“Since Poeta is one of Stephane Lambiel’s signature pieces, skating it together comes with an overwhelming pressure.” Kana Muramoto, Daisuke Takahashi and Shizuka Arakawa about Friends on Ice show
Kana Muramoto, Daisuke Takahashi and Shizuka Arakawa about performing in Friends on Ice ice show.
source: gendai.media dd. 6th August 2023 by Akiko Tanaka
Daisuke Takahashi and Kana Muramoto, who have ended their competitive careers, will unveil their new programs as professionals for the first time at the ‘Friends on Ice 2023’ event held at the KOSE Shin-Yokohama Skating Center from August 25th to 27th.
In the first part of the interview with the two of them and Shizuka Arakawa, who is in charge of planning and production, along with Akihito Tanaka, they discussed the ‘new programs’ that Daisuke and Kana will finally reveal.
In the second part, they will delve into the thoughts of both Daisuke and Kana when they received the offer from Shizuka Arakawa, as well as provide details about other group numbers.
Shizuka Arakawa has long been planning and producing the midsummer ice entertainment ‘Friends on Ice,’ bringing together top skaters from both domestic and international scenes. How are the two of them approaching Arakawa’s expectations?
Kana Muramoto: When Arakawa-san offered us the opportunity, she mentioned that ‘Poeta’ had left an impression on her. I was really happy to hear that, and without thinking much, I immediately responded, ‘I’d be glad to do it!’ Later on, when I found out that it was one of Stephane Lambiel’s signature pieces and that Daisuke and I would be performing it as a duo, I felt various pressures. Nevertheless, I want to do my best to meet those expectations.
Daisuke Takahashi: Since it’s one of Stephane’s signature pieces, skating it together comes with an overwhelming pressure, and to be honest, I don’t really want to do it (laughs).”
Kana Muramoto: But I think it would be incredibly wonderful if Daisuke skates it. I also really want to see it.
Daisuke Takahashi: I’ve actually wanted to skate to ‘Poeta’ for a while, but since it’s Stefan’s iconic piece, I felt like I couldn’t really touch it. Also, doing a flamenco program is pretty much a first for me. The practice for the new program is tough, and the pressure is really high, but now that it’s come to this, I’ll try not to overthink it and do my best to deliver a good performance!
The choreography is being developed collaboratively by Muramoto and Stephane. In addition to this, several captivating group numbers are being prepared for the show. A group number featuring choreography by Kaitlyn Weaver, with Shizuka Arakawa, Akiko Suzuki, and others, will present Cirque du Soleil’s “O.”
Shizuka Arakawa: I will also be a part of this number, and I believe it will become a program that creates a soothing atmosphere inspired by elements like water, wind, and nature. Another program is based on the musical ‘CATS.’ This one will include fresh faces like Koshiro Shimada and Sena Miyake, along with veteran skaters like Mao Asada and Takeshi Honda. I will perform ‘Memory’ at the end. While it’s exciting to keep the show’s program secret until the actual day for a surprise element, I think it’s also a different kind of enjoyment to reveal it beforehand, research the songs and the world of the musicals, and allow the audience to anticipate how it will come together during the performance.
“Friends on Ice” is aptly named, as it revolves around Arakawa’s friends and acquaintances. The show not only invites skaters she has encountered through interviews and ice shows but also those she would like to see perform. The focus lies in fostering interaction and inspiration between different generations.
Shizuka Arakawa: Since “Friends on Ice” has been continuing for a long time, I believe it might have the highest average age among ice shows. We value our veteran regular skaters and aim to bridge the gap with the younger generation, fostering mutual inspiration and growth. In figure skating, there are aspects that can be developed regardless of age. As life experiences accumulate, the depth of expression deepens, and I believe it gains more credibility and charm. If younger skaters see these aspects and feel inspired to incorporate such expressions into their own performances, I’d be delighted. Additionally, if they perceive that these individuals are working hard, it might encourage me to push myself further as well. This kind of intergenerational support can also lead to better results in competitions.’
In recent years, Arakawa herself has taken on villainous roles in ‘Ice Enchantment’ and portrayed characters that are different from what she has done before.
“I’ve come to believe that the secret to longevity as a skater is to expand the route rather than change the route. Even when revisiting past programs, I aim to showcase my current best, not replicate past performances. As a result, the performance turns out to be completely different from what it was back then, and now, remaking is incredibly interesting. Daisuke (Takahashi) is a prime example of a skater who has expanded his horizons. He was deeply involved in singles skating but ventured into different pursuits like floor dancing. He transformed into an ice dancer and even after retiring, he continues to broaden his activities, performing both solo and dance routines. His pursuits now reflect what he seeks from skating, and I believe his charm has only grown stronger.”
On the contrary, Daisuke Takahashi has this to say: Arakawa-san has been running Friends for a really long time, and after I produced ‘Ice Explosion,’ I’ve come to understand how challenging it is to ensure that collaborations are enjoyable for everyone and that they don’t become repetitive. Simultaneously, I’ve realized how various fresh members participate each year and how the lineup changes, yet Arakawa-san remains at the forefront. I now truly understand the greatness of that.
There are many aspects to look forward to in Friends on Ice, and I asked them to share their enthusiasm for the show.
Daisuke Takahashi: In the true sense, this time marks a step forward as a professional for me. Cha Junhwan is also participating in this year’s Friends on Ice, and I think the atmosphere might change a bit. I’m excited to see what kind of show it will be, and I want to show new aspects as well, so please look forward to it.
Kana Muramoto: I’m really happy to be able to participate in Friends on Ice, which I’ve always admired. I’m looking forward to the warm atmosphere of standing on the ice with veteran Friends who have a familiar vibe. Just like Daisuke, it’s my first step as a professional. Please be sure to witness the start.’
Shizuka Arakawa: This year, we can relax the COVID-19 precautions a bit, so cheers will return, and I’m really excited to create a unique atmosphere with the skaters and the audience that can only be felt there. The finale has a spirited tune that we can all get excited about, so let’s make this Friends on Ice a chance for everyone to let loose after a long time!’
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