ELFORIA, FUGURE SKATING INSPIRATION & OTHER

Elforia is a new performance I am planning to show in Veliky Novgorod on March 31. The performance will open Yulia Ravvina’s theatre talk in the Valery Rubtsov’s Cinema Museum. Yulia will be talking about her work as a playwright and reading several fragments of the novel Romeo and Juliet based on her theatre experience. People in theatre inspired her a lot. My performance is also an attempt to share the sources of my inspiration that I take not only in the past but from contemporary art creators and especially from those who are inspired with the past too. An exciting dialog with the Ballet Russes can be traced not only in contemporary ballet but also in figure skating nowadays.  

For the first time my Elf appeared in the Love Cocktail Performance in 2017 and was inspired by Le Poème by Stéphane Lambiel shown at the Ice Legends 2016. Its exquisite choreography performed by excellent skaters reminded me the early works by Michel Fokine and especially the wonderful ballets by George Balanchine. I was absolutely charmed by this beautiful spectacle, but what a sad final! I hope Stéphane will be happier than his hero))). Recently Stéphane announced he is leaving the Art on Ice for creating his own projects. I was very glad to hear about it: every step forward is a good one. I think Stéphane is a very talented coach, not suppressing students but helping them to unlock their potential and reveal the personality. But first of all, he is an outstanding choreographer and performer creating things valuable not only to figure skating admirers but also to all people involved in and appreciating true art. I do esteem Stéphane and wish him luck and success!

The Elforia performance is my regard to the Origin by Yuzuru Hanyu. This season I saw his wonderful performance live twice: in Helsinki and in Moscow. On my opinion, it is a most amazing tribute to Vaslav Nijinsky – inspiring and unique. And also Yuzuru’s Faun resembles me of a spirit from Shakespeare’s plays – a very kind and powerful creature that always helps people to get happiness. It’s such a great coincidence with my Elforia!

The possibility to see Yuzuru Hanyu’s performances was a good luck for me as he lives and trains so far from Russia. But my joy was lessened a lot by the unsuitable behavior of his “fans”. While he was skating I could hardly hear the music because of the horrible female screaming and could hardly see anything because of posters and flags they were waving over everyone’s head.  At the end of the performance Yuzuru is always bombed with hundreds of pooh bears. In Helsinki there were so many of them that he was unable to skate – he could only step among them to reach the exit. Does a man of 24 need toys? Somehow it is hard to believe. Most surprisingly, I saw that the bears had been thrown not by young girls but by grown-up and even ageing women (mostly married, I guess). I hear a lot about the “respect” Yuzuru has in his country, but at competitions I witnessed only the humiliating hysteria that definitely can’t support or inspire. Moreover, I am absolutely sure that the injuries he gets so often (the last one he had unfortunately suffered this November in Moscow) come from this “support” that presses him so much and does not give him a possibility even to breath! I confess I have never seen such disrespectful, aggressive and insulting spectators’ behavior ever in my life. However, I will not pretend to be ignorant of the nature of such a dreadful phenomenon. Very similar things existed in the USSR with its insolent and arrogant ‘collective’ consciences. How painful it is to see these terrible things again and towards the person so talented, good-natured and deserving!

I am permanently stricken by the reaction of Yuzuru’s colleagues: when I hear on TV comments from Russian, Canadian and other skaters over 30, mostly men, about how wonderful it is to get 400 pooh bears from fans, I am asking myself if they really want to have the bears and all this hysteria towards themselves. Or they just envy his achievements and prefer not to express their feelings directly? I do not understand why no one tries to stop this madness, why people and organizations only support and develop it. Money? Fear? Jealousy? What can move them to such inhumanity? In a week the World Championship starts. I believe Yuzuru Hanyu must win because he definitely deserves it. In any case, he will endeavour to do his best and perform remarkably. And what will be a reward? Yes, yes: pooh bears… And three weeks of the unworthy and distressing Fantasy on Ice show. Is that what he wants? Is that why he works so hard? I do not think so.

I am grieved witnessing how seriously those things harm the reputation of Japan. I can’t believe that this country has no people of sense and dignity. I know they exist but unfortunately they never admit figure skating competitions. And I can understand them for I also have no wish to watch any competitions even on TV any more: I can’t stand seeing this disrespectful behavior or hearing the disrespectful comments. Neither can I accept that Russian people are “proud” looking at very young girls withstanding enormous loads, hard and heavy even for grown-up men skaters, to achieve high scores and gold medals. How can it be good for the country that the teenage girls take their energy from their future, from their normal physical development and waist it to please the crowd with the prospect of being thrown away in case of failing to fulfill the expectations? It is another thing that recalls the Soviet Union with its cruel and inhuman attitude to athletes and, moreover, Russian serf theatres of the 18th century. For Russia it is a shame, not pride or honour! Being a grown-up woman and a citizen of Russia I feel my responsibility to care, to support, to organize life for those who are younger than me. What medal can make me happy? Only the one achieved with pleasure, honesty and health care. Again I am grieved and shocked that people and skating organizations in Russia don’t stop this madness and cruelty.

I believe the situation will change for Yuzuru Hanyu whenever he chooses to quit competitions for his artistic career. But the situation with figure skating competitions in general, including one the most alarming with the teenage athletes, is extremely shocking.  

I am very emotional this time and express bitter feelings, but there are things that concern everybody on the Earth, not only athletes. It’s impossible for me just to enjoy my performance taking no notice of the pains of those who inspire me or shutting my eyes to unacceptable things happening in my country. I can’t be silent on the subject for I admire figure skating and have a great desire to respect Russia, Japan and other countries, as well as the ISU and other skating organizations. 

Loving figure skating, I wish there would be more shows as excellent andworth attendingas Stéphane Lambiel’s Ice Legends that wascreated and produced with respect both to spectators and participants and offer the highest quality of choreography and performance.

Unlike those who organize skating shows and competitions I have very little money, publicity and force to make big and immediate changes. But I believe that even a small performance together with a great wish to bring some happiness will be of use.   

My performance will be Shakespearean and Elfish)))


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