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  1. #1

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    Choreographer Lori Nichol talks about Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi

    I found this article on twitter. Supposedly this interview was published on one of the Japanese newspapers last month. It was so good that I wanted to post it for the people who would love to know inside stories between Lori and Mao, or Lori and Daisuke. Sorry for my poor English. Don't get mad about my rough translation.


    Mao interprets even sorrow. I understand Daisuke's soul.

    Lori Nichol must be one of the best current choreographers. She grew up the World Champions such as Michelle Kwan and Patrick Chan. Two of the four gold medalists at the last Olympics used the programs choreographed by her. In this Olympic season she choreographed programs for Mao Asada(Chuo University) and Daisuke Takahashi(Kansai University). We interviewed her about these two Japanese skaters.

    ---You chose 'Nocturne' by Chopin for Asada again, with whom you had worked for a long time. You used it for her in the past when she was at the age of 16.

    "Sweet, soft, thoughtful, gentle and strong. That is my 'Nocturn'. And so is Mao's image. She flows on the ice like a light and delicate feather. It seems Chopin is the perfect composer for her. She was a innocent girl seven years ago. However, she's gone through difficulties and sadness since then. I think now she understands the sorrow and other various aspects in Nocturn."

    "Seeing Mao, I feel the special relationships between Mao and ice. She flies on the ice using almost no power. As smooth as cutting butter with a knife warmed in hot water. When she skates, she makes so beautiful sound that I can't resist to be fascinated with it."

    "After Vancouver Olympics in the process of her reworking on skating, I chose the stressless musics for her. As for this season, I choreographed a program which makes her soul fit her techniques perfectly."

    ---This is the first time for me to work with Takahashi. I turned down his offer last season but I accepted it this time.

    "I usually start choreographing for skaters from their young age. So it made me nervous to accept him since he was already an established great skater. I hadn't known even the habits of his skating. However, I couldn't resist because of his charm. Daisuke was the dream of all the choreographers. I studied his past programs. Also I asked him about what he wanted. "Something different. Something to appreciate my fans," he said."

    ---Then why Beatles?

    "I loved Daisuke skating to tango with that passion. The tango version of 'Come Together' was one of my favorite numbers but I hadn't seen a good skater for this number for years. Using this music, I didn't want him to skate to tango for four minutes. So I made it into medley."

    "To the opening number 'Yesterday' he can go for difficult jumps in a calm mood. As for 'In My Life', listening to Sean Connery reciting the lyrics of the song in a CD, I thought the phrase 'I love you more' fit Daisuke's theme. As for 'Long and Winding Road' in the end, life is a journey and the journey is not always beautiful. It must be suitable for Daisuke. While we were choreographing, We had a moment to understand our soul to each other."

    ---Do you go to Sochi? You appeared at Vancouver as Patrick Chan's coach.

    "It was an unusual occasion. (Just before Vancouver Olympics)Chan's coach passed away and the federation asked me. Maybe I'll go to Sochi, if the schedule allows me. First of all I am a wife and a mother. Prediction? Oh, c'mon. I'm a cheer leader. I root for all of them."

    the article:
    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BY0ktRbIcAA_Hat.jpg
    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BY0lO3oIUAAkQTF.jpg
    "You'll find that life is still worthwhile. If you'll just Smile."  --by john turner and geoffrey parsons

  2. #2
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    I don't remember reading an interview with Nori Nichol about Mao Asada's and Daisuke Takahashi's programs before. This - however brief - is fascinating. Thank you, rosewood, for sharing your wonderful translation with us.

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    Wonderful translation, thank you very, very much!!!

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    Thank you!!!!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meredith View Post
    I don't remember reading an interview with Nori Nichol about Mao Asada's and Daisuke Takahashi's programs before. This - however brief - is fascinating. Thank you, rosewood, for sharing your wonderful translation with us.
    Thanks, rosewood!

    Lori Nichol was interviewed at 2013 Worlds about choosing music for Kostner and Asada - here's the part about Asada:
    Another of Nichol's clients, two-time world champion Mao Asada, who stands sixth after the short after a sparkling program to Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm," has worked with Nichol since 2005, although she has also called upon the talents of Tatiana Tarasova.

    This season, Nichol choreographed Asada's short to the Gershwin standard. As with her selections for Kostner, it took some convincing.

    "Mao arrived on my doorstep [in Toronto] last May. she wanted an exhibition program; she wasn't sure about a competitive program," Nichol said. "She had [selected music as] a tribute to her mother, and I listened to it."

    Asada's mother, Kyoko, died of chronic liver disease at age 48 in December 2011. Asada, who was preparing to compete at the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City at the time, traveled home to Japan, but her mother passed away before she arrived.

    "I'm a mother, and I told her from a mother's standpoint, 'I would not want my child to skate some sad, mournful song as a tribute. I would want her to be joyous,'" Nichol said. "I played Mary Poppins and "I Got Rhythm," and she perked up and smiled again. I haven't seen that in ages. In 2 1/2 days, we choreographed two programs, a short and an exhibition. Of course, we've polished them since.

    "It was a mother's instinct, I guess."
    "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

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    Thank you Rosewood!

    Please feel encouraged to translate more articles that you see in the Japanese press. Your efforts are welcome and appreciated.

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    Yes, yes, Rosewood. Your efforts are welcome and appreciated! ^

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    I appreciate your work so much.

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    Thanks a lot rosewood!

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    Rosewood, thank you for your translation & posting the articles. They are very informative and make my heart jump!
    Last edited by Margaret P.; 12-04-2013 at 12:25 AM. Reason: proofreading

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    Awww even Lori cannot resist Dai's charm. Thank you rosewood!

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    This is terrific! Thank you so much.

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    What a lovely story re: Asada's Gershwin programme. I remember it wasn't all that well received by the fans (since it was perceived as a little bit too "cutesy"), but she skated this programme with so much joy and I am sure Asada's mother would have been really proud and happy to see her daughter's effort.

  14. #14
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    Thank you rosewood. I love reading your translations
    My travel and adventure blog http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com

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    So glad you all enjoyed reading the article.

    A documentary book about Mao's this quad was published in Japan last month. And this is a very inspiring book. Inspiring for people who're struggling with difficulties, inspiring for skaters who're reworking on their basics, inspiring for the people who have a sick family member, and inspiring for the people who lost their beloved family member. I really hope it would be translated into English and published out of Japan to encourage people. In the book, it is said that Mao was exhausted mentally/physically after Wolds 2012 and almost quitting. She said she couldn't afford to get on the ice and was thinking about leaving this sport to Mr. Sato. He advised her to take a rest for a few weeks. Every day thoughts on her mom who passed away just before GPF 2011 came to her. In the dreams her mom said "You can quit if you don't want to skate." Her mom used to say the same words when she was alive. After the rest she went back to the rink but she was still out of focus. She came back on ice because her show tour The Ice 2012 was coming. So she came at Lori's door just to work on the exhibition number for the shows. Mao brought a slow ballad number(in the similer tone as 'Jupiter') which should be dedicated for her mom. And then Lori offered her 'I got rythm', a very enjoyable number. Listening to the music, Mao "perked up and smiled again"(quoted from Lori's words in the article Sylvia posted above). 'I got rythm' was choreographed as an exhibition number and also available as a competitive one. Mao is a very fast skater to learn a new choreography so they had three more days in Tronto. Lori offered her to make one more exhibition number. That was 'Mary Poppins medley', also very enjoyable and cheerful number. When no good idea of the choreography in the end of the program came to them, Tomas Verner helped them. He gave an good idea, moving like running with both hands down in front of the stand. After finishing both of the programs, Lori invited Mao to her home. Mao, Mai, Tomas, Dennis Ten were invited and had lunch, played tennis and enjoyed paddling a canoe there. This is one of the photos shot on the day. http://maimao-asada.com/mao/private/2012/06/29/424/ Lori's and Mao's faces are very touching in this photo. After coming back in Japan, she could feel joy on ice and then decided to visit TAT's rink to choreograph another competitive number. Sclolling down on the same site, you can see a photo of TAT hugging Mao. TAT's face is also so touching in the photo. I appreciate for Lori's love for Mao in this episode in particular. Thank you, Lori.

    the documentary book:
    http://hon.gakken.jp/book_m/special/forthatmoment.html
    Last edited by rosewood; 12-04-2013 at 05:00 AM.
    "You'll find that life is still worthwhile. If you'll just Smile."  --by john turner and geoffrey parsons

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    Thanks, Rosewood, for translating parts of the book. What an absolutely touching story ~ makes me admire Mao even more for everything she went through, yet, she always put on a smiling face for the public.

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    Thanks rosewood for the wonderful translations!

    Lori and Mao are such sweet people. After understanding more of the thoughts behind Dai's program, there are moments in it that bring tears to my eyes.
    I especially appreciated the excerpts from Mao's book, if only I could understand English, sigh*
    I heard that it was quite the bestseller, so perhaps it could be translated for us one day!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosewood View Post
    She flows on the ice like a light and delicate feather. It seems Chopin is the perfect composer for her.
    This characterizes Mao perfectly - she's like a butterfly. And yes, Chopin's nocturne is the perfect vehicle for her. It's not often a skater is able to render a piece of music so exquisitely.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

  19. #19

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    Mao's short program at Grand Prix final.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXXq8zoTk3E

    Hope Daisuke recovers quickly and fully
    "You'll find that life is still worthwhile. If you'll just Smile."  --by john turner and geoffrey parsons

  20. #20

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    Thanks for sharing all this. These are 2 of my current favorite skaters! So glad Mao did not give up and she could be headed for Olympic Gold this time around.

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