Interview with Daniil Gleikhengauz

Claudalie

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Debi Thomas' Carmen, Scott & Moir Carmen, Evgeni Plushenko's Carmen, Yuna Kim skated to Carmen, Michelle Kwan skated to Carmen, Mao Asada to Carmen, Mirai Nagasu to Carmen, Sasha Cohen to Carmen, Adelina Sotnikova to Carmen, Meryl Davis & Charlie White to POTO,
Akiko Suzuku to POTO, Gracie Gold to POTO, Patrick Chan to POTO, Brian Boitano to POTO, Alexia Paganini to POTO, Daisuke Takahashi to POTO, Yuzuru Hanyu to POTO.. I could go on and on. There were maaaaaany memorable performances

Should've clarified that I meant Ladies when asking how many Carmen and Phantom programs are remembered but I thought it was obvious since Dani G's interview was discussed and he was talking about Alina's programs:) BY listing who skated to C and P does not make the programs memorable:) They were not. Thomas skated to Carmen the same year Witt did and Witt's is remembered as the best not because she won that competition but because she managed to portray it best character-wise. Sorry but Sotnikova ?? With all my love for Kwan her program was very average and forgettable and so was Asada's and Cohen's. BTW re ice dancers performing Carmen, you missed the best of all Bestemianova and Bukin's Carmen. If you have not watched it, please do, it's brilliant and just as perfect as Torvill and Dean's legendary Bolero. They completely owned the music.

I see where Dani G was coming from when he discussed his C and P programs for Alina. While I personally don't think the programs were the BOAT, I certainly think they were memorable enough to pop in mind within the span of 3-4 years...that was his whole point.
 

Claudalie

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Great programs have nothing to do with winning, with medals, or with scores.

If you've never seen it, do yourself a favor. As the announcers would say, Sammi Cesario *is* Carmen :yes:

Sammi Cesario at 2015 US Nats

I have :) and as the saying goes, we can agree to disagree . Great programs have a lot to do with winning and medals because the program is about how well it's performed and if it's not performed well, no one will see its greatness
 

Mathman

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Thomas skated to Carmen the same year Witt did and Witt's is remembered as the best not because she won that competition but because she managed to portray it best character-wise.

Interesting about what makes a program "memorable.". Here we are talking about the choreography. I don't remember one blessed thing about Kararina Witt's choreography. All I remember is that the ISU made her add some feathers to her costume because her skirt was too short and that she lost the LP to a wonderfully choreographed and enthusiastically performed program by a less well-regarded skater, Elizabeth Manley, who Knocked it out of the park.

With all my love for Kwan her program was very average and forgettable...

I have a different view. Kwan's program was full of choreographic subtlety, nuance and artistic maturity. I can easily call to mind many of the details (like those high kicks off the toe-pick, which I have never seen duplicated before or since). It is not forgettable to me, it is the opposite -- haunting.

The trouble with most interpretations of Carmen is that the character is presented as a cartoonish caricature. Michelle is not trying to "be Carmen" (by which we men the character from the opera painted in broad operatic strokes) -- she is skating to the music.

I see where Dani G was coming from when he discussed his C and P programs for Alina. While I personally don't think the programs were the BOAT, I certainly think they were memorable enough to pop in mind within the span of 3-4 years...that was his whole point.

Still, Alina won the 2019 World Championship because she landed all her jumps and her closest rival, Rika Kihira, fell on her triple Axel attempts. To me, this had nothing to do with the choreography. IMHO Gleichenhaus would have had a stronger case if he had been talking about Alina's 2018 Don Quixote, where the choreography was genuinely noteworthy and formed an important part of the impact of the program. (Unless we think that John Curry "owns" this music. ;) )
 

Claudalie

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Interesting about what makes a program "memorable.". Here we are talking about the choreography. I don't remember one blessed thing about Kararina Witt's choreography. All I remember is that the ISU made her add some feathers to her costume because her skirt was too short and that she lost the LP to a wonderfully choreographed and enthusiastically performed program by a less well-regarded skater, Elizabeth Manley, who Knocked it out of the park.

Weird that you only remember feathers and short skirt when the majority remembers her performance:) and I am talking about choreography ...It was a beautiful program with wonderful choreography and she lost LP by her technical marks whereas artistically she was far superior to EM. Witt was never strong technically and always compensated her lower tech marks with her artistry. Whenever Carmen is skated everyone always remembers hers, which means it's memorable and definitely not for feathers and short skirt. I don't think looking good in costumes would win anyone gold:)

I have a different view. Kwan's program was full of choreographic subtlety, nuance and artistic maturity. I can easily call to mind many of the details (like those high kicks off the toe-pick, which I have never seen duplicated before or since). It is not forgettable to me, it is the opposite -- haunting.

I love Kwan and think she is one of the best skaters of all time but her Carmen was rather inferior to her other programs. For me it looked very simple and lackluster. She skated to the music of Carmen without actually being Carmen.

The trouble with most interpretations of Carmen is that the character is presented as a cartoonish caricature. Michelle is not trying to "be Carmen" (by which we men the character from the opera painted in broad operatic strokes) -- she is skating to the music.


Still, Alina won the 2019 World Championship because she landed all her jumps and her closest rival, Rika Kihira, fell on her triple Axel attempts. To me, this had nothing to do with the choreography. IMHO Gleichenhaus would have had a stronger case if he had been talking about Alina's 2018 Don Quixote, where the choreography was genuinely noteworthy and formed an important part of the impact of the program. (Unless we think that John Curry "owns" this music. ;) )

And vice versa, Kihira won the GP because Alina did not skate clean and well. Alina won the 2019 WC being superior to her closest rivals both technically and artistically but I agree that compared to her 2018 programs, the 2019 ones were weaker, IMHO. It does not mean they were badly choreographed. They just left me with a feeling that something was missing from them and they could have been better. Nevertheless, the point is that both programs will be remembered within the next 3-4 years, staying memorable for many reasons, including choreography. It was exactly what Dani G said but was nearly crucified for those words in this forum.
 

Mathman

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I don't think looking good in costumes would win anyone gold.:)

Still, some costumes stick in the memory. :)

https://c8.alamy.com/comp/BPARD7/ru...din-keeps-the-first-position-after-BPARD7.jpg

https://cdn.idolnetworth.com/images/13/yulia-lipnitskaya.jpg

(Kwan) skated to the music of Carmen without actually being Carmen.

:rock: :love: :clap: :clap: :clap: ;)

For me, this could go either way. There are plenty of performers who can “be Carmen.” Skating to music – that’s a different game altogether.

IMHO Virtue and Moir's Carmen comprised a memorable interpretation. They made no attempt to “be” characters from an opera. (Where’s the red dress? Where’s the toreador’s hat?) Nevertheless it captured the character, cadence and phrasing of the music.

... but I agree that compared to (Alina's) 2018 programs, the 2019 ones were weaker, IMHO.

to me, what was cool about the Don Quixote program was how the choreography boldly embraced the backloading of jumps without apology.

There was sufficient content in the first half of the program, even without jumps, to hold our interest, while at the same time it built antricipation (wait for it, wait for it, here it comes!) for the fireworks ahead. :love:

Dani G ... was nearly crucified for those words in this forum.

Figure skating fans do have strongly held opinions. Daniil says,"Take your best shot, and in the meantime, here's the address where to send the gold medal." ;)
 

Autumn Leaves

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I completely agree about the Don Quixote choreography, it was outstanding. And it corresponded to the ballet version with the increasing tension and the grand final. I never understood why it was so criticised at the time for being "imbalanced". It was perfectly composed to the music, the emotion, it wasn't "empty" or boring in the beginning, at least not for me :) Obviously, "balanced" and "good program" means jumping at even time intervals...
 

pearly

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Should've clarified that I meant Ladies when asking how many Carmen and Phantom programs are remembered but I thought it was obvious since Dani G's interview was discussed and he was talking about Alina's programs:) BY listing who skated to C and P does not make the programs memorable:) They were not. Thomas skated to Carmen the same year Witt did and Witt's is remembered as the best not because she won that competition but because she managed to portray it best character-wise. Sorry but Sotnikova ?? With all my love for Kwan her program was very average and forgettable and so was Asada's and Cohen's. BTW re ice dancers performing Carmen, you missed the best of all Bestemianova and Bukin's Carmen. If you have not watched it, please do, it's brilliant and just as perfect as Torvill and Dean's legendary Bolero. They completely owned the music.

I see where Dani G was coming from when he discussed his C and P programs for Alina. While I personally don't think the programs were the BOAT, I certainly think they were memorable enough to pop in mind within the span of 3-4 years...that was his whole point.

Slutskaya won World Silver in 2000 skating to Carmen. In more recent memory, Karen Chen and Gabby Daleman skated to Carmen in the past 2 years. I think what made Alina's Carmen and POTO most memorable is that she skated them. Masterpieces of music editing, innovation, style and choreography they were not.
 

Claudalie

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Yag's costume in Winter and Yulia's in Schindler's list are just as remarkable as their programs. Those were phenomenal programs, among the best of all time.



For me, this could go either way. There are plenty of performers who can “be Carmen.” Skating to music – that’s a different game altogether.

IMHO Virtue and Moir's Carmen comprised a memorable interpretation. They made no attempt to “be” characters from an opera. (Where’s the red dress? Where’s the toreador’s hat?) Nevertheless it captured the character, cadence and phrasing of the music.



to me, what was cool about the Don Quixote program was how the choreography boldly embraced the backloading of jumps without apology.

There was sufficient content in the first half of the program, even without jumps, to hold our interest, while at the same time it built antricipation (wait for it, wait for it, here it comes!) for the fireworks ahead. :love:



Figure skating fans do have strongly held opinions. Daniil says,"Take your best shot, and in the meantime, here's the address where to send the gold medal." ;)

By being Carmen I mean the ability to convey the passionate, fierce, dramatic, daring and freedom loving nature of that character to the audience with every move, gesture, spin, jump, etc. You cannot be Carmen if you don't relate that depth in your skating.

Don Quixote, I agree, is a phenomenal program. What does imbalanced mean anyway? It's one of the most beautiful and impressive programs of all time, backloaded because the music itself requires it to create crescendos - firework of jumps:) after a more subdued and elegant introduction. It spellbinds before it soars.

Your last line was great because in a nutshell, that's exactly what's happening, isn't it?:)
 
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skylark

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Nevertheless, the point is that both programs will be remembered within the next 3-4 years, staying memorable for many reasons, including choreography. .

That entirely depends on who you're talking to, who's doing the remembering -- or not. I've already forgotten Alina's programs, though not her skating per se. It's personal taste. I felt rushed through the transitions and in-betweens. That left me feeling unsatisfied, which encouraged me to forget.

As regards Katerina Witt, I've always loved and much preferred her artistry in her 1987 LP to West Side Story, over her 1988 Carmen, which I found overdone. So again, there's personal preference. I recall none of the choreography in it ... just her dramatic pauses and flirtatiousness. I feel like somehow evoking Witt's Carmen by a female skater since then is one reason I don't much like women's programs to Carmen. I really prefer men's programs to it: Pluhenko, Lysacek, Kolyada.
 

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There is one more thing, when people compare typically Witt's programs with today's ones, there should be always considered that there are very different conditions today. Rules are different and you simply can't create program like that today if you want to stay within the rules and gain a medal.
Also, when people complain about too much transitions etc., that's what the rules require, that's how you can maximalize your score. It's like backloading, people were complaining about it, but practically every skater tried to backload as much as he/she was able, who managed to backload e. g. 5 jumping passes definitely did not place only 4 or less jumps into 2nd half. It's a sport and skaters want to succeed. When skaters like Alina are able to put this amount transitions into program, they will do it as long as this will bring them higher score.
 

Scott512

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There is one more thing, when people compare typically Witt's programs with today's ones, there should be always considered that there are very different conditions today. Rules are different and you simply can't create program like that today if you want to stay within the rules and gain a medal.
Also, when people complain about too much transitions etc., that's what the rules require, that's how you can maximalize your score. It's like backloading, people were complaining about it, but practically every skater tried to backload as much as he/she was able, who managed to backload e. g. 5 jumping passes definitely did not place only 4 or less jumps into 2nd half. It's a sport and skaters want to succeed. When skaters like Alina are able to put this amount transitions into program, they will do it as long as this will bring them higher score.

So true. especially about how different the rules are in today's figure skating world and how much tougher it is on the skaters and have a program from 1998 in the style done then cannot be repeated now because of all the incredibly difficult technical elements required in today's figure skating world. If Kat Witt was performing today the program would be much different.
 

Mathman

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There is one more thing, when people compare typically Witt's programs with today's ones, there should be always considered that there are very different conditions today. Rules are different and you simply can't create program like that today if you want to stay within the rules and gain a medal.

Still, I think it is fair to discuss whether the new rules are better or worse than the old rules. Someone might say, "Wow, we sure had well-choreographed programs back in the days of Katarina Witt, compared to the unesthetic crap that today's rules force on skaters."

A different fan might say, on the contrarary, we should greatly admire a modern team like Zagitoiva/Gleikhenauz who can create a beautiful program despite the handicaps.
 

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Still, I think it is fair to discuss whether the new rules are better or worse than the old rules. Someone might say, "Wow, we sure had well-choreographed programs back in the days of Katarina Witt, compared to the unesthetic crap that today's rules force on skaters."

A different fan might say, on the contrarary, we should greatly admire a modern team like Zagitoiva/Gleikhenauz who can create a beautiful program despite the handicaps.

Such discussion is completely legit, of course. I became fan of figure skating in this era (and mainly due to team Tutberidze, those were her girls who catched my eye when I was "unkissed" by figure skating), so I'm accustomed to the contemporary style and I understand that some people prefer the old ways. I like how ice hockey looked like 20 years ago more than how it looks now (more combinations that times, less forchecking and physical attacking, the play was smarter to me), so I understand that.

But that's development, sport should not stagnate. And when there is a rule which can change the look of the sport too much, than those who create the rules should be questioned, not teams.
 

Claudalie

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That entirely depends on who you're talking to, who's doing the remembering -- or not. I've already forgotten Alina's programs, though not her skating per se. It's personal taste. I felt rushed through the transitions and in-betweens. That left me feeling unsatisfied, which encouraged me to forget.

As regards Katerina Witt, I've always loved and much preferred her artistry in her 1987 LP to West Side Story, over her 1988 Carmen, which I found overdone. So again, there's personal preference. I recall none of the choreography in it ... just her dramatic pauses and flirtatiousness. I feel like somehow evoking Witt's Carmen by a female skater since then is one reason I don't much like women's programs to Carmen. I really prefer men's programs to it: Pluhenko, Lysacek, Kolyada.

It's impossible to argue about tastes, though I don't think 3-4 years is such a long time to forget programs either bad or good, especially skated by someone as beautiful as that girl... I am not saying that Alina's Carmen is brilliant. It is a lovely program and her interpretation is wonderful but as far as Carmen programs go, the only that comes to perfection for me is Bestemianova and Bukin's performance.
 

Mathman

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As far as Carmen programs go, the only that comes to perfection for me is Bestemianova and Bukin's performance.

:rock: These assisted running splits alone!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iju_RarH3rk&t=1m14s

Plus the music editing was outstanding.

It is, however, not quite fair to compare ice dance with singles skating in terms of choreography. Of course we have higher expectations of the dancers.
 

skylark

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Weird that you only remember feathers and short skirt when the majority remembers her performance:) and I am talking about choreography ...It was a beautiful program with wonderful choreography and she lost LP by her technical marks whereas artistically she was far superior to EM. Witt was never strong technically and always compensated her lower tech marks with her artistry.

I re-watched Witt's Carmen after I posted here, and I entirely agree with your statement about her choreography and the program. And I wish IJS rewarded skates like that. But it's interesting, you and I were talking about what is memorable... and what I remembered from a distance were Witt's posing and come-hithering, which I didn't like. I'm not the only one ... Dick Button referred to "the posing section." LOL. I still prefer her West Side Story FS from 1987.

Such discussion is completely legit, of course. I became fan of figure skating in this era (and mainly due to team Tutberidze, those were her girls who catched my eye when I was "unkissed" by figure skating), so I'm accustomed to the contemporary style and I understand that some people prefer the old ways. I like how ice hockey looked like 20 years ago more than how it looks now (more combinations that times, less forchecking and physical attacking, the play was smarter to me), so I understand that.

But that's development, sport should not stagnate. And when there is a rule which can change the look of the sport too much, than those who create the rules should be questioned, not teams.

I enjoyed and appreciate your example about ice hockey; it's a good parallel. (I don't think the sport was stagnating, though ... there are various ways for figure skating to advance.) It's true that those who create the rules are ultimately responsible, because skaters and teams are going to study the rules and maximize their performances. But I don't enjoy when skaters from one group or choreographer take on similar programs and a similar look as a result. There's room for disagreement, but when I watch Eteri's top girls, all of them except Kosternaya look the same to me; it's boring. Skating doesn't do anything for me unless it makes me feel what the skaters are feeling and portraying.

I don't even object to backloading, if it's done to maximize emotion and musical dynamics. I remember the first time I saw an SP with all jumps in 2nd half. It was Evgenia Medvedeva, the first time I saw a video of one of her skates, 2015 maybe. I loved her skating, and the program, which was beautifully created. One of the reasons that backloading to that extent has been changed by the rules committee, though, is the question whether the bonus for backloading is fair. If a skater does no jumps in the 1st half of a program, then the reason for the bonus is in question. The 10% bonus for a jump in the second half was originally given because it's harder to jump when the skater is tired, but if she's done no jumps in the 1st half, then it's reasonable that she wouldn't be as tired for the 2nd half.
 

labgoat

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I think there is a reason why skaters choose these war horses over and over. There is just something in the musical structure that screams "ice skating." The first four notes of "Music of the Night" -- what else jumps to mind except four glorious gliding strokes across an ice surface? :yes:

On the subject of owning music, I would say that the only skaters that ever owned anything were Torvill and Dean with Bolero. Although others have tried it since, the comparison always comes up, and to the disadvantage of everyone else.

Michelle Kwan dared to attempt Bolero only with Christopher Dean as choreographer. As the season progressed, Michelle (at the end of her career and increasingly struggling with chronic ailments), changed the choreography around until not much was left of the original. It turned out to be perhaps Michelle's least memorable LP, though she did win U.S. Nationals with it.

(In contrast Michelle's 1999 SP to Carmen Suite was one of her best -- let Daniil try to match this Lori Nichol gem. ;) ).

I agree about Michelle's Carmen. It was a wonderful program with a great black dress.
https://youtu.be/IDbg45qnjD8

I also liked Dream of Desdemona as well...https://youtu.be/cyMnNIGps4w
 

labgoat

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That entirely depends on who you're talking to, who's doing the remembering -- or not. I've already forgotten Alina's programs, though not her skating per se. It's personal taste. I felt rushed through the transitions and in-betweens. That left me feeling unsatisfied, which encouraged me to forget.

As regards Katerina Witt, I've always loved and much preferred her artistry in her 1987 LP to West Side Story, over her 1988 Carmen, which I found overdone. So again, there's personal preference. I recall none of the choreography in it ... just her dramatic pauses and flirtatiousness. I feel like somehow evoking Witt's Carmen by a female skater since then is one reason I don't much like women's programs to Carmen. I really prefer men's programs to it: Pluhenko, Lysacek, Kolyada.

I too like Witt's West Side Story. She liked it so much she skated it for two years. How many ladies skate to the Cool part - the head and shoulder rolls, very nice spins and a great dress & look. A very well organized program with very little wasted movement.

I also liked the showgirl number - yes the costume was as tacky and flashy as a disco ball, but the program was effervescent and fun ending creatively with a great footwork sequence.

I too always think of Dick and Peggy commenting during the flirty part about her posing section, where she uses her acting ability, but not her skating ability. I hear it in my head when any skater stands around too much playing to the crowd...eh hem Candeloro was a master at it as was Plushenko at times.
 
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