Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skating

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Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skating

Postby cekoni » 15 Dec 2012, 03:19

Some fans want to say why :plush4: :plush1: ... so, go ahead! :plush45:

:plush10:
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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby lovplush » 15 Dec 2012, 11:46

I think somewhere (probably on VK group) there is such discussion, but unfortunately I did not find it. But nevertheless, I will post some of my thoughts here.

Part 1 (I am still blogging so it will be several parts :-) , I will either post as a new post or simply editing this one)
I am relatively new to figure skating and probably will stop watching it after Plushenko leaves the competitive ice, so I will define myself as a layman to figure skating. I love Plushenko’s skating purely because his skating moves me in some way. And I believe that I am not alone on this.

It is by chance that I start watching figure skating. I remembered when I was young, when Lu Chen was still competing, I enjoyed watching lady’s figure skating on TV. But I was never a fan. Due to my study schedule, I did not pay any attention to winter games. So I was totally indifference towards Winter Olympics 2010.

One of my colleague is from Russia and we shared the same bus to the office, so figure skating became a topic during the period of 2010 Olympics. And that was first time I have learned the name “Plushenko” :smu:sche_nie: .

IMO, Tango Amore is not Plushenko’s best program. But judging from what I saw, Plushenko shown better control of his blades over other skaters. He was playing with his blades, having fun, and so passionate comparing to others. I felt that he was in another level. By then, I still did not know anything about him except that he should be a big name in that Sports. He lost to Evan Lysacek with very small margin that night. But I took notice to his skating, not other skaters.

It was the exhibition Je Suis Malade blown me away, or made me a fan forever :mi_ga_et: . That particular performance was so emotionally powerful and beautiful, I could not bring myself to re-watch it in quite a long time since it is heart brokenly sad :ny_tik: . No one can provoke so strong emotion in me before, and if that is not an art, I do not know what art is.

From that day on, I am a faithful fan to Plushenko’s skating.

Part 2

As I said that I do not find Tango Amore one of Plushenko’s best program. However, he is very special in a way that even if the program itself is not very good, you will still glue your eyes on him. Some people say that is Charisma.

Recently I have read a nice article about “Charisma”, the things described there may well be used to describe the feelings I had when watching Plushenko’s skating. Theory aside, it is very simple: I am touched by his passion, the energy and the inner elegance he possesses.

Plushenko’s skating is very elegant. Probably come from his ballet training that is why he can skate to the program such as “tribute to Nijinsky”. I watched almost all his programs/shows on the youtube, and went to watch two shows of him. Believe me, you really need to watch him live to be able to know the difference. He is very good on videos, but is just great live. He can be spotted right on whenever he enters the rink. The movements are so graceful yet powerful. You can feel the power, the emotion, the energy. I never experience such feelings when watching other skaters’ skating.

And I love the smile from Plushenko when he finishes his skating and bows to the audience :plush31: . He looks so young, so grateful and so happy :son-ce: . He loves skating. He loves to perform for his fans.
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Plushenko Chinese Fans Club: http://www.plushycnfanclub.org/

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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby clairdelalune » 16 Dec 2012, 18:15

I love Plushy's skating because he is a very very good skater. His talent and potential were and still are HUGE. If he were forever young he would be forever on top. :plush11: :plush9: :plush13:

PS. I'm his fan since 1998. :a_g_a:
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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby lilywang » 17 Dec 2012, 10:30

I first saw Plushy's skating at 1998 Worlds, its like he has the word "genius" written all over him. Even though I was not a fan of men's skating at that time, I remember how shocked I was and thought to myself "Wow, it almost felt like life is unfair. So many skaters struggled years and years to perfect their performances, but here this kid just went on ice and effortlessly stole the show."

I often thought what makes Plushy's performance so mesmerizing, and my answer would be naturalness and spontaneity. When watching many top skaters' best performances, you can "see" and "tell" hard work, the invisible strings of a clever choreographer, the polishing touches here and there to please the audience, the silent plea to entertain and to serve. But when Plushenko is at his best, everything, the music, the choreography, the performance, the emotion, every component is seamlessly blended in one. There is nothing artificial, nothing contrived or forced. Everything is so integrated, so real and so natural, you can only say to yourself, this is how it should be.

Watching Plushy's best performances is like watching a Natural Wonder, it is easy to appreciate but hard to answer 'how and why'.

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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby cekoni » 17 Dec 2012, 22:12

lilywang wrote:.... Watching Plushy's best performances is like watching a Natural Wonder, it is easy to appreciate but hard to answer 'how and why'.

If I could write such a beautiful... :plush31: :plush34:
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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby whitebamboo » 17 Dec 2012, 23:38

Thank you, Cekoni, for starting this thread!

The posters above have already said a lot of how I feel about Evgeni's skating, better than I can. I want to add that personally, I love Evgeni's skating because it captures my imagination. Of course, he has superb techniques, and he skates and moves elegantly and beautifully, but to me, there is far more than beauty in his skating. There is always something there that makes me want to reach with my mind, to somehow feel, respond, understand, learn, see some things differently, go beyond just the enjoyment of beautiful moves and exciting jumps.

I can't quite express well what that "something" is, and I've tried to think a little about it. In fact, because of Evgeni, recently I actually started to try to read a little about the theories and criticism of art. One idea from aesthetics I learned about (and am still learning about), and which was a bit like a light clicking on in my mind, was the idea of the sublime, as distinct from the traditional notion of "beauty", elegance, gracefulness, etc. It is a notion that has had many different definitions, but roughly speaking, it can be said to be a tremendous sense of power or greatness, or intensity, that is not always instantly easy or pleasing or reassuring for the audience, but makes demands and challenges, pulls the mind out of its usual comfort zone. One description, not the most well-known but one that I like, says sublimity

...for a moment checks, baffles, subdues, even repels us or makes us feel our littleness, and which then, forcing its way into the imagination and emotions, distends or uplifts them to its own dimension. We burst our own limits, go out to the sublime thing, identify ourselves ideally with it, and share its immense greatness.


(By the British literary scholar and critic A. C. Bradley.) To my own eyes, in his best moments, Evgeni has reached or come close to reaching this. One example that I feel may fit this is perhaps the last moments of his Tango Roxanne performance in Sheffield. Even from the video, I felt the sense of an awesome power--not physical, his physical stamina was starting to run out at the last spin--but something more mysterious, "spiritual" perhaps, as if coming out the ice and into him, pushing against and ultimately in the very last few seconds bursting the form of the choreography, triumphing over circumstances, fate, what was considered impossible five minutes ago, and transcending the "pain and disappointment" (in his own words) of the earlier parts of the program. And for the audience that saw and sensed this--rapture.

Another things I read recently about art is an article that lovplush showed me, which she also mentioned in her wonderful post above. It was by a classical music critic for the New York Times, about what is "charisma" in musicians, but much of what it says applies very well to how I feel about Evgeni. The article starts by characterizing charisma in performers as a quality that makes you unable to look away, which some seem to be born with. I think Evgeni was born with it, and I could see that kind of charisma blazing out even in the performances when he was 14, 15 years old. It's hard to describe, but for me, perhaps it is a kind of life-force, strong and bright for all to see. But I also believe that over time, as he grew and matured as a man, gaining more experience of life, his charisma also matured, into the deeper kind that was described by the soprano Aprile Millo, as quoted in the end of the article:

[speaking of Hemingway's descriptions of the Spanish bullfight]...those who had the old spirit: the nobility, bravery, heart, 'duende'. I believe this also happens in the theater. The crowd can sense the one with the authentic message, the connection to the truth.


Now I will apologize, because I think I will put in a little personal side-rant here....Authentic message. Connection to the truth. These are big words, and I don't know if all figure skating experts and fans would agree that such things possibly can, or even should, have their place in figure skating. I guess, I admit I don't read a very large amount about figure skating and the way people talk about it in general, so maybe the following is based in part on not entirely accurate impressions. But of what I've read from commentators and discussions from "expert" FS fans, sometimes it seems to me that there are times when I've read entire articles, or pages of discussion, about how well (or not) a skater performed, and about how artistic (or not) a program is, but if I had not seen the performance already beforehand, I still would not know anything whatsoever about what the skater was performing, what the program was, what feelings it might or did evoke. Sometimes when I read about a program or a performance from the artistic point of view, I barely see a single adjective that would distinguish this particular program or performance from another "good" one. To look at some experts' words, being "artistic" seems to be more about have good skating skills, plenty of transitions, elegant lines (perhaps), enough TES points in the second half of the program, etc. These are all important things, absolutely and of course, but for me, they are more on the technical sides of things, and are means toward artistic expression. It is, of course, a perfectly valid way of looking at figure skating as a sport, and perhaps in many situations, it is plenty of a basis upon which to enjoy a performance aesthetically.

But to assume--as it seems to be implied by some comments on the parts of fans and experts--that this is all that figure skating can, or should, or needs to be artistically, while disregarding the possibility of "message" (or "intent", as the ISU itself puts it in its PCS judging guidelines): I would have to say that to me--personally, of course, it is only my own opinion--this would be profoundly disappointing. Again, I am only a layperson when it comes to "understanding art", but in what I've begun to read, I often see the words "form", and "content", and "unity of form and content". To assume that there is only form, I think, does a disservice to any art-form. To see art only in terms of form, I think, leads to the danger of losing a great deal.

My apologies again. Back to topic: in my own interpretation of Evgeni's skating, I am convinced that in his case, artistic content--in the sense of "authentic message" and "connection to the truth" and all those big huge phrases--is highly important.

(I'm sorry....This is again (as usual with me) turning into some sort of long polemic. I'll write a little more later about Evgeni.)
Last edited by whitebamboo on 18 Dec 2012, 01:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby lala630312 » 17 Dec 2012, 23:54

I'm not sure, that I'm able to write in english why I adore his skating. I would like to write something what I feel.. :a_g_a: I'm figure skating fan since..OMG! I don't remember when I started to watch this sport. :hi_hi_hi: I have seen Irina Rodnina in competitions. :plush45:
I'm Plushy's fan since 1998, when I saw him at first..and yes, like lilywang I was amazed. :sh_ок: I felt in love with this cute, thin and very talented child. :ya_hoo_oo: And he became better and better, and the cute boy grew up, and he also amazed me with his look. :plush32: :plush19: He has very elegant slim body, pretty legs, and elegant long arms, blond -long-hair, simply enjoyable to watch, if he doesn't do anything on ice. :plush13: :smu:sche_nie:
His skating is very elegant, artistic but full of energy and power. :plush41: I like his athletic side, I believe the figure skating is a sport. I agree with them, who say that is very naturally, whatever he is doing on ice. Plushy is very charismatic, :plush12: I can't explain, just staring at him, I can't take my eyes off him. :mo-ro_zi_vo: :plush18:
I saw his programs thousand times, but I don't get tired of them. :plush30:
And very important, he never disappoint me. :plush3:
So he is very unique for me.. :plush10:

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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby MiLa » 18 Dec 2012, 23:36

I love Plushi's skating, because he is love on the ice. He gives you strength to live.Thank you, Zhenja! :plush39:
пока не меркнет свет
"Подвиги совершаются по велению души!" А. Н. Мишин
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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby whitebamboo » 19 Dec 2012, 17:45

(Sorry, I can't help going on a little more.)

I don't quite know how to talk more specifically about how I feel about the art of Evgeni's skating, without writing individually about each one of his programs. In a way, I feel that is what they deserve. To me, there is something new and different about each of them, how each one of them feels, what it makes me think. Perhaps that's even true of different performances of the same program. (The example I'm thinking about the most is Je suis Malade. Somehow, possibly because of some special nature of it, it seems to me--or maybe I am imagining it--that in the two years from Vancouver to Sheffield, each time he skated Malade, it always reflected something different and very personal, to some extent revealing of his mental and emotional state at the time.) For me, it is not always easy to formulate the "feeling" or "content" of each program. It doesn't usually tell a story. It isn't always concrete or obvious. He doesn't always necessarily portray a single character. But I always get a sense that something is there, that he is saying something to me, not in so many clear words but by illumination, and that is one thing that makes Evgeni's programs so compelling for me.

So I want to look at each of Evgeni's programs on its own terms, to see it and try to understand it, even if I have to put my own imagination to hard work . And that's another characteristic of his skating that I love: his remarkably wide range. There is the "divine" NIjinsky (in the sense that sometimes I almost want to call it religious art), and the human--to my own eyes, very vulnerably yet defiantly human--Tango Roxanne. There is the "great tragic love" of Malade, and the "life-affirmation" of Storm. Maybe I'll say that to me, each program allows a different aspect of emotional experience to be brought into focus. I cannot find a single generic description for the content of his art--what is his "message", his "truth", or a single standard by which to judge it.

I cannot compare Evgeni to any other skater, but I'm thinking about an example that in a way compares him to himself. About his new Saint-Saens program, I've more than once seen FS fans say something along the lines that in the middle (Swan) part, he seemed "softer",and that's an artistic improvement from what he was before, but at the end, at the Danse Macabre part, he again became too "frantic", too "over the top", etc. I must say that I cannot agree with this kind of argument. I'm sorry. I get having a personal preference for one part of the program over another, or for one style over another. But to use one measure for the surface and form of things that are fundamentally different, disregarding what they are, what they are expressing, and then using that measure to judge one style as "better artistically" than another: this is not something I would do. It seemed to me that he is expressing different ideas in these two parts of the program (as to what ideas, people may interpret and argue about), and when the content is different, then of course the form has to be, also.

So this is Evgeni's variety. Yet another aspect of his skating I see is that at the same time, all these different programs, images, emotional experiences, however one wants to call it, it still always comes from him. Maybe a big part of it is in the absolute conviction with which Evgeni skates, or as lilywang put it so much better in her post above, the "integrated" character of every aspect of his skating that makes it "so real and so natural". I remember Evgeni once said that he needs to "feel every move", and I think it is borne out by the way he prepares and treats programs. I suspect he works at erasing the divisions between him and the choreography. At times, to say that he "performs" the program almost seems like the wrong word; rather, I want to say that he displays and reveals (a word that Tatiana Tarasova recently used, and which I really liked). Another thing Evgeni once said was, "if you want to know me, watch me skate". And once when Yana was asked the question "what are Plushenko's real emotions", she answered, without hesitation: "those on the ice". I don't know how else to describe it except that watching him skate, I am instantly and completely convinced of the truth of those words.

So sometimes I find it strange, how his programs can have both this tremendous range, yet this intensely personal quality, that the moves seem to rise directly out of him. But now in my own mind, I imagine that perhaps one clue is something Mishin once said, in talking about his Olympic champion students. He characterized Evgeni by saying that he is unique among skaters in the "wide range of his creativity". I remember when I first read this, I found it interesting that Mishin said "creativity", rather than the more expected "expressiveness" (or in the ISU's definition, the ability to "translate the intent of the music and choreography"). I also found it curious that he would use "wide range" to describe "creativity". But maybe I'm starting to understand what he meant a little. Right now, my theory is that Evgeni is able to give expression and form to all these different emotions and experiences, he has such a great range in his skating, because he has this range, all these different facets, inside him. To go out on a limb here, it's the size of his spirit. This is, perhaps, what I want to call his "connection to the truth", and I really do believe that more than his skating skills, his ability to jump quads, his elegance and beauty even, this is his greatest gift as a figure skater.

(Well, anyways. I just looked at what I wrote. Perhaps it may come across as exaggerated and pretentious over-praise and over-interpretation, using all those wild phrases, and one can argue that maybe all these are just my responses and imaginations, "only" inside my mind. But I believe that in art, a response in the mind of the audience is needed, and an act of imagination is a big part of that. And for me personally, Evgeni's skating, or maybe his entire person when he is skating, demands that imagination, that kind of mental and emotional response, far more so than the works of any other skater. Looking back, I do feel that he has shown me things, made me more aware of things, through his skating, and that is the kind of art which I personally find deeply significant.)

P. S. I know that Evgeni is 30 years old, and that he has had too many injuries to count. I know there are many wonderful and very, very strong skaters now much younger than him. The road ahead of him is hard, and probably will only get harder every step of the way. That's true purely from a competitive sense, but also, I think his (and his team's) artistic insistence, their internal standards, makes it so much harder. But that's the way it is. I only felt like I needed to let out some of the thoughts that I've had recently, considering him merely as an artist.
Last edited by whitebamboo on 19 Dec 2012, 23:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Почему я люблю катание Жени || Why I love Plushy’s skati

Postby lilywang » 19 Dec 2012, 22:10

whitebamboo wrote:At times, to say that he "performs" the program almost seems like the wrong word; rather, I want to say that he displays and reveals.


THIS! :co_ol:

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