It's so great to hear from someone who has been involved with Kurt in an ongoing way. I'm glad to have confirmation that he's really the way he seems on TV. I've been a fan of a few people in fields like movies and music that I would never want to meet in real life (naming no names), but I'm lucky that so many of the people I admire in public life really are among the good guys. Since Kurt is at the top of my Forever List, I'm especially glad that he's a gem in real life as well.
Originally Posted by Teenes
I don't have Kurt's book, but I have both Sandra Bezic's book and the Stars on Ice book, and I happened to be looking at them last night. They remind me of how much Kurt has contributed to the sheer creativity of skating. Certainly Bezic never could have designed the groundbreaking Singin' in the Rain for anyone else.
Hi Teenes. Glad you found us. Are you a real Canadian or do you want to join our new country - the pseudo-Canadians? I knew Kurt would be at SOI in San Jose but it's the worst possible weekend for me. (plus it's a 5 hour trip one way from where I live so would involve spending the night somewhere as well - pretty expensive trip!) I work for a winery and the vintner's association has 2 big celebrations a year - the first being on that particular weekend. There's no way I can get time off and it really irks me. I do hope it's televised, although with American television being as crappy as it is where figure skating is concerned....I doubt it.
Quite frankly, and of course I'm a wee bit prejudiced, I think Kurt's artistry contributed more to SOI than anyone else's. I know Scott Hamilton is known and well-loved, but I got kind of bored with his programs after awhile. Kurt didn't just skate with his feet - he skates with his whole body and his facial expressions only add to the enjoyment.
I think in a way that Kurt was Sandra Bezic's ideal muse, as Michelle was Lori Nichol's. Since Bezic was the main choreographer of SOI for so long, both she and Kurt got to bring something special to the programs in a unique setting--they didn't have to make a 4 1/2-minute program or include certain jumps, they didn't have to break for a commercial, they could include or exclude other skaters depending on the artistic demands of the piece.
Certainly there were other skaters who contributed to that amazing creative ferment, though. Just think of who passed through the roster of those shows, including Torvill and Dean, and Gordeyeva with both Grinkov and later Kulik. That "Cosi Un Bolero" is one of the greatest pairs pieces ever, I think--emotion, narrative, and technique meld into an incredible whole. And that's Bezic.
noskates - I'm actually a Californian like yourself, so a pseudo-Canadian . That's too bad the timing doesn't work out for you =(.
As for TV broadcasts, the US tour (filmed in Japan) airs in syndication in the US. The latest list of times/stations:
If you get Bay Area stations, and you get Dish Network or AT&T U-Verse, then it airs tomorrow night at 9PM on KQSL. I don't get that station myself, unfortunately.
I'm not sure what the stats are, but I think Kurt may be the longest-running cast member of Stars on Ice. Certainly of the Canadian tour - he's been there since basically the beginning, and is on his 22nd? 23rd? year with CSOI. Possibly not of the US tour - Katia has been on there for a good long time as well. But Katia has never choreographed for the tour - Kurt choreographed last year's show and did a group number back in like 2000. (As for Scott, I loved him, but I think he relied on other people's choreography, while Kurt took a more creative route).
I agree that Kurt and Sandra Bezic created some amazing work together. And that Sandra Bezic did amazing work for SOI herself (or with Michael Seibert).
I also agree with much of the praise heaped Kurt's way in this thread . And yes, Kurt's definitely the real deal. I wouldn't have been able to support him for this long if he wasn't!
Okay - I honestly can't remember who wants to borrow Kurt's book. I finally got it today. Just sent me a private message and we can go from there.
I am so excited to be seeing Kurt one week from today in Chicago. It was hard for me to justify the big $$ for SOI but seeing Kurt skate one last time was the clincher for me. VERY VERY excited
w4300 - you must give us a recap!!!! Have fun.
Spending too much time at the arena
Kurt Browning helped my son to land his first axel, and validated the hours and hours spent on edge exercises when he called him out in front of everyone to demonstrate edges and turns; advice he gave in terms of how to make a step sequence look flashy and effective is still being used.
My guy was I think 9? and he still remembers the seminar and framed the autograph he got ... and you can see in the interactions between Kurt and the kids that he loves the sport and giving back ...
Love this story!
Originally Posted by CdnSkateWatcher
That's so wonderful. This guy has earned many times over the 1994 maple leaf gold medal that Canadians made for him.
Originally Posted by CdnSkateWatcher
Not sure where I saw this, probably back story stuff for some competition, but Kurt was in a classroom reading to kids that looked to be about 5 or 6. It was so cute. I think a part of him is still a kid himself. I bet he has so much fun with his little boys. What a memory for your 9 year old CdnSkateWatcher.
My daughter spent the summer at the Granite Club the first year they had a summer camp, and Kurt was there practising during the day when the kids skated.
Behind the windows on the right side of the rink is the Rinkside Cafe where the Low kids would eat lunch while the Highs practiced. Imagine the Juvies and Pre-juvies watching Kurt do his Clown routine while they ate their lunches. Or seeing him do a 3A right in front of their seats. The ledge in front of the glass is the table. He high-fived my daughter when she landed her axel, and taught her how do to a beautiful spread eagle.
My daughter was such a huge Kurt fan and so intimmidated to see him live, she was afraid to speak to him at first. It took her two weeks to get up the courage to say hello, but thereafter they became HUGE friends. He called her Miss Emma (not her name) and she called him Mr. Brownie. Kurt was like a Pied Piper with the kids and he made every one of them feel special.
In subsequent seasons, Kurt coached at the Granite Club Summer Camp, and Josee is the Head Competitive Coach there. Parents have nothing but good things to say about Josee as a coach. Kids who go there are lucky kids indeed. When Patrick Chan is in Toronto, which is often, he still trains there too.
I have seen Kurt in both public and private settings. That super nice guy you see on TV is the same super nice guy you see off the ice too.
Spending too much time at the arena
Yes, it was a great seminar. Afterwards, he sat with the boys and talked about the unique challenges of being a boy in figure skating, especially in an area suchas where he grew up where hockey was the norm. He knew exactly the type of language and story that was appropriate for his young audience. We taped it ... and he really reached the boys and it wasn't fluff or rehearsed patter - he connected with the kids, and he reacted to them and they responded to him. My husband took our son to the seminar, and Kurt also offered support and encouragement to the parents who were involved with the sport. Both my husband and my son came home encouraged and energized.
I posted a couple of weeks ago but the post disappeared due to server migration.
SF, thanks for alerting me to "Clay's On My Way Here Album". It's a nice meaningful song, and I do like it. Gosh, Clay has grown ... my image of him was 'the freckled red hair young man with beautiful voice'.
Noskates, I suppose it's not possible to loan me Kurt's book. Give me a synopsis of it? I will try to check out the local library.
DragonLady, I like Granite Club's immaculate garden!
It's heartening to know that Kurt is giving back in figure skating through imparting his skills and experience to the kids and parents. I think as a parent himself, it helps him to better relate to children. But of course, Kurt being Kurt, is affable, humourous and unpretentious - someone hard to dislike. He is not involved in coaching is he? I remember reading somewhere that he does not want to coach because 'he doesn't have the patience/right temperament' for it. Perhaps, giving seminars and workshops is different from being a full time coach.
What did Kurt say about the 'challenges of being a male figure skater'?
Gotta Have Music
Love all these additional stories about Kurt. What you see is what you get with him.