Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast
Skating choreography is interesting to me because it has to accommodate specific athletic elements, and there has to be flexibility in the choreography for reworking placement of elements (or even places to add/change elements during the program). But there's a difference between rearranging elements and eliminating/watering down choreography, and I would hope that would involve discussion with the choreographer. After all, they are the experts, and they may be able to come up with something different that would solve whatever problem was needing attention - but some choreographers may feel that their job is done and they'd rather the skaters do whatever they want and not spend any more time on it. That's fair - as long as it's clear before the changes come that that is the case.
Honestly, I don't think this is anywhere near as big a deal as people are making it.
Q: Why can't I read the competition threads?
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I am sure I really know nothing about the relationship both contractual and political between figure skaters and choreographers. Having said that:
If you go to a choreographer, and he lays out a program for you, and you pay him, seems to me you bought it. If you are skating to it during the season, and some part(s) is not working for you.....what is the expectation? You keep falling? Two-footing? Makes no sense to me.
My hairdresser does my hair...and when I leave the salon, it looks gorgeous. What I do with the cut and style after that............well, it never looks like that, but I still tell people who cuts my hair.
I thought his "announcement" was self-serving, egotistical, and dissed Ashley. Boy, that is what I would want to do to a two time US Champ in an OLY year.
I get his desire to keep his piece of choreography in tact, but I just think that is unrealistic. Not with something that always needs tweeking and working during the year.
Wonder what his issue really is
DH - and that's just my opinion
I think it's up to the choreographer to decide what his or her own terms are -- they could change per skater -- and choreographers can have many different takes on this. I think criticizing Mills for his own take is misguided, because skaters can decide to take his approach, leave his approach, or go against his wishes, after which he doesn't have to work with them again.
There are plenty of ways to respond to the question that are more neutral, like, "We're on different pages regarding next season." He chose to critique her in an indirect way, which I find odd since he coaches her as well. I think that's where the news is, not his choreographic philosophy, which has suited him fine.
"'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney
Just curious but outside of Ashley, who else has Mills choreographed competitive programs for that made the podium at Nationals and/or made the World team with his programs?
Mills choreographed Tatsuki Machida's "Firebird" FS this season.
ETA that I posted this interview with Mills last year but the interview is now "protected content" : http://everythingfigureskating.com/m...phillip-mills/
March 2013 Q&A with Mills: http://www.icetalentinc.com/2013/03/...phillip-mills/
Manleywoman's Sept. 2007 podcast & transcribed highlights: http://www.manleywoman.com/episode-7-phillip-mills/
Last edited by Sylvia; 04-17-2013 at 03:41 AM.
"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
"Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher
Philip Mills really needs to go to a ballet rehearsal. There is soooo much collaboration between ballet dancers (and their individual strengths) and a choreographer. For example, in Don Quixote, a male dancer will do his most spectacular leaps and jates, steps are slightly changed for each dancer. Music is also changed in collaboration with singers: Stephen Sondheim has re-written for Streisand and others, Hugh Martin re-wrote the original lyrics to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, at 21 year old Judy Garland's request, and she was right. Philip Mills is a prissy little ass, and petty to not keep this to himself. He's really shooting himself in the foot -- Who's going to want to work with that?
And least anyone say that Ashley Wagner is not Garland or Streisand? Ashley would be the two, or three-time American champion representing her nation at the Olympic games; for that moment it equates. And this guy is so small, that if a couple of steps change he won't compromise? How Republican Congress of him.
Excuse me, but exactly why does the "public" need to know? If he is so damned good, I'm sure it could get out there without this big dramatic announcement. The skating world seems to know he is very good at what he does. I'm sure he could have gotten the word out with without such an proclamation that come off like a dig against the skater.
"Once you've skated together long enough, and you're really good friends, you can close your eyes, put your hand out and she's right there." Joe Dolkiewicz, 2011 US Novice Pairs Bronze Medalist
From his web site
Phillip Mills is an organic figure skating choreographer who creates movement from the inside out with joy and freshness. Originality and movement have always been a part of Phillip’s life as he morphed from a champion gymnast to a star international ballet principal to a World and Olympic ice skating choreographer. Transformation, inventiveness and innovation are the core of Phillip Mills’ essence. He uses this easy flow incorporating each skater’s skills into a unique program full of energy and imagination.
Always focused on the skater’s movements, Phillip works to capitalize on each ice skater’s strengths while encouraging new challenges and skills. Staying true to the composer’s intent and music, each program is uniquely crafted utilizing the skater’s energy and excitement where movements fit just so.
Last edited by Iceman; 04-17-2013 at 03:49 AM.
Last edited by Iceman; 04-17-2013 at 04:01 AM.
^^^ I posted the link to the March 2013 Q&A with Mills above (post #86).
Ashley Wagner had a new show program choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne after Worlds (for the SOI Canada tour). I think she debuted it in the WTT exhibition? Maybe she wants to try a new choreographer or two for the Olympic season? (just guessing here)
Last edited by Sylvia; 04-17-2013 at 04:04 AM.
And for all of those dissing him as a choreographer, lest we be reminded that his choreography pretty much put Ashley on the map? Perhaps he hasn't choreographed enough Olympic level skaters for everyone's liking here (and really there are very few of those choreographers anyway . . . Wilson, Dickson, Kawahara, Bezic, Nichols, and a few more "big" names) but he does consistently work with very high level skaters throughout all the Novice through Senior ranks. He once choreographed a program for me about 6 years ago, and it was a wonderful experience to work with him. He's a good guy. Though I agree the press release opens the door to speculation, I think everyone here is jumping to some pretty hefty conclusions.
I do think this does bring up the interesting issue of the owning of a piece of work, and at what point is it no longer your creation? I recall when Johnny had David Wilson choreograph his piece during Be Good Johnny Weir, and then when Galina was done with it the piece was a shadow of it's former self. I can't recall if Wilson cared or not (or if he said so publicly at all).
In my spare time, I like to interview figure skating legends.
I think that it can be argued that John Nicks put her on the map. Mills choreography to me sometimes was disjointed and uninteresting. Either way, i am glad to know they will be going seperate ways. It's not a big deal... thats the best message to glean from all of this IMO
Or perhaps Mills didn't think Wagner was a good vehicle for his work? I mean, they did put each other back onto the scene of elite competitive skating, but there was still a laborous quality to Wagner's skating that I don't (and I am sure a lot of people including Mills may not) appreciate. Towards the end of both the short and long this season, she was rushing things and she didn't manage to build sufficient impact for the climax / ending due to the labourous spins and footwork. It is possible that Mills find her incapable of delivering his work to his expectation, while she finds his work too difficult to handle / not fitting to her strengths.