Archive for the ‘denise biellmann’ Tag

On Top of the Worlds

(I’m fast trying to use up my Worlds’ puns.) And… we’re off… to the Magic Castle, in the City of Angels!!!

My LA ’09 Worlds music mix is all baked and ready to go. It includes the following gems, featuring some skatin’ tunes, and recent party favs, among others. Yes, there is plenty of fromage here.:

LA '09 Worlds Mix

Be sure to follow my LIVE tweets Worlds results updates.

I’m most rooting for favorites Yu-Na, Nobunari, Aliona & Robin, and Tessa/Scott! For the U.S., my fingers are most crossed for Alissa, Jeremy, Meryl/Charlie, and Caydee/Jeremy. Yes, I’m on first-name basis with them all ;-).

Evgeni (Plushenko) predicted the following:

“It’s going to be (France’s Brian) Joubert for sure on the podium, (American Evan) Lysacek and (Jeremy) Abbott,” Plushenko said. “How? I don’t know, but those three guys.”

Now I have to get making my fabulous “Alissa Put the Sizzle Back in Czisny!” sign (or insert other punny exclamation), to support our girl, and perhaps even get me on TV to boot.

Hopefully it’ll be as fun as the Salt Lake Games. I recently dug up this fabulous photo. It was utter serendipity… we discovered that we had by chance worn the Olympic colors, and that since there were 5 of us, we were the LIVING Olympic rings!

The LIVING Olympic Rings

The LIVING Olympic Rings

And, I smell a controversy, although it may be great for conjuring up much needed skating viewership. If the presumed tactic reflected in this video is attempted again on Yu-Na in LA, I’ll be waiting in the kiss-and-cry with my knee bat! (Could it be Mao? Please, say it isn’t so!).

I was pleased to discover some fellow athletes’ words of support on the Worlds website, and a bit amused to find a few celebrity messages in the mix, such as this one from Miz Wilhelmina Slater (aka Vanessa Williams):

“This year’s ISU World Figure Skating Championships brings exciting talent to the ice in Los Angeles and I for one will be watching and sending my best wishes and support to all of the skaters. You have each worked hard to earn a spot in this competition and I congratulate you all on a job well done!”

And, I was thrilled to find in my e-mailbox yesterday a response from Alissa Czisny herself. I had extended a greeting of support, and also shared my #2 all-time favorite skate with her (Denise Biellmann’s Beau Soir, composed by Debussy, and choreographed by Robin Cousins), as its elegance and Denise’s spinning ability reminds me of her.:

“Thank you for your support of my skating and for your encouraging email. I appreciate the suggestion for the music, also! I wish you the best!”

Check back the week following Worlds for my highlights of the experience.


My “Desert Island” Skates

As a true “fanatic”, assembling my “Desert Island” Top Ten Lists of operas, recordings, movies, skating performances, and so on is part of my “religion”. These über-favorites spring easily from my memory, because they have resonated to me on such a deep level (although it is always a challenge to narrow the list to JUST ten).

My "Desert Island"!

This time up I’m focusing on favorite all-time skates, in which ALL the stars align… choreography, music, competitive triumph, expression, and in the case of these videos, the performance itself (thankfully captured for posterity). These transcend skating as “sport”, and express something on a heightened spirit and soul level. They make me really feel something. I’ve tried to include more than just the universal favorites (although a few of those are in here too). Rather than revealing a total bias towards classical/semi-classical and operatic repertoire, I honestly feel the finest skaters are most transported by this genre, and offer something extra when performing to it.:

10. A tie — a study in ice dance contrast, stunning flash vs. simple elegance:
Annisina/Peizerat: Time to Say Goodbye, EX, ’99 Worlds
Dubreuil/Lauzon: Somewhere in Time, FD, ’06 Worlds

9. The Protopopovs: Ave Maria, LP, ’84 World Pros
Amazingly, Lyudmila was 48, and Oleg 51.

8. Janet Lynn: Afternoon of a Faun, EX, ’83
This was her televised “swan song” performance. She sure went out in top form with this iconic program.

7. Michelle Kwan: Rachmaninoff, SP, ’02 Olympics
I was lucky enough to be there, although every performance of this program on youtube is near perfect. She clearly really felt in her groove with it. Her East of Eden, ’01 Nats SP was a close second.

6. Oksana Bauil: Swan Lake, SP, ’94 Olympics
Her Swan EX from the same Olympics is on equal par.

5. Sale/Pelletier: Tristan und Isolde, LP, ’01 Worlds
And, their Love Story is of course legendary, for it’s flirtatiousness and storytelling.

4. Chen Lu: Butterfly Lovers, LP, ’98 Olympics
The expression of her own culture through this music is transcendent. Her ’96 Worlds Rach. was perfection too.

3. Shen/Zhao: Turandot, LP, ’03 Worlds
They waited for this day for a long time. And, boy did they deserve it.

2. Denise Biellmann: Beau Soir (Debussy), LP, ’99 World Pros
One of her last competitions, at 37 years old. A testimony to her training and commitment to her sport.

1. Matt Savoie: The Mission, LP, ’06 Nats
I had waited two decades for someone to skate to this soundtrack. It was worth the wait. This is what I love about skating: intense focus, meaningful storytelling… and pure soaring!

Gordeeva/Grinkov’s Moonlight Sonata, Angela Nikodinov’s Sleeping Beauty, Lucinda Ruh’s mezmerizing, modern Prayer Cycle: Mercy (by Alanis Morissette), Kurt Brownings’ sexy, flamenco Naya, Klimova/Ponomarenko’s Bach, and anything by John Curry almost made the list, but something had to get cut, and some of these aren’t on youtube yet. Let’s hope the upcoming Worlds provide a new one for my list! And, if you demanded I select some non-classical favs, I’d note Kwan’s Fields of Gold, Cohen’s Don’t Rain on My Parade, Nikodinov’s To Love You More, and Underhill/Martini’s Unchained Melody. It’s interesting how MOST all of the duos I selected are actual couples. The added dimension of having an off-ice relationship/romance must offer skaters entry into something even deeper.

What skates would you take on your “desert island”? [Next up will surely be my “desert island” operatic divas/divos, and their recordings.]