The Chinese figure skating team held a two-day test for its players about their new programs in the new season, and world famous choreographer Lori Nichol has traveled to China to help the team.
Nichol, always called Lori by Chinese figure skaters, is a four time recipient of the Professional Skaters' Association's Choreographer of the Year Award and has worked with the Chinese team for more than 10 years. Some of the famous programs seen from China's Olympic winning pair Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo were choreographed by her.
"I can't recall the first time when I met them," said Lori. "It's over 10 years. I want to continue working with the Chinese national team is because I am very loyal to Hongbo and Shen Xue. We are very close friends. I trust them very much. It is my No. 1 reason. No. 2 is I find the skaters in the team are very good people, very genuine, and each one is very unique. They are like family to me."
According to Lori, the new generation of the Chinese team are all talented, but she said it takes much more than talented to succeed.
"On the list of the characters you need to be successful, talent is like No. 7. You need to be having desire, dedication, determination, consistency, tenacity, and you must be very powerful. So figure skating is a very complicated and difficult sport. It takes many things, much more than just talented," she said.
Lori did short program for three Chinese pairs. "I didn't work with other teams in the pairs this year," she said. "For many years, I worked with Sui Wenjing/Han Cong, Zhang Hao, and I want to continue the teaching."
"For me, it is not just come here for choreography and leave, I want to teach them. I want to teach them how to skate; I want to teach them how to spin; I want to teach them how to do every aspect of the program. You cannot do that in one week or two weeks, and it must be continuance and preferably many years to get the real vision I had in my head onto the ice," said Lori.
Lori said the three pairs, Sui Wenjing/Han Cong, Yu Xiaoyu/Zhang Hao, and Peng Cheng/Jin Yang, have all made a lot of improvements over the course of the season. And all three pairs are very unique, and she says it pushed her to find more interesting ideas.
"For sure they improved," she said. "Peng/Jin gave a terrific performance in the short program. And Peng, she has very good artistic soul, very strong eye for details, and I really like the style they have together."
"I think Peng will become a choreographer someday. She is a very clever and very creative girl," added Lori.
"Sui/Han is amazing. They are world champions. But also world champions have more responsibilities, more fans, more interviews, more everything. So have to make sure they stay very focus on training. But they are very dedicated athletes, and I'm sure they will be very good," continued Lori.
"Yu/Zhang is a very interesting pair. He is older. But it just makes me find new ideas," she added.