Monday, March 31, 2008

PacRim: Post Scriptum

Juniors are currently competing in event finals. I'll be in class by the time seniors start, I think. Damn.

Anyway, photos from the Senior women's team/AA round are up at the USAG site (of Ashleigh and... Emily? I don't really know the new juniors by face) and at Yahoo AND at Inside Gymnastics. Well, strictly speaking there's only ONE at Yahoo and it's of Dasha:

(thanks to special agent Kellie for pointing it out) and videos from a very generous fan in the arena are up too. You can forgive the quality knowing that they did it under threat of ejection from the arena as they have big stern warnings against filming on the event website. Yeesh, Dasha's back layout-stepout series is ALWAYS such a nail-biter! Hope she gets it down pat by Beijing, it will make or break and all-around ranking for her.
No word on Senior Event Finals qualifiers yet but *fingers crossed* Dasha and/or Ashleigh made it in for floor and beam, and surely Dasha can have a crack at a bars medal too.

ETA: Huraaaaaay! Philippe won high bar! Dasha scored a silver on floor (again sans double layout) and by all accounts, Lauren kinda got an 'imaginary' bronze on bars (after two girls tied for 2nd and she came 4th). Jana Bieger got some serious gifts from the judges, she consistently scored higher than Dasha AGAIN with her untidy form. *frowny face*

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pac Rim News and Notes: Part Something-or-Other

Argh. I was at work today, 5:30am - 2:30pm (don't ask).

I've missed pretty much ALL of the women's PacRim competition. By the looks of things, Lauren had a few mistakes (but still scored well on beam despite a fall), Dasha did great despite a mere Yurchenko full vault (thumb problems still, I assume). She hit her beam set which is great for her, and rocked bars according to the quick hits. Nastia Liukin will no doubt be uneven bars and/or beam champion tomorrow, but the Aussies are definitely in the medal mix after getting some shakes out of their system today.

Waiting waiting waiting for final results... Wahey, Dasha got a 15.1 for floor and 15.15 for beam. It's not often she scores above Lauren. She didn't do the double layout though.

Anyways, I don't have the excited nerves coursing through my system like I did yesterday; I'm a bit dejected now because I missed the whole thing, and Australia made some mistakes anyway. Don't know how good we're looking for defending that team silver medal. Now there's an anxious wait because they have a bye in the final rotation. To be honest, I'll be a bit p*ssed off if beastly Jana Bieger wins silver behind Liukin. She probably will, looking at her scores. But Dasha's form is so much nicer AND she doesn't get home country favouritism. It'd be a fairer victory in my book.

*sigh* Bloody USAG.

Dum di dum... Team USA having a rough time on floor, falls/OOB's from four of their athletes (including Bieger!) but still high scores across the board [of course]. I like them as athletes but hate their one-sided judging. Our girls' scores get marked so harshly when we foul up but for the US girls, it always seems to get just a little scratch off the score. It's parochial to the point of bias.

Aha, here we go. Results are in. Nastia in 1, Jana in 2, DASHA IN 3!!! Repeating Hollie Dykes' result from 2006. Good on you, Dash! Sadly, Australia ended up behind USA-Canada-China in the team standings. Still, a good debut for our juniors and good showings as usual from Mitchell/Joura/Brennan.

Final senior all-around results here. Dasha and Ashleigh both hit 59, placing 3rd and 4th respectively. With a Yurchenko double or 2.5, and that double-layout that I really really hope will eventually manifest itself in her floor routine, Dasha could easily push 60+ and make an all-around medal podium placing if she couples them with the kind of bars and beam routines she did here and at the Beijing Test Event. She's getting a little better every time.

ETA: Photos keep on coming, you can see some here and here. Call me crazy, but I always think Ashleigh is going to slip in those footsocks. They look so cumbersome!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

PacRim News and Notes: Edition 4


I never thought I'd say it but for once, Thank God for Inside Gymnastics Magazine. Where they usually go Liukin-and-Johnson crazy, they've put up some photos of international(!) WAGs training at the competition in San Jose. So it's all starting to look slightly less like a USA intra-squad!

Many thanks and giant kudos to Canada-based Grace Chiu for her (as usual) gorgeous photography.

Russia (NOT Mustafina as once thought?)

Unidentified Flying Chinese Beauty

Our own Lauren Mitchell!

Pac Rim News and Notes: Edition 3

Men's subdivision 2 gets started, 7pm USA time. Mez madly refreshes quick hits on the USAG and International Gymnast pages in lieu of doing important uni work.

Rotation 1: Australia starts on pommel. Eeeeeeek.

7:18[ish] - Sam Simpson falls on (I should say 'off') pommel but I suppose appeared strong otherwise. There's not much to be gleaned from quick hits. No word on the score.

Rotation 2: Australia moves to rings; Phil Rizzo and Josh Jefferis will look to make up ground for the team.

7: 45 - ...hello, USAG? Some updates, please?...oh there we go.

7:47 - Josh, the Commonwealth Games champion on rings, is up. USA going great guns on p-bars, quick-hitter from USAG having an orgasm over the whole thing (lots!!! of! exclamation!! marks!!!!)

7:56 - Sam atones for rotation 1. "Cross maltese cross back lever press handstand double double laid out step". Wahey, I like layout double-doubles (particularly off high bar).

7:57 - Josh's score is up. "Planche back roll to Maltese, bounce cross. Maltese, straight arm back roll to cross. Full-twisting double layout. 14.800"

7:58 - Phil gets a chance to earn some exclamation marks: "Planche press pike / tuck yamawaki handstand full twist double layout stuck!!"

Rotation 3: Australia heads to vault, currently in 6th place on 110.750; Expect good things from Jefferis and Simpson on this apparatus.

*Mez dashes off to do a job, dashes back in time*

8:15 - Josh performs a layout Rudi for 15.800!

8:21 - Phil vaults a Tsuk full.

8:23 - Sam does a Tsuk a double-full.

Rotation 4: Australia is on parallel bars. Commonwealth medallists Jefferis and Rizzo are again expected to shine. Though I would like to hear the progress of our promising newcomers (Jack Rickards, Matthew Curtis, Luke Wadsworth)

8:41 - Phil is up. "Straddle cut healy peach , Bell, giant, bell tucked tipelt double pike dismount [with a] hop."

8:43 - Matthew gets a look-in! "Straddle cut diominov moy support peach, giant, stutz, straddle cut, double pike [with a] step." USA must have finished on their apparatus, as the quick hits for international competitors are now coming thick and fast.

8:46 - And now so does Jack! "14 years old and the smallest gymnast in the competition. Really nice form for such a young gymnast. Healy. Double tuck with a step. 13.00" Awwwwww!

Rotation 5: Australia is off to high bar; Rizzo's strongest event of the lot. He's capable of scoring above 16.0 so I hope he does as good a job [if not better!] as home crowd hero Raj Bhavsar...

Dammit. USAG clearly refuses to do quick hits for international competitors until the American team's rotation is over, even though they're competing at the same time. That is really annoying for people like myself wanting to keep people up-to-the minute (and it's also really, really biased). There's a total lull in proceedings now. Hurry uuuuuuup. IG is being slow as well. Come on, USA's on pommel, surely they're mostly finished by now?

9:03 - Righty ho ho, here we go. A whole lot just got updated at once. Jack must've been up first on high bar for the team? "Stalders and pirouettes. Double layout. Perfect form! 12.15" (I think... the score on the IG site says "12/150" so I assumed it was intended to be a decimal point) He will be one to watch for the future though it sounds like he didn't have any actual releases from the bar. Watching Nationals last year, I noticed that not [m]any of the guys in the squad did either. Oh, for a Kovacs...

9:04 - Sam Simpson performed. Eeeek. Quick hit only says "Gaylord. 13.65". Can't be good.

9:06 - Phil's turn, hurrah! He did his signature Def and the layout double-double. No word on how steady. Please let it be a good score, pleeease! ...Ah. It's a 15.3, MUCH lower than he usually gets. Oh well, a good effort for the team anyway. Looks like a bit home country favouritism for Team USA again. But hey, Phil *could* be through to the final, after such low scores from Russia (and even though America scored highly, I think they can only take 2 finallists through).

Please note that there were no quickhits for Australia or Canada on the USAG site for this rotation, they only came from IG *sigh* If that's just the web coverage, I dread the tv coverage.

Rotation 6: Australia finishes up on floor, still in 6th place on 287.90 with nobody making the top 6 all-around. Paul Hamm, even with a fall [pommel] and a few bobbles, is in the lead. Did these people learn NOTHING from the Aarhus/Stuttgart all-around comps!? WHY do falls still medal?
If I were at the comp, I'd be watching through my fingers right about now.

9:19 - Hamm hit his final routine [rings] so he's got the AA title in the bag. Team-mate Alexander 'Sasha' Artemev just fell on rings, China's Lu Bo *could* now move up into the silver medal position....wahey, he hit his high bar routine but it isn't enough for the win. Team USA wins over China and Japan with Hamm taking individual gold in the senior division, Daniel Levya for the juniors.

9:33 - (No) thanks USAG for the belated update: Matthew performed with a "double layout, flairs to russians , japanese handstand, 1 1/2 layout , back 2 1/2 dismount".
Sam performed, "double full to full , double layout to front 1 1/4 , japanese handstand, whip 1 1/2 , front 2 1/2 , back 2 1/2 dismount".

Can't wait for the women's competition. If she DOES do her double layout on floor *and* her Amanar vault, Dasha J really could give Nastia Liukin a run for her money. I'm just a bit nervous about how our juniors will go!

ETA: In the final senior standings, Josh finished 8th all-around and Sam 14th; For the juniors, Matthew finished 7th with Luke 16th and Jack 17th.

PacRim News and Notes: Edition 2


Subdivision 2 of the men's competition will soon get get underway. Australia is up against the likes of China, Russia, Japan, Canada and the USA. Not only that, but they're starting on pommel, one of their weakest events. Not ONLY that, but they've lumped the best pommel and rings worker in the country - Prashanth Sellathurai - as the team reserve, so he won't be on the floor at all.

Unless he's injured, that's understandable. Otherwise, what a ridiculous oversight.

Everybody cross your fingers, arms, legs, eyes and other humanoid digits for the team.

You'll find live 'quick hits' of subdivision 2 here and/or here from 1pm today our time, so keep checking where you can.

To keep up with the rest of the San Jose PacRim schedule whereever you are in Oz...

Fri., March 28 – 7:00 p.m. - Men's Team and All-Around Finals - Sub-Div. 2

Sat., March 29 – 1:30 p.m. - Women's Team and All-Around Finals - Sub-Div. 1

Sat., March 29 – 7:00 p.m. - Women's Team and All-Around Finals - Sub-Div. 2

Sun, March 30 – 12 noon - Jr. Men's and Women's Individual Event Finals

Sun, March 30 – 6:00 p.m. - Sr. Men's and Women's Individual Event Finals

Check out the World Clock page I made for you all and the cities I assumed you were all in. Bear in mind we're AHEAD of the USA so it's not yet Saturday there.

Friday, March 28, 2008

PacRim: News and Notes

Despite today (yesterday? Damn you, timezone changes!) being podium training for ALL women at the Pacific Rim Championships, the USAG website is once again choosing to only show media snippets of the US women. By the looks of things, only the US women were interviewed for television/newspapers, and they're the only ones photographed on the event website. It's disappointing as several gym federation websites (including, but not limited to, Gymnastics Australia) have listed the site as the official port-of-call for coverage from the event. It all seems a bit one-sided to me. And hey, I checked the 2006 PAC site and it was more of the same.

I *think* you can spot the Aussies in the background in this photo, just beyond an in-motion Samantha Shapiro.

I think. They're wearing pink, I connected the dots :P

According to a GGMB poster (to whom many of us are very grateful), Australia's podium training went something like this:

Australia wore blue tanks with pink on them. They had one girl who did not run/warm up, but did swing a little bars. (Brown hair). Dasha is so cute, and everything she did was to Peggy's liking... As well as Britt Greeley... When they went to bars, all the girls would shout "catch, catch" on every release, which I thought was cool.
So...all good signs, then, I hope!

*blink blink*

*rubs eyes*


International Gymnast's website got a makeover! They've unveiled it in conjunction with the Pacific Rim competition as their live coverage of the event will be up online soon.

You can even submit articles now!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pacific Rim Championships

The bi-annual Pacific Rim Championships (formerly Pacific Alliance Championships so damn, we can't really abbreviate it as easily now) are underway with all teams arriving in San Jose and an opening ceremony being held. The competition proper kicks off tomorrow afternoon (USA time) with the first men's subdivision being held.

View photos of the event here and follow progress of the comp here. Naturally, being a USAG-powered site, we probably won't get a lot of international gymnasts featured (you can *just* see an Aussie tracksuit in the corner of one of the Chinese dragon photos) but it's better than nothing. International Gymnast will be starting live coverage of the event soon so they'll be a little more balanced.

I look forward to Dasha, Lauren and Phil (among others) being featured on the broadcast. Here's hoping the Aussie women can better their silver-medal placing from 2006, and in my honest opinion, Dasha could place upwards of 3rd in the all-around if she does all her big skills; I hope we get to see that double-layout!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jumping on the Blogwagon

Hot on Dasha's heels, Western Australia team member and Worlds representative Olivia Vivian is writing little blog entries of her own on the WAIS website, along with a few other athletes at the Institute.

Find her entries thus far here.
It's a shame about her forgetting her passport on the way to the USA. That would not only have cost her family a lot of money, but she'll have lost brownie points with Peggy and Liz C as well!
On an unrelated note, Happy Birthday to my sister Allison!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Tiiiiiime of the Yeeear

Besides Comedy Festival time of course :)

Gymnastics Australia are going all out this year, *really* plugging Nationals on their website because it's an Olympic year. I quite like the promotional poster:

although I do have two small criticisms.

1) Shouldn't it read "...male and female artistic gymnasts"? I know that they respectively practise Men's Artistic Gymnastics and Women's Artistic Gymnastics but I 'unno. The grammar seems a bit confusing to me. And that white strip really skews the photo, I must say!

2) This will be an audience drawcard because everyone ASSUMES the final AA standings = Olympic team when really, there will be a second trial closer to August. But hey, good on them for getting some excitement generated anyway. They might actually have to open the other side of the arena this year.

To paraphrase the Supre-clad teen on my train this afternoon: I am SO there.

***ETA: Dasha's thoughts on that dastardly dislocated digit, plus her hopes for the upcoming Pacific Rim Championships have been published here (and note who's credited under the photo of her at the Friendship Classic!!!) *^_^*

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bouncin's What Gymbunnies do Best!

With sticky chocolate-covered hugs from your Australian Gymnastics Blog.

The 2003 Groningen 8-Country International squad...nyaaaw...

May you and your families keep safe and well this weekend. Thanks for all your support thus far.
If you're in Melbourne over the next fortnight, do as us Melbournians do and check out the annual International Comedy Festival. It's great fun. I met David O'Doherty last night!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Aussie Invasion

Can't you hear, can't you hear that thunder?
You better run, you better take cover!

Hurrah hurrah hurrah. Have returned from yet another fantastic night of standup in Flinders Lane (Jono's video got as far as Tasmania, Scotland, Germany and Thailand, in case you were wondering) to discover AWESOME results for Aussies in their USA comps.

She'll be right on the night, mate!

Dasha and Lauren went 1-2 in the all-around at the Friendship Classic (by the looks of the field, I was hoping she'd top it) despite a few bobbles and both only doing Yurchenko full vaults. They went 1-2 on vault as well despite that latter fact. Apparently Dasha dislocated a finger before vault, hence the Y-full, but insisted on competing all four events anyway. What a trooper!

Vault: Dasha 1st, Lauren 2nd
Bars: Dasha 1st, Lauren 3rd
Beam: Lauren 1st, Dasha 2nd
Floor: Lauren 1st, Dasha 2nd

Get some quotes and additional coverage of the event here. Remember the name, indeed!

Over at the Golden State Classic, Aussie elites blitzed the field. Shona Morgan of Waverley Gymnastics Centre - the club formerly known as Waverly Advanced Gymnastics boasting one of the best, if not THE best, 'non-institute' programs in the country - won the all-around with a 60.2(!) as well as floor and beam AND vault by the looks of things (Yurchenko double, yeeha), and Ashleigh Brennan who came second behind her was tops on bars (over Olivia Vivian of all people); interesting, as it's not her strongest event but it certainly is Olivia's. Given the scores at Nationals/National Clubs/WOGA, I am a bit suprised by how inflated the scores here were. Dasha's inventory of skills is somewhat more complex than Shona's, I'm surprised Shona cracked a 60. But good on her, anyway. Emily Little won the junior competition with team-mate Britt Greeley coming second. Good on all the girls for competent showings, this will be a real morale booster for all of them after Stuttgart. Though perhaps Peggy is re-thinking Ashleigh as the third Pacific Rim Championships [formerly PAC] team member and really wishing she'd picked Shona? Hurray for non-institute girls putting up solid routines, Shona really outdid herself and performed for the team in Stuttgart last year. My hopes in the team are certainly a lot higher now!

Thanks bundles to folks who upheld the news feeds while I was out; it was nice to come home to good news!

ETA: Video of Lauren's brand spanking new floor routine [including a very nice piked double arabian, new for her] is up! You can also view some great photos here so mammoth-sized thanks to 'gymmy64' and 'gymstuff' for granting us international fans access to their wonderful little nuggets of media.


Good luck to the Aussie girls competing in the US at the moment. Am trying to get hold of any results as they come to hand but it's hard juggling homework and a night out. Thanks to special agent Nade for pointing out this article featuring a *teeny* photo of Dasha and Lauren in training for the Friendship Classic (looking tired? Cranky? Competition-savvy? Who knows, but she's got a big f*ck off eyebrow-raise going on...)

And while we're on that, when did "f*ck off" become an adjective? As in, "he was holding a big f*ck-off machine gun" or "a car with some huge f*ck-off subwoofers..."? I don't get it and I don't much care for it; I'm just hearing it everywhere, particularly in the standup comedy circuit.

My favourite bit is Dasha saying that she "could live" in Pottsville (mind you, it sounds to me like somewhere Enid Blyton concocted, or possibly one of the suburbs of Tolkien's Hobbiton). DASHA FOR NCAA!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

She's doing WHAT now!?

Move over, Alex Croak. Your two-Olympics-in-two-different-sports mantle could soon be taken from you by an enigmatic redhead.

Allana Slater, a dual Commonwealth Games team member AND dual Olympian, not to mention Australia's most decorated gymnast, has taken up shooting(!) and hopes for a Beijing slot in pistol shooting alongside well-known names in the sport like Michael Diamond and Russell Mark [famous for medalling in trap shooting].

I missed the news item, but by the sounds of it they used footage from Manchester 2002...? I don't know, trying to recall Liz C's comments from my old tapes. I really have watched them a lot!

Good luck to Allana, she always seemed a determined individual so no doubt a change of scene will bring her new and exciting experiences (and hopefully, some international success!)

ETA: Thanks to secret agent Asha for the heads-up; the video is now online!

(Remember me saying I didn't like the 'finger gun' gesture? Well, she's certainly taken it a bit literally, though I really don't think I'll be saying it to her face... not now that she's brandishing a firearm, anyway!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Help Wanted!

Here's a short distraction from your regularly scheduled gymnastics program.

Now you too can help a worthwhile cause that requires very little effort at all!

Sunday night I was at the Nectar Bar in Flinders Lane (big shout out to all the Melbournians in the digital house) to watch a fantastic night of comedy in a series of shows MC'd by the adorable host of popular music quiz show Spicks and Specks, one Mr Adam Hills.Now, long story short, Adam had issued a challenge to audience member and budding comedian 'Jono' during a show a few weeks earlier. Jono's had to do one minute of standup each week for the rest of the show's run, which he's done admirably (except for that week when the video camera attempting to film him was left pointing at the wall for his entire set). Now Adam has set a challenge for the audience - get Jono's name known as far overseas as you can!
In Adam's words...

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get that video viewed in as many countries as possible. If you live in Australia, send it to your overseas friends, and ask them to leave a comment, stating where in the world they are watching it. If you live outside of Australia, leave a comment telling me where you are. The more countries we can hit the better. Let's take Jono global!!

So all you have to do is:

1. View the video (if it doesn't work, search for "jono", "nectar" and "week 4") to watch Jono's short set. Apologies to any international viewers for language barrier problems. Additional apologies for any coarse language that may also feature.

2. In the comments, write who you are and where you're watching it from. And yeah, some nice comments about Jono's set as well if you can. No flames, he's only new to the game.
3. Let me know here who you are, if you watched the video (sure, he's not Billy Connolly but everybody has to start somewhere) and where you watched it from. I'd be interested to know myself!
4. Get any of your mates, interstate or overseas, to view and comment too.
5. Tell said mates to do steps 1-4 and continue the challenge!

Anyways, being both a young person AND an avid attendee of the annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival, I support a young entertainer getting started, so please help pursue Adam's challenge and get Jono some comments from your overseas friends.

Because I know I had a reader from Sweden drop me a line at one point...

To soothe you from the lack of gym-related stuff in this post, while you're at Youtube feel free to check out an interesting little nugget posted by user Gymboost - Team Aus (Allana Slater, Monette Russo, Lisa Skinner, Stephanie Moorhouse Danielle Kelly) warming up and training at the 2003 8-Country Meet in Groningen. Anyway, I know the 'workout video' bit in the title makes you expect to see Jane Fonda in lycra but no, you get an insight into their training techniques, conditioning and of course their work with their coaches. Just watching their uneven bars warmup makes my unfit abs ache...

***If Adam Hills were to one day read this blog (I can hope), my challenge for him - he loves challenges and audience participation, check out for his past efforts including naming a cactus and phoning absent audience members onstage - would be to go and get a soundbite/video grab of commentator Liz Chetkovich saying his famous catchphrase: 'go you big red fire engine!'

Monday, March 10, 2008

Flippin' Insane!

From one Commonwealth nation to another...

I'd like to give a shout-out to Canada's Peng Peng "Christine" Lee for her astounding beam work. Here she is at the recent Gymnix international event in her home country; you can search yourself for her Pan American Games routine where the overly parochial Brazilian home crowd jeered her for wobbling and falling. Disgraceful.

So here she is and yes, that IS a flare mount(!)
There are any number of expletive adjectives I could use right now to precede the word "cool" to describe her repertoire (which I believe is around about a 7.5 difficult level?) but I won't. Let's just say there's a certain stellar teen from Iowa who's looking at some stiff competition right about now...

Anyway, back to the lecture hall for me, the time for procrastination is ove-- ooooh! Wouldja look at that. I just got a lovely email from a struggling entrepeneur in Nigeria who wants my banking details...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Doha So Good

After the shock of Philippe Rizzo 's injury and the disappointment of letting a Beijing place slip through their fingers last year, the Aussie men's squad is clawing its way back up the ladder.
Philippe, Prashanth Sellathurai (also a Worlds medallist, wow it makes me so happy to say that!) and Josh Jefferis are competing at the Qatar World Cup in Doha as we speak.

With a 6.7 difficulty score, the highest in the qualification field, Prashanth had rather a headstart going into the pommel final despite having qualified 6th. He ended up...


...wait for it...

...WINNING! With a great score of 16.075 so good on you, Prash!
View video of his routine here.

Quoted from the Gulf Times newspaper...

"I have not qualified for the Olympics in both the individual as well as the team event. However, this result against the best in business will do wonders for me in future tournaments. This has been my best show till now and I'm
looking forward to improve from here on," said a visibly pleased Sellathurai.

What a little (and I mean that; he's pocket-sized and smiley and adorable) champ!

High bar will be contested today [Thursday] and if the event website's qualification results are to be believed (bit of confusion here, might not be true), Phil has qualified in equal first place! First or not, he's through to the final so good luck to him too and well done on such a strong comeback. Understandably these performances are bittersweet given that we won't be seeing them in Beijing but there's always next year's World Cup and World Championships to aim for.

I'll keep you all posted :)

I may get to see this happen more than once in my lifetime...

ETA: Phil placed third on high bar. Still, a great effort for someone on the comeback trail.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Man's Dance

Somehow, in the vast and inexplicable scheme of things, I don't think men were truly meant to dance.

Don't get me wrong. I was in Billy Elliott's corner as much as the next self-respecting British film buff. Rudolph Nureyev was pretty crash hot when he made an appearance on The Muppet Show, and from what I hear that whippersnapper Jason Timberland or whatever he goes by is making quite a name for himself in countries bordering the Pacific Ocean.

But really. It's just a bit wrong in a lot of cases, watching men toe-point and twirl and get down with their finely-choreographed selves. Men were traditionally meant to hunt and gather and fight. Women cook and tend and...erm... somehow make fur bikini's look good in poorly-realised historical films in which much artistic license is taken with the portrayal of the Cretaceous period...

Anyway. In avid anticipation of my regular Good News Week fix (I missed it last week) I caught the end of that much-lauded program I Say, Those Chaps Over Yonder Say You're Quite a Dab Hand at the Old Macarena. Are You Comfortable Enough in Your Masculinity To, Say, Show Us a Few Steps?

Having read that former national aerobics champion turned choreographer Anthony "Enough With the Puns Already"* Ikin was a finallist, I summoned up all the courage my delicate moral fibre (and stomach) could muster and kept my eyes on the screen. After all, I competed in aerobics nationals myself years ago... but that's another story... Upon watching, I was treated to girls shimmying and shaking, guys giving more ferocity than Tyra Banks evokes in a single frame, Natalie Bassingthwaite saying "dance for your lives, guys!" about six times in as many minutes, to the point where one really began to think a terrorist faction truly was holding the contestants hostage in the Channel 10 studios. Anthony did appear, at last, in the bracket I watched. He was in the bottom 3 as far as I could understand which, in tv terms, I assume is as horrifying as a night-time visit from the aforementioned terrorist faction. He had no shirt on, which I guess is his 'kitsch'

Careful now. Those nipples could put your eyes out.

or possibly his contractual obligation.

I will not make a pun. I will not make a pun. I will not make a pun.

Anyhoo. He danced. And quite well, I might add. I don't know if dance (pron. "DAAHn-sss!" by ladies with grey hair twisted into tight buns wearing black unitards) has a name for the Khorkina jump, so I will just say that he did an awesome Khorkina to faceplant on the floor (might've been two twists even? Too fast to tell) and a few backflips which I know he wouldn't have used in his aerobics days :P Despite the slightly unnerving waves of washboard abs on show - scarily shiny. Wax, I'd wager? Possibly Vaseline - he put in a great effort to avoid elimination. High jumps, neat execution, big smile. Sure, he didn't have a heartbreaking I Live in a Cardboard Box Behind a Dance Studio Using Bread Bags as Tap Shoes After My Mother Kicked Me Out for Not Having a Good Haircut Like My Deformed Siamese Twin Sister story like the rest of the auditionees heard about at the program's beginning. His brother's a rugby player who reckons having a twinkletoes brother is, loik, pretty cool 'n' that. But they still thought him good enough to go through the contest.

He got down to the top 20 with his showmanship and daring skills. Rightly so. He's a young and fit individual that shows boys you don't have to be a boofhead to keep fit or get famous. So by all accounts, good on you, Anthony! You're a little too cherubic for my liking but you're breaking down some barriers.

Ah, the magic that is Dance. The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. As Summer Heights High's Mr G once sagely said: "Dance....doesn't discriminate!" (sadly, adolescents with pre-paid mobile phone plans CAN)

* Couldn't resist. To look Channel 10 in the face and say "You know Ikin dance, bitches!" vote for Anthony online here and keep him in the competition!

Edit - according to one of his blog entries on the site, he likes Max Brenner's famous hot chocolates! That's it. I am officially setting up a tent in Camp Anthony! *^_^*

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

There are some tunes on my humble iPod Shuffle I'd really like to see used as floor music. I don't really care who by, I'd just love to see them done. Please excuse any lyrics/vocals present, I'm thinking more about the instrumental parts.

1. Anything by The Counterfeit Gypsies (particularly Man's Dance or Bulgar from the Wonky Donkey album).

Best suited for: Lauren Mitchell, Melanie Jones. I had the pleasure of seeing this Aussie instrumental group perform in the Treasury Gardens last year. Think Czardas with a twist! They got the crowd up and swirling and twirling and shaking and prancing in wild gypsy abandon. They're fantastic. I got their Wonkey Donkey album for Christmas last year and cannot stop playing it. They channel wild Eastern European/Balkan gypsy fiddle music that accelerates and whips you into a jovial frenzy, where a few tracks are milder and slower. Listen to some catchy audio samples here. You can't help but move about to them... you have been warned.

2. I'm Shipping Up to Boston - The Dropkick Murphys

Best Suited For: Chloe Sims, Georgia Bonora, Lauren Mitchell. For those who like brash floor music that conjures up images of a bar-room brawl :P Think The Pogues meet Green Day (and then smash beer bottles in their faces). This piece was used in the Academy Award-winning film The Departed. There's nothing wrong with something akin to a Triple-J-Hottest-100-list song being used in this genteel sport of ours; look at Emilie Lepennec's 2005 Worlds floor routine. It reminded me of that Spinal Tapp moment where the midgets are dancing around a teeny tiny model of Stonehenge...

3. Alborada del Gracioso - Ravel (composer)

Best Suited For: Ashleigh Brennan, Emma Dennis, Victoria Williams. Love that bassoon action. This track was from a random Best of Ravel CD we had at the bottom of our cd rack... am unsure if there is another title for the movement or anything like that. I love the explosion of sound after the early diminuendo (See? I was a muso once, albeit briefly, I can talk the talk!) It does call to mind matadors dancing around an unpredictable bull. Think big bold movements around the floor in the louder bars contrasted with evocative arm choreography and light steps in the softer 'plucking' bars.