‘Without art, skating dies…Figure Skating used to be a unique sport. It was “physical art”, it was music. It was a combination of athleticism and artistry. Now it is all about “getting points”. The ISU has invented the break down of the artistic form. The art is gone and with it the appeal of the sport.’
Sonia Bianchetti Garbato.
I used to agree with this statement and I believe it was true when the new judging system was introduced. However, today it is important to recognise that all sport and all art evolves, and that those that practice these disciplines must evolve too and rise to challenges placed on them by judging systems, assessment criteria and audience expectations. The artistry of figure skating never disappeared, it is where it always was; located in the scenography and between the theatrical elements that create performance. The key now is to work out how these elements can be brought together to create an effective whole. Scenographic and performance practice demonstrates that boundaries placed on the materials used to create performance can increase creativity not limit it. Embrace these limitations by developing appropriate artistic training frameworks, rehearsal spaces and interdisciplinary collaborations and who knows what might be possible. Video playback and digital analysis can only go so far. As qualitative research in sports psychology demonstrates the human agency at the heart of sporting performance is a complex and messy subject for study. The flexible and dynamic nature of arts practice suits the investigation of such complex and unpredictable elements.