Skater in Residence Blog #2 – Corey Circelli

Hi everyone again! Hope that you all have had an incredible week and perhaps got to catch some great skating over the weekend with the start of the ISU Grand Prix series in America, I sure did…

When thinking of great skating, it would be impossible to compile a list of favourites without including Canadians past and present. It goes without saying that the legacy Canadian skating has on the sport is astronomical. Truly inspiring to be apart of a federation with such a history.

Names that come to the top of my mind would include, Patrick Chan, Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Brian Orser (still feels crazy to think he’s my coach haha), Tessa Virtue Scott Moir, Barbara Anne Scott, etc. The list could literally go on for hours on end, but, since I was a young skater growing up at the Cricket Club there was always one name the stuck out in specific… Toller Cranston.

Toller was art, he was flamboyance, he was original, he was an athlete, but more than anything he was a trailblazer in the sport. 46 years after winning his Olympic medal, his skating still impacts the current generation of the sport, especially my own.

It was none other than his very own coach and legend Ellen Burka, who introduced me to the world of Toller. She would always have me improvise and experience all kinds of movement and music while of course teaching me some of his most iconic moves. She sent me home with plentiful of research to conduct on YouTube of all of Toller’s greatest performances, and just like that at 10 years old I was hooked.

As I grew up through the ranks of the sport I starting receiving the Toller Cranston Award designed to acknowledge young skaters who showed artistic skills and a strong performance aspect. It was such an honour to receive these awards and meant so, so much to me as an enormous Toller fan. Truly one of my proudest accomplishments is winning the award for 6 consecutive seasons.

All this brings me to this season, where I was sitting in the stands with my coach Brian Orser following the Four Continent Championships bringing up the idea of a Toller tribute program. We both starting smiling and new it would be perfect and just the right time with this being the first year in the next Olympic Quadrennium.

Thus led me back to me younger me’s research creating files and files of my favourite moves, spins, nuances, and of course music; his undeniably most famous piece Pagliacci. It was a no brainer that my long time choreographer David Wilson would create this program for me given he too is a huge Toller fan and even had the opportunity to train alongside him at the Cricket. It really was the most fun I’ve ever had making a program and I really think you can feel that excitement and honour I have about the piece when you watch it.

On a daily basis I dream of having that incredible moment at Canadians this season paying tribute to the legend that is Toller Cranston, and will work endlessly each and every day to make that dream a reality. If I can even capture an inch of that Toller magic with this program and performance it would be the biggest mission accomplished.

Well I hope I got to share a little bit about the behind the scenes of my long program music and theme selection with you all, and really can’t wait for you to see it. Back to training for me now and look forward to hearing from you all later and throughout the season! Thanks to Skate Ontario for having me on, it was so fun being able to share.