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Thread: Discuss Your Favorite Choreoraphy...

  1. #1
    average opinionated skate fan
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    discuss your favorite choreography

    I'm sure now that we've all gone over the "bright spots" in skating history...Rudi's win at Nats, G&G's Olympic Skate, John Curry in Innsbrook they are have one thing in common...GREAT CHOREOGRAPHY!

    So, for a summer discussion that actually focuses on skating, I thought of this one as I watched a replay of Jeff Buttle's Candadian Nats. skate. It was my favorite piece of choreography out there for last year's season and, if he had skated his nats. skate at world he'd be the reigning World Champ with a skate that would go down in memory.

    The piece itself (for those who haven't seen it) was choreographed by David Wilson. It was a Phillp Glass compostion named "Naqoyqatsi " (for an explaination of why this piece is so compelling and complex ...http://www.jeffbuttle.ca.tc/ )

    The absolute sheer beauty of Jeff's skating is one thing (he has that Kurt Browning/Yuka Sato/Carolina Costner/Janet Lynn/Oksana Baiul quality of "oppositional skating" while seeming to float over the ice) Howver, this choreograpy exploits (in a good way) every strength he has as a skater.
    Wilson has explained that he embraces the CoP system becuase he thinks it places much more importance on the choreography as a seamlessly integrated element of a successful program; the same as jumps and spins.

    The beauty in this particular program is that Jeff hits so many poses, edges, and jump exits on a crecendo or on a beat. That means he has to commit to his actions at the particular point in the music rather than when he "feels it" in his body.

    Sandra Bezik pointed out during the Olympics coverage that skaters often choose music that is etheral and orchestral to avoid having to hit movements on precise beats. She followed that it was a sign of a good skater who could perform a piece this way. (I think she was commenting on Sarah's music and why skaters made choices such as hers...Ravel, etc...)

    The Naqoyqatsi program never stops; there seems to be continuity of movement throughout the piece. I also love that it is chocked full of interesting spins, movements in the field, variety of edges and, once again that wonderful oppositional skating where there is so much lean into the edge because it so secure and the transition can be dramitic because of the edge control...think of Boitano's ability to skate the Olympic Rings pattern in one of his routines. Just amazing!

    I won't go through a blow by blow account of every shimmering wonderful detail about why I love this skate, but what about you? What skate do you remember that you loved becuase of the choreography, and why? Is it Irina's "Shiendler's List" , Torville and Dean's "Barnum", ANY of 'Shelly Kwan's (now theres an endless font of resources, ) I look forward to hearing who's programs you love and why.
    Last edited by sk8m8; 06-01-2005 at 05:12 PM.

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    I'm going to have to think about this for a while...but I can tell you that M/D 1992 and 1994 left me breathless, as have S/Z with their famous 03' worlds and 04 Nutcracker, but I loved their 99 worlds too; I think that everyone has mentioned at some point how T/D's Bolero was truly amazing choreographically, and I would agree; There was one L/T dance I really loved a lot and will have to figure out which one before I say why; and I already forget their names but the dance team that did the African drums FD this year...well i thought that program was very interesting choreograhically; and for singles...hmmmm so many come to mind (but Michelle's East of Eden is probably one of them)....but for all of these I would need to look for some vids (and some time to view them) so that I can say what about the choreography specifically grabbed me ...speaking of vids, do you or anyone else know where we can download Buttle's national LP (please don't say rinkside, i can't get it to work for me)...everyone who watched it said it was AMAZING, but I haven't seen it and would love to. thanks.

  3. #3
    Custom Title brad640's Avatar
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    Here is Buttle's Naqoyqatsi from Nationals:
    http://s44.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=1...8278IV7AZDQAJ0

    I agree that the program and that particular performance are amazing!

    Quote Originally Posted by sk8m8
    The beauty in this particular program is that Jeff hits so many poses, edges, and jump exits on a crecendo or on a beat. That means he has to commit to his actions at the particular point in the music rather than when he "feels it" in his body.
    I have been listening to the Naqoyqatsi soundtrack lately, and I am so impressed by the editing Wilson did with that music to adapt it for a LP. He had a great ear for small sections that would perfectly accentuate each element, and he blended them seamlessly. I imagine that most choreographers would have considered the music to be unskateable because there aren't many sections with a recognizable meter, but he found just enough for one magnificent program.

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    Thanks

    Brad640...thanks a million. I just watched the video and it really is amazing. I also just rewatched Buttle's ave maria from world's exhibition...also choreographically amazing...Thanks again. I'll have to listen to the soundtrack to pick up on Wilson's editing.

    For now I'll just say that I totally agree with sk8m8 about Buttle's use of edge, pose, jump exit etc. right on the beat of the music is really stunning...that kind of control and timing, as well as the beauty and awe it creates, is inspiring.

    While totally a different feel, I think that Weir's edge control and flow in and out of jumps creates - in me at least - a similiar feeling of "WOW THAT'S BRILLIANT" but I'll have to rewatch my downloads to appreciate better how he uses (or doesn't) the music; but my gut feeling right now is that while different from Buttle he is similiar in that the choreography is so seemless yet so intense and important.

    I remember having this same feeling when Chen Lu got the World's silver (was that 96?). And also with Dimitriev and Kasakova with their Spente Le Stella program (from which my screen name comes...name of singer).

  5. #5
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8m8
    I'm sure now that we've all gone over the "bright spots" in skating history...Rudi's win at Nats, G&G's Olympic Skate, John Curry in Innsbrook they are have one thing in common...GREAT CHOREOGRAPHY!

    So, for a summer discussion that actually focuses on skating, I thought of this one as I watched a replay of Jeff Buttle's Candadian Nats. skate. It was my favorite piece of choreography out there for last year's season and, if he had skated his nats. skate at world he'd be the reigning World Champ with a skate that would go down in memory.
    Choreography in Curry's time doesn't exist anymore. He had style and flow. Those qualities mean little today since the almighty quad (men) 3x3 (ladies) are the most positive aspects of performance. Acrobatic spins also come into play to up the points. Unfortunatley great cross foot spins a la Hammil begining with an L position do not exist anymore. Finishing a spin today must end in some sort of silly pose which is supposed to represent the character of the music, but that pose lasts a long time to milk the audience. I presume it shows this undefinable thing called passion which we know is no more than mugging a painful look.

    Buttle was lucky to have Wilson to choreograph that gem of untypical choreography to untypical music. The program should be remembered among those few that are special in figure skating. I hope Buttle and Wilson continue their collaboration. There just may be more beautiful music to make.

    Joe

  6. #6
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Well my list is endless, but I have to start with Jeff's program from this season as well. I have rewatched this program a number of times and never get tired of it. It is just brilliant. Each step is connected to the next and Jeff's connection to the music is also amazing. I have to add that this is a test of a skaters' real abilities - this piece of music is not easy to skate to. Not every skater could carry it off. Jeff is much like Kurt Browning in this area. Both are able to master difficult moves and make them look effortless as well as both have great musical abilities.

    Of course, when it comes to Kurt just about everything he skates to is a masterpiece. My favorites are "Singing in the Rain" and "Casablanca." I also like "Nya."

    I also have to mention the great Toller Cranston. Toller burst on the scene when men's programs were pretty much the same and brought some real inspiration to the men's discipline. I love pretty much everything Toller did, but my favorite program was his "Too Beautiful to Last" program. Toller was perfection on ice.

    There are many more I could mention, but it's late at night and I better not get too carried away here.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for sharing the video Brad..

    Wow - I wish Buttle would have skated just like that at World's. That truly is an amazing program.

    I also thought Johnny's Otonal program was very detailed in the choreography - lot's of need to be exactly on the music. I think that's why the program fell rather flat if he was the least bit "off." Which performance of Otonal this season does everyone think was Johnny's best? It would be fun to grab that version and watch Johnny and Jeff's Canadian Nats videos back to back.

    I also appreciated this video for the fact that the commentators were silent for the most part during the skate. Refreshing for a change!

    DG

  8. #8
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    Of T&D there were already some voting for Barnum on ice and Bolero. Also Mack and Mabel was great. Then - never forget their OSPs (Capriccio espagnol was unbelievable and Summertime brought tears to Curry's eyes iirc). Even with their OD of 1994 they were first in a competition 10 years after they left the amateur ranks.

    But what I really LOVE is their pro choreography. In the first year they worked with an Australian choreographer which resulted in Encounter and Song of India. Both wonderful programs. And over the years they added a ton of programs I can't stop watching.

    Besides - they choreographed for others. The one I'd like to single out is The prayer for Roca & Sur. Marvellous. One of the few programs ever which have a real structure in the choreography. There is a series of steps which is used three times for the chorus of the music. Every time the same moves - but every time altered in the position of R&S to each other. Just great.

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