KAOHSIUNG WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ... ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING ... After almost one month from the end of the 2008 World Championships in Kaohsiung, we asked Sandro Guerra, World Champion in the 80s and early 90s, to comment artistically the Championships. We thought it was interesting to listen to a point of view from one of the best ...
KAOHSIUNG WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ... ARTISTICALLY SPEAKING ...
After almost one month from the end of the 2008 World Championships in Kaohsiung, we asked Sandro Guerra, World Champion in the 80s and early 90s, to comment artistically the Championships.
We thought it was interesting to listen to a point of view from one of the best Skating Choreographers in the Artistic Skating world : Sandro Guerra. His choreographies cover all the disciplines : Free, Dance, Pairs, Show. Following his comments.
Where is figure-skating heading, artistically?
It is difficult to give a clearly defined and comprehensive view of the development of choreography in artistic skating. It is however clear, that the athlete who wants to get to the top has to present him/herself fully prepared in EVERY way. One could sum it up as follows:- "Without technical ability, artistry is not enough; without artistry, technical ability is not enough." Regrettably, from the artistic point-of-view, my views on the recent World Championships are not entirely positive. Although there was no shortage of high quality programmes, the general level of attainment, with a few exceptions, was still very limited artistically. What we are really missing, I believe, are the "Great Personalities".
Artistically speaking, the general level of the competitions was mediocre. Very few skaters have the ability to make you shiver.Most of them are still trying too hard to perform the necessary technical elements, because the standard required to be competitive is so high. Very few skaters possess the fundamental skating ability - to use their skates NATURALLY. What is lacking is the MASTERY - the agility, the ability to "play" on their skates. Those skaters who do seem to have this potential tend to offer choreography which does not truly reflect their abilities. Their artistic posture, style and body-language are frequently poor; not to mention their lack of expressiveness and inability to communicate; things which, I believe, we ought to be able to take for granted as an integral and indispensable part of the development of a skater at senior level.
Generally speaking, the "culture" of choreography is still very superficial. What is "pleasing" tends to rely too much on whim and personal preference.We lack a commonality of opinion or understanding as to the basic principles of aesthetic movement. Aesthetic "taste" still seems to be very artificial or rely on exaggeration. Currently, the most important thing seems to be the expression of energy and immediacy. Refinement, masterly simplicity and fine detail is too difficult. Also, the music is frequently structured incoherently - not from the point-of-view of the editing - but in its very selection. This results in embarrassing mismatches, out of context with the choreography.
Do I have anything positive to say? Well, certainly something seems to be changing, however slowly; but like all change, time, discussion, study, investigation and "open-mindedness" are needed. Specialisation is becoming ever more important in the development of the "complete" athlete. Just as with specific techniques such as jumps, spins and gymnastic preparation, Choreography too, requires qualified people, concentrating on the ARTISTIC development of the skater, on his/her aesthetic/expressive development, paying close attention at the same time to their particular personalities. All this requires years of detailed hard work, targeted on the particular requirements of the individual skater; involving them in artistic activities outside skating, such as ballet, theatre, and other artistic Disciplines. The aim of all this is NOT merely to create a champion, but an ARTISTE who will be remembered for years to come.