Yuzuru Hanyu talks about the great difficulties in creating the show “GIFT”
Yuzuru Hanyu, after his solo show “The Gift” at the Tokyo Dome on February 26, 2023, said the following:
About the emotions after the show:
There were a lot of difficulties, creating a solo show of this length was even more difficult than performing at the Tokyo Dome. This season was the first time I tried to do a show where I do all the programs by myself. Honestly, I had doubts about whether I would last 2.5 hours, but now I feel like I was able to create a cohesive show, which was made possible by the fact that the venue was the Tokyo Dome, and the fact that it brought together celebrated people like Mikiko-sensei (director), Rizomatiks (visual design) and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.
About the reaction to the new possibilities of expression:
To be honest, there are, of course, some unresolved questions. Of course, I think there are some things I wish I could have done better, could have done better. But today’s performance with “The Gift” will not be repeated, and I’m proud that I was able to give a performance that was unique to figure skating. I will be happy if you have good memories, at least a little bit.
About what I wanted to convey to the audience:
Of course, I’ve experienced loneliness many times in my life, and sometimes I still feel it. Perhaps it follows me through life. But it doesn’t just happen to me, it happens to everyone, to a greater or lesser extent. Of course, this story describes half of my life, but perhaps it also combines stories about your experiences.
I would like to give a small gift to the heart of every viewer. I made “The Gift” because I wanted to create a place to come back to when you’re lonely.
About the fateful salchow in “Introductions and Rondo Capriccioso.”
I had a persistent feeling that I couldn’t do this program properly at the Beijing Olympics. For me, this program hides the story of grabbing my dream. And in “The Gift,” the “dream” means a lot. In that sense, the reason I chose “Rondo Capriccioso” in the first place was because I wanted a performance that said I had achieved my dream. I chose Rondo Capriccioso, a performance that recalls the Beijing Olympics, because I failed to capture my dream then. I couldn’t grab it then, but I’ve grabbed it now. Of course, there are dreams I haven’t been able to reach yet, like the quadruple axel, and I skated with the idea that I will continue to strive for them from now on.
Did you want to connect the programs you chose today with a dream?
Well, each program has its own meaning. Originally they were programs not connected to the history of The Gift. But I rolled with the idea that by including them in The Gift, by making them part of the production, I might have given them new meaning. Of course, there are programs for songs with lyrics, but I think the true pleasure of figure skating is that the audience can feel a lot through the expressiveness of the body without the words. So I selected the programs thinking about how you would perceive them, seeing them as part of the same story.
You’ve met the power of 35,000 people. What do you plan to do in the future?
Honestly, when I got out on the court, I thought about how small I was. After all, figure skating is a sport in which one, well, or two people perform. Of course, art and self-expression are important, but still, I’m a single skater, and performing as a single skater, I feel very small. But having received the power from these 35,000 people and from those who have performed in this venue before, I felt that even though I am small, my power may have reached you. In a way it’s like remembering an earthquake, there’s nothing I could have done if I had been alone. The strength of all of you came together in one Yuzuru Hanyu, and I think it was our connection that made for a powerhouse performance.
About the atmosphere in the Tokyo Dome:
From a technical point of view, it was very hard to catch a sense of balance. Well, I say that because I’m an athlete. But I’m really happy that I spent six minutes warming up in front of so many people and to such applause and tried to roll out the competition programs. Normally you just can’t get that much strength [support] in one person. It was a happy experience for me, and I hope that the feelings gained from that experience will give you at least a little bit of strength in this world where we cannot know the future.
Would you call it a journey through your soul?
Well, how can I say… It’s not really my soul, but rather my personality. Think about the mask you use when you are in society. I think that even when I talk like this, I’m showing the Yuzuru Hanyu I want to show. But I guess even now, even as I’m talking, the [real] Yuzuru Hanyu is smoldering in my heart. It’s probably not just for me, but for all of you. That’s why I hope that during this time [of the show] you were able to see mine and your true personalities, that I was able to help you see them.