Friday, October 27, 2017

A whole article on this?

I've said before that I doubt Virtue and Moir are actually being coached by Marie France Dubreuil and Patrick Lauzon. I don't think they ever have been. Even last year's programs, I bet used a mere veneer of Dubreuil-esque flourishes while Virtue and Moir got their real coaching somewhere else. They're beyond Dubreuil Lauzon, technically and in every other respect. They've worked with and trained with the best in the world, and while there are excellent coaches who never became World or Olympic champions themselves, Dubreuil Lauzon are not among them. DL's signature team is Papadakis Cizeron. We can see how resourceful that choreography is, not to mention technically pristine.* Virtue and Moir are out of Dubreuil Lauzon's league, and if Papadakis Cizeron skated exactly as they skate now but didn't move to Gadbois, they'd have stayed in thirteenth place. Gadbois results aren't due to superior skating. It's just payola.

Here's a whole article out about Brian Orser kind of sub-coaching for Virtue Moir for three hours while D/L were delayed. Virtue and Moir don't need Brian Freaking Orser watching over their warm-up jackets and skate guards at this stage of their career and abilities. Not for a single practice session at Skate Freaking Canada. There are a million stand-ins who could do board duty.

OrserCoachesVM

I'd love to know how the money for this charade is structured. Dubreuil Lauzon and Virtue Moir could be a straight quid pro quo - they enhance Gadbois's reputation by giving Gadbois the credit for fixing their nonexistent flaws, and in exchange for that fake news, Virtue and Moir are allowed to win.

Virtue and Moir are absolutely stunning in the Skate Canada practice videos.



They're thrilling to watch, but it also makes me a little sick to my stomach. A bit later I'll do Virtue Moir's free dance rotational versus Gabriella sitting on Guillaume like a he's teacup in an Ages 3-7 amusement park ride, while we all know that the judges are going to treat both elements as if they're equal in quality and oh so close in execution. I know this, and yet it's hard to keep down.

Also, Weaver & Poje go back to a 2012 free dance.

Je suis triste de Je Suis Malade

Blech. Bunched fists of drama from Kaitlyn, lots of face skating. Hated that program.

Beverly Smith has dumbed down her writing incredibly. Je suis malade à ce sujet aussi.


*Sarcasm.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Putting these up as a placeholder. Delayed due to a series of travel meltdowns that started Friday night. Everything is finally squared away, and I'll fill this post in later.








I'm already aware that their rumba pattern doesn't cover the ice with the power and speed of Virtue and Moir - but whose does, and their rumba pattern still does show power and speed. They're skating closer together with even cleaner unison than before. I'm just choking on the necessity of pointing out once again that P/C suck and yet on fan forums and in the judges' scoring will be proclaimed technically superior as well as the better performers.

I hate hate hate hate the rest stop in the step sequence, no matter how brilliantly Virtue and Moir manage it (with nobody noticing). Look how Tessa arrests her momentum on a dime and nails that attitude pose every time. They figure out how to brilliant it up so they don't lower themselves to the level of pathetic, but how much dumber is ice dance going to get?

Look ma, no hands (very nearly). 
A 2-footed stationery lift I can get behind.
I'm glad this apples to apples lift exists. Try to see the difference, ice dance. Or better to say, try to acknowledge the difference, ice dance, as the sport already knows and understands the difference, but has decided not to credit it.


I mean, every BIT as difficult as what we've seen
from the other tops teams. Perhaps even more
because of the "magic"./s*

 

Lord have mercy I think Gilles & Poirier's short is better than Papadakis & Cizeron's. And theirs isn't great.


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.

Oops.

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.

https://vimeo.com/236866684

^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:

2005.

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."
Shibs:

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

Tessa



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.

y.

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

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.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Putting this here for later.




The skating part of this gorgeous skating aside, Tessa's body articulation is extraordinary. Also, how little they need to do to effect transitions into lifts and out of them. I wonder if they'll be made to fuss it up /unnecessarily b.s. to disguise their extraordinary mastery of the mechanics, and I wonder if people who don't know what they're looking at will think how Virtue and Moir are doing things here is basic. Good luck any male ice dancer in the world besides Scott assisting his partner into a rotational lift with what looks like a flick of the wrist.

Oh look, voluntarily using some Latin in their
fd. And here I'd understood from a pair of two-time
world champions that Latin can't be skated even
as a pattern dance whose vocabulary has
existed in ice dance since time began.


Look at her.
Back when they did their
"reality" show, I dragged Tessa
pretty hard for coming across like a bot.
But the truth is, she's not human.
Think how impossible it is for
any other ice dancer to do what she does,
and then remember that in her spare time,
she's had kids.

Tessa's skating and quality of movement is mesmerizing in this free. As spectacular as she's always been, there's even more softness, fluidity, power, precision, seamlessness and flow in her skating and her movement. Even down to her hands and wrists when they're on Scott's neck as she changes position. And the quiet, the power, speed, accuracy and absolute perfect mechanics of the lifts so far - not a single fail safe.

Add caption


This is beautiful. A million ice
dancers have died on the ice with a sequence
of collapsing into their partner's arms,
but Tessa isn't collapsing. Her "character"
is. She's not.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Tension in Paradise

Belated remarks:

Papadakis & Cizeron haven't confirmed their music, but this interview in May* - written by someone in the style of a mythologizing syncophant - had lots of pre-emptive sour grapes:

Gabriella: Yeah, we like to skate very fast, sometimes not so much into the details, but more…)

Yeah, I feel you Gabriella. And actually, many of your fans believe ice dance should not be defined and quantified. I think a divinity is meant to descend and anoint Papadakis Cizeron with gold upon the conclusion of their free skate, a la Bernie Sanders' bird.

Both P&C and some of their fans were dragged mercilessly on the interview thread, deservedly, so that's some sort of progress. Maybe some day a plurality of fans on skating forums will decide that real skating skills and rhythm should determine a competition's outcome, versus program composition / music selection, and I'll faint dead away.

Gabriella: I’m not a big fan of Latin for skating. I love Latin dances, I love watching Latin dances, on the floor. But on the ice… I think it’s such a different dynamic in the body that cannot really be translated on the ice, so it’s always gonna look kind of… cheap…

Guillaume: Cliché…

Understood. They can't do it, so it's not worth doing. More ice dancers than this blog can name check have ably translated Latin dance to the ice.

Gabriella: Cheap and cliché, Latin dances on the ice. Plus, there are no much possible different choices for themes and musics. Latin music always kind of sounds the same for me, with the same kind of instruments, and rhythms and… Not like this season – you could’ve had the 20ties, the 30ties, the 40ties, the 60ties, rock ’n’ roll, hip-hop, there was so many difference choices you could have! Latin music? Iiiih, not so many! [she makes a squeaking sound, and then starts laughing]. So it’s hard to be original on these things.

That's a whole lot of ignorance in one paragraph.

Guillaume: The thing about the free dance is that you get to really ice dance, and not dance on the ice. You know what I mean? And the short dance is more about dancing on the ice. All those ballroom positions don’t really fit to the ice, to the material that we have. I think it’s always gonna be a struggle, because we are ice dancers, we’re not ballroom dancers.

And for me the short dance kind of feels like Dancing with the stars. You pick skaters, and you try to make them ballroom dancers, but it’s never gonna… Like if you wanna see Latin dance, go watch a ballroom… ball, you know? [laughing] So I think it always kind of looks cheap.

And that's a whole lot of mumbo jumbo bullshit. That's freedom defined as liberation from any sort of technical standard, when anyone with a clue understands technique facilitates freedom. What does he think his particular skating discipline is about if not translating dance to the ice? Well, we all know. Skating whatever the fuck, however the fuck. He's absurd.

Anyway, it was the first time I have seen fans suggesting that P&C are full of themselves. In some respects, why shouldn't they be. They know it's not what their blades are doing that gets them on the podium, so they must have decided it's legit mystical, which is perfectly ok for a sanctioned Olympic sport.

There's a lot in the article about how movement in the ranks is more possible now, without ever mentioning the superior skating skills upon which rapid upward movement is meant to be based. It's all a big mystery, per P&C and the interviewer. The interviewer attempts to say they are admired by other skaters, but P&C mostly report how they've received messages from other skaters saying something like, "Shit, if you two can be world champions without anything in your skating or previous history suggesting it, it gives me and my partner hope! Maybe we, too, can be random but fortunate pawns in a double (Olympic) cycle, multiple-Fed-engineered, quid pro quo!"

Other stuff:

Remember this? Kind of a twist lift
at the end of Virtue & Moir's Olympic OD.
20 
minutes before performing the OD 
at Worlds 2010, the vaporous figure 
skating grapevine somehow conveyed 
that this same maneuver might be illegal 
to perform at Worlds. Due to to it being 
possibly a kind of twist lift.
I remember Scott complaining about how he and Tessa try to push the envelope, but get pushback. I think he should have complained instead that he's in a recognized ISU discipline, yet a maneuver they executed at the Olympics mysteriously became possibly illegal for Worlds, but, you know, up to you. That's not how any legit sport functions.

Here it is, back. 
Say nothing else about Virtue and Moir, they like the long game. 
Astrologically speaking, they may be Taurus (Tessa)
and Virgo (Scott), but as a team it's pure Scorpio.


Iliushechina Moscovitch - quad sal at the Cricket Club.
Kirsten Moore-Towers is gnashing her teeth.
Moore-Towers wants to do a quad "yesterday." Maybe the above video was this team's only decent attempt in many tries, who knows, but it's a much better quality throw than Duhamel Radford's. They don't stop skating for half the rink before launch, it's an actual throw, not an assisted jump, and, while Lubov lands with a deep knee bend, it's not a crouch. Her carriage is open, and there's run of blade on her landing. Dylan's form at take-off is a mess - off the ice, lurching forward, and a mule kick, but the judges never seem to care what the guy does. Michael Marinaro certainly isn't going to show him up.

Even if Iliushechkina blows a jump, it didn't stop Sui Han from becoming world champions last season. Often as not, pairs results are determined by which error-strewn performance manages to grind out the most points.

Finally, Bryce Davison got married in June, an event I was skeptical would ever take place. Every photo I'd seen of the happy couple seemed awkward, IMO, and lacking conviction. There was a reserve, a stiffness. Then I read that his dearly beloved was a former skater, and I found this:

Michelle Moore prior to taking the ice for Canada in 2009.
That's one of the cutest things ever, and explains a lot.

BTW, her skating skills are excellent. Just not a strong jumper. Congratulations Bryce Davison.

P.S. Excerpt from Weaver & Poje's Beverly Smith interview:

They were gleeful when the International Skating Union announced that the rhythm in the short dance for Olympic season would be Latin. “We LOVE Latin,” Weaver said. “We love the dancing in the clubs. We loved our Latin program from 2011 to 2012. It’s one of our favourite genres and styles. So without repeating ourselves, we wanted to find a way to still be exciting and entertaining.”

*Excerpted on Goldenskate.com

Friday, September 1, 2017

Old School




At :33 there's an old school VM move - not spectacularly at blade level a la Carmen, but in the spirit of the original Goose pivot off Scott's knee, and the closing move of the 2010 od before 20 minutes prior to its presentation at Worlds, somebody decided it might be illegal.

Are Scott and Tessa going to hear through the grapevine that :33 is a throw? Nope. Canada got what it wanted out of 2014 - a World Champion out of Gadbois, and then last season VM "legitimized" the deal, in effect co-signing their own screw job.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

High Performance

Before the weekend I'm checking out the ethereal, free-spirited, it's not about the steps, it transcends - hell, bypasses! - conventional skating skills masterpiece Papadakis Cizeron are preparing to unveil. The rumor is Moonlight Sonata, and that sounds just about right.



How did so many people guess Virtue and Moir were doing Moulin  Rouge? Short dance music sounds ok (Rolling Stones, Eagles, Santana). Music cuts produced by Dubreuil. Does Marie France's genius have no ceiling.

From this article by Ryan Pyette (https://tinyurl.com/yaucbarb):

They brought in choreographer David Wilson again (me, thank God) and called on Sam Chouinard, who had previously helped them with hip-hop movements. They convinced their husband-and-wife coaching team of Patrice Lauzon and Marie-France Dubreuil the famous old cabaret in Paris was the way to go.

But this:

“Marie and Pat let us play with it a little bit,” Moir said. “Once they saw our passion, they started to come around a little bit more. We’re super-proud of our 2014 (Olympic silver in Sochi) programs, but one thing we could’ve improved upon was picking something we really connect with . . . we ended up settling below that.

Oh fuck them. So typical. When something or someone is no longer useful, it's under the bus. They are really the most hypocritical, what have you done for me lately people on the planet. Whatever fans thought of Seasons, back in 2014 Virtue and Moir repeatedly asserted, before and after the games, that every inch of that program was them, every detail hand-crafted.

I had missed this though, from 2014 Global News: (https://tinyurl.com/y7e7lplg)

Virtue and Moir also said they were frustrated but not surprised by a report in a French sports magazine that alleged U.S. and Russian judges colluded to give higher marks to skaters from their countries.

“It sort of comes with the territory. We knew what we were getting into when we signed on for this,” said Virtue. “We were hoping if we did our job and left no room for doubt that it would be hard to deny us the gold.

At least Virtue acknowledges politics could have controlled the outcome. Of course, Politics DID control the outcome, starting with a whole lot more than the U.S. and Russia. Such as Canada. Nothing bears that out more than their miraculous wins last season once they'd submitted to the imperatives of the Gadbois Center.

This year, with quotes about how they're people pleasers, and how they "ran into a little bit of that last season" (a characteristically insinuation-rich, unilluminating comment from Scott), coupled with the fact that Dubreuil Lauzon this year more blatantly than ever only nominally appear to be their coaches, Virtue and Moir might be moving past the Dubreuil-Lauzon/Virtue-Moir quid pro quo. Particularly with the remarks about assembling the right team for this season. I thought that was the whole point of Montreal last year, at least according to them then. But Scott sounds stoked - and concise - when he describes their training and their plans, which from him is always more credible. As does is the absence of weird and shifty body language. I'd almost forgotten what he sounds like when he's direct.

I liked this:
 (Tessa) It's always tricky translating ballroom movements to the ice and we really want that to read authentically so - trying to incorporate some edge work instead of just standing on the spot. (Scott) We kind of feel like we've done this Latin rhythm a couple of times. I think that's more our fault because we were in the game a long time, so we're trying to do something a little different this time.

I guess what I mean is when they talk about their preparedness this season, I believe them. They're always ready, always the best, but they don't sound as if they're pandering about either their environment or their program choice, which I was not expecting. And every other word out of their mouths isn't Marie France or Patch, so maybe they get to dial that down this season.

***
The newly unveiled Virtue Moir webpage looks like their old webpage - generic Q&A and gallery. I'll set my calendar for how frequently it is updated.

***

I was reading up on narcissists for non-Virtue Moir reasons, and came across a comparison between narcissists and gaslighters that brought to mind Virtue and Moir. The gaslighting description fits to a tee Virtue and Moir's original interaction with fans on their social media accounts. When they began lying to the public, their tactics conformed to actual pathology. But then again, they are perfectionist, so when they decided to scam the fans, why use half measures? To wit:

Many narcissists and gaslighters have thin skin, and can react poorly when called into account about their negative behavior. The gaslighter nearly always resorts to escalation by doubling or tripling down [snip]. Many gaslighters view relationships as inherently competitive rather than collaborative; a zero-sum game where one is either a winner or a loser, on top or at the bottom. “Offense is the best defense” is a mantra for many gaslighters, which also represents their aggressive method of relating to people.

Seems on point to me, with the Moir family conforming to the type as well.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Best wishes

Engaged!.

Ok
June 1, 2014 blog post:


http://dubemoir.blogspot.com/2014/06/ive-spent-better-part-of-week-blog-wise.html

Excerpt:

"Fedor Andreev 

Fedor and Tanith
Fedor and Tessa

This was briefly a thing.
Jana/Fedor's photo shoot doesn't mean much; it was Marina's insinuations. Alas, the partnership dissolved before it could pick up any of Fedor's gentlemanly, clean-cut, vaguely antiseptic, trust-him-with-your-daughter romantic steam.

Fedor and Meryl.


This from a guy who had "Not sure" in his "sexual orientation" category on myspace. Guess he's made up his mind. "

Around 2009 Fedor briefly started sucking up to a very young Maia Shibutani on social media, but thank the stars above that never became a thing.

Figure skating can have plenty of off ice histrionics, but the coach's son running through all his mom's star ice dancers in succession without creating even a ripple of drama among the women themselves is far-fetched, not to mention skanky, not to mention we know the implied thing w/Tessa was a complete sham.

Fedor, we can speculate on why he makes the choices he makes. Since she revamped her look and froze her face - and WHY her face is frozen I have no idea - everything about Meryl has been a mystery. The overcompensation deployed to enable her to make basic movements in her sport, and to make basic movements on the dance floor, her inability to hold herself in space, the necessity of having a billion redundant points of contact to make the most elementary transition - WHY? It's an enduring puzzle.

The only theory ever proffered to me is that muscle tone doesn't = strength, and underweight people who are extremely ripped may completely lack strength, and so Meryl sacrificed strength for a "winning" aesthetic. That theory doesn't cover all the bases though. Never seen anyone like her.

Everything about Meryl is uncanny valley in my opinion, and this latest development only compounds that impression.

Vimeo interview.


What does it take to win a gold medal? - Scott Livingston interviewing Tessa and Scott from Mystic Seasons on Vimeo.


Yes, Scott and Tessa, what DOES it take to win a gold medal? What do you have to be willing to do to win that gold? ("Win" should always be in implied quotation marks. Not that they don't legitimately win, it's just that the legit part of things has nothing to do with why they're winning.)



Sell ourselves out.
Nah.

I could screen cap their micro expressions forever though.

Their answer was: "Early on, we were willing to do those things that our competitors weren't."
Tessa is describing what she calls the "sacrifices" they made in terms of conventional middle and high school activities in order to train for optimum development and performance as skaters. If she'd meant "willing to do those things on the ice" that their competitors weren't, the obvious retort would be "Willing to do, and being able to do, things on ice that your competitors couldn't is one of the reasons you DIDN'T win the gold you deserved in 2014."

Leaving home at 13-15, changing coaching centers, missing out on extra-circular activities at school - these are things very few ice dancers do while developing their careers, except for just about every single one of them, and it gave Virtue and Moir an edge.

I mean Jesus Christ, Tessa. Exactly which of your high school age competitors never got up early, didn't miss a party, and never traveled far away from home? Come on.

That said, the interviewer is trying to quantify exactly what they did that made them succeed, as if it's something they DID. It's a stupid angle for the interview. They were more talented. Athletically, as skaters, rhythmically, and as dancers and as partners. That isn't something you DO. That's something you are. You can't decide to be that talented, and then make a serious of choices and practices that create talent. You can wring every drop out of the talent you're given, and they did. A lot of very talented people coast. They didn't. As usual, Tessa and Scott are reluctant to call a spade a spade.

I didn't finish the entire interview, because Tessa started speaking and framing her words with her hands, and when that happens, I'm always scared of what's going to come out of her mouth next.

I have to say their willingness to toss anybody under the bus when they're done w/them continues to take the breath away. Marnie McBean, David Pelletier - remember the fawning back in 2010? FF to 2017 and they made no contribution. Scott even name checks them to make the point.

Friday, June 30, 2017

I'm trying to keep to at least one post per month until things heat up skating-wise.


Back April, new website coming "soon" is promised. ^

Figures.

^Screen cap from last night. They're consistent. When it's fan-related, "soon" to them has always been: "Somewhere along the time space continium, but probably never."

Manifesto seems to be their new sports management company. Maybe they got tired of golf. Sportsbox, their previous management firm, had them golfing all over Canada (Sportsbox mostly represented golfers.).

When listing the athletes it represents, Manifesto lists them separately, and also provided this gem in Scott's bio:
After countless unforgettable moments with Tessa, the pair decided to take some personal time to seek new challenges off the ice for the first time since they began their ice dancing careers together.
You can practically see the "time APART" screaming at you from this blurb, but it's not there. Just strenuously implied in the wording.

The photo heading Tessa's bio:

She's also positioned top left on the "Athletes" page.


The photo heading Scott's:



He's somewhere lower down, numerous athletes away
from Tessa.


I'm not feeling Scott's longer hair as a sustainable thing, but clearly they're playing the game, aesthetics-wise. I miss the days when they were the best, knew they were the best, and fuck everybody else. They said as much, many times. Then in the last Olympic cycle they realized it didn't matter if they were the best, and it's been pandering ever since. 

 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Women who "work" and women who actually work


Ivanka Trump's


Finger under chin. Something to say about that later.*
"book", Women Who Work, was mercilessly eviscerated in every review, but Katherine Miller's May 9th Women who Work take on Buzzfeed made me consider what I find offputting about Tessa Virtue's (non-shamming) social media persona. Tessa is an Olympic athlete at the peak of her unusual abilities. But on social media, she and Ivanka are often peas in a pod.

From Miller:

There’s a certain kind of performative feminism, feminism of the affluent, that seems preoccupied with the idea of passion as activity. This is the feminism concerned with the relative corporate positioning and affirmation of women who went to top 20 schools (rather than, like, the interests of a college-dropout mom or the first woman from a black or Latino family to go to a state college). Passion then becomes something you do — like open a bakery or a lifestyle consultancy group after 10 lucrative but crushing years in banking — or self-care as a luxury item or maybe a positive way of branding "intensity." We’re talking the passion of a Nike Instagram ad (running through blue-gray city streets in neon orange sneakers, the word HEART appearing, set to a synth-bass line if you accidentally click the volume).*

I don't think the bit about economically challenged women means to suggest the financially well off can't be "authentic" (one of the worst words ever as currently deployed by nearly everyone). Just that Miller is talking the debasing of the currency. She's talking trend. Passion and brilliance as personal style. My style is to be passionate! And inspired!

Miller is describing Tessa's social media profile all over.
What if we don't have any? 
Or circumstances loosen our grip?
Miller's next remarks are a little all over the place in the explicit examples she uses (Christ's death on the cross AND the World series), but you know exactly what she means:



This all sets aside the idea of passion as intellectual suffering. The archaic definition of the word actually concerns the agony of martyrs (i.e., Christ’s death on the cross). But even the technical modern definition entails interior violence. The word literally means "extreme, compelling emotion" — an emotion that implicitly has an "overpowering or compelling effect," something that NEEDS to be exercised, that owns you in some way, that can inspire sacrifice or despair or euphoria, something that can break you, actually. This ranges from sexual desire to the depth of emotions to a single emotion in the extreme, the personal investment that leaves you crying in some public place over the World Series. Life is difficult and complicated, and passion — an uncontrollable emotional vector — can be realized, or unfulfilled, or eternally fluid between the two, at the mercy of events beyond our rational selves.

To link any significant part of your life with a true abiding passion, then, is to risk fracturing the whole.

I wish Tessa were presented on social media more honestly, instead of as the familiar type she delivers - the upscale, generically high achieving, good-looking woman who jump starts her daily journey towards her best brilliance with Italian blend espresso and a Locanda Verde blueberry-polenta muffin as a special hump day treat. (Ivanka Trumps twitter: "Daily cold-pressed juice we can make at home? Yes please.") Something a little less formatted (not "personal") from time to time. As an athlete of actual unmatched exceptionalism, I speculate that Tessa occupies the realm of Miller's second paragraph. I'd bet as well that the passion driving Tessa is far more vivid and immersive than the passion Ivanka calls upon in her own career as a licensee and would-be lifestyle brand. But on social media Tessa would fit right in with Ivanka's girl squad if Ivanka had one, and IMO that's a shame.

(And on another level, I wish the social media enthusiasm for a generically defined passion and brilliance were, on occasion, tempered overall.) As another scathing review of Women Who Work put it: "The ideal reader is probably best described as someone who thinks often about budgeting her time, and never about budgeting her money."

*Everybody's scared of the under the chin shot. It's not even flattering on dogs. But Ivanka is unusually vigilent making sure that chin is framed. I noticed back during the campaign that Ivanka doesn't even move in three dimensions - she tries to make each move a pose. Watch her ascend the stairs at any one of the debates.
_______
All this past season I was thinking that barring a big whoops along the lines of Scott's near big oops in the 2017 World Champion free, Virtue and Moir would wind up their careers with four World Champions, so there. I only recently "doh'd" that they're not going to go to worlds if they win the gold in PyeongChang, and even if they don't.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Checking in



In deference to the blog's origins, I keep tabs on her:

Jessica Dube instagram a bit over
3 months ago.
"Montreal, see you in 7 months."
She's off to the Caribbean,
Mediterranean and Baltic!

Then the usual:



Then -

This poor dog. What a one-way street.
Why is she home and sad when she's supposed to have four more months cruising crystal clear waters? What "gray days"? - it's spring! (Ok  - it's a spring that looks a lot like early February, but still).

With the charitable spirit that consistently infuses me when I contemplate Jessica Dube, I googled:

How to Get Fired from a Cruise Ship

Why not get familiar with things Royal Caribbean so as to better speculate why she's landlubbing it in Montreal four months ahead of schedule.

However I learned that, along with the fact that there are countless  "How I got fired from my cruise ship job" pieces out there, cruise ships are hives of personal and corporate politics - exploitative, back-stabbing, treacherous laws unto themselves sans accountability, and everyone is constantly under video surveillance. It's Orange is the New Black with puka shells. You could get fired for breaking a rule or because somebody in better with your supervisor didn't like you. Somebody drunk could fire you for being drunk. There are a million reasons you could get fired, including any reason and no reason.

Perhaps Jessica thought that since she had remained a favorite of the Canadian figure skating fed despite habitually underachieving, her lucky star would continue to shine on her in an enormous, even more unstable, unfair, money-obsessed, everybody out for themselves universe.

I also read that not many Americans work on cruise ships because they won't put up with the pay/hours ratio (one is low, the other can be basically around the clock). One American earned more than her supervisor because the cruise ship rationalized something about what the dollar was worth in the U.S. versus in her supervisor's country of origin. So it's also possible that, based on her resume, Jessica negotiated a slightly larger salary than they usually pay figure skaters, and midway through this third stint, somebody asked "Why the fuck are we paying her again? Who is she? Get rid of her!" and somebody cheaper and more clever took over the Carmen on ice or Santana girl costume.

I was hoping there were only a few major reasons to get fired, but the big, obvious reasons - hooking up with a passenger, failing to show up for all aboard, being late to wherever you're supposed to be (and "late" is not a hand wave - you clock in on cards), being really drunk and failing a BAC test - are just the fun reasons among many reasons.

So now I will keep an eye peeled for Jessica's next career adventure  - which could be on another cruise line, just not on - according to what I've read - another of Royal Caribbean's bazillion boats. But I hope not. I'm ready for something new. And I want to see Bella get some therapy for abandonment trauma. It's like abuse. Gimme the love! Here's my baby! Then - bam - bye! See you when I see you! It's a dog. It's not good for her.