Twizzle Talk


5 Comments

A Season of Spirals?

Spirals are my favorite skating move, without a doubt. I had a poster of Michelle Kwan performing her signature change-of-edge spiral on the wall of my childhood bedroom. I learned the move myself and always included it in my own programs.

This love of spirals means I dearly miss the days when the ladies’ event had a required spiral sequence (the early years of the IJS). But these days, a long, beautifully held spiral is a rare sight.  Unfortunately, it just isn’t a big point getter.

I’ve seen a few programs from the early season competitions (thanks to everyone posting video on YouTube!), and my spiral-loving heart is all sorts of hopeful that the move is making a comeback this year. Both Mariah Bell, at the Glacier Falls Summer Classic, and Mirai Nagasu, at Skate Detroit, have them in their long programs.

Mariah uses spiral variations a-plenty, in footwork and jump entries, as well as a perfectly placed forward outside spiral on the crescendo of the music (around the 3:20 mark in the video below). Some music just begs for spirals, and this piece definitely fits the bill. Interestingly, it is the soundtrack from “East of Eden,” a piece in which Michelle Kwan also used a spiral to great emotional effect.

Nagasu utilizes her beautiful spiral similarly in her long program to ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All,” adding a forward outside version after an elegant hop, as the music builds. (at 4:22 in the video).

While neither of these spirals are going to earn as many points as a triple-triple jump combination, they serve an important purpose in the choreography and interpretation, and that second mark is still important. Not to mention, their spirals are beautiful to behold. Both have excellent stretch and extension.

Has any one else spotted spirals in early season events? Is the trend back, or are my hopes in vain?

Advertisements


7 Comments

Best Ovations at Worlds 2016

Being in the audience for some of the events at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships was thrilling and unforgettable. I keep telling people who ask about the event that I felt privileged to be in the audience to watch such amazing performances. The audience itself was also pretty awesome.

rippon_adam_040116_800x375

It was clear that it was a knowledgeable group of skating fans, and an appreciative one at that. The cheers for the American skaters were nearly deafening, but the international skaters received lots of love as well. And as Phil Hersh pointed out on Twitter, figure skating fanhood is alive and well in Boston. I also thought I read on Twitter that people were comparing this event to skating’s heydey in the 1990s, but couldn’t find the exact tweet. If anyone finds something to that effect, definitely share in the comments!

Safe to say the audience was fabulous throughout the competition, but there were a few unforgettable crowd moments that stood out:

    • Any time the words, “Representing the United States of America…” were said before an athlete’s name.
    • The crowd’s deafening roar in response to Adam Rippon’s call for more (pictured above) after his fabulous and fun free skate.
  • The Shib Sibs’ twizzle sequence: You can somewhat hear the crowd over the music in this video, but just turn your volume all the way up and then imagine multiplying that by ten. And yes, I was crying by this point, as predicted.
  • The roar of the crowd leading up to Ashley Wagner’s final triple lutz, and after she nailed it
  • The cheers for Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu and Olympic Silver Medalist Mao Asada, despite subpar free skate performances. Though they didn’t bring the house down, both skaters received ovations that conveyed the respect the crowd had for their prior achievements, and their appreciation to see two of the sport’s greats live and in person.
  • The crowd was pretty much going insane for the entirety of the six-minute warm-up for the men’s final group. Screams every time somebody landed a quad, and there were plenty to go around in that group!

What a weekend! Next up, my favorite musical selections from the competition.


1 Comment

Flashback Friday: Evan Lysacek 2006 Exhibition

Happy 2016, everybody!

U.S. Figure Skating recently announced their 2016 Hall of Fame inductees, my personal favorite Evan Lysacek among them. That, combined with the fact that I randomly heard the song “Run It!” on the radio the other day, reminded me of his fabulous “How to Pick Music” exhibition program from 2006. The man has moves. Let’s revisit for this Flashback Friday:


Leave a comment

My Coach’s 72 Years on the Ice

This fabulous lady is my skating coach:

IMG_2730

And there was a big article on her in The Boston Globe last week, celebrating her 72 years on the ice. That’s right, 72 years. Marcia has always been a skating guru in my eyes, but really, it is true for the skating community in the entire Greater Boston area, as well. She has left her mark on this community. The article can give you more than a few reasons why, and here are a few of my personal favorites:

  • Marcia will notice the smallest, most minute detail, instantly, and be able to tell you what is going wrong with a move. Like this past Saturday, when I was doing some wonky twizzles. “Why don’t you turn your head in the direction you’re skating?” she suggested. Boom. Twizzles were working again.
 It might seem like a move is a complete disaster, but really, it just needs that “Marcia eye” and in a split second she can tell you exactly what to fix.
  • She is a source of endless positivity. There are skating coaches who scream and yell to get their point across. Marcia can do it with a single look. All her students know the face that says, “go try that again.” When a new spin position wasn’t working well, it was “not the most flattering option” and she had me make an adjustment. Marcia brings out each skater’s strengths.
  • She also has high expectations. “She makes you do things that you don’t think you can do, but she knows you can do it,” says Kara Protulis, a fellow Marcia student and skating friend, in the article. Just a few weeks ago, Marcia was brainstorming a new entrance to my double salchow, out of a back spiral. Marcia’s not telling my 27-year-old self that its time to find a new hobby—she’s still pushing me to try new and difficult things.

I have been so fortunate to learn from her for just a fraction of the years she has been coaching. She makes each of her students not only a better skater, but a better human. Thank you, Marcia.

Now go read the piece in the Globe to learn even more about this incredible woman and skater!


Leave a comment

Flashback Friday: Skate Canada 2010

Inspired by Ashley Wagner’s Skate Canada victory last weekend, let’s take it back five years, to the last time an American lady won Skate Canada. For this week’s Flashback Friday, Alissa Czisny and her glorious spins taking gold at Skate Canada 2010 in Kingston Ontario:


1 Comment

Impressions: Skate America 2015

I’m about to sit down and watch the Ice Network feeds from Skate Canada, but before I do that, it’s probably time to type out some of my thoughts on last weekend’s Skate America:

  • I was surprised that Gracie lost to Evengia Medvedeva. It’s pretty clear that it came down to the points she lost doubling her flip in the short program and her salchow in the long. Man, is this a numbers game or what? Medvedeva was thinking on her feet and added two combinations during her program, after falling on an earlier intended combination. It’s that kind of quick thinking that makes a difference in this judging system. Once Gracie gets enough confidence in her elements in competition, she is going to have to do that too—especially if she makes a mistake early in a long program.

    Image Source: fs-gossips.com

  • On a more superficial and less mathematical note, I loved Medvedeva’s dress (except the gloves, I am rarely a fan of gloves). The color and the varying sequin design were just gorgeous. Her fellow Russian and training mate, Julia Lipnitskaia, continues to make puzzling fashion choices, like this dress for her Elvis-themed short program:

    Image Source: dailyherald.com

    According to the NBC commentary team, these two ladies don’t speak to each other and won’t skate on the same ice. It makes Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner’s relationship look positively chummy in comparison. I find the respectful rivalry between Gold and Wagner really refreshing and mature, and even moreso in light of this information about these Russian rivals.

  • Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim of the U.S. look FAST and their elements have the “big” quality that so many Russian and Chinese teams have excelled at while Americans did not; I think this could be their year to break through.
  • And on the opposite end of the spectrum from a breakthrough, we have the Russian team of Stolbova and Klimov. They skipped the World Championships last year and ended their season early to begin preparation for this season, and, allegedly, a quad element. I’m not quite sure what they did during their time off, because they seemed to barely have a handle on the elements they used to execute flawlessly. Is something else going on here?
  • The ice dance situation this season seems discombobulated—several teams have already been through multiple short dances, because they can’t seem to get the rhythm requirements right. I can’t believe that Chock and Bates are on their third short dance of the season already, and honestly, it didn’t look like it. They looked very confident, despite only having done a few runthroughs of the entire program, according to NBC commentator Tanith White. All these struggles with program and music choices sort of make me wonder about the quality of the pre-competition evaluations that federations are doing or whether the rules are too specific.
  • One distinctly non-discombobulated portion of the dance event was the overall performance of Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov. They were utterly forgettable last season, so I was really impressed by their improvement and connection here. I will admit that I was more on the side of Katsalapov’s previous partner Elena Illinykh when they rather abruptly and strangely split after their bronze at the Sochi Olympics. She seems so passionate about skating and he seemed a bit apathetic last year. If these performances are any indication, I may be converted and enjoy them both with their new partners.

    Image Source: youtube.com

  • I’m not sure how I feel about Jason Brown’s long program. It’s beautiful, yes, but it is also so quiet. There is no big crescendo of emotion, which he is so good at. I’ll be interested to see this program develop as the season goes on.

And now, on to Canada!