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Inspiration at Altitude

Inspiration comes in all sizes, shapes, colors and configurations.  I never know when I will see or feel something that inspires me to create choreography.

In late February, I traveled to Colorado Springs to choreograph a new long program for my student of nine years, Chase Finster.  This was a very emotional two and one-half days as the program was a “Conduit to Healing” (reference my previous blog) program that was created as a tribute to John Coughlin to help Chase heal from the overwhelming sense of loss he was feeling from John’s passing.  I choreographed the program at an altitude of 7,000 feet. The anxious feeling from the intense cardio necessary to skate full out, even one section at a time in that altitude, inspired me to create this piece. Every skater knows that feeling of oxygen deprivation when they can’t feel their legs yet they are searching, with despair, to try to perform. It was this despair that brought so much creative energy to this process.

I had to abruptly switch gears that week to choreograph two programs for another long-time student of 6 years, Sydney Flaum.  This year, I knew it was time to take Sydney, now at the Novice level, up to a more sophisticated look of a young lady.  Development is key to helping skaters negotiate the rigors and growing pains they all go through.  This was immediately apparent when I went to the rink one morning and observed Sydney looking up at the mountain across the street. I sensed there was something we could do to help inspire her to greater heights of artistry.  We decided to go to Woodland Park, all the way up at 8,500 feet, to work outside at a rink nestled in the mountains.  It was an amazing experience for both of us because of the creativity that presented itself like a beautiful snow cloud.  The temperature was a crisp six degrees, without the wind chill, and the mountain setting was glorious.

Ask yourself, “What inspires me to be a better skater, person, or diplomat for my sport?”You can find inspiration all around.  I often take pictures of things that I find inspirational, from all over the world, and post them to hopefully inspire others.  Figure skating is a wonderful gift of fulfillment and can be used in so many facets of our lives.  This trip was very cathartic for me having the opportunity to work and help develop both Chase and Sydney on their journey.

The session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.

Auf Wiedersehen

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