Tuesday 13 September 2022


Now that the competition and festival season is behind us, we can start looking ahead to 2023. What are our plans for competition next year, and what are we going to focus on for festivals?

Let's start with competition, as that's the 'easiest'. Basically, we are not planning to create either a new technical routine or a new ballet, but will continue to tweak and polish the routine and ballet we flew during competition in 2019 and 2022 (of course, due to covid, there was no competition in 2020 and 2021). One major reason for wanting to keep both technical routine and ballet is that we have never been able to fly either in 'nice' winds; it's always been in strong, blustery and really challenging winds. So we strongly feel we haven't been able to show the judges what we can actually do with them.

And then festival routines. After a few years of mostly flying our technical routine to a Carmina Burana mix and a make-it-up-as-we-go-along routine to 'Rise Like a Phoenix', we want to make a few changes. 

First of all, we intend to write more of a choreography to 'Rise Like a Phoenix', so it's less random and, hopefully, a bit more interesting. It won't be a very 'hard' choreography in that every single beat in the music is captured, but more of a 'soft' choreography in that we write specific moves for key parts of the music, and have a number of elements we can use for in-between those key parts. 

Secondly, we want to have a new (to us) piece of music for a 'make-up-as-we-go-along' routine. Not yet decided on what music to use for that, but we have some candidates, and are keeping our ears open for anything suitable (happy to receive suggestions!).

Thirdly, we are considering resurrecting our very first proper competition ballet (to Chariots of Fire). We haven't flown it for a number of years, and it does make a pretty good and fully-choreographed ballet to fly at festivals when the wind is right. Curious to find out how much of that is still in our muscle memory once we start flying it again!

And then, finally, we are thinking of creating a routine that I've been wanting to create for many years, but never really got around to, because it will be very challenging ... In order to explain what that routine is all about, I need to take you back to 1984, to the Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo, and specifically to the ice dance final. On the ice came Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, and this was their free dance:

38 years later, I still remember seeing that dance as if it was yesterday. They did away with all the conventions back then around the structure of an ice dance, and cleverly played the system regarding some of the rules. Needless to say they won gold, with a perfect score of sixes.

Ravel's Bolero is something like 17 minutes long, way too long for an ice dance routine, which is set at just over 4 minutes maximum. Torvill and Dean got the full 17 or so minutes composition edited down to 4 minutes and 28 seconds, which made it almost fit into what's allowed for the maximum length of a free dance (to make it fit, they were clever; if you don't know what they did, watch the first 20 or so seconds of their routine!).

Now 4:28 is also a good length for a kite routine, right? So here's the idea I've had for many years now: Create a routine inspired by their ice dance and to the shortened Bolero track they used (which I have managed to get my hands on). Of course, skaters on the ice and kites in the sky are two totally different things, and can and can't do different things, but it should be possible to come up with a number of kite patterns that are similar to what they did on the ice. As an example, Torvill and Dean skating away from each other, and then skating towards each other again, grabbing each other and then pirouetting around each other can easily be done with kites, ending up in a wrap. Refuels capture them skating in a line or curve in close contact with each other. Etc. I hope you get the idea? 

Without giving too much away, refuels will surely feature prominently, but whether we can come up with enough ice-dance-inspired moves and patterns to fill a 4+ minutes routine remains to be seen. 

We'll surely have fun trying! So, maybe coming to a kite festival near you next year ...