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Interview(s) with Tom Dickson

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sylvia, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    I stumbled across this recent (Feb. 2013) interview with Tom Dickson - lots of interesting stuff!
  2. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

  3. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    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 :kickass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y1pEqiKTmk
  4. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    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
  5. elka_sk8

    elka_sk8 Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple

    Adagio for Strings. :swoon: possibly my favorite SP of all time. :)
  7. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    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
  8. Marco

    Marco Well-Known Member

    I absolutely love the Braziliam program! I miss Ryan.
  9. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    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.


    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!"

    :respec: :(

    BTW, dinakt, what "Brunner interview" are you referring to?
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  11. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

  12. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    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: Apr 9, 2013
  13. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

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

    Thank god he's dead - don't have to suffer the horror.:p
  14. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

    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: Apr 9, 2013
  15. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

    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: Apr 10, 2013
  16. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    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. jlai

    jlai Title-less

    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. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    ^^ 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: Apr 10, 2013
  19. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    Love your description. I never connected 4 Seasons and 4 segments of the program. Would have to rewatch with that in mind.
  20. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    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.
    ioana and (deleted member) like this.
  21. elka_sk8

    elka_sk8 Well-Known Member

    Yes that's the one, thank you! Loved it. :swoon:

    Garden Kitty, ITA.
  22. reut

    reut Well-Known Member

    Thank you for posting this interview. I enjoyed reading it immensely.
    I agree with what he says in so many aspects, we definitely share the same point of view on how figure skating should develop.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I almost don't know his works. He mentions there a few and I will check them. Are there any other programs, apart those mentioned in the interview or in this thread, some of you would recommend me to check? I'd appreciate the links too (though I'm not banned in YouTube :D). I think, maybe this way some more readers will watch them too. ;)
  23. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    Ryan Jahnke's 2004 Nationals "Brazilian" FS (is there a better performance of this program from that season than this one?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbzfIXTm0Mw

    ETA to reut: I misread your "apart those mentioned in the interview"... will try and find links to other memorable (for me) Dickson programs later.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  24. Impromptu

    Impromptu Well-Known Member

    He's done some ice dance choreography too, but it's really hard to find videos...

    Jane Summersett/Todd Gilles - Waltz: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l0L8fHtoZk (they were skating this better by the end of the season)

    He also did several programs for Trina Pratt & Todd Gilles
  25. joeperryfan

    joeperryfan Well-Known Member

    I feel very tempted to just pop in here to say that Tom Dickson is awesome but I do have a question, has he ever worked with harder sounding music, perhaps something with electric guitars? Maybe some darker themed routine? There's always a pleasant softness to his programs, I guess I'm looking for something a little more explosive because i think he'd be able to still make it tasteful.

    I'd actually like to see that!
  26. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    I know the Shibs have gotten some programs from Tom Dickson, too, while they were in CO 2005-2007. Also did Emily Samuelson/Todd Gilles' programs (I *think* he did both of them) the one season they skated together (2011-2012).
  27. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    His style isn't angsty, but I'm not sure how to get more genuinely darker than "Adagio for Strings," especially with its association in the US with the deaths of FDR and JFK.
  28. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

    The free dance for Summersett/Gilles (posted by Impromptu above) used music from Ravel's La Valse. It's the darkest music I've heard in ice dance. You can look the music up on wikipedia about its meaning. He also choreographed a free dance for Piper Gilles/Zach Donohue using several Hitchcock movie soundtracks, including Vertigo, by Bernard Hermann. That's pretty dark, too. He did a free skate for Drew Meekins and partner (don't remember her name) using the soundtrack of On the River Front, which is heavy and dramatic. I also remember a Tango short program for Agnes Zawadzki in 2009-2010 (I think) that is as non-girly as anything and somewhat "dark."

    But it's nearly impossible to find the videos of these programs. If you have subscription to Ice Network you can dig them out of US Nationals in the previous years.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  29. shan

    shan Well-Known Member

    I really liked Summersett/Gilles "La Valse" Fd. The only 2 versions I've seen are the one linked above and on IN 2008 Nationals. He also choreographed their 2009 FD to La Strada.
  30. Sylvia

    Sylvia Prepping for club comp. season!

    New interview! http://skateguard1.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/interview-with-tom-dickson.html