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Yan Liu and Jialiang Wu Make a Connection With David Wilson

Susan D. Russell

In late July 2008, China’s reigning singles champions, Yan Liu and Jialiang Wu, arrived in Toronto to have new programs choreographed by David Wilson.

It was an exciting adventure for the Beijing residents and also for Wilson, who said that having the experience to work with both skaters was a revelation.

“They are these understated skaters with so much talent,” he said.

Wilson’s philosophy is not to have his students imitate his steps or his choreography, but for each one to try and find something within themselves through the music they are skating to. And that, he said, is exactly what Liu and Wu did.

But there comes a time when enough is enough. “All work and no play makes for a very dull day,” said the fun-loving Wilson after a late Saturday morning session.

In keeping with that mantra, Wilson organized what he described as a "field trip." And so, later on that sunny afternoon in early August, his international group set out on an adventure. Wilson wanted the Chinese delegation to experience a taste of Toronto life. And just to make it more fun, he invited Yuna Kim and her entourage.

Wilson chose to treat the group to a wild water adventure on an open speed boat (aptly named the “Shark Attack”).

Halfway through the trip, which hovered around the inner harbor and surrounding islands, a thunderstorm struck. But no one complained or asked to return to shore and so the venture continued.

Once ashore, the group graded the experience a perfect 6.0.