I'm using MarieM as a representative example. This kind of shit typifies a forum post. "I look at their technique and it's pristine." They just say that, no hesitation. But no, it's not top notch. You've been on a fan board for 20 years or something, and you still have no idea what top notch ice dance technique looks like. You are fine with the standards you've made up in your head, which are about how you understand music, and about the movement style you prefer. You've standards using no objective criteria for excellent skating, and yet you think your assessment of skating is as valid as anyone who actually knows what they're talking about.

Anybody who deconstructed Papadakis & Cizeron's skating per the standards and criteria that define superior skating skills would find flaws at every turn.

Some other poster rhapsodized about how their arms intertwined. Well, because emphasizing the arms distracts from the distance between their bodies and their skates, not to mention the continual misalignment of their skates and their lack of unison, not just in body line but in timing.

How is it that everybody who knows nothing about skating but loves to talk about music cuts, acting, costuming, arms and facial expressions sticks around and grows old on skating forums, but people who do know about skating disappear? I guess because the know nothing "side" is winning - not the argument, but the results. Hard to argue with those, as the saying goes, even if the results have nothing to do with what was skated. Nothing brought that home more than the scores PC got in their early outings, no matter what happens down the line. If Virtue Moir were not back in competition, PC's scores would still be simultaneously outrageous and pathetic.*

*Was reading about an official who wants to change the rules, scoring, and the nature of the programs competed even more. He's thinking about TV ratings. Figure skating is reality TV, it's not a sport. The rules facilitate reality TV, not competition, not sport. I don't think dumbing down figure skating will make it more popular. I think the opposite will accomplish that. But you can't tell that to officials whose baseline worldview is they're smart and most people who aren't them are dumb.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Imagine their names aren't Papadakis & Cizeron

tWhat would this have scored if it were, say, Gilles Poirier (who, btw, have better unison, which is not a compliment in either direction). What about those teensy choctaws?

That's something I will try to gif later - all the choctaws we've seen so far.


A reminder that according to the rulebook, this thing:

Is every bit as difficult as this:

Screen caps:

I could do this all day.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Swapped music

Thanks to anon 2:29PM previous post for the links:

Papadakis Cizeron Moonlight Sonata with 2016 program music.

Papadakis/Cizeron - 2017/2018 fd with 2016/2017 music from Amy Elizabeth on Vimeo.
Credit, "Amy Elizabeth" at vimeo.

^Link (don't want to mess up her  view count. Or maybe an embed here counts towards vimeo views. Hope so.).

The reverse:

Papadakis/Cizeron - 2017/2018 fd overlay from Amy Erskine on Vimeo.

Uncanny. Their skating is pretty generic, so actually almost any calm-ish lyrical-ish piece would fit any program they did, but, more than that, they have only one rhythm and one way of phrasing: dadadada hold. Da da da da hold. Da da da da applause.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hardly working

This post is for some rudimentary straightline / stationery list comparisons between Papadakis Cizeron's lift in their Moonlight Sonata free, and those done by other ice dance teams going back to 2014.

But before I begin, the "lift" that really gets me is this:

Level 4. Totally legit.

Not only is she kneeling on him, she's sitting on her own heels as well. Their centers of gravity are pasted together. She briefly lifts her arms perpendicular to his body line in the familiar "ta da" gesture of inferior ice dancers.*  But never mind, they slop around on two feet a few times once she's out of the lift, so this is perfectly competitive with anything Virtue Moir, the Shibutanis, Hubbell & Donohue, Capellini & Lanotte - anyone - do/does. It's just as difficult, per the gods of skating. This is how far they've dumbed this down. This is what's happened to this "sport" in order to pretend there's actually competition.

By the way:


Here's some straight line lift comparisons among four teams executing stationery lifts of equal difficulty.

VM Canadian National Championships 2014

How vulgar to do so much. How vulgar to make this spectacle of one's abilities. Virtue and Moir merely skate. Papadakis Cizeron danse.

I mean even these two:

He's trying. She's trying. They're not "We can't do
it so let's not try. Let's instead say what we do is better, without

ever saying what it is we're actually doing."

2015. The wait for their new programs is killing me.

This is Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro
circa 2015 levels of strain and awkward, but the
far apart, rudimentary "holds" and empty skating parts
notwithstanding, this isn't pairs, so it's ok. It's Danse.

Oh, let's just take a look at the Canadian juniors anon 4:05PM brought to our attention in the comments section of the post below:

Olivia McIsaac / Elliott Graham FD
2017 Ontario Summer Junior
At this stage I think ice dance should just come full circle and return to compulsories. Not compulsory dances or pattern dances, but something like the compulsories singles skaters did in the 1980s and before. A sort of pre-competition to get the skating part of this discipline out of the way before the glamorous bits. Teams will trace edges and patterns on the ice in front of judges who will examine the tracings and place skaters accordingly. Well, not edges and patterns, plural. AN edge. Just go out there and hold an edge for - let's say three seconds. Then all the teams go out on the ice in turn and do whatever the hell they want. They just have to do something in the "style" of figure skating, which is about what we have now - not actual skating. All the skating stuff was really unfair to the athletes who couldn't do it well, and unreasonable to expect from figure skaters.

*Patented by Meryl Davis.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Papadakis / Cizeron free dance. I want to say zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz because IMO, it is, but that's not really a credible critique. What is a valid critique is the fact that their "lifts" in this thing are rated L4. Talk about rigging the game.

The skating is open, the holds are one sided - one of them hanging onto the other's shoulder or forearm, and the skating is slow. Unison is apparently not a priority. But at least this choreography and music has the climactic ending some think VM's fd lacks.

Oh wait.

Crossing fingers and every appendage I have, I do think the 2018 gold is VM's pretty much as the gold was DW's in 2014, come what may, unless one member of the team missteps, egregiously, in a way visible to the average viewer. That said, Moonlight Sonata, as choreographed here, does not accomplish very much in the way of a conventional P/C emo narrative that appeals to their most invested fans. It will be such a miscarriage of justice not only if P/C stand atop the podium, but if they're second. There is no way emotion and sensation can sweep aside skating considerations with this program enough to get away with defeating the Shibs, Hubbell Donohoe, and quite a few more. Just imagine if Alexandra Paul and Mitch Islam had presented this program at any point during the period of their careers when it seemed they had a shot to break though to the top five. This would have been dismissed as weak, dull, inferior skating skills, lacking impact - the entire mash-up that passes for evaluating a competitive figure skating program. I'm retroactively offended on Paul Islam's behalf. This program is every damning with faint praise Paul Islam's critics (including their own Fed) claimed Paul Islam was, only P/C are actually all those things.

P.S. - as to multidirectional skating, there isn't any. Not even the fake-out kind.

P.P.S. - When Marie France talked about P/C's rise from a 15th place team one year to world champions the next, she talked about their programs and packaging. I just find that a contemptible aspect of the sport. Anyone, even the shittiest team, can deserve to be world champion if they find the right "package". The job is done in the music selection and program layout and choreography. If that's true -  most people who comment on the sport speak as if it is - then how is it a sport? Why is it when a insta-rise like this one occurs, nobody says - they improved their speed? They acquired more powerful run of blade? Or anything having to do with skating skills? No, somehow the judges in the sport are so incompetent that world class skill - which, it seems, everyone possesses - can be completely hidden from them by the wrong program, and they only have a lightbulb moment when the correct formula is hit upon to showcase the dance team in question.

P,P.S. For an element to be legit L4, in my opinion there should be no way to hack it so that somebody who just started Canskate might be able to do it. There should be no way that a lift is L4 with the guy skating in one line on two feet while the woman dropping from kneeling on his chest (and clutching him w/both hands), to kneeling on his stomach qualifies for the change of position feature.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Scott remains brilliant, but it's hard to remember back in the day when some fans thought he was the genius and she was the technician. He's wonderful, and I try very hard to watch him and just him in this free dance, but I keep going to her. The layers of detail in what she's doing, and HOW she's doing it, are breathtaking. He has gorgeous run of blade, his shoulders are more relaxed than they've ever been, but it's Tessa who is framing these programs. She has the in the bone understanding and he is her foil - in performance, not in skating. Performance includes not just the acting, but the intention behind every isolation, every beat, every transition.

Direction changes, hold changes. Not
advertising it. How many fans even notice?
And the blade run, the speed.

They switch sides during the twizzles. I don't think people notice 1/4 of what VM do, because they refuse to advertise - meaning, refuse to cue the audience. Heads up, this is hard. And what they do actually is difficult, compared to other teams who look for something "effective" that is actually made easier by the required feature.

This what Latin dance looks like.


One fan on a skate board claimed they lost the latin character

Friday, September 22, 2017

SD Practice

I don't believe Marie-France had anything to do with either of VM's programs.

I love that both programs are flashy.