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  1. #1

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    Interview(s) with Tom Dickson

    I stumbled across this recent (Feb. 2013) interview with Tom Dickson - lots of interesting stuff!
    http://everythingfigureskating.com/m...h-tom-dickson/
    Excerpts:
    ... I had the idea of Alex [Johnson] being a 1960′s intellectual in a coffee house in London. He is philosophizing to listeners about his view of life, society and culture. We started playing with the idea of him creating a Soliloquy. The Soliloquy representing his utopian society…that was perhaps unattainable. Much of the staccato sections of Eleanor Rigby became representative of Alex the Intellectual’s frustration with society. The lyrics from the song are very abstract …almost surreal in their description of people going through everyday life and death. Alex is drawn toward darker, emotionally complex themes and the idea and style of movement that grew from these things started to really take shape and make an impact.

    The ultra simple costume based on the ubiquitous black turtle neck made sartorially famous by the Beatles seemed to be the perfect compliment. ...
    ...
    From my own work…pieces that for me have stood the test of time are a Brazilian Long Program for Ryan Jahnke, Matt Savoie’s Mission long program, Jeremy Abbott’s Eight Seasons Long Program and now Alex Johnson’s Eleanor Rigby. Also Yukina Ota’s Japanese themed short program to Picasso’s Dance by Hiroshima is one of my favorite pieces for females that I have choreographed.
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  2. #2

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    Re-posting manleywoman's Feb. 2010 podcast and transcribed interview highlights: http://www.manleywoman.com/episode-36-tom-dickson/
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    I stumbled across this recent (Feb. 2013) interview with Tom Dickson - lots of interesting stuff!
    Excerpts
    Also Yukina Ota’s Japanese themed short program to Picasso’s Dance by Hiroshima is one of my favorite pieces for females that I have choreographed.
    Thanks, Sylvia! I loved Ota's short program back in 2004 when she won Four Continents, but I'd forgotten Dickson choreographed it. Sacrilege, I know. That ftwk sequence was just http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y1pEqiKTmk

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    I am surprised he put 8 seasons among his fav list. As much as I love Jeremy's 2009 lp, this Tango just isnt as original as, say, the Brazilian program. But then Jeremy skated it clean enough times to enjoy the piece though

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    Tom Dickson is such a good choreographer. Matt Savoie's Mission program and Yukina Ota's to Picasso's Dance are two of my favorite programs ever. Savoie's short that year (or the season before?) was also wicked good, I'm blanking on the music.

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    Adagio for Strings. possibly my favorite SP of all time.

  7. #7
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    I'd like to add that his wife, Catarina Lindgren, is also a very good choreographer. I love her choreography for Jeremy's 2009 sp. It was so beautiful. In fact, IMHO, that 2009 US nationals short was the best short Jeremy has ever skated, ever

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    I am surprised he put 8 seasons among his fav list. As much as I love Jeremy's 2009 lp, this Tango just isnt as original as, say, the Brazilian program. But then Jeremy skated it clean enough times to enjoy the piece though
    I absolutely love the Braziliam program! I miss Ryan.

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    Thank you Sylvia.
    I am in love with the man. I think this interview should be compulsory reading. This, and Brunner's recent interview. These are people who define the meaning of artistic side of skating.
    And this
    how does one train an artist in a sport that doesn’t completely know it’s an art form
    is what often drives me bonkers about the judging.
    ...but I could quote and quote. Brilliant stuff.
    improving my ballad- like lines

  10. #10
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    Yes, thanks Sylvia, very much appreciated. I think the 2010 manleywoman interview with Tom Dickson is classic, timely and very informative. I've actually posted in several threads on FSU excerpts from Tom's discussion with manleywoman about the importance of practicing figures. He speaks with such enlightenment about the challenges and opportunities that figures mastery offers choreographically, especially in today's difficult IJS environment.


    ETA:

    In the Everything Skating interview, Ross Miner, Alexander Johnson, and now Adam Rippon weren't mentioned in the introduction as some of the top skaters for whom Tom has created choreography (although Alex is discussed in the Q&A section since Tom is also his coach).


    Tom Dickson: "I’m afraid that if John Curry could see today what is passing for world class skating….he would be horrified!"




    BTW, dinakt, what "Brunner interview" are you referring to?
    Last edited by aftershocks; 04-09-2013 at 07:57 AM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks View Post


    BTW, dinakt, what "Brunner interview" are you referring to?
    Reut posted her interviews with Salome Brunner ( Lambiel's choreographer) and Peter Grutter in "Swiss interviews" here.
    http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...solute-Skating
    improving my ballad- like lines

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    I am surprised he put 8 seasons among his fav list. As much as I love Jeremy's 2009 lp, this Tango just isnt as original as, say, the Brazilian program. But then Jeremy skated it clean enough times to enjoy the piece though
    I very respectfully disagree; I do not think cleanliness is an issue here ( though of course when it's clean it's possible to keep exact timings as with this complexity missing a cue is brutal). "Eight Seasons" to me is one of the best examples of music- to- movement that I've seen.
    I am struggling at the moment trying to verbalize what I see, thus the multiple posts in multiple threads.
    But as few examples:
    0:55- 1:15: http://youtu.be/R01yT7n8_qQ
    The variety and originality of angular movements to angular music, coupled with absolutely rhythmic execution. It's the smaller movements that often "get" me- I think when the program came out , I rewatched 1:02- 1:10; 1:26-1:28, 3:00- 3:23 and of course the step sequence at 3:52- 4:20 a dozen times looking only at Jeremy's feet. It's also the blend of tango and classical music which is paired with the blend of tango movement ( so many quotes from tango movement http://youtu.be/oB-RS000NLs) and a freer interpretation ( much like Gidon Kremer did).
    Last edited by dinakt; 04-09-2013 at 09:37 AM.
    improving my ballad- like lines

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    Interesting to hear from one of the best-known coach and choreographer.

    Quote Originally Posted by aftershocks
    Tom Dickson: "I’m afraid that if John Curry could see today what is passing for world class skating….he would be horrified!"
    Thank god he's dead - don't have to suffer the horror.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dinakt View Post
    I very respectfully disagree; I do not think cleanliness is an issue here ( though of course when it's clean it's possible to keep exact timings as with this complexity missing a cue is brutal). "Eight Seasons" to me is one of the best examples of music- to- movement that I've seen.
    I am struggling at the moment trying to verbalize what I see, thus the multiple posts in multiple threads.
    But as few examples:
    0:55- 1:15: http://youtu.be/R01yT7n8_qQ
    The variety and originality of angular movements to angular music, coupled with absolutely rhythmic execution. It's the smaller movements that often "get" me- I think when the program came out , I rewatched 1:02- 1:10; 1:26-1:28, 3:00- 3:23 and of course the step sequence at 3:52- 4:20 a dozen times looking only at Jeremy's feet. It's also the blend of tango and classical music which is paired with the blend of tango movement ( so many quotes from tango movement http://youtu.be/oB-RS000NLs) and a freer interpretation ( much like Gidon Kremer did).
    I remember when I first saw the Eight Seasons program at Liberty (summer 2008) I was immediately struck by the contrast of the string sections (second and fourth segments) and the piano sections (first and middle segments). Compare the slow and delicate circular step sequence, skated to the softer and slower piano music, and the faster and more angular straightline steps skated to the characteristic tango music, and observe how the movements match the character of the music. The contrast also plays on the ear, as reflected in the different sound of piano and strings (I think of it as points versus lines). It is a program that contrasts spring and autumn, summer and winter, round and angular, slow and fast, and clearly displays the skater's ability to master and present different tempos and "seasons." (It's no accident the program has 4 segments.)
    Last edited by Jun Y; 04-09-2013 at 06:37 PM. Reason: correction

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    I loved Eight Season, but I ADORED Masquerade Waltz...maybe partly because it was this program that made me an avid Abbott convert. Despite all the remarkable programs Jeremy has had, I always wished he'd go back to Tom Dickson. All the programs they did together were just so musically "organic" and nothing was quite the same ever since. He could've been Tom's "muse", much like the way Buttle was to David Wilson, or Lambiel to Salome Brunner.

    I agree with jlai re: his 2009 SP at US Nationals - that skate was bigger than life and the program such a masterpiece.

    This is an interview that manleywoman did with Tom Dickson a few years ago where he discusses some of his notable students like Savoie and Abbott, as well as his approach to choreography and artistic vision. It was such an enlightening/eye opening interview and I think it's worth revisiting: http://www.manleywoman.com/episode-36-tom-dickson/

    Yukina Ota is my eternal heartbreak
    Last edited by shine; 04-10-2013 at 03:19 AM.

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    I just love love love his choreography. I wish that Abbott would return to him too, or that Takahashi would work with him. He's seriously underrated internationally compared to other choreographers.

  17. #17
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    Kurt Browning once said of Tom Dickson that his programs (or choreography) aren't for everyone.

    Re: Eight Seasons. I think doing a Tango after Jeremy's Waltz the previous year came across as "more of the same", stylistically. At least the approach to the program seemed the same. Besides, there were several tangos among top men during 08-09 season, and by the time the season was over, Tomas Verner's Tango at worlds, with his great variety in steps and transitions along with his showmanship -- competed successfully for my attention.

    BTW, Masquerade Waltz is one of my all-time favs of Jeremy's.

  18. #18
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    ^^ Kurt Browning said while commentating during Jeremy's Eight Seasons performance at 2008 GPF, that Tom Dickson's choreography is not for every skater, because it's challenging. IOW, Kurt likely meant that not every skater has the facility to perform the kind of choreography Dickson creates. Whether that's true or not, it is true that Dickson challenges skaters to practice figures and to explore their creativity.
    Last edited by aftershocks; 04-10-2013 at 01:09 PM.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    I remember when I first saw the Eight Seasons program at Liberty (summer 2008) I was immediately struck by the contrast of the string sections (second and fourth segments) and the piano sections (first and middle segments). Compare the slow and delicate circular step sequence, skated to the softer and slower piano music, and the faster and more angular straightline steps skated to the characteristic tango music, and observe how the movements match the character of the music. The contrast also plays on the ear, as reflected in the different sound of piano and strings (I think of it as points versus lines). It is a program that contrasts spring and autumn, summer and winter, round and angular, slow and fast, and clearly displays the skater's ability to master and present different tempos and "seasons." (It's no accident the program has 4 segments.)
    Love your description. I never connected 4 Seasons and 4 segments of the program. Would have to rewatch with that in mind.
    improving my ballad- like lines

  20. #20
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    There are times I wish more skaters would use Dickson, and then other times when I'm glad he's not overused. He has truly created some gems, and I'm excited to see Adam working with him for his new program.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

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