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Early this week some of us derby gang went up to watch a bit of the artistic rollerskating nationals, being held here in Perth this year. Without question quad rollerskating is harder than ice skating, yet I remain adamant that the former lacks so much in the way of speed, poise, grace, and of course dramatics...

Max said she didn't see the point of ice skating and rollerskating, because we've already got dance. She wasn't convinced that people in these sports did more than just string technical elements together, with little regard for interpreting their music through choreography and costuming.

I accepted the challenge to try to show her what is truly beautiful about figure skating, so...here's a lot of youtube videos and me being girly.

Philippe Candeloro of France, 1998 Olympics long program, D'Artagnan. (TURN THE SOUND UP.) There's nothing anyone needs to say about this man or any of his routines. He is an artist.

See also this long program, The Godfather, from the 1994 Olympics. DERBY GIRLS may be particularly impressed by the drop-knee turns at the 4 minute mark there :) Simply astounding.


I couldn't choose a favourite, so you get both here. Anissina & Peizerat, again of France, around 1999. This is ice dancing, so no jumping or spinning allowed - basically ballroom dancing on ice. This couple have amazing artistry and their signature move is a lift in which the woman carries the man. Watch for variations in both routines. These guys are progressive to the hilt.

Carmina Burana.

The Man in the Iron Mask.


Johnny Weir at the US Nationals, 2005. If this performance of Otonal does not make you at least gasp as the straight-line footwork kicks off (4 mintues 40), then I guess you'll just never get it. I fvcking wept.

Johnny, with this routine, pretty much reinvented men's figure skating. He showed that you *could* balance athleticism, flexibility and artistic interpretation; that you *could* compete with grace, not just brute masculinity. And that a non-popular piece of classical music can still produce a routine that slays a crowd, without naff theatrics. Watch how he's paid attention to *every* note in the song, every dynamic, every pause and every flourish.

Johnny dropped onto the senior international scene with much controversy, but became a popular superstar the likes of which the sport's never quite seen.


Surya Bonaly. Oh, French again! 1998 Olympics long program to Vivaldi. This was her farewell amateur comp, so once she fell and knew she had no chance of medalling, she busted out her trademark backflip (watch for it toward the end!) and finished her program with her back to the judges. The judges, in turn, crucified her with their marks.

Surya was another extremely unconventional skater - athletic and upbeat at a time when 'being pretty' was what scored points. She would skate in pantsuits, attempt quad jumps (she landed one - albeit very slightly two-footed - in competition once; still the only woman still to ever even come that close), and she is still the only skater ever to perform a backflip landing on one blade. In the mid-90s, at her peak, it is generally agreed she should have won world titles. Surya never stopped rocking the boat and the judges never let her get away with it.

1995 Worlds (below), for example - fantastic technical and artistic display, and robbed of the gold again. *Nobody* in women's skating at the time was doing jump combos/sequences like you see here. Now, it's the required norm.


Lastly, short and sweet, Viktor Petrenko's 1992 exhibition skate. Ex routines are purely for crowd-pleasing, no rules, anything goes. I've seen a lot of world class skaters in my time, and this routine live in Seattle in '92 is one I've never forgotten. (Nor that ridculous shirt!) And it was a *huge* inspiration on me. I'd never seen anyone move quite like that on 4mm wide blades :) Nor imagined it possible.



( 6 — comment )
4th Oct, 2008 08:30 (UTC)
!! A women came into our gym with a travel pass this week so she could work out, turns out her kids were in the rollerskatey finals, apparently her son won gold and her daughter won fourth or something. I thought of you!
4th Oct, 2008 09:06 (UTC)
Hee. I actually really enjoyed watching those.
6th Oct, 2008 03:53 (UTC)
Aww, that's cool :) I'm glad. I enjoyed making it an awful lot too.
4th Oct, 2008 15:06 (UTC)
omg you made a figure skating post WITHOUT Torvill and Dean.
6th Oct, 2008 03:52 (UTC)
Sorry if I...wounded your British pride? I just never found T&D all that interesting overall.
6th Oct, 2008 11:37 (UTC)
Yes. Exactly. British pride!

Actually its more that for me my automatic kind of...brain thing is figure skating -> T&D. Must come from growing up in the UK I suppose. I thought they sort of epitomised the art form.
( 6 — comment )


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