It’s that time of year again; where it feels like last season has barely ended, and you’re already getting prepared for the upcoming season. For the past few years, our off season has been non-existent. We finish competing mid-April, go on tour and then start choreography for next season as soon as tour is finished. It feels like a never ending creative process and that we are constantly doing program run-throughs.
It’s always a challenge to come up with a new game plan for a season, new moves, new emotions, new shapes, new elements. We want to be different, but we also want to stay somewhat comfortable as well. Our brains are also usually fried at this point in the season, so we have to really open up in order to dig up and find our creative juices.
Eric and I talk a lot about the big elements we are working on or mastering, such as a side-by-side triple lutz, a throw quad or a big level 4 triple twist, because those are exciting things to discuss and they are elements that most people who follow skating have heard of and they are concrete things within the skating World, but we do put a considerable amount of thought into pushing ourselves further emotionally, choreographically and artistically. We always try to find unique music that no one has ever skated to in the past and that will get the audience moved and on their feet. Luckily, Eric and I share a similar taste in music, and our choreographer, Julie Marcotte, understands that as well and our music selection process is usually fairly smooth.
Creation and emotion is always such an interesting topic and also so subjective. We always put a lot of thought into our work. How do we want to crowd and the judges to feel? How can we set ourselves apart from the other pair teams in the World? How can we be unique? How can we blend “Meagan and Eric” more into “one”?
When we sat down a few weeks ago with Julie to listen to music, it was the first time in years that Eric and I didn’t push for a particular piece of music. We both felt so relaxed about the process and we didn’t feel attachment to any particular piece of music. We told Julie that we feel after the way last season evolved and the lessons that we have learned, we felt wiser and calmer and gave her the freedom to find music she thought we should skate too. Needless to say, she made some interesting choices, but the end result is going to be great, complex programs with new shapes, new energy and a new harmony between us.
It’s usually very difficult for Eric and I to be so calm during the choreography process. We are usually a bit reluctant to try new things, and if something feels uncomfortable, we don’t want to keep it in the program, but Julie is always pushing us and ensuring us that new things are always uncomfortable and that we need to give it time. We also need to always remind ourselves and each other that once the program is choreographed, we won’t be incorporating all the elements into a full run through for maybe one month or so, so there really is plenty of time to allow the choreography to build before trying it with a triple lutz and a level 4 death spiral. But, for some reason, giving it time is always a struggle!
We watch videos of dance movement, lifts and acrobatic moves on the floor and we try to take these moves and create them on the ice. The first step to remember is that it’s always different when your moving on the ice then when you are standing still on the ground without skates on your feet! So it takes a lot of adjustments. Also, we usually have like a 3 second time window to do a creative dance lift or something and the first few times we try it (Okay, maybe the first 10-15 times :P) it will take us like 10 seconds! Then we panic and get off the music then rush everything else to catch up. Then, as the season goes on and we practice a lot, the move becomes easier and when it starts to feel like second nature we have a good laugh as we remember our struggle to learn it in the first place!
This season though, we feel calmer about it all. As we choreograph and block our death spiral, instead of rushing and thinking we are never going to get into the death spiral that fast and get out on that note of music, we trust that if we give it a few weeks of practice, we will eventually be able to get there on time. Our short program is very outside our comfort zone, very different then anything we’ve ever done before but we believe we can make it work. We pride ourselves on being innovative, always pushing ourselves to the limit, something that we always admired in our idols, the German pair team of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy.
We hope you will all see a new side to Meagan and Eric with our programs this year and that you can appreciate our creative work just as well as our side by side triple lutz. Use your imagination along with these videos as you try to guess what our new music will be. You’ll find out soon enough, as we will start our season at the Finlandia Trophy at the beginning of October 🙂