PyeongChang Olympic will be closed tomorrow. Before the closing ceremony, we can enjoy figure skating Exhibition Gala. The Gold medalistYuzuru Hanyu will present “Notte Stellata (The Swan)“.
Last season, he showed the same theme and deeply impressed us after intense Quads battles. The program was delightful especially for me, because his Swan was filled with supreme beauty of Cross-Gender Performance, my study theme.
I am suggesting the importance of cross-gender art performance expressing the beauty beyond gender or biased gender ideology. In my master thesis about the theme focused on men’s single figure skating,I indicated Swan as metaphor of cross-gendered beauty with examples of memorial performances by Alexei Urmanov, Evgeni Plushenko, and Johnny Weir. I hesitated to add Sochi Gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu’s Gala Swan “White Legend” to this stream, however, I heard he explained his costume designed by Weir as mixture of male and female elements, and concluded the thesis with his Swan.
To be also delightful to me, as apparent from this music remade from San-Sans tune and the costume design, Notte Stellata Swan can be understood as an homage to Johnny Weir. According to some articles, Tatiana Tarasova, choreographer of Weir’s “The Swan” requested him this music for Gala. I imagine that was because she might feel the same artist spirit as Weir in him and hoped him to express this beauty.
Finding the homage to the greatest Weir Swan and symbolic metaphor of cross-gender performance in Yuzuru Swan, I was motivated to continue this study and write about him. However, in the interview after the final exhibition in last season, he told that the Swan was development from “White Legend” Swan and mixture of himself. Hearing his story, I changed my idea. He is not a successor but a creator, or innovator. His Swan is himself. This swan is still growing to be more energetic and beautiful.
In this Olympic, Adam Rippon created new metaphor of cross-gender performance, Flamingo. His flawless performance brought team bronze medal to USA also became memorial. Knowing Yuzuru Swan is himself, it is still delightful for me that Yuzuru Hanyu will select the Swan motif, the most authentic cross-gender metaphor image, for Olympic exhibition.
As well as technical excellence, Yuzuru Hanyu has pure artist spirit and desire to express beauty. However, I am still hesitating to definite him as a cross-gender performer (unlike the case of Adam Rippon), because I imagine he may be sealing this side of his nature untill the end of competitions.
But in this era of advancing quadruple jumpers, when high-level jumps cause failures or all challenges reach the highest limit, the energy of beauty will exceed masculine strength. I saw his Swan in his SP this time, and Yuzuru Hanyu’s Gold medal had already proved this fact.
I look forward to seeing Yuzuru Swan will land on the Olympic rink swan lake, and fly up to his future.