Figure Skater Daniel Weiss Stresses Emotion and Creativity

Sun, 02/06/2005 - 00:00
2005 FEI Freestyle Forum

The highlight of the first day of the 2005 FEI/PSI Freestyle Forum was without a doubt the speech of German figure skater Daniel Weiss. There is a long standing tradition to compare figure skating with dressage

and claims have been made to adapt the dressage judging system to that of ice skating. At the Freestyle forum, however, it was the first time that an internationally renowned figure skater spoke in public and lay bare his ideas on the sport.

Daniel Weiss, who is a neighbor of Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, talked emphatically about how the music for a kur should reflect personal taste. "Your choice in music should be your own. It should express your own feelings from the inside. Don't chose music to impress the judges and the audience. You skate from your inner feelings and will convince the judges like that," said Weiss.

Weiss talked about the choreography of figure skating kurs. The beginning usually contains the difficult jumps, the middle section shows the character and artistic potential of the skater and is a small break for him to prepare for the final part. The end has to be the highlight. "The musical ending should be definite and never ordinary. It has to stay in the same style as the beginning, but the end pose is very important." As a skater, Weiss first chose his music, then tried out whether he could move to it, before creating a choreography.

Weiss brought some video clips of world famous skating kurs. One of them was Philippe Candelloro's "D'Artagnan" kur, in which Candelloro played the role of D'Artagnan. "This kur was more acting than skating, but he showed total self confidence on the ice. He received a spontaneous standing ovation from the audience for it and won the Olympic bronze medal," Weiss explained. Another memorable freestyle was the Bolero freestyle performed by a British skaters' pair at the 1988 Olympic Games. This kur became controversial because both skaters took risks by trying out unprecedented movements. "All those movements are forbidden now, but if they were to do the same kur again today, they would still win Olympic gold. It was just perfection."

Weiss' speech on figure skating was highly interesting, but in the world of dressage many of the figure skating principles are inapplicable. The skating judging system has 14 judges. Seven counting scores are randomly picked by a computer from those 14, and the high and low score are automatically scratched. Can you imagine 14 judge's boxes round a dressage arena; not to mention the cost of flying over and paying so many judges at each show? Furthermore, the possibility to create unprecedented movements is very limited in dressage. The only way a rider can be creative is by trying out new choreographiers on experimental music (Edward Gal's kur for Lingh was refreshingly new) and by playing with the difficulty levels of some of the movements (new transitions, new layout of a kur).

Text and Images Copyrighted Astrid Appels/ - No Reproduction allowed without explicit permission

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