Did you read the Ice Jewel interview where Yuzuru talked *bitched* about axels? Like, quad is all cool and stuff, but axel is still the sh*t. He is our lord and savior for axels XD We all know now whatever program and however many quad he has, two 3A should always be there :D
I did read the interview and if someone of you haven’t, I REALLY recommend you to go and read it because it is awesome: here and thanks to gladiolusc for the translation.
Yuzu’s intelligence and character and love for the sport shines in the whole article. His analysis and his approach are as always mindblowing. I’ve read tons of interviews in many years following figure skating, but to find something as deep and throughout as he is, it’s really not easy.
A very needed breath of fresh air after all the idiocy FS world (hi, Rafael & Co) managed to spit out lately.
Some quotes (even if you really should read the full interview, only quoting it all would make it justice).
YH When I had Jeff choreograph for me [”Let’s Go Crazy” SP], what I was most concerned about was the fact that I was doing all edge jumps in the SP. If we build the entire program upon the tracks of edge jumps, it’ll all come across as the same, identical curves no matter what. To counter that, I added the salchow entered horizontally and the axel from a counter. I think these accents add flavor to the program.
YH This program is condensed and packed with a lot of elements. If I can’t do the 4S3T with good timing, I am out of sync with the notes. If I can’t do the 4L, I won’t be able to fit with the music.
YH I was able to feel this way because of my exhibition number. Skating to Notte Stellata made me rethink the importance of skating and the extent of jumps’ effect on performance.
— Specifically, what has changed?
YH I think I really came to grasp the music—the intervals between each beat. Instead of simply pushing at the ice each time, there’s also how the free leg retreats after each push, the flow and progression of the skating leg… I became very conscious of these different aspects.
There is a strong emphasis on skating in the exhibition program, so I received a lot of training in that regard. If this had been during the off season, I might have been able to perfect it sooner and more quickly. Regardless, I practiced well each time, from which I gained confidence.
— The reason for that choreography?
YH Not getting positive GOE on the sit spin is a humiliation to me. As is written in the rule book, movements that clearly match the music is a plus. The higher the quality, the better the evaluation. Because the spin is really fast, I had to work bit by bit to fit all the moves to the music. In my mind, that’s when Prince is yelling, so I didn’t accent the beat. It felt weird initially, but once the moves all came together, it fit surprisingly well.
— It was quite refreshing.
YH It’s just that the hands always end up blending in with the legs, (to the judges and to the audience) so the moves may be hard to differentiate.
— How does it feel to hear this music [for his FP] in big spaces, such as arenas?
YH In “Asian Dream Song” by Mr Joe Hisaishi, the music doesn’t carry the melody, rather, the singing does. If you go and listen, you’ll realize the music is an accompaniment and not an assertive piece on its own. I told Brian and Shae-lynn about my thoughts, but I’m not the main character in this program. For example, I was clearly the main character in “SEIMEI” and therefore I stood out a lot. The program was made with a clear image of the music. But my intent with this program—because Mr Hisaishi’s music envelops the entire arena rather than overly emphasizes itself—in my mind, I only exist as a part of that space and I want to perform the program as such. The wind over the rink, the coolness in the air, the moisture, the splashing crystals of ice… to bring all these things into one with myself and the music. If I can put together such a performance in the end, I think that would be the best.
— Younger skaters are jumping quad after quad these days. Now that the quad loop has been secured, have you ever considered adding another quad?
YH Of course it’s important to jump quads, but isn’t the quality of quads just as important? That’s what I most strongly feel.
But, if you really think about it, the jump you absolutely have to put in is the axel.
— That has always been the case.
YH Even under the old system, your score won’t go up if you don’t do the axel. As for why, it’s because the axel is forwardly launched and its posture doesn’t announce “I’m about to jump!”, unlike all the other types.
— That’s the reason why you do two axels in the second half of the program?
YH You end up leaving a deep impression! That’s the case in “Notte Stellata” as well. I’ve always said things to the effect of “jumps are transitions,“ and I think the axel demonstrates this very well. Precisely because it’s forwardly launched, the axel conveys a special “sense of turn.” Toe jumps tend to put a stopper on the flow each and every single time, although I’ve always made it not look that way. Since the axel is forwardly launched, the sense of speed is similar to that of steps and turns.
— The charm of the axel persists through the ages.
YH The axel just gives off a special vibe. Returning to the previous topic, no matter the number of quads, no matter the number of types of quads, in the end, my biggest weapon remains in how consistently and beautifully I can manage to do my axels. I believe that is something I’d like to hold onto firmly, even towards my biggest goals. For example, even if I were to do the 4A, two 3A’s would still be an absolute must.
You wear your heart on your sleeve not in sensitivity, but with bravery. You come as you are; always ready to fight for what you love.
In the 2nd: Dionysus
The melody in your heart oozes out of you as a siren song, taking pleasure in all you feel in your heart. You let the richness take over your very being.
In the 3rd: The Hummingbird
Ever-flitting, ever-flying; so envied and admired. You move impossibly fast, it takes focus to see your wings oh but we hear the beautiful music they make as you pass us by with your jeweled feathers.
In the 4th: The Envelope
Your lover is your letter, you the envelope. You carry them safely to their destination, recognizing precious words and beauty as the truth. Oh but how easily battered you can be, please bubble-wrap your loving heart.
In the 5th: The Leather Jacket
You wear your heart as a coat, whether worn or new or real or fake. You exist as a symbol of yourself you create out of your own fabric. Expression is your savior, savor it.
In the 6th: The Furrowed Brow
The worrier, the servant, the loyal. You do not let it all show, you stand poised and sure but that one little crease, that only little wrinkle expresses it all. You do not have to stand impossibly tall, sit down. It’s okay.
In the 7th: The Nymph
Either fairy or seductress, you walk lightly and nervously about. You are sweet, whispered nothings in the sunset fields; whether they mean something or not…
In the 8th: The Taxidermist
You sculpt around you in stillness and a resistance to trust and to allowing the world to move around you. Your taboo necromancy is intense and even scary, but if they looked beneath they’d see that you simply create out of what is before you.
In the 9th: The Wanderer
The free spirit full of self-destructive flightiness, unwilling to fully let go for what else is out there? You feel yourself on the precipice, not sure whether to let go and fall down down down into the wind or continue to resist.
In the 10th: The Willow
The wise beauty of movement and stillness wrapped together in harmony with all around you. That surprising snap and wit lurking in your calming vines, it haunts and provides all at once.
In the 11th: The Amphibian
Master of water and land, you can go in and out with ease, but can’t quite seem to choose which you truly want. Perhaps the company around you is enough, but maybe if you dive down deeper or climb up higher you’ll find something better than you recognize.
In the 12th: The Saved
They fall into the hot spring in the middle of the night with you, sipping wine and sharing kisses and admissions of vulnerability that drift into the night. But don’t let them drown, for they so easily can if they are not wary.