The myth of Narcissus - a fine example of pushing artistic boundaries in show skating | Golden Skate

The myth of Narcissus - a fine example of pushing artistic boundaries in show skating


Final Flight
Mar 1, 2014
I think this wonderful (and brave) performance by Daisuke Takahashi and Keiji Tanaka based on the Greek myth of Narcissus from "Hyoen's" third installment "Luxe" deserves its own thread:

Journalist Akiko Tanaka wrote the following about the performance (translated with DeepL):

"The scene "Miroir" is based on the Greek myth of Narcissus. It begins with the beautiful young man Narcissus, played by Takahashi, falling in love with his own image on the surface of a spring in the forest. Keiji Tanaka, an active athlete who participated in the Pyeongchang Olympics, was casted as the virtual image of Narcissus on the surface of the water. This is his first appearance on this kind of show, and it is a bold casting choice. They [Daisuke and Keiji] share the same hometown, Kurashiki, and the same coach [Utako Nagamitsu]. However, it must have been very difficult for him to play the role of the shadow of Mr. Takahashi, who is his senior and to perform the same movements. He himself says, "The more I think about it, the more pressure I feel”. (laughs) However, the duo, with similar hairstyles, the same make-up and even the same skin colour, were even better than I had expected.

The two skaters' bodies look like Greek sculptures in the simple lighting. When one takes a step to the right, the other skater steps accordingly; when one raises his hands, the other skater raises his; when one dances away, the other skater dances too. The interpretation of this performance was philosophical, as if there are a hundred different interpretations, but I myself did not find the story of Narcissus as scary as it sounds. I was really afraid that the false image of Mr. Tanaka, who seemed to be somewhat demonic, might move differently from the real image at any moment and leave Mr. Takahashi trapped in the fountain. So when Tanaka suddenly grabbed Takahashi's arm while they were spinning around with their hands together, my heart nearly leapt out of my chest.

With Narcissus startled, the shadow began to dance freely, mocking the real body. Narcissus is at the mercy of his shadow, confused and insane. The orchestral music adds to the tension as the two intersect and run towards each other, and the audience is driven to the edge. The anguished look on Takahashi's face and the voice that seems to say "You're mine, aren't you?” The power and eroticism of the men skating together is also very artistic. In the original, Narcissus kisses himself on the surface of the water, falls into the water and dies (there are other versions). In this work the two kiss and after leaving, the daffodil flower is projected on the ice. For eight minutes, it was as if we had seen a whole play. The way they left together, but then parted and looked back at each other from one end of the rink to the other, was very sad.”


About the show (from the same article):

"From 15 to 17 May, six shows were held over three days at the Yokohama Arena, starring Daisuke Takahashi. The title [“Luxe”] means elegance, luxury and extravagance in French. The show is a combination of theatrical performances, songs and skating, featuring not only skaters but also singers, actors and other artists on ice. Hyoen 2021 is a new spin-off of the original production, which was initially a show that combined traditional Japanese culture with figure skating, but this time, in the particular context of the Corona pandemic, the team tried to find a way to make it work, and instead of a show with a single story, they decided to make it a revue with songs and dances.

The theme was "A tour of the world". The overall director is Kikunosuke Onoe, who has been involved since the first production "Hyoen 2017 -Basara-", a fusion of kabuki and figure skating, and Ryō Harada, who has directed Takarazuka, was also invited. The cast includes skaters Daisuke Takahashi, who is the leader and star of the show, Shizuka Arakawa, Akiko Suzuki, Nobunari Oda, Kanako Murakami and Kana Muramoto, who teamed up with Takahashi in ice dance. Ayaka Hirahara, the diva who also sang the theme song, Reino Yuzuki, the former top star of Takarazuka and actress. And actors Seiji Fukushi, Kazuki Namioka and Tokuma Nishioka. In addition to the previous members of Hyoen 2019 [which told the story of Hikaru Genji], there were new members this time, including Keiji Tanaka, a skater who competed in the Pyeongchang Olympics, and many other ensemble skaters and dancers."

This interview with Kikunosuke Onoe (Supervision & Direction), Ryō Harada (Screenplay & Direction) and Kenji Miyamoto (Choreography) contains further information on the production:
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On the Ice
Feb 24, 2020
Very nice choreo and piece. At the end, the daffodil (narcissus) which - according to the ancient Greek myth - stood on the place where Narcissus died from unanswered love to his own mirror image :) Very remarkable also as a deeply felt choreo comprising two male skaters.


Final Flight
Apr 27, 2011
I watched the show at Yokohama Arena, and the Narcissus was definitely its highlight :). Everyone was holding her/his breath from the beginning to the end. Each person may have her/his interpretation and one person may have a different interpretation every time she/he watches it.
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Sep 8, 2016
But.......Where is the choppy step sequence and the rushed movements? Where's the flapping arms? And the cast down eyes of intense concentration before the big jumps? And where the heck are the level 4 stuff and samey-same choreography? I'd gotten so used to all that...