Ah yes, the swizzle. That ever precarious first time your feet go right out from underneath you only to have a surprise when mysteriously they come back together and you are upright. Wow, what a feeling to have the unknown work out. Next comes the excitement of, “I wonder what I can accomplish now that I mastered that?”
Recently, I began to work with a new skater from the Ukraine named Yarik Paniot. Yarik is a strong skater and this new challenge presents a lot of excitement for us both. I feel just like every skater who ever did that first swizzle. The newness of our relationship makes things feel so uncertain and I wonder what direction we will move in.
Yarik, his parents, his coach, Slava, and I set a meeting to chat about how we might successfully all work together. It turned out to be a promising collaboration between us to hopefully develop this talented young skater to reach his full potential. Time will tell! My way of working is a bit unconventional and difficult because patience is the most necessary component for success. In the ballet world we look far down the road to the goal at hand. We don’t need a quick fix to just get a needed skill or trick. The process and the journey are the important elements needed to create something that is not only beautiful, but strong and long lasting.
What heights, twists and turns will my first swizzle with Yarik reach? I hope I can help develop him into an artist that is passionate, humble, hardworking, and inspired. This takes hours of work not just on the choreography but also on the why and how of movement and where it comes from. Every gesture of the hand, face, arms, legs, and body has to be pure. I will use the classical line and placement of ballet as my template because if any skater has a strong classical foundation they can perform any genre of movement and music that exists. We will work a lot on proper breathing techniques to enable not only the stamina needed to get through a long program but to help give the choreography color and a dynamic quality.
The session is over and the Zamboni is coming out.