Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Abbott taking new steps for new season

Jeremy Abbott is on the move these days.

The two-time and reigning U.S. champion drove to Toronto last week to choreograph his new free skate with David Wilson. He left for the weekend to skate in two shows in Sun Valley, flew back to Toronto to finish the choreography, and then drove back to his training base in Detroit. On Monday, he'll fly to Korea to skate in Yu-Na Kim's 2010 All That Skate Summer show on July 23, 24 and 25; he will debut his new short program in the show.

On the phone, from the road, Abbott discussed his new programs and choreography. He said that although he usually competes once during the summer, this year he will debut his free skate during Champs Camp in August. He is looking forward to competing at the NHK Trophy in Japan and the Rostelecom Cup in Russia this fall.

"Skating has been going well," he said. "My jumps are feeling great. I think the [Stars on Ice] tour did a lot for me and I'm excited to see how competition goes this year. Halfway through the tour, I stopped feeling nervous and I was able to have fun but still focus, which has always been a problem for me."

Abbott said that the music for his short program is "Viejos Aires," by Ensamble Nuevo Tango. The choreographer, Antonio Najarro, is a well-known Spanish flamenco dancer who has his own dance company. Najarro has been working with skaters since 2002, and he notably choreographed Stephane Lambiel's flamenco and tango programs in recent years. This season, he also choreographed Brian Joubert's short program. "

Antonio came to Detroit last year to work with Kaitlyn [Weaver] and Andrew [Poje] and I loved watching him work," Abbott said. "I wanted to do something very authentic this season, something strong and extroverted, to break out of my shell a little bit."

Najarro choreographed the program off-ice first. Abbott learned it on the floor, and then the two, working with Abbott's coach Yuka Sato, transferred it to the ice during a week-long choreography session.

"It was very difficult," Abbott said. "The music is a tango, but the movement is a mixture of tango, flamenco and contemporary. The posture and the movement are so foreign to me. That's been the biggest challenge, to get the movement comfortable for my body."

For his free skate, Abbott also wanted to move in a new direction. Sato wanted the program to have a storyline and revolve around a character, something Abbott says he hasn't done before.

"I'm doing two styles that are new to me and very uncomfortable! But I'm very excited to push myself to do something better," he said. "I always try to pick pieces that are really different from each other and from previous years."

Abbott has wanted to work with Wilson for some time, but said he hadn't previously had the chance to.

"We chose the music from the movie Life is Beautiful, he said. "It's one of my favorite movies ever. The character is goofy, and a little silly, and kind of cute, but he's put in this horrible situation and has to create an imaginary world for his son. David thought I could play this character really well, and he thought it reminded him of my personality a little bit."

full article.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rippon to get romantic in upcoming season

Before Adam Rippon left for the world championships last March, he had a chat on the phone with Ashley Wagner. She told him that the one thing she regretted about her first world championship experience was that she didn't enjoy herself.

"I knew no one would be expecting anything from me because I was the second alternate, so I just focused on doing a good job," Rippon said in a telephone interview this past weekend. "It wasn't perfect, but I felt really comfortable skating, and it was great to have that experience, especially heading into the season after the Olympics, when it's a whole new four years."

"I'm happy with the season I had last year, but I know where I need to grow as a skater. I feel like the more experience you have the more it helps, although you don't want to believe that when you're inexperienced. [Choreographer] David [Wilson] always calls me 'Angel Boy,' but I want to come across on the ice like a more mature skater, and I want my programs to reflect that. Whatever music I chose, I wanted to be more mature."

Rippon, the 2010 Four Continents champion, has chosen two familiar and beloved pieces of music for his competitive programs next season. He, Wilson and Sébastien Britten's choreographed his new short program last week to Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet; he says the program is about ninety percent finished.

"It's kind of funny that we chose it," said Rippon. "Brian [Orser, Rippon's coach] had brought up the Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet, and I was like, 'This is cool; I'll put it in the maybe pile!' Like, maybe never."

After considering several music possibilities, one morning Wilson suggested Tchaikovsky's music for the doomed lovers, and it clicked. Wilson also suggested a collaboration with choreographer Sebastian Britten.

"Sebastian was my first client, when I was very young and started choreographing," Wilson said. "I've been looking for opportunities to collaborate, and Sebastian has been particularly inspired by Adam's skating. After worlds, Sebastian emailed me his impressions of Adam's performances, and it was extremely in-depth and profound, and it really touched me. I felt like, you know what, I want to bring my worlds together."

"I've never done a full-on character piece," Rippon said. "I'm going to do my best to be Romeo, so I'm going to die at the end. A short program goes by so quickly, but this piece has all the emotions of a long program. I hope everybody likes it. I think it will be a really special program."

full article.

Ice Dance - Short Dance

From the ISU Communication 1621:


1. Requirements and Restrictions

a) General

The Short Dance consists of choreography created by the skaters expressing designated dance rhythms and contains required elements including sequences or sections of the specified Pattern dance which are considered as required elements as well. (The number of sequences or sections of the Pattern dance is determined by the time relationship between the Pattern Dance part and the Creative part. The intention is to have approximately up to 1 minute of the program to be a Pattern dance part with the rest of the dance being creative).
The entire dance must reflect the character of the selected dance rhythm(s) and be translated to the ice by demonstrating technical skill with steps and movements along with flow and the use of edges.
The concept and choreography must produce the feeling of a unified dance.
The sequence(s) or sections of the specified Pattern Dance may be skated anywhere in the Short Dance and should be integrated into the composition of the dance so that there should not be the feeling that there are just rhythms put together without thought of how they fit together.
If more than one sequence of the Pattern dance is required, the sequences must be skated one after the other.

b) Duration of Short Dance

The duration of the Short Dance is two (2) minutes and 50 seconds (plus or minus 10 seconds). The time must be reckoned from the moment when one of the Couple begins to move or to skate until arriving at a complete stop at the end of the Short Dance.

c) Music

The music for the entire Short Dance (including music for specified Pattern Dance) is provided by the couple. Vocal music is permitted and can be used for any part of the dance. The music for the specified Pattern dance must be within the announced tempo range.
If the rhythm or range of tempo is incorrect it will be penalized.
For the Creative part, the music can be either the same rhythm as for specified Pattern Dance but the tune may be different. Or a couple may chose to skate in this part a different rhythm or rhythms than the specified Pattern dance, but in this case the additional rhythm(s) must be chosen from the group of rhythms announced for the season (see below). Only music with a rhythmic beat may be used and the couples must skate primarily to the rhythmic beat. The musical introduction to the Short Dance may be without beat or melody for a maximum of 10

d) Pattern

The pattern of the specified Pattern dance must be in accordance with Rule 608 paragraph 1 b) and with the description, chart and diagram of this dance.
The pattern of the Creative part must proceed in a generally constant direction (either clockwise or anti-clockwise) and must not cross the long axis of the ice surface except once at each end of the rink not more than 20 meters from the barrier (unless specified in Communication). Loops in either direction are permitted provided that they do not cross the center axis.

e) All steps, turns, rotations and changes of hold are permitted provided that they are appropriate to the rhythm. Difficult, original, varied and intricate footwork is required for both skaters. Hops and jumps of not more than one full (1) rotation are permitted. Jumps of 1 rotation may not be performed simultaneously and are not permitted at all in any step sequence. Kneeling or sliding on two knees or sitting on the ice is not permitted (if this happens it will be considered as a fall and the appropriate deduction will be applied). Touching the ice with hand(s) is/are not permitted.

f) Partners must not separate except to change dance hold, to perform the not-touching step sequence or the permitted full stop. Separations at the beginning and/or end of the program may be up to 10 seconds in duration without restrictions on distance of the separations.

g) There are no restrictions on dance holds. Skating in Hand-in-Hand hold with full extended arms is permitted only if in the character of the rhythm chosen but must not be used excessively.

h) After the clock is started with the first movement, the couple must not remain in one place (even if doing brief extra stops which are permitted) for longer than 10 seconds. During the program two (2) full stops (maximum duration up to 5 seconds each) are permitted. Any choreography appropriate to the music selection (including a separation of not more than 2 arms length apart) may be included.

i) Required Elements:
The composition of the Short Dance in the season 2010/2011 will contain 5 Required Elements in total:
– 2 Required Elements in the Pattern Dance part:
Junior - 2 sequence of the Viennese Waltz performed one after the other will be considered as two Required Elements (see paragraph 2 below);
Senior -1 sequence of the Golden Waltz is divided into 2 sections and each of these sections is considered as one of the two Required Elements (see paragraph 2 below); and
– 3 Required Elements in the Creative part (Short Lift, Midline Not-touching Step Sequence and Set of Sequential Twizzles) – see paragraph 3 below.
Each Sequence of the Viennese Waltz and each Section of the Golden Waltz will have a Base Value and will
be given a Level by the Technical Panel.

2. Pattern Dance part:

The Pattern Dance to be skated is Viennese Waltz (51-53 measures of 3 beats per minute) – 2 full sequences of the dance must be performed.
The Viennese Waltz may be skated anywhere in the Short Dance but it must be started with step #1 and skated toward the Judges (the step #1 of the dance must be skated on the left side from the Judges position). Two full sequences of the dance must be performed one after the other.
Four (4) “Key points” in each sequence of the Viennese Waltz will be assessed by the Technical Panel to evaluate the Level of the whole sequence as ONE unit and Judges will give one GOE for the whole sequence.
The following “Key Points” will be taken into consideration by the Technical Panel to establish the Level of each sequence of the Viennese Waltz (see Calling Specification for details):
1st Sequence:
I. Man’s steps 9-10 - Man’s Closed Choctaw (ClCho)
II. Lady’s steps 10-11 - Lady’s Open Mohawk (OpMo)
III. Man’s &Lady’s steps 19-20
IV. Man’s &Lady’s steps 23-24
2nd Sequence:
I. Man’s &Lady’s steps 4-5
II. Man’s steps 9-10 - Man’s Closed Choctaw (Cl Cho):
III. Lady’s steps 10-11 - Lady’s Open Mohawk (OpMo):
IV. Man’s &Lady’s steps 23-24

The specified Pattern Dance to be skated is Golden Waltz (61-63 measures of 3 beats per minute) – 1 full sequence of the dance must be performed.
The sequence of the Golden Waltz is divided into two (2) sections (Section 1 - steps 1-22 and Section 2 - steps 23- 47) which will be considered as two (2) Required Elements. Each Section of the dance will have a Base Value.
The Golden Waltz may be skated anywhere in the Short Dance and it may be started either with Section 1 (starting with step # 1) followed by Section 2 or with Section 2 (starting with step #23) followed by Section 1 but in any case one full sequence of the dance must be performed.
No matter which Section (1 or 2) of the Golden Waltz will be started first, the dance must be skated with step number 1 on the right side opposite the Judges.
Four (4) “Key points” are determined for each Section of the Golden Waltz. These “Key points” will be assessed by the Technical Panel to evaluate the Level of each of these Sections as ONE unit and Judges will give a GOE also for each of these Sections.
The following “Key points” will be taken into consideration by the Technical Panel to establish the Level of each section of the Golden Waltz (see Calling Specification for details):
Section 1:
I. Man’s &Lady’s steps 1-4 (“Walk-around” 3-turns):
II. Man’s step 15 (xb-LFI-opMo)
III. Lady’s step 15 (xb-LFI-Br)
IV. Lady’s step 21 (“Shoot the Duck” and side by side LFI Three Turn)
Section 2:
I. Man’s steps 26a-26c (RBO 3-Turn, Pivot, RFI-LBI SprE, RFIRk)
II. Lady’s step 30 b (Twizzles + layback position)
III. Man’s &Lady’s steps 34-35 (RFI SwOpCho - LBO)
IV. Man’s & Lady’s steps 39-40 (XB-LFI OpCho – RBO)

3. Creative Part - Junior and Senior
The choreography of the Creative part may be to the same rhythm as the specified Pattern Dance (Waltz) or to one or two of the rhythms chosen from the following rhythms:
Foxtrot, Quickstep, Tango.
The following three (3) required elements must be included:
One (1) Short Lift but no more than two (2)
A couple may choose to skate either one or two lifts but the first performed lift only will be identified and considered in determining the level of difficulty. Any type of lift may be used for the second lift and it may be performed without any requirements for the Level of difficulty provided that its duration is within permitted 6 seconds and it is not illegal. The second Lift will be considered by the Judges in marking the Choreography.
However, if a third Lift is performed, it will be considered by the Technical Panel as an Extra Element.
One (1) Midline Not Touching Step Sequence (NOT incorporating the Sequential Twizzles)
The Not Touching Step Sequence must incorporate mirror and/or matching footwork. Both partners may cross each other’s tracing(s) and may switch from matching footwork to mirror and vice versa. The partners should remain as close together as possible, but they must not touch. The distance between the skaters should generally not be more than 2 arms length apart.
One (1) Set of Sequential Twizzles
The Set of Twizzles (two twizzles skated simultaneously with up to one step in between twizzles). The Set of Twizzles may be skated anywhere in the program except in the required “Non-touching Step Sequence ”.

NOTE: The DANCE SPIN is not included in the list of Required Elements for the Short Dance season 2010/2011.

Nevertheless, a Spinning movement skated by the couple together in any hold around common axis on one foot (or two feet) with any number of rotations is permitted. A couple may choose to use this movement as part of their choreography. The Technical Panel will ignore these movements and the judges will not consider these movements as the permitted stops.

Note: These Required Elements may be skated anywhere in the Creative part and may be used as the “linking movements” between Creative and Pattern parts of the dance. But only the first performed Required Element will be taken into consideration by the Technical Panel.

Note: Any other dance elements suitable for the rhythm are permitted but the composition should be predominant with dance steps and turns.

Note: Because the dance should be choreographed as an integrated program, and not 2 separate parts, the Pattern Dance part can be placed anywhere in the program: the beginning, the middle, or the end. A dance that begins with the Pattern Dance part, and then simply changes to the Creative part, will be considered choreographically inferior to a program which
integrates the 2 parts together in a seamless way.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Johnny Weir Takes a Year Off...Official Statement

Three-time U.S. champion Johnny Weir released the following statement regarding sitting out the 2010-11 competitive skating season:

My dearest fans,

I would like to officially announce that I am withdrawing my name from the 2010-2011 competitive season. My decision comes after months of weighing the pros and cons of competing this season, and I have decided that I need a year to explore and reinvent myself as an athlete and artist.

There are many projects that I'm currently working on and that I want to devote my time to, including my single, "Dirty Love," my fashion line, "Be Unique," and my quarter-century memoirs to be published with Gallery Books. I'm also working on the second season of my hit reality TV series, and of course skating in shows around the world and producing my own skating spectacular.

I want to thank so many people: My mom, Patti; my coaches, Galina Yakovlevna Zmievskaya, Viktor Vassilievich Petrenko, and Nina Leonidovna Petrenko; my choreographer, David Wilson; my agent, Tara Modlin, and Fireworks Sports Marketing; and my friends, family, and most of all my fans. I skated for my fans this season, and I was able to skate because of them. They gave me inspiration every day in practice and helped in so many ways to get me back to the Olympics for the second time. I am forever in your debt.

The main reason for my decision is to have more time to reinvent my skating. I want to create a new skating image for myself so that when I return to competitive skating, I can perform in a way that is both unique and inspiring. I say all of this in hopes that I will return as a competitor for the 2011-2012 season.

At twenty-six years old, I have been competing at the highest level of the sport since 2000. Training and competing have been my only way of life for the past thirteen years. While it has been a magical journey, I feel that a brief hiatus will be truly beneficial to my skating and my future.

Although I'm taking a break from competitive skating, I still hope to be on the ice as often as possible, training and performing for my many fans around the world. I have even selected music for my next competitive programs and am already dreaming up costumes.

While my eyes are currently focused on many different projects, my brain will never forget about the Sochi Olympics in 2014. It would be a dream for me to compete in an Olympic Games in Russia, and I think one thing my fans know about me is that I don't give up on a dream easily.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me. I hope to be performing for you very soon. I believe this is the right step for me to make in my career at this time, and I am very proud of everything I have accomplished so far in my life as a figure skater.

Thank you.
-Johnny Weir