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Choreographer Lori Nichol talks about Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by rosewood, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

    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. :D

    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:
  2. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!

    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.
  3. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

    Wonderful translation, thank you very, very much!!!
  4. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    Thank you!!!!
  5. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Thanks, rosewood!

    Lori Nichol was interviewed at 2013 Worlds about choosing music for Kostner and Asada - here's the part about Asada:
  6. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

    Thank you Rosewood!

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

    just wondering Active Member

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

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    I appreciate your work so much.
  9. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    Thanks a lot rosewood!
  10. Margaret P.

    Margaret P. New Member

    Rosewood, thank you for your translation & posting the articles. They are very informative and make my heart jump! :)
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  11. kittyjake5

    kittyjake5 Well-Known Member

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

    Sparks Well-Known Member

    This is terrific! Thank you so much.
  13. Kelvster

    Kelvster Well-Known Member

    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. alilou

    alilou Crazy Stalker Lady

    Thank you rosewood. I love reading your translations :respec:
  15. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

    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:
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
    gotoschool likes this.
  16. ponta1

    ponta1 Active Member

    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.
  17. sapphiresky

    sapphiresky New Member

    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. BittyBug

    BittyBug Dispirited

    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.
  19. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

  20. DreamSkates

    DreamSkates Well-Known Member

    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.
  21. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Takahashi, Nichol come together on Beatles free
    Famed choreographer describes program as 'poetic and profound'
  22. Spun Silver

    Spun Silver Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Sylvia. It is wonderful to hear Lori, who has seen it all in skating, talk about Daisuke in such glowing terms: "this precious magnetic soul," "divine," "only Daisuke could do it," and to realize how much she put into making his Olympic program worthy of his greatness. And so interesting that she was able to improve his skating skills by teaching him one small figure. I will look for it next time I watch his FP.
  23. ostile17

    ostile17 Well-Known Member

    I loved this part... it brought tears to my eyes.

  24. rosewood

    rosewood Well-Known Member

    I'm re-posting this from Mao cheer thread in TC since Lori choreographed her short program.

    Sumitomo Life Insurance co is one of Mao's sponsors. SLI is now asking on their official facebook which SP costume her fans love. They say that they show (the summary? of) your messages to her. Why not post your message on it? It's not sure but she might take your messages into consideration when she decides which costume she'll wear in Olympics/Worlds. The dead line is 19th(Japan Time) and they start about the LP costume from 20th. It must be OK to write in English.

    1-A=Japan Open
    1-B=Skate America
    1-C=she wore in other competitions besides those two.

    It looks 1-B and 1-C are both loved by many fans. Maybe 1-B is the most loved one. Reading messages already posted on the facebook, the reasons are:
    1-B: suitable for the music, the lavender color is beautiful, the most elegant
    1-C: stands out in the rink, it looks better than 1-B with skaters in dark colors together in the rink

    IIRC 1-B is based on Lori's advice. !-C is basically the same design but Mrs.Sato advised to add darker colors since she thought it didn't stand out in the rink together with skaters in dark colors.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  25. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    Thank you, such a precise description of Mao's skating. Mao and Dai are :swoon: