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summervie
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PostSubject: About facial expression   Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:22 pm

Firstly I posted this message in the thread about Worlds, but then I decided that it worth a separate thred.

I said it already and I will say it again: millions of people can vary their facial expression not worse than Yu-na does. This quality has nothing to do with any greatness within this sport. And it's already overhyped and overscored by far. The same way judges can give a bonus to skaters who simply look more beautiful. Wouldn't it be the same logic? It's more pleasant to witness a perfomance of a beautiful skater, isn't it? The same goes with 'acting': some people can open their mouth (for example) in some appealing way, and some simply can't.

Moreover, there's not that much of actual acting in all that. Generally, it's just about a skater having "dramatic expression #1", "dramatic expression #2", "lyrical smile #1", "bitchy look #3" and so on, who just 'applies' these sets to whatever program. Most of the time there's nothing deep or real about that, just a plain emulation. I always thought the purpose of it was more about delighting some random viewers, but with Kim's facial expressions all over the place, it seems some people start to confuse FS with something completely else.

P.s.
When Mao skates to Clair de Lune, even if she can't produce those showy expressions, we all know that she tries to feel this music and to express it with all her soul. No matter how it looks, it is true.
What Yu-na feels while making those trendy expressions one can only guess.
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:58 pm

Personally I really like Mao's honesty of emotions. It makes me relate to her skating more. Smile She radiates with happiness and power when she can skate to her full potential, but also with insecurity and determination when she knows she can't skate as well as she would like to. You can see how important for her is not to let her fans and her country down.

I think that actually Mao has really good ability to act. Anyone who watched her "My Girl" SP (Nats 2003), "Carmen" SP (GPF 2005), Over the Rainbow EX (JSC 2006 & Nobeyama 2006), "Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra" SP (Worlds 2008) or any of the exhibitions/shows from the recent 2 seasons should not have any doubts about whether or not is Mao able to emote.

I think that there are 3 things that work against Mao when it comes to showing emotions on the screen:
1. Mao has very delicate doll-like facial features and often her facial expression don't show well on the screen, except when she almost over-emotes. This was also the case with younger YuNa. YuNa overcame this problem by using very intense eyes/lips makup and adjusting her eyebrows. This trick is also often used by ballerina dancers (especially a few decades ago, when the make-up on some dancers looked really... well, intense. Laughing )
2. Mao is often in constant motion in her programs. It is difficult to notice whether or not the skater in question actually has any expression on his/her face, if the skater keeps spinning, twizzling, doing leaps and lunges and whatever. Smile
3. Poor condition always influences the quality of performance. Look what happened to Yukina and Mai, who, IMHO, had some of the most beautiful ability to express the music with their face and body. As their condition became worse, their ability to express music also became weaker than when they were at the peak of their abilities. And, sadly, Mao really seemed to struggle with jumps/stamina after the Japanese Nationals this season.

But actually IMHO Mao's expression improved tremendously this season, and subtly changing her eyebrows shape and using a bit more intense make-up than usual made her expression more visible on the TV/computer screen. flower

To quote Chris from Eurosport (after Mao's SP at Worlds):

I love the way the music really does move her. She has a rare... unique quality about her.
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:56 pm

Yeah, I find it funny how many people complain about the emphasis on flexibility and "contortionist" positions because it has nothing to do with actual skating, yet nearly everyone seems obsessed with facial expressions. What on Earth has making faces to do with skating then?

Artistry? For me totally ruined by overacting and exaggerating more than anything else. And I'm not even talking about Yu-Na. The worst example IMHO is Sarah Meier. I find her rather hard to watch. I'm always thinking she is quite a pretty girl and her skating is not bad, why does she have to make such stupid faces all the time? (nothing against Sarah, that's actually my only issue with her).

In Yu-Na's case, I just get absolutely nothing from her interpretation. The ability to make faces doesn't mean there is necessarily any depth beneath it. I don't see her facial expressions as a natural result of some emotional overflow or feeling. Just a certain face nothing else.
And to me a fake or forced expression is much more distracting than no expression at all.
Again this is not just the case of Yu-Na but of many other so called artistic skaters. Sometimes I feel their "artistry" is just like for example the Titanic movie. Yeah, many people love it, the emotions, the drama, love story, suspense, special effects... Rolling Eyes cool, but that doesn't mean there is actually anything artistic about it. Disappointed
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:35 pm

I see nothing in Kim yuna programs that catches my eye, or drag me into the performance. her back is so stiff, while skating it's not even funny. Her facial expression is very fake, and it seems as if she wearing a mask for the 4 minutes or so. I don't get why kim yuna should recieve so high pcs marks when she really does not have very good interperation.
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:23 pm

kawaiimao wrote:

Artistry? For me totally ruined by overacting and exaggerating more than anything else. And I'm not even talking about Yu-Na. The worst example IMHO is Sarah Meier. I find her rather hard to watch. I'm always thinking she is quite a pretty girl and her skating is not bad, why does she have to make such stupid faces all the time? (nothing against Sarah, that's actually my only issue with her).

Aww - I love Sarah's skating, there's something very natural, feminine to it and although she sometimes tends to exaggerate it, I still think it's a perfect addition to her skating Very Happy

What annoys me nowadays is the fact that the whole world is like: "OMG - Yu-Na Kim uses facial expressions in her programs! She feels the music! She tells a story, only she has real aristry and knows how to work it!"
German Eurosport commentators, although highly respecting Mao, were also like: "Yu-Na is in a league of her own".
This whole facial expressions thing is really getting on my nerves. Especially lots of TV commentators or (mostly) Yu-Na fans who claim that the total package is required to win a competition and that it's at the moment only Yu-Na who has this total package.

I don't even want to bash Yu-Na, for I really, really like her skating and since I saw her first at worlds 2007 I always wanted her to win a worlds(although I always wanted a little bit more Mao to win, gosh I'm contradictory!).
I also like her using facial expressions. Although I'm totally convinced it's not everything in figure skating, it's a real pleasure to see a skater smile during his program.
So I think this latest addition to her programs is an enjoyable fact and quite involving. What slightly annoys me is the fact that Yu-Na tends to exaggerate(sometimes it's too much). She's not the only one, Yukari is a delight to watch, but her wide flashing smile during her spirals often doesn't reach me. Seems too artificial.

The most annoying it just this whole blubbering around this facial issue and hence the immense overrating. It's not that special, but suddenly all the people are crowning Yu-Na to the new artistry queen and bash Mao for not feeling the music.
That's the most ridiculous part.

I also love it when Mao smiles. Really, I was like "awwww!" when she did it at the worlds and at NHK and I think she could do it more often.
But I guess Mao will never be the type to smile or use dramatic expressions thoughout a program like Yu-Na does. (However she managed to do it during her EX)
She remains concentrated and focused and even achieves to look good at that. If I remember worlds 2007, she was totally into her program, not permanently smiling, but having this beautiful expression on her face Wub
All in all I don't think Mao needs to exaggerate it like others do. If I see her smilign slip through during her program I'm totally happy.
What Mao really needs and what she can do best is a program she totally feels comfortable with.
I only saw that happen with her Masquerade twice this season which is really not enough. It was a great experiment, but Mao's strength remains lyrical music. Hope she and TAT will chose some great choice of music for the Olympics season!
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:56 pm

Okami wrote:

To quote Chris from Eurosport (after Mao's SP at Worlds):

I love the way the music really does move her. She has a rare... unique quality about her.

Hallelujah to that! Confetti

I have always said, that facial expression does not matter a bit to me if you can express the music through your body the way Mao does.

So I find Yu-Na's expressions to be over-the-top and exaggerated; someone on FSU called it 'pretentious' - and sometimes even Miki's gratuitous face-stroking is a little too much for me, though I adore her. Sweatdrop

I agree with Okami, what I love about Mao is that everything she does is genuine and honest. Many Hearts

She can't act - it's true - they tried to make her act angry in the Olympus commercial, but they had to do 11 outtakes. She's just not able to express anything but what she really feels. I love you

And Mao's not a natural exhibitionist either - unlike Yu-Na, who regularly sings/performs on TV, and probably likes to dance, Mao is super shy about singing or dancing in public. She doesn't have that 'brazen desire to make people watch her' that Aoshima was talking about; at least not yet.

So she's never going to have that emotional, dramatic impact that Yu-Na seems to have on the average viewer, and I don't think she should try. It's just not who she is.

Instead of trying to be overly dramatic like Yu-Na, she needs to capitalize on her strengths - light, delicate, ethereal, BEAUTIFUL skating.
-Rafael Artunian once said that Mao's greatest strength is beauty. Love Hearts And I agree. Instead of going for heavy, dramatic impact like Yu-Na - the kind of skate that ignites the crowd and makes you go 'wow' - I think Mao needs to go for hauntingly beautiful - the kind of skate that gives you chills and leaves you speechless. Unconscious

In my head, I continue to picture a moment of awed silence as Mao takes her final pose, followed by deafening applause as the entire audience rises to its feet. Encore Encore
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:03 pm

I agree, but I don´t know if is because I am Mao fan, Acting or not, win or lost I love her Laughing . but in fact I feel the same of Sasha and Michelle kwan, I love her skating but her facial expression is so annoying Frustrated and for me is the same with yuna (she is not so exagerated like sasha and michelle although), and they are really acting Suspect ? NO, they are not actresses, but play to acting Rolling Eyes .

I think Mao need "act" more, because the judges not will change their mind Disappointed , not like yuna, but I must to admit is not very atractive watch her soooo concetrated and worried (she exaggerated it this season, a very difficult program I guess), just relax and a more popular program.
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:58 pm

Batsuchan wrote:
So I find Yu-Na's expressions to be over-the-top and exaggerated; someone on FSU called it 'pretentious' - and sometimes even Miki's gratuitous face-stroking is a little too much for me, though I adore her. Sweatdrop
Blame Morozov for the face-stroking - that's like his signature move when he choreographs a program. Hell, no! I believe someone on NicoNico Douga did a face/hair stroke count of Adam Rippon's program(s) back when he was with Nikolai, and the final tally was over 20! Laugh

Ditto on Mao's smile though. When she does give it off, its genuine and warm. It's very much like the Midori Ito/Sokolova (aka Cupcake) type smiles - you just know it isn't acted out. cat

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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:12 pm

Batsuchan wrote:

Ditto on Mao's smile though. When she does give it off, its genuine and warm. It's very much like the Midori Ito/Sokolova (aka Cupcake) type smiles - you just know it isn't acted out. cat

Really. That smile Mao gave after landing her final combination at the 2007 Worlds, where she pumps her fist for a split second in pure delight of herself, is so much stronger of an impact than a whole FS of planned contorted faces.
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:24 am

oh...how I love Mao's lovely smile too. Love Hearts Love My favourite smiles: when she finished her FS in Skate Canada 2007, GPF 2007 FS and Worlds 2008 FS. So beautiful and heart-warming. One cannot help but share in her happiness too.

Mao's facial expressions had always been pretty alright for me, especially for the past seasons. I didn't really notice the problem until people began talking about the dramatic and theatrical facial expressions that Yuna displays in her programs this year. I was like - erm... I can't imagine Mao doing anything similar to what Yuna's doing. Sweatdrop Mao with "dare-you-to-stare-me-down" look that Yuna has in the opening of her SP - eeeewww. Yikes!!!

Okay. I think people are criticizing Mao more for her expressions because of her choice of FS music. I think it'll be better next season when they change the choice of music for her programs. Masquerade Waltz is a rhythmic and powerful piece of music. The beats are highlighted by the drums in the background. The audience will expect her choreography/expression to match the strong heavy melody. When they don't match, it's really obvious - like a singer singing offbeat to a R&B song v.s. singing offbeat to a ballad. Obviously, if you miss a beat when you're singing a R&B song, it's more obvious. Even a Mao fan can tell she looks pretty tense at worlds, she looks even more concentrated on completing the elements in her FS than usual. So, naturally her posture and expression looks stiffer than usual.

With that said, as a fan, I wouldn't mind if Mao smile more during her programs (as long as it doesn't contradicts the tone of the music). She doesn't need to go with the theatrical expressions. Lol, she shouldn't be penalized for being better at skating than acting... Rather, let her assume her most comfortable role on ice - herself.

An example would be Irina Slutskaya's SP in 2006 Olympics. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSlFufwQRjc Not that Mao should skate like Irina. Gosh, no... Mao and Irina have very distinctively different styles but Mao could present her skating to the audience the way Irina did - by being true to who you are. Irina demonstrates her cheery confident smile and speedy skating; powerful jumps and strong vibrant movements. Mao could also pull out her own unique smile and character into the program. She did it before in the past seasons, like Carmen in 2005. Personally, I think that the storyline of Carmen is really far too mature for a 15-year-old girl to interpret faithfully, but Mao skated a "Mao-like" performance, with her own sense of playfulness and joy. Very Happy Mao could let her personality shine through more in the program next season.

All in all, as long as Mao finds her fighting spirit and confidence back, enjoys her own skating and have fun with it, I don't see why she will not amaze everyone with her beautiful skating and charismatic smile Cheering

********************************

I agree with what everyone is saying here: Figure skating is a sport that requires athleticism and well-executed techniques first and foremost. Very Happy However, this is where I have a different opinion: Mao should take into account of giving a bit more variety of facial expressions when choreographing the new program.

It is true that it should not be a prerequisite and skaters should definitely NOT be penalized for not having enough of it. But facial expression is an essential tool for skaters to reach out to whoever is watching them, especially to the judges who are probably feeling slightly worn-out after sitting at the judging panel for the entire day. A good variety of strong expressions will help wake them up, keep them interested and attract them to watch your performance with greater attention. ALso, judges are probably going to mark a skater's PCS marks mainly according to their primary and immediate impression of the skater's skate performance. Good facial expressions that are well choreographed will help create a more lasting impression to the judges. Believe me, whenever I hear someone talk about Yuna's SP now, I'll think of her facial expressions immediately. And THAT will increase the marks on interpretation and transitions, etc.

I totally love Mao as she is now. Love Hearts With or without the facial expressions, I will love her skating as much as before. In fact, I wouldn't mind AT ALL if she stay as she is if that is her choice. To me, it's the person's character and efforts that counts for me the most, not their achievements. But Mao wants the OGM and I would be so happy for her if her long-time dream to come true. When competing at such an elite level, particularly now with Yuna so loved for her expressions, Team Mao will have to take expressions into consideration too when choreographing a program just to maintain competitive. Or at least, come up with something else that will close the PCS gap between Mao and Yuna.

With this said, the PCS were over-the-top at the Worlds. Will not be surprised if the judges may not award Yuna again with such high PCS but we can never know for sure until next season begins. Best if Team Mao is prepared though.


Last edited by snowdrops24 on Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:02 am

I always thought why people calls Yu-Na a textbook jumper? Irina is the skater who has TEXTBOOK JUMPS! Look at her entrances, just amazing.And I agree, it could work for Mao as well, if judges want to see it, it would be Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:15 pm

I love Irina's skating! And wearing pants! It really suits her and does justice to the speed of her skating and the power of her jumps. To me, Irina skates more like the men do (in a good way, I assure you!) in that her artistry comes from a sense of control and dominance on the ice rather than saccharine smiles and arm-waving.

I lol'ed at how the female commentator said "...and wearing pants which is a new rule; women can do that now." It made the figure skating world sound terribly old-fashioned and chauvinistic!
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:40 am

To put it all together, I guess my view is this:

1) I don’t think facial expression is necessary, but expression through the body, which Mao does very well, is absolutely necessary.

2) I find exaggerated facial expression, or expression for the sake of expression that does not seem genuine, to be distracting, and to me it detracts from the performance. Mad

3) However, I agree with snowdrops 24 that having “good,” genuine facial expres​sion(like Mao in her EX) definitely helps to make a positive impression on the judges and the audience. Thumbs up!

4) Unfortunately, it seems that the judges seem to preferentially reward people with facial expressions, even if they are exaggerated and false. And the average viewer seems to be impressed by over-the-top expression. Evil or Very Mad

5) Thus, I think that if Mao can show a genuine smile (like in her EX), or if she can grow and mature into a person who can genuinely express an emotion, and not act for the sake of acting, then she should do this. Because I love Mao’s genuine, heartfelt expressions, and I would love for her to silence the people who criticize her lack of facial expression. Love Hearts

6) However, under no circumstances do I want her to try to do over-the-top facial expressions just because she feels she needs to, or because the judges seem to reward it. I’d much have focused, concentrating Mao than a face-stroking, acting for the sake of acting Mao! Yep!
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:25 pm

Well, about facial expressions......figure skating, just like ballet and gymnastics and the like, demands more technicalities and emoting will come natural when one is very comfortable with herself/himself. With this competitive sport, I think the audience or the viewers are very much influenced by the media, the judges and the fans - that they lose the perspective of how to see and appreciate it. This FACIAL EXPRESSION thing was brought about at THE WORLDS where all the hypes, the unfairness, and the malicious influences by those who penetrated and controlled the system. I believe that MAO has the heart of a champion and she is the only one with the genuine technicality, the fine posture and definitely the exquisite deliverance of whatever program she has and I think people should consider the circumstances brought about at the worlds - and I'm very amazed that she, with her love for figure skating, was able to put up with all the hype created by the media, fans and judges. In my opinion, I think the acting and emoting at the worlds by other skaters was over-exaggerated and uncalled for. Some skaters would conceal their austere technicalities with such drama. And with all the drama going on the ice and off the ice, I'm grateful that MAO is around to show what real figure skating is all about.
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:39 pm

In regards to this subject, I read that "falling in love" was mentioned. Do you think the other skaters who have performed badly, without any expression, haven't experienced the "falling in love"????!!!!!I think the love doesn't ncessarily mean the love with another human being but the PASSION within, that comes with the different emotions like happiness, sadness, loneliness, and the whole aspects of life.
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:41 am

I always thought TAT was joking when she told Mao that, but it seems that Mao's taken it to heart so maybe it actually works?

I personally see love as a distraction Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:07 am

She wasn't joking. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:28 am

I wonder what kind of boyfriend Mao is interested in...

I know there's a poll on it but do people think Mao will go for a Japanese guy or someone from another country?

If this question seems too stalkerish, feel free to delete my post, administrator.
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:00 pm

Yeah! I somewhat agree that Mao expresses the music in her own way!

SHe don't need facial expression! If you really watch her SP this 0809 season! You can feel her body moving with the music!

in her Claire de Lune! This is what I really feel about her skating

The Music is the wind and Mao is the feather swinging in the air with it

even though Mao did not show any facial expression... I felt goosebumps everytime she performs her Short!
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:06 pm

Only what I can say, remember the best short program ever, Lesha's Winter, ehhh do you find there any facial expressions? Nooo, this is the answer. For some skaters it's good,for some not, but I find it's the difference between european and american style. American style is about facial expressions, european style- more body moves , and expressing the music with the body. Am I baised? Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:07 pm

getmewild wrote:

SHe don't need facial expression! If you really watch her SP this 0809 season! You can feel her body moving with the music!

in her Claire de Lune! This is what I really feel about her skating

The Music is the wind and Mao is the feather swinging in the air with it

even though Mao did not show any facial expression... I felt goosebumps everytime she performs her Short!

Yes, I totally agree with you getmewild! Did you check out the thread, "Mao Asada, Heroine of the era"? The Japanese writer, Hirono Aoshima, compares the way Mao skates to the "workings of nature" - I agree, everything just seems so natural, so genuine, so effortless - the music just FLOWS through Mao!

polosatik - I think you're right - it seems like the Americans (well, technically I'm one too...) care a lot about facial expression...sighh...
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PostSubject: Re: About facial expression   Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:19 pm

Asya + Batsuchan: Ditto. I don't think facial expression is a bad thing, and for some skaters it certainly helps with their performance (Yukari, Rachael Flatt for example) gain an extra "oomph" but I always have my eyebrow raised because, as people have pointed out, there are too many fans - especially the casual ones - who equate expression with artistry.

Expression most definitely helps with artistry, but is in no way artistry only defined by looking dramatic, putting a smile, or gazing up at the stands. This is probably what irritates me the most, and it doesn't help that NA commentators (cough Tracy-Scott-Sandra cough) seem to be blind as to not noticing delicate hand movements, pointing the toes, or stretching the leg. All you hear from those three are expression, artistry, smiling, and great choregraphy. That's probably why I appreciate the Eurosports commentators and Dick+Peggy more, since they picked up on the nuances. Razz

Maybe there really is a difference in what the NA vs. European crowd want to see from their skating - almost like the Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze or Salé /Pelletier debate but I won't even go there! Laughing

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