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The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - August 23

Rippon ready for season to start after summer break

Adam Rippon gives a sneak peek of his Rachmaninoff free skate costume.
Adam Rippon gives a sneak peek of his Rachmaninoff free skate costume. (courtesy of Adam Rippon)

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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to icenetwork.com
(08/23/2010) - Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins get you caught up on the latest in the world of skating.

Adam's summer
Adam Rippon has been training hard and hasn't had much time for summer fun. He told us that his skating is going well, and he's a little sad that the summer is ending. However, he said, "It's kind of like a big realization that the season is starting. It feels good, and I'm excited to get started."

Rippon told us he had had three goals for the summer.

"I wanted to go to the beach once, and I did that. And I wanted to go swimming in a pool once, and I did that. And I wanted to go to the movies once, and I went. Once."

Adam told us he had thought about going many times, but something always came up.

"The kind of person I am, I'm like 'Wow, I can do so much in two hours,' and you go to a movie and just sit there."

We were agog to find out which movie he gave up two valuable hours to see.

"This is even more embarrassing," he said. "I saw Despicable Me. But it was really funny! I quote it all the time."

Oh, and Rippon did make a quick trip to Japan in July to skate in "The Ice" show with Mao Asada.

"Mao is such a beautiful skater," he said. "I've known her for a few years now, and she's always been so kind. I was so lucky to have to chance to skate with her. When I watch her I sometimes feel she is above the ice because she is so light and quiet on her feet. I think she will have a great season this year.

"I had so much fun doing it last year that I was really looking forward to it. It was a blast, and I had even more fun than the year before. It was just so much fun, and the Japanese audience was incredibly gracious. I also got to know Jeff Buttle a little bit better since we've done so many shows together."

Even on his trip to Japan, Rippon didn't have much time for relaxation, although he told us he went out for sushi. We both adore sushi, so we wanted to hear all about it.

"The day we arrived we went to a sushi place outside, but it was a thousand, like, literally a thousand degrees outside, and I don't like fish. At all. So what I was doing was taking the fish off the rice and eating the rice, and when they asked me how it was I was like, 'It was delicious!' And they kept giving me more fish. But I was discovered, because I had all the fish stacked in a corner of the bowl."

Rippon also had his first experience with a "fan meeting" in Japan at the end of the first day of shows. A group of fans rented a meeting room in the hotel there and set up a table for Rippon, his mother and a translator.

"It was so official and kind, and I had a really great time," Rippon said. "They had all these games, and all these questions prepared. They had a charade game -- I thought it was going to be a disaster but it ended up being pretty funny. The first woman came up, and she was crying and her knees were shaking, and then she jumped up with her arms over her head. And I was like, 'My lutz!'"

Earlier in the summer, Rippon ran in the "Pride and Remembrance" fundraising run as part of a team Brian Orser put together in remembrance of 1988 Olympic bronze medal ice dancer Rob McCall.

"The team is called 'Silver's Bullets,' a nickname that Rob gave Brian -- he always called him 'Silver.' No one else was allowed to call him that! Brian had asked me if I would be in it the year before, and this year I jumped at the chance. A lot of generous fans helped out and donated, and Brian's team ended up raising the most money. I ended up running not bad too. I started out jogging, and then we saw people ahead of us and we were like, 'We can't lose to them.' By the end we were sprinting the whole way. I don't know what happened; I got so competitive."

Rippon shared some pictures from his costume fitting with Stephanie Handler, so check out the photo gallery. He told us that he and Handler had nearly identical ideas for his costumes next season.

"We're on the same wavelength. We picked colors, and finalized the details. I went in last week, and we finalized some design changes -- I really love the costumes, and it's the first time I had a big part in what they look like. But I want my skating to speak louder than my costume. If my costume is speaking louder than my skating it means I had to practice more or I need a new costume!

"I love my programs this year and I'm really passionate about the choreography, and it's not the kind of program that needs a flashy costume. If the costume is simple it makes you think deeper about what the choreography is saying. If the choreography is good it will speak for itself."

David Wilson
We're both very interested in choreography, as you may have noticed. We're going to try and interview some choreographers in the coming months, and for this edition of our blog we gave David Wilson a call. First of all, for whom did he choreograph in the coming season?

"I did a new long program for Brian Joubert, which I did with Shae-Lynn Bourne," Wilson told us. "I did a new long program, also with Shae-Lynn, for Kiira Korpi. It was the first time I worked with both her and Brian. I did a new long for Jeremy Abbott, and I did a new long for [Qing] Pang and [Jian] Tong, and a new short and long for Adam Rippon with Sébastien Britten, and I did a new short and long for Cynthia Phaneuf, one of my longstanding clients. And I'm just doing a long program, almost done, for Yu-Na Kim. And Min-Jeong Kwak, a new short and long for her."

Wilson also mentioned working with Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, Jeremy Ten, Caroline Zhang and Jessica Dubé and Bryce Davison. As he had mentioned when we talked to him earlier this summer, he and Jeffrey Buttle collaborated on Ten's short program. We wanted to hear more about the various collaborations.

"Both Jeffrey and Sébastien Britten are former clients of mine; I probably worked with them for ten years each. It was really fun and easy and exciting to work with them. I've really gotten into a groove with Shae-Lynn; we compliment each other and I really enjoy it.

"So much of our world is in our own heads, so it's good for us to mingle a little bit. I've also done some collaboration with Sandra Bezic, and that was so great for me because she's a huge inspiration, and I've felt mentored by her. It's one thing knowing someone's work but when you're in the process of working and watching what someone goes through, you see how they create what they do."

We were quite interested that Buttle is pursuing choreography, which seems like a natural progression for him.

"I let Jeffrey take the lead a little bit because Jeffrey had the idea for the music that we all loved, something specific for Jeremy [Ten]," he said. "I was able to step back and make myself scarce. I can't wait to see what he's going to do -- he's another one that has a lot of potential."

Since Wilson has worked with several skaters for many years, we were very curious to know what the process is like in developing a unique style for each skater.

"I think of it in terms of trying to develop a range of what they can do, of colors that they can portray, of styles that they can embody," he said. "I don't think of it as trying to develop a signature style. With Yu-Na, the first couple of years I considered developmental because she was so accomplished as a skater already. I saw my role as being to open her up and enable her to express a little bit more with her face. She was so young, and she was a very shy person. She was always a very pretty, lyrical skater, but I wanted her to open up and let the music show through her movements more, a more human side of it. In those first couple of years we were also developing a rapport. Had we not done that, 'Dance Macabre' and 'Sheherezade' would never have happened, and certainly not the Bond girl!"

Wilson told us that what he does choreographically has its roots in his own experience as a professional skater.

"I was a really shy kid, and certainly not a big show-offy skater," he said thoughtfully. "During my years in 'Ice Capades' I learned how to perform and be comfortable in my own skin. I discovered who I was and was able to express more as a skater. My biggest motivation is to help people connect with the music and get lost in it and become performers who can express and have a message. It's kind of my thing."

Next on Wilson's calendar are a lot of follow-up visits with his clients. Next week Dubé and Davison will be visiting him in Toronto, and then he'll head to Florida to see Denney and Barrett, to California to see Zhang, and to Beijing to see Pang and Tong, followed by trips to visit Korpi and Joubert. Despite the exhausting travel schedule, he says he enjoys it.

"It's really rewarding for me to keep helping them and make them feel good, and fix anything that might not be working properly -- it's my favorite time of year. The Grand Prix is a little nerve-wracking for me -- as much as they're nervous, it's the same for me. I'm always anxious to see that we're on the right track."

Wheat Weds
1999 U.S. junior champion Sara Wheat married Zachary Moore on July 24 in New Jersey. Wheat is now a kindergarten teacher, and Moore is a geography professor at Rowan College. (Check out the gallery to see pictures). Congratulations!

Sarah and Drew
sarahanddrewblog@gmail.com
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