(March 25, 2009) –Sitting and watching skater after skater during these ISU World Figure Skating Championships, I realized something and that is that from time to time I really appreciate the “beauty of under doing it”. What I mean is that I have noticed from some of the skaters a quiet confidence that exudes from them; encouraging the spectator to simply sit back and enjoy what is happening on the ice.
The athleticism, sheer strength and stamina required to skate pairs is undeniable and for me what separates the good teams from the superb is the degree (or lack thereof ) of stress I experience while watching them. Many teams are consumed by the effort required to get through a program; so much so that I become aware of every breath, grunt and strain. These programs are not my favourites.
If I can get lost in the moment and simply enjoy the performance, it starts to feel like a very special experience. Such was the case with Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov whose sublime performance last night has resulted in their second place finish after short program. Skating to Saint Saens’ The Swan, their lyrical choreography made wonderful use of Yuko’s long and willowy line making for a very convincing and graceful interpretation of a swan. Their short program was tight and beautifully constructed and gave me, as the viewer, the chance to simply enjoy. By “under doing” the appearance of effort in their skating, they were able to maximize the magic in their performance. There were no jagged edges or startling moments to jar me, leaving me to be gently carried along with them for the duration of their program. Memorable and beautiful and a welcome respite from what can be the frantic world of figure skating.
I am sure that today will bring more outstanding performances as we get ready to crown a new pairs champion and launch the men’s competition with their short programs.
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for another installment of Artistry on Ice tomorrow.
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