Starting a new season is always a challenge for skaters. The French Masters, which are being held in the city of Orleans, one hour South of Paris, were created just for that purpose. Traditionally the first competition of the season, they are welcomed by most elite junior and senior skaters, who are eager to show their new programs.
"It is the first gathering of the whole family before French Nationals," André Philippe, one of the organizers, stated when opening the ice rink to the first competitors Thursday morning. More than anything, those Masters offer the opportunity to seize each skater's shape and spirits at start of the season.
They also provided a good opportunity to speak with Brian Joubert and evaluate how he was feeling.
Two changes and one (hopefully minor) problem at start of the season
At first glance you can see that Brian has changed. First, his hair is longer than last season.
"This is my choreographer's idea," said Joubert. "Actually I like it, so here is my new look, he confirmed with a smile."
The change is also visible when Joubert steps on the ice. For that change he gives also tribute to his choreographer, Evgeni Platov, with whom he worked last summer. When he learnt that Kurt Browning, with whom he had worked the last seasons, would not be available to create his new programs, Joubert turned to Platov for help.
"Evgeni is very different from Kurt, actually," explained Joubert. "I worked very well with him also. What I liked was that I had a say in the choreographical choices we were making. So, I involved myself much more into those two programs than I ever did. I feel good with them. Now it will be important to hear the judges' comments, here in France and at the international level."
Platov has also changed Joubert's approach to step sequences. "Evgeni is also a great technician for steps," Joubert commented. "He is very fast and tonic." This of course should fit his temper well.
His new short program, set to the music of Safri Duo, as well as his long, which he skates to the music of The Last of Mohicans, clearly show the new directions he has taken. "In fact, the goal this year would be to combine Kurt's smooth style and Evgeni's power," Joubert continued.