In the comments underneath some posts below (as well as in common discussion on skating message boards) there are sweeping statements and some speculation about Jennifer Swan's choreography that imply the Carmen program is the work of only Swan. And that Virtue and Moir brought in Swan after Marina's choreography was unsatisfactory.
As a public service, this:
Jacquelyn Thayer's interview with Jennifer Swan
I don't understand and never will understand why people can't or won't read or become informed and instead favor speculation.*
I will never understand how so-called fans of ice dance consistently fail to understand that a competitive ice dance program must be SKATED according to very specific criteria for high levels and GOE, that an ice dance program must include specific elements executed according to specific rules and restrictions, and these elements must also come in under a certain time in and of themselves, as well as the program as a whole come in under a certain time, and so therefore the music cuts must both work with the element layout and the overall program time restrictions.
But no. All over message boards fans are like- hey, Virtue Moir should just take Swan and you know - fill in the skating stuff! Or get Igor to do the tech!
As if the tech is just pasted onto the choreography.
Thayer's interview with Swan isn't over long, and yet it answers every basic question about the collaboration. And it doesn't matter! Fans ignore what she says and make up their own version of what went on.
Swan worked with Virtue Moir (and MARINA) on Pink Floyd, so her involvement with their skating programs goes back four years at least, although she's known Tessa for years and years.
Marina and Virtue and Moir asked Swan to work with them in May of 2012. MAY.
Swan is a successful and busy choreographer and was out of the country. She wasn't available until July.
In the meantime the skaters and their coach developed a "working draft" of Carmen.
Swan arrives and begins working on the specific movement Virtue and Moir will use in Carmen.
This process looks a whole lot more to me like choreographer comes in and, via collaborating with the skater and the coach, works out the choreography according to the figure skating.
NOT a choreographer coming in and developing choreography on the floor and some how, by some miracle, the skaters then take it onto the ice and - voila!! Just plug in twizzles, footwork, spins, lift, linking moves, entrances and exits to high risk elements with ease!
It's a figure skating competition first and foremost and that's the first consideration. Swan is yet another brilliant collaborator, yet another "best" sought out by Virtue and Moir, who is talented enough and visual enough to integrate what she does off ice into an ice dance program. Who is able to thoroughly understand completely different movement mechanics (the foot in the skating boot is rigid and there's nothing more antithetical to modern movement) and still make the modern movement work with skating, with the result that the final program is seamless.
We realize that it is seamless not because it represents the work of a single ballet choreographer but because Marina and Swan and Virtue and Moir worked together brilliantly and each perfectly understood what they wanted the program to look like in the end - every movement having both choreographic and psychological intent, nothing extraneous, using modern movement style which = lower center of gravity/working towards the floor as opposed to the "up up" of a lot of other dance.
This program is the work of people who understand what they're doing backwards and forwards and are genius problem solvers and thoroughly grasp both the big picture and its component parts. Otherwise this program would not have been possible.
Another collaborator is Maria Mountain. It was up to Mountain to figure out what the skaters needed to do in order to fulfill the choreography - i.e., this particular move might put unaccustomed pressure on a knee, this move asks something different of Tessa's body than she's asked of it before in lifts.
I don't get why so many fans fetishize choreography in ice dance as an art APART AND SEPARATE FROM SKATING.
That is impossible when it is done properly. When the skaters are actually skating their dance style and not just styling their skating.
Which of the above do we think is harder?
I think my favorite fan remark was that Virtue Moir ought to go to Igor and just keep Swan for "flourishes". Flourishes? When have Virtue and Moir become knees up skaters? Or gesture skaters? Flourishes skaters? What a freaking insult to Swan and what was accomplished with Carmen. Carmen was a choreographic collaboration using figure skating as the medium - that's the genius of Carmen, that's the CoP-centricity of Carmen and it is not just Swan's masterpiece but belongs fully as much to the coach and the skaters.
*And not for nothing but it also kills me that in the past the blog has been bashed for calling Virtue and Moir liars about their off ice relationship by the same people who happily throw everything else Virtue and Moir say out the window in favor of their own political theories and aesthetic preferences and made up soap opera scenarios about everything from Virtue and Moir's personal relationship with Davis & White to their coaching situation. And to other aspects of Virtue and Moir's relationship. They have no problem whatsoever ignoring, second guessing or completely disregarding what the skaters say about that stuff and plugging in their own made up theories. It's not the blog bashing that kills me, it's the inconsistency and it's the oblivious.