Monday, July 22, 2013

Ode to Jeremy Abbott: Seven Years of Sensational Short Programs

Jeremy Abbott is one of my favorite skaters. And for good reason. He is a skater who understands what it means to be an artist. Jeremy's programs have artistic visions that are carried out with a high-degree of creativity, passion, and a beautiful blend of intricate yet sweeping, interwoven choreography. The first time I remember seeing him was during the fall of 2007 at one of the Grand Prix events telecast on ESPN. He skated his Waltz freeskate. Though I remember him making many errors, his passion and commitment to his movements made me take notice. I was hooked. The following year I booked tickets to the 2009 U.S. National Championships in Cleveland, in part because I wanted to see my new favorite skater win the title--which he did, I am happy to say.

I attended the Liberty Skating Competition in Aston, PA with my sister on Friday. We watched a group of men's short programs. One skater performed to "A Day in the Life," which Jeremy skated to in the 2009/2010 season. Jeremy's "Day in the Life" program, choreographed by 2003 World Ice Dance champion Shae-Lynn Bourne, is one of his finest short programs to date. Watching this unknown skater at Liberty skate to "Jeremy's music" made my sister and I wax nostalgic about how great Jeremy's version was,and how brilliant his other short programs were.

I can see why some people might have jumped off the Jeremy bandwagon after a lackluster showing at the 2012 Worlds and a disappointing season last year (although, if they were to do that, they weren't true fans to begin with), but in re-watching some of his finest skating moments, reliving his greatness as an athlete and artist, maybe some folks will jump back on. I hear that Jeremy is skating a Gene Kelly-inspired short program this year choreographed by the great Robin Cousins. Sounds like a winning combination to me! I can't wait.

In looking back over Jeremy's short programs from the last seven years, I am reminded that Jeremy always tries to collaborate with new choreographers to bring something different out in his skating. He's always picks music that is unique and brings out the best in his skating, whether that be quirky nuance, dance-ability, sublime grace, or fiery passion. I appreciate that Jeremy stretches himself each year and brings something exciting and fresh to the skating world. I respect what he's given to the sport and greatly look forward to seeing what he brings to the ice this season.

Best wishes to Jeremy as he embarks on his final competitive year!

"American Beauty" skated during the 2007 4 Continents Championship:

This program is just the right blend of quirky nuances and fiery artistic spirit.

"Treat" by Carlos Santana skated at the 2008 World Figure Skating Championships and at the 2009 Festa on Ice:

This is one of my all-time favorite Jeremy programs. His collaboration with Kurt Browning was brilliant! The dance quality of this program says Kurt Browning all over it. If anyone can pull of Kurt Browning choreography, it's Jeremy. Love this!

Click HERE to see "Treat" at the 2008 Worlds.

"Anytime, Anywhere" skated at the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland.

I am pleased to say that I had the pleasure of watching this very performance live in Cleveland. My sister and I were in the stands, enjoying every second of this performance! Jeremy's skating is sublime here. I could do without the costume, but his choreography is seamless and his jumps are wonderful, too.

"A Day in the Life" skated at the 2010 Nationals in Spokane.

Jeremy's collaboration with Shae-Lynn Bourne on this program was a smashing success! Calm, cool, and jazzy. One of the standout short programs of the Olympic season.

"Viejos Aires" skated at the 2011 Nationals in Greensboro.

This fiery flamenco, chorographed by Antonio Najarro, was fast and furious. Najarro, who also choreographed a fabulous Flamenco program for 2-time World Champ Stephane Lambiel, brought out a new fight and intensity in Jeremy's skating.

"Sing, Sing, Sing" and "Bei Mir Bistu Shein" skated at the 2010 Nationals in San Jose.

Jeremy's collaboration with So You Think You Can Dance season 2 winner Benji Schwimmer produced this high-energy, toe-tapping piece of awesomeness.

"Spy" skated at the 2013 Nationals in Omaha.

Another terrific collaboration with Schwimmer. Love the fun concept and choreography. The timing was perfect with this "spy"-themed routine coinciding with the release of "Skyfall," the latest James Bond flick.

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