Flamenco and riverdance

I’m in the mood for a bit of flamenco. I love visiting small scale flamenco performances (you know, with just a guitar player, 2 singers and 2 dancers, that kind of thing), and I also love it when skaters manage to translate the true spirit of the dance (and the song) to the ice. Very difficult to do, as flamenco can be quite static (in the sense of dancing in the same place), and is all about control of the body. That made me think of a new thread.

Anyone who’s been to Granada in Spain will know about the version presented to tourists.That’s not the version I’m referring to, I really like the more authentic version where you have ladies in their sixties performing the perfect dance, and, my favourite, the solo male dancers. Sometimes they’re not even wearing the traditional clothing, but turn up in jeans and it’s still breathtaking to watch (do watch the film ‘Vengo’.


The storyline is incomprehensible but the dancing is superb).

Like many of you, we’ll have seen many versions on the ice. One of my favourites is Anessina and Peizerat’s 2002 Olympic version. Such beautiful small movements, and seemingly static while they in reality cover loads of ice. To me, their olympic gold was won because of that wonderful, very authentic feeling, Flamenco Original dance. I also love Bruno and aljona’s version which they regrettably did not show on Olympic ice because they had gone back to a former programme. Which was good and fun to watch. But I missed their flamenco, especially because of Bruno’s role in it. He could have been one of those legendary solo dancers – well at least to me. Of course Aljona did a good job as always (I can’t imagine a dance or style she can’t do), but in this particular programme Bruno just shines.

Which makes me turn to Riverdance, a form of Irish dance manay of us have learnt to admire. Now, I’m a great fan of Riverdance as well as Michael Flatley’s vision of these Irish dances. And it’s another type of dance that’s rather difficult to transfer to the ice, as the dancers tend to stay in one place for quite long periods of time – and skaters must move around the rink. Many have tried and it didn’t work. But there are quite a few examples of skates that somehow or other make a beautiful translation of the rhythm and emotion of those dances while also being good skates covering a lot of ice. The best versions I saw of that on ice were Jason Brown’s long programme in 2014, and Japan’s Rika Hongo’s skate in 2016. And, of course, Bourne and Kraatz’s beautiful long programme in 1998 (which almast got them a medal at the Olympics).

Which makes me turn to Riverdance, a form of Irish dance manay of us have learnt to admire. Now, I’m a great fan of Riverdance as well as Michael Flatley’s vision of these Irish dances. And it’s another type of dance that’s rather difficult to transfer to the ice, as the dancers tend to stay in one place for quite long periods of time – and skaters must move around the rink. Many have tried and it didn’t work.

I did Irish dancing for years and competed at the world championships a couple times. I still teach but don’t dance anymore. I feel like it’s my duty to clear up any misconceptions about Irish dancing. I personally loved Jason Brown’s program. It’s a great program, but it doesn’t really look much like Irish dancing. It’s a dance form that doesn’t really translate to the ice very well. Irish dancers don’t stay in one place. I’m not really sure where that idea came from. Any good dancer will cover the entire stage during a dance and move fast and effortlessly. I would say the most distinguishing elements of Irish dance are that the upper body and arms stay completely still and the ankles twist during footwork. Those are two things that are pretty much impossible to achieve skating without hurting yourself. But without those things, it’s hard to really make it look like Irish dancing. That being said, Irish music is great and the Riverdance music is great for skating. It’s just that you can’t really Irish dance on ice the way you can do a ballet or flamenco or cha cha program. As an Irish dancer though, I still really like Riverdance programs! I feel like it’s pretty cool that a skater was inspired enough by irish dance or the music to use it for their program I remember seeing Jason’s program before I started following figure skating because all my friends were posting the youtube video

I did Irish dancing for years and competed at the world championships a couple times. I still teach but don’t dance anymore. I feel like it’s my duty to clear up any misconceptions about Irish dancing. I personally loved Jason Brown’s program. It’s a great program, but it doesn’t really look much like Irish dancing. It’s a dance form that doesn’t really translate to the ice very well. Irish dancers don’t stay in one place. I’m not really sure where that idea came from. Any good dancer will cover the entire stage during a dance and move fast and effortlessly. I would say the most distinguishing elements of Irish dance are that the upper body and arms stay completely still and the ankles twist during footwork. Those are two things that are pretty much impossible to achieve skating without hurting yourself. But without those things, it’s hard to really make it look like Irish dancing. That being said, Irish music is great and the Riverdance music is great for skating. It’s just that you can’t really Irish dance on ice the way you can do a ballet or flamenco or cha cha program. As an Irish dancer though, I still really like Riverdance programs! I feel like it’s pretty cool that a skater was inspired enough by irish dance or the music to use it for their program I remember seeing Jason’s program before I started following figure skating because all my friends were posting the youtube video

I did Irish dancing for years and competed at the world championships a couple times. I still teach but don’t dance anymore. I feel like it’s my duty to clear up any misconceptions about Irish dancing. I personally loved Jason Brown’s program. It’s a great program, but it doesn’t really look much like Irish dancing. It’s a dance form that doesn’t really translate to the ice very well. Irish dancers don’t stay in one place. I’m not really sure where that idea came from. Any good dancer will cover the entire stage during a dance and move fast and effortlessly. I would say the most distinguishing elements of Irish dance are that the upper body and arms stay completely still and the ankles twist during footwork. Those are two things that are pretty much impossible to achieve skating without hurting yourself. But without those things, it’s hard to really make it look like Irish dancing. That being said, Irish music is great and the Riverdance music is great for skating. It’s just that you can’t really Irish dance on ice the way you can do a ballet or flamenco or cha cha program. As an Irish dancer though, I still really like Riverdance programs! I feel like it’s pretty cool that a skater was inspired enough by irish dance or the music to use it for their program I remember seeing Jason’s program before I started following figure skating because all my friends were posting the youtube video

THis was really interesting. It made me go back and look at Brown’s program without the music and it is pretty much impossible to tell that it is Irish dancing. This surprised me because I have always liked the program and love Irish dancing, but somehow never really thought about it. I think Bourne and Kraatz’s does hold up to that test though. What do you think? Thank you for giving me food for thought.