Main image
17th June
written by Mombo#9

Datebook: June 14th, 2010

As the thermometer rises to the mid-nineties, most people’s thoughts turn to the delights of multi-vented air-conditioning, grape popsicles, and the ambivalence of selecting iced-coffees.

My thoughts turn to “mind choreography” and music selection for show programs for ice skaters. To be fair I think my resume would warrant a little “look-see” if given half a chance. I have been the parent of a competing ice dancer and hence I had the privilege each season of paying for the original choreography by various former Olympic skaters, then paying for the changes by the regular coaches who had to “tweak” the transitions and lifts, then pay for the changes in the program after the first competition of the season after a panel of judges gave feedback that ranged from “fabulous” to “it doesn’t work for me.” (Sometimes this also resulted in costume changes but that’s another Mombo!) The final product was hardly identifiable from the original version — much like the third Harry Potter book and subsequent movie.

As a witness to the process, I think I could cut out a few steps, no pun intended, and offer a team a polished idea right off the bat. And it’s not as if I don’t have any dance experience — I did dance off-Broadway in my youth. . . at the York Little Theater in York, Pennsylvania.

“I have a great idea for a program,” I tell my daughter. “It’s actually very trendy in the way they made a movie based on ABBA songs, and created musicals around Elton John, Billy Joel, and The Jersey Boys.”

My daughter is polite but does not hesitate to ask the burning question: “Who would you think would skate to this idea?”

“I don’t know. A team who is willing to see the beauty in symbolism.”

My daughter sighs. “No one is going to skate to Prince. Or Tom Jones, or that Talking Heads remix you have of ‘Burning Down the House’ and ‘Psycho Killers.'” (I attempt to stare her down, but she launches into other rejects of seasons past.) “No gravel-voiced Joe Cocker or Brian Adams telling everyone how to really love a woman.”

I shake my head “no” although her slide show of my previous considerations offered to her coaches — and discarded like an out-of-tune Bolero — still has tender spots if touched too roughly.

“I told you this is a new idea. I’m thinking of a compilation of Bruce Springsteen songs.”

She closes her eyes for a moment, perhaps visualizing my dream.

“There are just so many songs to choose from: ‘Glory Days,’ ‘Human Touch,’ ‘Dancing in the Dark” and then ending with ‘Working on a Dream.'”

“Mom, I don’t know anyone who could skate to that.”

“I know. It is avant-garde and not for the average skater. It would take a Charlie & Meryl-type of team.”

She puts her head on her arm resting on the table.


This did not seem like a rhetorical question although there did seem to be an odd strain in her voice, so I answered the query.

“Because we need to capture the passion and the pursuit at the heart of performance. There is that one place in ‘Human Touch’ that you wait for, where a lift across the shoulders and then a flip to a cross-carry spread eagle would be a crescendo of visual and auditory sensations!”

“Dear God,” she murmurs into her tanned and toned forearm.

“Anyway,” I continue, “I think this is a better idea than the contrasting Mary Shelly/Edgar Winter ‘Frankenstein’ concept.”

She looks at me finally and takes a deep breath.

“Mom,” she starts and then pauses. “Mom, I think maybe you should move this planning to a Theatre on Ice team. Your ideas seem a bit too. . .” She pauses again. “. . .too sophisticated for the rigors of the ISU requirements. I mean, where would you throw a waltz pattern in the middle of ‘Glory Days?'”

I ponder her suggestion. “I don’t know. That is a complicated process — multiple skaters, patterns, props.”

“Exactly! And it has to tell a story.”

“What will Charlie & Meryl skate to this year? Don’t you think I should at least offer them the opportunity. . .?”

“No, and if you do, please use an assumed name.”

I feel a bit deflated by her seeming lack of insight.

“Plus,” she adds, “you get a full six minutes for Theatre On Ice. You might get to add a few stanzas of ‘Queen of the Supermarket.'”

Silly girl, I think. That opens the door to “Pink Cadillac.”


Comments are closed.