Many say that PW made Yuzu's weakness into his strength, which is posture i think. But I don't really see the details of it, do you mind explaining? Thank you so much!
Oh boy, not sure how much outrage I’m going to attract with this answer, but I honestly don’t think PW is the miracle many people make it out to be. Is it a good program? Sure it is. Do I love it? Of course I do. Did it mark a momentous turning point in Yuzuru’s career? Yeah, well, not so much.
But wait, before you start yelling at me for my utter ignorance, let me explain. First, let’s have a look at young Yuzu’s weaknesses, or if you want a better phrase, his areas for development. The biggest issue Yuzu had to deal with back then (and by back then I really mean up until the 2013-2014 season) was stamina, which brought with it all sorts of problem, most notably in the second half of his performances. Watch this free skate from 4CC 2011 for example, where you can see he started out solid and then ran out of steam about halfway through. From around the 2:20 mark onward his shoulders began to drop and his back was not held as straight as before, which created the impression that he’s looking down at the ice instead of maintaining connection with the judges and the audience. This was the source of all the complaints about his posture back in those days, but such criticism was entirely missing the point. Yuzu did not have bad posture per se, he just didn’t have enough stamina to keep his posture under control all the way through. Those two may sound similar and look similar but they’re 2 completely different issues. Intrinsically bad posture is way harder to fix since it most likely is a result of habit formed during basic training. In Yuzu’s case though, he just needed to build up stamina and take some time to grow up from a tiny little adorable bean into a still adorable bean, but with some much needed muscle on his bean bones. Both of these happened slowly but surely during the course of the next couple of seasons, and by the time PW 1.0 came around, it’s got to the point where he can actually finished his short programs without looking like he’s gonna drop dead at the end (the free skates still required some work). Here, feel free to compare and contrast the ending of this performance (4CC 2011) and this performance (Skate America 2012). All in all, it’s less about PW helping him fix his posture and more about Yuzu finally getting to a state where he was no longer plagued by stamina-inducing posture issue in short programs.
Of course, PW is a brilliantly choreographed program as well as a great choice of music, and I’d say rather than turning Yuzu’s weaknesses into strengths, PW allowed him to play to his strong points. Again, these two might sound familiar but they’re not. Back then another of Yuzu’s so-called weaknesses was in edgework, i.e. his edges were not as clean as what was ideal. Part of the issue was real, as in his skating skills did have room for improvement and at TCC they worked on that a hell of a lot, which, incidentally, started to bear result around the time of PW 1.0. Another part of the issue though was that at the time Patrick Chan was basically everyone’s image of what ideal skating looked like. Patrick is, of course, awesome, but his skating and Yuzu’s couldn’t be more different in styles. Patrick’s is all about solidity and deep edges and taking time to showcase his lines (I dub it the ‘real skating has curves’ style), while Yuzu has always favored agility and light footwork and variations in speed and fast-paced changes of direction. Neither style is more technically demanding than the other and which one you, as the audience, prefer is really just a matter of taste. Now what Jeff Buttle created with PW was a choreography that perfectly complemented Yuzu’s distinctive style (instead of going for what was fashionable): swift multi-directional turns, plenty of speed, playful, dramatic and somewhat whimsical body movements. All of those were made possible thanks to Yuzu’s flexible knee bend and his quick reflex and his cat-like sense of balance. Basically when Yuzu skates to PW he doesn’t have to fight for or against anything because the choreography allows his body to move whichever way that feels most natural to him, and that’s what I meant when I said PW let Yuzu play to his strengths rather than tried to correct his weaknesses.
Oh hell that was a long ass answer, probably way too long : )) Let me just wrap this up with an offer: if you are interested in a program that truly turned Yuzu’s weaknesses into strengths, I raise you: Romeo & Juliet 1.0. Watch how all his frantic movements in the second half (dropped shoulders, gasping for every breath, bits of a sloppy edge here and there) played to the theme of the music and could well be taken as interpretation of the character he’s assuming (judging from the cheers he received, surely that was how the audience took it). Watch how even that unexpected fall served to intensify the drama (Romeo at Juliet’s deathbed?). Watch, at the end, how all his struggles culminated in this final desperate gesture:
Have you heard any complaint about his posture in this performance? I sure haven’t :)