PSA 2000 (Odds and Ends)

The bad thing about leaving Orlando: Philadelphia is 55 degrees, dank and chilly, thoroughly unlike the bliss of Floridian sunshine. That was not a buffalo stampede you heard; that was the sound of permanently semi-frozen skating coaches galloping desperately poolside to get in their five minutes of sun this year. From what I saw, I expect that in a day or two, there will be a sudden coaches' epidemic of peeling skin in rinks across the country....

The good thing about leaving Orlando: I can drink tap water again! One of my (utterly charming) roommates was convinced that the hotel tap water was piped in from Sea World.

But now that I'm home, onward with the reports:

Karl Kurtz was kind enough to talk to me a bit about Scott and Dulebohn's 1999-2000 programs. My memory is already fading, so this is only an approximation of what he said: The short, which they will be keeping another season, he built around the theme of the inherently contradictory dual nature of clowns, the quick flashes of sadness-in-joy. This brought a circus-performance flavor to the choreography, for example, in the abrupt change for the ending pose. The free used music that he had been saving for years, waiting for skaters strong enough to handle it. Scott and Dulebohn portrayed a prince and princess awakening together from the same enchantment, rediscovering their surroundings and each other. I was particularly refreshed by the impression I got that Kurtz treats these skaters with respect, as thinking adults.

A certain coach who shall remain nameless is going to hear from me about his advice that the closing cocktail party and banquet required nothing dressier than a sundress! Elegance abounded. But it was truly not the clothing that made the man or woman: it was the posture, and the lifelong training in presentation.

The banquet featured the annual Edi Award ceremony, which is how the Oscars would be if they were better. The film clips show skaters; the award winners, being athletes, are not prone to verbosity; about the M.C.'s stand-up comedy routine, I must say that Kerry Leitch's brand of humor isn't mine, yet I laughed aloud more than once. It was positively thrilling to see Mary Louise Wright accept her distinguished judge award. Igor Shpilband, double winner for choreography (S/P freedance) and coach of the year with Liz Coates, said he would remember this night for the rest of his life. My favorite category was for choreography, between Shpilband, Nathan Birch for Andrea Gardiner's freeskate, and (yes!) Tom Dickson for Ryan Jahnke's freeskate. This last was gratifying because I had been assuring people who hadn't attended Nationals that Jahnke was, IMO, the true deserving winner of men's performance of the year. The clip shown from "Asturias" proved my point, I think, judging from these people's responses.

The 1961 coach sculpture was unveiled before dinner, accompanied by indoor fireworks and an explosion of crepe and foil streamers raining down upon us that delighted Shpilband's two small children. Its permanent home will be in Colorado Springs.

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