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."

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