Interview with Lisa Prenty
Q: What is it like working with Jeff?
A: I love working with him, it's a trip because he's so talented and what we have in common is that we're both perfectionists and we like to dig really deep and go into the nitty gritty and get caught up in the music.
He's the type of skater that you can take him places that you can't maybe take other skaters. He wants to grow and discover himself and he wants to always be changing. Jeff's a brilliant talent but more than that, on a soulful level he's really is an artist so skating is just a vehicle for him to express himself.
He's a scientist too, I know he is studying bio chemistry and I can relate to that cause I was one of those kids that had a lot of undiscovered talent. I was really into visual arts and really into math too, so I was split right down the middle.
We kind of compliment each other. We play off each other really well. When we work together we both go about things the same way, we just start experimenting and because of the age difference and life experience difference I will see things in him that I used to get stuck in so its fun for me. Its almost a cathartic experience, it gives me a chance to help him the way no one helped me. Basically its fun working with Jeff is not a chore, its like an adventure.
Q: It doesn't feel like work then?
A: Its total play. I don't really think of the final outcome when we start its kind of an adventure. It's not a shock but a really a pleasant surprise when we have a positive response and are excited about what we've done.
This year more than ever he's really gone in an acutely different directions and he's been really brave about his choices. The short program is the direction I have wanted him to go or awhile and I think that it was just a matter of time for him to be ready to do that to be that off the cuff, suave and that cool. He just responded (snaps his fingers) like that! It wasn't something he might have been able to pull off in earlier years, its hard to tell. We had to coax him because he was a little bit leery. I have been speaking to Lenora Kay (who's a genius with music) a lot about the direction you want to go into. I wasn't able to find the right music, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
She pulled out this song and I knew the title and thought 'oh no, not that!'
Take Five has been done many times by many other brilliant people, but the version she found was completely refreshing. Its like a jazzy, punched up version by Quincy Jones and I think that it's a version that's been untouched by other skaters. I don't believe that anyone has used it although it's not new but its one of those things that got refreshed but got left there on the side maybe.
Take Five, the original version, is usually what people use and (this version is) remarkably different in its flavor although it's faithful the essence of the song. So that was fun to me, it created enough interest to me that I wanted to do it and he liked it immediately so he felt comfortable to try it.
The other piece he found and he is so good at finding pieces for himself. When I heard I was excited and wanted to do some research because I am not an opera aficionado, I never had as much cultural background as I would like to have so I am constantly learning as well. Since I started working I have been learning as I go and rely on natural talent and being adaptable, its fun.