“I had a happy experience, and if this feeling, or any of my own thoughts that I conveyed, can help even a little bit in this world, that would be great.” Yuzuru Hanyu about his show “Gift”
Yuzuru Hanyu about his show “Gift”
! Please take into account that interview was translated via machine translation so it may not be completely accurate or conveying all the details and nuances. !
On the February 26th, Yuzuru Hanyu, who won consecutive gold medals at the 2014 Sochi and 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, and turned professional last summer, completed his first-ever solo ice show at Tokyo Dome, a historic achievement in figure skating.
After the performance, in a press conference, he expressed gratitude to his fans and answered questions about the show.
“I was really happy to perform for this many people and receive applause for my 6-minute warm-up and various program performances. And above all, it’s really rare for so much power to be concentrated on one person like this. I was able to have a happy experience, and if this feeling, or any of my own thoughts that I conveyed, can help even a little bit in this world, that would be great.” said Hanyu
He spoke about his feelings of facing the approximately 35,000 audience that filled the venue.
Are all of the programs you chose for today’s show related to dreams in some way?
Yuzuru Hanyu: Each of the programs has its own meaning and is not related to the story of “Gift” at all. However, by including these programs into the story of “Gift” or presenting them with certain arrangements, I tried to add new meanings to them. Figure skating is unique in that, although there are programs with lyrics, it is mainly a form of expression through physical movement without words. This allows the audience to feel various emotions, and that’s what makes figure skating so appealing. So, while creating the programs, I thought about what kind of emotions the audience would feel when they see them as a piece of the story in “Gift.”
I can’t imagine what it was like to face the gaze of 35,000 people, could you describe what that experience was like? And how do you think today’s experience will shape your future?
Yuzuru Hanyu: Honestly, when I entered this venue, I thought to myself, “Wow, I’m such a tiny human being.” Figure skating is truly a sport that is performed by just one or two people. Of course, it’s important to express it as art, but being a male single skater, I felt really small. However, I feel like I was able to receive various kinds of support and power from those 35,000 people and everyone involved in creating the show using the entire space. So, even though I was just a small person, I feel like the power of everyone was able to reach me. In a way, it’s similar to the memory I have of the earthquake disaster, where if it were just one person alone, they wouldn’t have been able to do anything. But because everyone came together and their power gathered around me as Yuzuru Hanyu, it created a bond and allowed us to move forward. So, I think this performance was able to convey the power that came together because of that bond.
The first performance has ended, how do you feel?
Yuzuru Hanyu: It was really tough, but more than just the fact that it was at the Dome, it was very challenging to create an entertainment program of this length alone. At the beginning of this season, I tried doing a solo show where I completely skated through the program alone and wondered if it could last for two and a half hours. But thanks to the production that can be achieved in this venue, such as MIKIKO-sensei, Rhizomatiks, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and other renowned members coming together, I now realize that it was possible to create a comprehensive entertainment program.
I think you have created a new possibility of figure skating and a possibility of expression.
Yuzuru Hanyu: Honestly, there are of course challenges and things that I could have done better or differently. But regarding this ‘Gift’ performance today, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity unique to figure skating. I am very proud of myself for that. Even if it’s just one piece, I hope that it will remain in your memory and bring you joy.
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