Friday, March 14, 2008

Canada's Top Skating Choreographer Talks

For casual figure skating fans, Lori Nichol's name might not ring any bells. As Canada's top skating choreographer, Nichol is most famous for creating programs for Michelle Kwan from 1995-2001.

Before she became one of world's most respected figure skating choreographers, Nichol was an elite skater herself. She was a performer for the John Curry Company from 1983 - 1986 and was the 1983 silver medalist in the World Professional Figure Skating Championships. sat down with Nichol to chat about the new judging system, and what it's like to choreograph the top stars in competitive figure skating.
You choreograph for many different skaters. How much time do you spend assessing the strengths and weaknesses of, say, Mao Asada versus Kimberly Meissner?

I don't work in the 'versus' mind set. My work is about emphasizing a skater's strengths, choosing music that I think is good for them and also that they like enough to skate to all year, sharing the magic and art of skating from the blade on up and providing a safe accepting environment for an enlightening and educational experience.

What are two or three of your all-time favorite programs?

I have many more than two or three favorites. They range from when I coached precious little ones who discovered themselves in a program and would work so hard with each and every detail, to the entire process with Michelle Kwan leading up to that supposedly 'overnight transformation' of "Fiesta Flamenco" and "Salome" (and I did like "Dream of Desdemona," "Taj," and Rachmaninoff a great deal as well), to the entire experience with [Jamie] Salé and [David] Pelletier. They astounded me long after winning the Olympics with their devotion to their craft and their gorgeous performances of "Come Away With Me" and "Who Wants to Live Forever." I have tons of favorites this season too; any time a skater gives it everything they've got, I have a new current favorite!

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