Thursday, March 4, 2010
Ice dancing - an expert speaks
Hopefully we’ve all gotten over the Olympic trauma stemming from the Canadian insistence on All Curling, All the Time. At one point I did think – hey, maybe I’m not being quite fair here. Maybe there IS something to this curling after all, and I just have to give it a chance. As I shortly found out – no. Or to put it another way, it’s not me, it’s them. The people foisting curling on us. Because really, it’s still just throwing a big rock, then squeegee-ing the ice. At that rate, why aren’t bocce ball, or shuffleboard, or even bowling all Olympic sports? Though maybe I shouldn’t give them any ideas.
I also had to laugh, or cry, or some combination thereof, when a friend and I on FB were gently poking fun at the curlers, and someone else came along and lambasted us for said poking, because after all, “the Olympics aren’t just about accomplishment and athleticism!” M’kay. My pointing out that yes, the Olympics are in fact supposed to be about athleticism pretty much put an end to that nonsense.
Anyway, back to the ice dancing. Today we feature faithful reader Rainbosports, giving us a primer on ice dancing and why we should care:
“Here's your ice dancing primer for today: Compulsory dance is all ice dance teams do two patterns of the same dance steps to the same music with different intro and exit steps. It starts the competition with everyone on a level playing field which then separates the men from the boys. Original dance is a themed dance that each team picks their own music and steps--this year it was a folk dance. The ISU picks the theme for the year. Free dance is where dance teams go apeshit with music and costume and choreography.
As a figure skater who does ice dancing, I was somewhat surprised they showed compulsory dance on TV. They never do for Nationals or Worlds. It is pretty boring.”
To emphasize the “why we should care” part – I think that would be where “the dance teams go apeshit” – because hell, that stuff can be pretty damn entertaining. This year, I looked at the free dance and thought, did everyone collaborate on a befevered Swan Lake theme? Because that’s what all the costumes looked like, as if a mass case of hysteria or madness had hit the ice dancing ranks all at once. Though Stacey’s interpretation, i.e. that they looked like escapees from the Lion King, that also worked.
The other key points that I think we can all agree on as far as ice dancing is concerned:
• The compulsory stuff is boring as hell. Televising it, especially on a Friday night = very bad idea. It’s reminiscent of the days of yore when we had the compulsory figures for the individual skaters – where they skated around in figure-eights, doing all the different edges. Boring Central.
• Even though our esteemed Guest Blogger doesn’t emphasize this, I will: all that shit is really really fricking hard. Yes, yours truly was a figure skater for years, got all the way up to Freestyle IV then got discouraged because the teacher would never be looking when I did my stellar sit spins, so I was stuck in Freestyle IV purgatory for eons. And really, do I look like I have that kind of patience? Hardly. Anyway, even the stuff that they make look ridiculously easy – that’s still hard. Unlike, say, throwing a rock and squeegee-ing, for example.
• The Russians are batshit crazy – and they didn’t even wait until the free dance to prove this. The folk dance part, they did an “aboriginal” dance, and I would say it was more of the Disneyfied version, except that Disney is way more PC than that. But at least they toned it down from their usual routine – which they normally do in dark makeup. Seriously. Though they kept the loincloths and the leaves stuffed everywhere. And then they rub noses at the end of the routine. But still, I guess we could dub this version “Now with 30% less racism!” Though I’m about as far from PC as one can get, so my main problem with this routine was more focused on the fact that I thought their skating kind of sucked. And to compound their ridiculousness, for their free dance routine, she had ropes as part of her costume, so he could just swing her around by these ropes. Hello, how is that even allowed? And then they won bronze? Please.
So to summarize – ice dancing, a bizarre sport. Curling, not a sport. Hockey, the best sport there is.