I believe Shen & Zhao's long program this season is wonderful. They published a detailed 'transcript' of how they interret their story in each move of this program. It is basically a story to recall their skating career, the struggle, the defeat, the victory and their romantic relationship. It's difficult to translate this 'script', I am not even trying...
After they published this script, Some fans have offered their 'amature' advice and critisim to Shen & Zhao's new program. Most of the advice probably is focused on telling them how to explore the story in more details and stuff like that. I guess Shen & Zhao are getting a bit frustrated after reading those comments so they updated the blog to try to 'educate' those armchair generals. I have translated their Dec 7 diary. It's fun to read, you can almost feel their frustration.
Dec 7, 2006
We like to update our blog on a regular basis because a lot of friends care about us and have offered a lot of advice. We’re very pleased to hear all kinds of advice and hopefully it will also help us perfect our new programs in this season.
There’s plenty of good advice that we’d like to take, but unfortunately not every piece of advice can be adopted and we’d like to explain a bit more to all of you.
Figure skating is a competitive sport and it is more than ballet dancing. There are 13 required elements in long program that have to be completed within 4min and 40 seconds. Within such short period of time, it is impossible to explore a story in comprehensive fashion. It is rare to be able to skate to a program choreographed with a full story line, let alone interpret the story in full detail. 4 min 40 second simply is not enough to do so. One important element for judges to mark a program is originality of the choreography. Sometimes, an original move is not as easy as it appears so on ice. For example, there’s a move in our long program that we initially go in opposite directions, but are pulled back by using both toes. This move is actually quite difficult to do. It needs excellent balance of strength to both toes. We have practiced a long time to master it.
In order to achieve higher technical levels, a lot of elements such as spins, spirals and death spirals etc have to take up a large amount of time, especially spiral sequence, four different positions, each one has to last for at least 3 seconds, and transitional time should last less than 3 seconds. This alone will take up to 15-20 seconds in a program. SBS spin is the same. It consists of seven different changes, and all the changes have to be done in unison. This is not easy to do in 20 seconds. A well choreographed program needs to balance technical difficulty with a comprehensive story line with a theme. It requires original and high quality moves to differentiate yourself from competitors.
Sometimes a move that appears so easy on ice is actually quite difficult to achieve. It needs a lot of practice, good balance, excellent stroke and speed to achieve the ideal effect across the ice surface. This is the biggest difference from theater ballet.