Remembering A Masterpiece: The Original "Singin' In the Rain."
He is one of the most recognized and respected names.
Known as the first man to land a quadruple jump in ISU competition (at the 1988 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary), as his eligible career quickly progressed, Kurt Browning became so much more than a phenomenal jumping-machine.
However, hobbled both by a nagging back injury and a disappointing outing at the 1992 Olympic Games, Browning felt like he was in a state of flux.
An artistic turning point came with a coaching change to Loius Stong.
Stong, along his wife, Marijane and Sandra Bezic developed a free program for Browning that took men's skating into a different stratosphere. Set to music from the film, "Casablanca," the trio’s collaboration became one of the most iconic pieces in skating history.
From that evolved a one-hour TV special called “You Must Remember This.” Tapping into Browning's natural skills as an athlete and a comedic performer, Browning played tongue-in-cheek characters ranging from a film noir private eye to the Robert Palmer inspired MTV Lothario.
It was however, the loving tribute to the MGM musical classic, “Singin' In The Rain” that became the production's signature piece. Often likened to the great Gene Kelly himself, Browning's admiration for the dancer and actor stemmed from watching Kelly's movies on television as a child.
Browning transplanted Kelly's intricate and happy–go–lucky performance onto the ice rink. No expense was spared. So much water was used for the shoot, that constant mopping and resurfacing was required as the pounding water kept melting the ice.
Last weekend at the Medal Winner's Open in Japan, Kurt (and his artistic advisor, Doug Haw) revived and adapted the work for this new professional event.
Tapping into Kurt's effervescent charm and jaw-dropping footwork, the pair recreated a classic. It was so brilliant, you forget that it was a code of points-driven competitive number.
Note that the umbrella Browning uses goes from being a mere prop to a brilliant choreographic extension of the performance that never leaves his hands.