I continue to be astounded at the lack of musical acumen and choreographic creativity there is in our world of skating. I understand that the little ones need to use music they know, thusly lots and lots (and lots...) of Disney is "de riguer." Okay, I get it. I don't like it, but I get it.
But when skaters at the national and international levels continue to use pieces to DEATH, what's the point? Is anyone really going to do "Bolero" better than T&D? I don't even want to listen to "Les Miz" anymore. Actually, I can't listen to it now without thinking of way-too-many skates that should have died on the battle line. "Gypsy" for elementary school skaters? Has anyone seen the show? Let's scuttle "Pirates of the Caribbean" since no one (in my humble opinion) can match Braden Overett's 2007 self-choreographed and award-winning program. And run a sabre through the heart of Zorro! Nessun Dorma, again? Really? And can we put Tango de Roxanne out of its misery, please? More consumption than La Traviata and there is only so much we can swallow.
I suppose most coaches, skaters, parents and choreographers cling to the thought that just maybe they will create the definitive masterpiece - the one that will be remembered above all others. Emulated but never duplicated.
Or just maybe it is an easy way out.
While some decry the new system, saying that it doesn't allow for creativity, to an extent I disagree. The system can open the door to innovation if - and only if - one is brave and innovative enough to risk crossing the threshold. Look at some of the best programs of 2011. Look at the ones that took your breath away, not just for the flashy footwork or the endless string of triples and quads, but because a choreographer and a skater took a risk. They pushed the envelope.
I know. You are thinking, "Well, it's easy for you to say. Look at your skater."
Okay, that's fair. But think back on the others who dug deep and produced magic. Here is a short list of some of my standout favorites this season (and there are more):
- Shawn Sawyer
- Alissa Czisny
- Adam Rippon
- Daisuke Takahashi
- Takahiko Kazuka
- Alena Leonova
- Just about all of the top ice dancers
(wish I could say the same for pairs, though there was some outstanding skating!)
So, what's my point? It is simply this:
Listen to music - all kinds of music.
Watch dance - all kinds and styles of dance.
Take a risk.
Be the letter carrier that truly says,"Neither snow nor rain nor heat (nor ICE) nor gloom of night stays me from the swift completion of my appointed rounds (around the arena)."
In other words - Deliver.
Please deliver. Fans will gladly pay the freight if you push the envelope.