Thursday, July 22, 2010

Zhang's New Coach, and a Who's Who of Music Matchups for the 2010-11 Season

Wondering who’s decided on what music so far for the upcoming season? Hmmm?
Will Mroz try Mendelssohn? Will Flatt do flamenco?

A mini-roundup of some American names and choices will follow shortly, BUT FIRST…

Did you hear that after several weeks without a move in the annual Coaches Square Dance, Caroline Zhang is suddenly in the spotlight as she takes her high-kicking takeoff self from
Mingzhu Li to Tammy Gambill? Gambill is currently coach to Richard Dornbush (U.S. skater who finished 11th in this year’s Nationals in Spokane); among previous students is Amanda Dobbs (6th at those same Nationals). For those of us who still see great potential in the 17 year-old Zhang, who finished down in 11th in Spokane, this is something of a relief. Let’s hope Gambill’s able to deconstruct Zhang’s toe-jump takeoffs and rebuild them better, stronger, faster…

As far as music choices that have been made public, I thought I’d drum up a half-dozen or so that might be of interest…

+ Jeremy Abbott has chosen for his SP Viejos Aires (a tango)… and for his FS, music from the motion picture Life is Beautiful. He’s apparently going to debut at least the SP soon, over in Korea… so if you can’t wait until his first GP appearance (NHK, which is the first event this time), maybe You Tube will curb your appetite soon. As for the FS, it’s been too long since I sat and wept through Life is Beautiful, so I don’t remember the music—but if anyone has the personality to embrace that music (and the story it tells), it’s Abbott.

+ Ashley Wagner’s SP is to Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir as interpreted by the London Philharmonic… and her FS, to Malaguena, is a different kind of classic. Kristi Yamaguchi, Michael Weiss and Sasha Cohen are just a few of the more recent ones to take it on.

+ Adam Rippon is bringing the Tchaikovsky version of Romeo & Juliet for his SP, and Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2 for the FS. Count Daisuke Takahashi and Ilia Kulik among those who have used this particular R&J; others who have used the Rachmaninoff include Cohen, Takahashi, and Fumie Suguri.

+ Akiko Suzuki has settled on Jalousie by Jacob Gade for her SP—it’s a tango that was used by Sale/Pelletier, as well as Japan’s on Midori Ito—and her FS looks like it will stem from another classic American musical… Fiddler on the Roof. Among those that have Fiddled in the past? Former U.S. men’s champ Scott Davis. I see another blazingly fun step sequence in her future…

+ Finally there’s Patrick Chan… while he’s apparently keeping his FS to Phantom (though re-working some of the choreography), his new SP is to the jazz standard Take Five… which has been used by everyone from Chen Lu, to Torvill and Dean (in their pro career), to Jeffrey Buttle, to (most recently) Takahiko Kozuka.

As a matter of fact, it was this new program that gave Chan his first successful quad toe loop just last weekend (at Liberty Open). Wanna see? Here’s the new SP, hand-held style, as the
Clip of the Day.

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