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Thread: Choreographers- Go to a former skater or a former dancer?

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    Trixie Schuba's biggest fan! blue dog's Avatar
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    Choreographers- Go to a former skater or a former dancer?

    Janetfan's reply on another thread prompted the start of this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Do you see that as a bad thing? An "outsider" doing skating choreo......
    My feeling is that Lori and David might be doing too many programs and we see too much of the same style - I call it the "mini Yuna syndrome."

    It is not really fair to compare Christina or MJ to Yuna - but we see such similar looking choreographic gestures that if is hard not to think of them as little Yuna clones at times. Some have even mentioned the same thing after watching Rippon skate.

    No doubt a choreographer with a skating background can make the job of the coach alot easier since most of the choreo will have been conceived by a former skater.

    But what about creativity and new ideas? Let's consider a good Dance choreographer working with a skater. What if some of the ideas do not translate so well or easily to skating? Isn't that something for the coach to consider since he/she knows his skater's abilities quite well?

    I find it really strange that so many posts lament the use of yet another "Carmen," "Firebird" and other music that is used so often without ever hearing a peep about so much recycled choreography.

    I am not a Dancer and don't pretend to have choreographic expertise. I do think part of the argument that the CoP has made too much of the skating look the same has much to do with the levels. But isn't it also possible some fresh new ideas for choreo and general presentation are needed?

    Some would argue that since skating and dance are similar yet different, it would be best to go to a former skater. Also, a former skater knows the nuances of the rules and how to get around those (if I remember correctly, David Wilson had Kim Yu Na hold the opening of her Miss Saigon program five seconds longer, so that her double axel/triple toe would get the bonus, since it would fall after the halfway point).

    However, a former dancer could bring a fresh perspective on a piece of music. They also have a different idea of how the character should be portrayed, perhaps based on what they know of the history of that particular ballet, or piece of music (Charlene Franks' choreography for Rudy Galindo in 1996, or the late Elena Tcherkaskaia's choreography for Angela Nikodinov).

    What do you think?

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    Mashimaro on Ice
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    I don't think it really matters much. The real problem is that once a choreographer achieves success with a certain skater, he or she will get a lot of offers from other skaters. As a result, you get a lot of programs that look too similar in styles, music selection, etc. Also, what may work for one skater won't necessarily work for another skater.

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    Dedicated follower of the black line Wicked's Avatar
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    This is why I think Stephane would be the ultimate skate choreographer- he is both a dancer and a skater.

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    Sitting Here on Blue Jay Way silver.blades's Avatar
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    I think that working with a dance choreographer could yeild very interesting results. Didn't Lambiel have a program choreographed by a flemenco dancer? I think if a skater is going to work with a dancer though, you need to have a consultant who has a skating background and understands the COP for competition programs so the skater isn't at a disadvantage.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Working with both seems to work quite well in dance. D&W's Bollywood was a true collaboration between Z&S and a Bollywood choregrapher; all the parties interviewed seemed to agree on that. I think that might be the best way to go about it, rather than going to the dance choreographer first and having the skating coach trying to pick up the levels later, as NavBoms did. When you go to the dance choreographer first, the program is apt to get dumbed down later. I think you need to have both involved very early on.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked View Post
    This is why I think Stephane would be the ultimate skate choreographer- he is both a dancer and a skater.
    With apologies to Pogue - it is well documented that Lambiel hates the CoP.
    I agree he could be a great choreographer for exhibition programs and shows - but wonder if a guy who has repeatedly stated how awful the CoPs ideas are about artistry would put together winning programs.

    The truth is that Lambiel has better taste in choreography than what the CoP values.....

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    With apologies to Pogue - it is well documented that Lambiel hates the CoP.
    I agree he could be a great choreographer for exhibition programs and shows - but wonder if a guy who has repeatedly stated how awful the CoPs ideas are about artistry would put together winning programs.

    The truth is that Lambiel has better taste in choreography than what the CoP values.....
    Good point. I think that is why Dai did not go with Stephane's Amelie SP this season. He claimed he woudl try both, but seems to be sticking to the Latin program which has proven strong under IJS.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    Good point. I think that is why Dai did not go with Stephane's Amelie SP this season. He claimed he woudl try both, but seems to be sticking to the Latin program which has proven strong under IJS.
    I never saw the program Lambiel did for Dai but have to wonder if it was CoP friendly enough.....

    A bigger question I have is why there is so much moaning about the same music being used - but no one seems to notice how Wilson is using similar choreo with several gestures being seem over and over and over and over......to the point that I am considering kitchen breaks when his programs are up.

    Lori has become hit or miss for me......loved her "Pirates" for Mira last season - but think Mirai is due a refund for this years SP.

    Rachael has last year's SP with parts of this year's SP and LP repeating the same gestures -and not to pick on Rachael - but hello - this is not original or innovative choreo. In my biz we would say Lori is :recycling." And so is Wilson.

    I would rather see ten skaters in a row skate to "Carmen" because it is great music. This recycled choreo is not so great and is getting kind of boring.

    There are no mini -Yuna's. Yuna is unique. But we certainly see parts of her choreo with Wilson's clients.
    He has run out of ideas - or has too many skaters.

    I think this is awfully obvious ................

    Carmen all night - yes. Mini Yunas - no thanks

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    This is the program that began the discussion:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQXBXmjumU

    Choreographed, gkelly said, by Barbara Flowers, a former dancer. I think Tonya's use of her arms is wonderful in this program. It's not overdone but everything is very deliberate - sometime one arm is carefully placed by her side while the other lift up, etc. And she was well coached on holding out her moves. Tonya was not all known for "artistry" but here she is very much "dancing on ice" in between her jumps and spirals and other skating moves. Oh yeah - and I really like the opening spin sequence. Nobody remembers Tonya for her spins but that was lovely - very nice use of her natural lines.

    I don't think there is a wrong or right way to go. Certainly, a professional dancer might have a lot to contribute but obviously, the dancer would have to learn an awful lot about skating - especially in the COP era!

    I agree about Lori and David but more about Lori. I still see freshness with David. Or maybe it's that I think he is more capable of creating memorable choreography that says something or tells a story or creates a mood and still get big COP points. With Lori, obviously she has created masterpieces in the past but more recently her choreo has a generic feel and it takes a skater with the "it" thing to make it sing. Like Mirai last year with Carmen and Pirates. Mirai's LP this year might be more interesting, however. I'm reserving judgment until I see her pull of a good performance of it.

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Layfan View Post
    This is the program that began the discussion:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQXBXmjumU

    Choreographed, gkelly said, by Barbara Flowers, a former dancer. I think Tonya's use of her arms is wonderful in this program. It's not overdone but everything is very deliberate - sometime one arm is carefully placed by her side while the other lift up, etc. And she was well coached on holding out her moves. Tonya was not all known for "artistry" but here she is very much "dancing on ice" in between her jumps and spirals and other skating moves. Oh yeah - and I really like the opening spin sequence. Nobody remembers Tonya for her spins but that was lovely - very nice use of her natural lines.

    I don't think there is a wrong or right way to go. Certainly, a professional dancer might have a lot to contribute but obviously, the dancer would have to learn an awful lot about skating - especially in the COP era!

    I agree about Lori and David but more about Lori. I still see freshness with David. Or maybe it's that I think he is more capable of creating memorable choreography that says something or tells a story or creates a mood and still get big COP points. With Lori, obviously she has created masterpieces in the past but more recently her choreo has a generic feel and it takes a skater with the "it" thing to make it sing. Like Mirai last year with Carmen and Pirates. Mirai's LP this year might be more interesting, however. I'm reserving judgment until I see her pull of a good performance of it.
    Good post - here is how I feel about Mirai....

    She is one of only a few Ladies in the world right now who just move beautifully over the ice. Great choreo/music of course will help her - but as far as movement, positions and flow - she is in very rare company these days. Mao of course - but Yuna, only with tons of rehearasal and perfect choreo because her posture , stretch and positions are not in the same league with Mao or Mirai.

    Not a knock on Yuna as I respect her total package as the best. But if Mirai can up her jumps her ground game is better than Yuna.

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    she takes the audience on her journey of emotions Layfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Good post - here is how I feel about Mirai....

    She is one of only a few Ladies in the world right now who just move beautifully over the ice. Great choreo/music of course will help her - but as far as movement, positions and flow - she is in very rare company these days. Mao of course - but Yuna, only with tons of rehearasal and perfect choreo because her posture , stretch and positions are not in the same league with Mao or Mirai.

    Not a knock on Yuna as I respect her total package as the best. But if Mirai can up her jumps her ground game is better than Yuna.
    I admit it took me a while to fully appreciate Yuna. As you know, lines are very important to me and I was distracted by Yuna's unpointed feet and lack of turnout. But the more I watched her _ (and the more I learned about skating from peeps here at GS ) _ the more I realized what an astonishing skater she is. It's her control and speed. Neither Mao or Mirai match it. If there is one skater out there now I wish I could watch in person it's definitely Yuna. I have a feeling her power in person would be unbelievable and would explain her record scores and the oozing of the comentators... Maybe that is something that doesn't come across right away on Youtube.

    I personally am a huge fan of David Wilson's choreo for Yuna. It's like he knows there are only certain things she can do and he enjoys creating intricate programs for her. I cannot imagine anyone pulling off Dance Macabre like Yuna. The speed and power and energy she carried to the end was thrilling.

    I think Mao has the best lines of the three by far and, of course, the 3a. I think Mirai has the fastest spins of the three and the best natural energy of the three and I still think she the only U.S. lady right now who could even hope to challenge on-form Mao or Yuna but she clearly needs to prove it.

    ETA: Also, Mirai - not all the time but sometimes - has something for me that the other two don't: she makes me feel in a way that sometimes reminds me of Michelle Kwan. Not to compare Mirai with Michelle - no way - but she has the heart-on-her-sleeve thing going on. Yuna and Mao are fabulous perfomers but they don't really have that. Not to me anyway.
    Last edited by Layfan; 11-18-2010 at 11:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Layfan View Post
    I admit it took me a while to fully appreciate Yuna. As you know, lines are very important to me and I was distracted by Yuna's unpointed feet and lack of turnout. But the more I watched her _ (and the more I learned about skating from peeps here at GS ) _ the more I realized what an astonishing skater she is. It's her control and speed. Neither Mao or Mirai match it. If there is one skater out there now I wish I could watch in person it's definitely Yuna. I have a feeling her power in person would be unbelievable and would explain her record scores and the oozing of the comentators... Maybe that is something that doesn't come across right away on Youtube.

    I personally am a huge fan of David Wilson's choreo for Yuna. It's like he knows there are only certain things she can do and he enjoys creating intricate programs for her. I cannot imagine anyone pulling off Dance Macabre like Yuna. The speed and power and energy she carried to the end was thrilling.

    I think Mao has the best lines of the three by far and, of course, the 3a. I think Mirai has the fastest spins of the three and the best natural energy of the three and I still think she the only U.S. lady right now who could even hope to challenge on-form Mao or Yuna but she clearly needs to prove it.
    Yes, agree ^^
    I would also like to see Yuna Live - but to be honest mostly at a competitive event. Her show skating does nothing for me.

    I would pay to see her compete - those jumps (and the TR) are by far the best I have seen from a Lady skater.
    There is more - and Button nailed it - "Yuna Kim is athletic and elegant."

    Still if I was at a show - I woud rather see Mao. Her exhibition programs are beyond description for me.......

    As to spins and laybacks - if they were worth more points it would help Mirai because IMO she is clearly superior to Yuna or Mao.

    But I undertand and even like that the total package is what counts. Yuna is a very deserving and great Olympic champion.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    ...her ground game is better ...
    !!! My new favorite figure skating term.

    So a skater who scores through the air (big jumps) has a great "passig game."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    !!! My new favorite figure skating term.

    So a skater who scores through the air (big jumps) has a great "passig game."
    Think this way, "Air Yuna"

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    Dedicated follower of the black line Wicked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    With apologies to Pogue - it is well documented that Lambiel hates the CoP.
    I agree he could be a great choreographer for exhibition programs and shows - but wonder if a guy who has repeatedly stated how awful the CoPs ideas are about artistry would put together winning programs.

    The truth is that Lambiel has better taste in choreography than what the CoP values.....
    While he might hate CoP, it never stopped him from having beautiful programs. I would have loved to see what he created for Daisuke.

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