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Thread: Artistic skating competition

  1. #1
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    Artistic skating competition

    Is art best experienced in a competitive context?

    Let's grant that it can be. And let's imagine a group of skaters and skating aficionados, among whom we can nominate ourselves, would like to organize a circuit of art-oriented skating contests.

    Should it start at the elite level and maybe work its way down to lower levels? Or start at grass roots level and aim to build momentum until high-level international competition is appropriate? Start with multiple age or skill levels or start with one open group and subdivide later if necessary?

    What should be the requirements to enter such a competition?

    What disciplines should it include? Is it appropriate to have separate events for male and female solo skaters? What kind of multi-skater events should be offered?

    Let's say we focus on top-level elite artistic competition, whether that's the starting point or an end point for the project.

    What kinds of rules and requirements would be appropriate? How should it be judged? Under what criteria? What kind of training and expertise should the judges bring to the process?

    Should this be a completely separate project from ISU skating (which may or may not cause them to declare skaters who participate ineligible for Olympic-track competition)?

    Or should it be designed as an artistic branch of the ISU?

    Give your imagination free rein!

  2. #2
    Yes, way
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    I note that there are already "artistic" competitions in ISU adult skating.
    Maybe there are some pointers there?

    They're a lot like regular skating competitions, except there is no technical score. Only single jumps are allowed, and those are evaluated only on their artistic/choreographic/interpretive/expressive/etc merits (same for other elements)

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    Bona Fide Member andromache's Avatar
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    1. Art is probably NOT best experienced in a competitive context. The desire to win and/or conform to certain subjective criteria that enables a high score necessarily restricts the freedom of the art. But that doesn't mean it's not fun to imagine, or to have artistic competitions anyway!

    2. I think it would need to start at the elite level in order to gain any traction. Due to funding limitations that limit access to the best choreographers, lower-level competition might not be too impressive. The elites, however, would ideally give performances worth watching, and interest would trickle down from there. Start off as a competitive but semi-fluffy pro-am series sort of thing.

    3. In a perfect world, men and women would be able to compete against one another on an artistic level. However, what is considered "beautiful" or "artistic" does differ between men and women, because of gender norms. So separating the genders, and breaking it down into men, ladies, and couples might be the best bet. (Couples can be same sex, multi-sex, whatever - do not have to be romantic in any way.)

    4. Given the influence of dance (broadly speaking) on figure skating, I think a panel of judges would ideally be made up of a few dance experts who have also had experience with skating in some fashion, along with regular skating choreographers (whose work cannot be represented in the competition).

    Some criteria worth judging in some way (by no means complete or totally clear):

    1. Originality/creativity
    2. Totality of vision (or, is the complete piece more than the sum of its parts?)
    3. Complexity/attention to detail in the choreographed movements
    3. Musical interpretation by the performer
    4. Complexity/attention to detail in the choreographed movements
    5. Emotional commitment to the(s) of the piece by the performer
    6. Quality of execution of choreography

    Three criteria are, in large part, the responsibility of the choreographer. Three are, in large part, the responsibility of the skater. In many ways, this is a team competition, and choreographers should perhaps even be rewarded/lauded as much as the performers. The teamwork between them is key to success.

    7. I'd say it should START as a separate venture from the ISU, simply because the ISU is too politicized. But the ISU could be motivated to allow all skaters to compete through....I don't know, something. They allowed skaters to do pro-ams back when those were a thing.

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    Bona Fide Member andromache's Avatar
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    Oh, one another criteria should be based on skating. Both the skating skills of the performer as well as how the piece utilizes skating as part of the composition, i.e., how is skating itself integral to the aesthetic/theme/composition of the program - why is this better than if the same above-the-blade movements were performed sans skates, on a stage or dance floor?

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    Bona Fide Member andromache's Avatar
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    So I'm on mobile, running errands, and I keep thinking of stuff! Performing to a musical number that was originally composed for dancing - a ballet, certain show tunes, tango, etc. - belong in a different category than performances to musical numbers which were not composed for performances involving the movements of the human body. A way to challenge versatility by a two-program competition structure? After all, choreographing to Swan Lake is different than choreographing to Turandot (to use two warhorses).

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    So the rules for elite singles artistic skating competition could be something like:

    Time limit: minimum and maximum durations, maybe something like 3:00 to 5:00, close enough to make all programs comparable but wide enough to allow for a variety of un- or minimally edited songs, although extreme editing or anything in between is also welcome.

    Any music is allowed.

    Any costume restrictions? Are props allowed?

    Any illegal elements?

    No technical elements scores, so if you feel the music/theme/story requires a big jump here it's the choreographer's and skater's choice whether to include a quad lutz or a split half-lutz or a triple toe. Whatever works best for them.

    No minimums or maximums on any kind of element. Skaters are free to do no jumps at all or eleven half-loops in a row or four double axels and three triple toes, or standard short program elements or whatever. No spins or multiple little spinning elements or one or five different extended spins. Whatever works with that skater's best skills and the concept for the program.

    If we were doing this within the ISU umbrella, we could use PCS more or less with the current criteria for Performance, Composition, and Interpretation, and the factors for those areas could add up to the majority of the score.

    And then there could also be a score called "Skating Skills" or "Technical Skills" that includes everything in the Skating Skills and Transitions components plus everything scored under Technical Elements Score in freestyle programs.

    Judges would score the skating techniques on a scale of 0-10 but quality would count as much as difficulty and the scores would be holistic for the whole program, not element by element. Balance of different kinds of skills might be one criterion, but not too important because different program concepts might benefit by emphasizing different kinds of skills.

    Or narrow the scores down to only two or three scores per judge for each skater and turn them into ordinals.

    If outside the ISU, start with criteria such as those andromache has listed. Should each item get a separate score? Should they be divided into two or more global scores? Or just one score per skater per judge, based on all those criteria considered together?

    I kind of like scoring three to seven different criteria separately. If three, maybe one score for the concept/choreography, one for the execution and interpretation of that concept, and one for overall technical skill.

  7. #7
    Because backflips are sexy.... Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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  8. #8
    Observer 4everchan's Avatar
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    one thing i can contribute...

    i was an athlete (swimmer) and i am now an artist (musician)

    i loved competing as an athlete... winning races, bettering my times...

    but as an artist, i did piano competitions like everyone... i hated them... it forces you to play safe... as not only if you make a mistake you are out... even if it's tiny but if you play a bit outside the box, you will piss off at least one judge who will disagree with your style and knock you out...

    then.. you also have to play the standards... people complain about the warhorses in figure skating LOL they exist in music competition....

    i remembered being told by a judge.. "you were the best but you didn't play beethoven, chopin or liszt.. it was hard for some people to judge you"

    so music competitions : MEH...

    i don't think that art is supposed to be judged by people.. i think it's supposed to speak on its own... to live its own path....

    if there were something like artistic skating... what would you really consider being "artistic skating" ? no jumps and no spins??? well a jump can highlight music.... and then, if you allow jumps... of course, the difficulty will influence judgment...

    i think that i'd prefer that figure skating is judged more and more like a true sport with less and less subjectivity... how about that?

    and then, perhaps, we could have competitions about "who is the most popular artistic skater"

    I think that what intrigues people is the capacity of skating different style and communicating the emotion of different songs.... so perhaps a competition which would give every skater the same piece to "improvise" on would be fun to watch... but then... that's improv.. not refined art....

  9. #9
    Pogo is my queen Seren's Avatar
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    It's ironic this thread comes up today- National Showcase is currently going on in Santa Rosa, California- for those who may not know, it's US Figure Skatings artistic competition for singles, duets, and production numbers. It has all levels, from Senior level skaters to Pre-Preliminary and all ages from children to adults. The competition is so popular this year that it's going on for 4 days.

    http://www.usfsa.org/programs?id=84078

  10. #10
    Tripping on the Podium macy's Avatar
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    i'm not sure if all states or any other countries do this, but here's my experience with artistic-- back in my competitive years i did artistic duets with another girl through the michigan high school competitions. outside of that i know they do artistic champs in the states (which i've always wanted to do), but i had an absolute blast doing it. jumps weren't judged either, it was all on interpretation/story line/etc. we did gilligan's island (i was the skipper ) and i swear every single time i did that program i laughed the whole way through. we had to learn how to time our jumps the same and even did some form of a pairs spin. not to mention we won all the competitions we entered and won states that year too i did a couple competitions just myself for artistic and that was a lot of fun too. they're very laid back and not stressful like a normal competition, it's almost an ice show atmosphere in a sense.

  11. #11
    On the Ice
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    I know showcase has been around for awhile and is obviously judged. However, art is always subjective. Always. Talent can be judged, but that only goes so far.

    For example, I'm sure we can all agree that Jason Brown, Adam Rippon and Patrick Chan are excellent artists when it comes to their skating. But, how many of us could agree on which is the best out of the 3?

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