Yuri!!! on Ice on Ice

We were born to make history!

Published by Diane Zhou in September 2021


Ananya, Cydney, Diane, Flora, Kylie, Liz, Maya, Mickey, Sabina, Sarah, Shawn, and Tetsuya make history together by showcasing their individual signature moves, teaming up for awesome lifts and spirals, and hyping up the crowd. Figure skating is more fun as a team and with a community!



This page discusses aspects of Yuri!!! on Ice but does not reveal plot spoilers.

Anime!!! on Ice

In late 2016 while Sabina and I began bringing anime onto the ice through our “Friend A” program, Yuri!!! on Ice was bringing figure skating into anime. We were impressed by the accuracy of the physics, aesthetics, and competition logistics in Yuri!!! on Ice — the creators certainly did their due diligence in researching the sport. The only seemingly unrealistic aspect was the maturity of quadruple jumps among the skaters in the anime compared to what real-life skaters were doing at the time the anime aired, but we now know based on the 2018 Winter Olympics that the anime turned out to be right about that too.

The quality of the animation made it possible to learn the choreography from the anime in real life! So Sabina and I learned the opening sequence to “History Maker” for fun and posted our practice video to YouTube. To our excitement, the video garnered 10K views within 3 weeks and became an additional motivation to grow Anime on Ice.

I envisioned a grander version of this opening sequence, using the full length of the song and enlisting a dozen skaters from the MIT Figure Skating Club to perform together. The result: History Makers!

Creative Process

Opening Music Video

I used the full version of the opening song of Yuri!!! on Ice for this group number. The lyrics of “History Maker” are in English, making it welcoming to English-speaking audiences.

The choreography in the opening music video is the foundation for this program. I modified the sequence of moves so that all of the skaters in the group felt comfortable doing it in sync. The sequence repeats throughout the program in different formations and variations.

Group Choreography

Coordinating choreography for a diverse group of 12 skaters posed interesting challenges in terms of making the routine coherent with everyone’s different skating skills. Since ice time to practice together was limited, I did a lot of choreography planning ahead of time to make efficient use of practices, as opposed to developing choreography more organically by having everyone experiment with ideas on the ice.

Part of the planning process was finding out what elements each skater could do. I created a form for everyone to fill out and realized that there actually exist so many figure skating elements! In addition to showcasing individual skills, we incorporated group elements by leveraging our combined experiences in Theatre On Ice, synchronized skating, and pair skating. We all learned new things about figure skating through this fun and collaborative choreography process.

Walk through the slides below to see the planned formations and elements!

Costume Logo Design

I wanted us to have a uniform and fun look for this group program. What better way than to have a shirt with a logo specifically designed for our performance?

Here is the progression of the logo design, from a sketch I made in class to a digitized version to a refined design, courtesy of the graphic artists at Custom Ink.

Born to Make History sketch Born to Make History digital Born to Make History final

And here is the group in costume!

History Makers costume

Exhibition Theme

“History Makers” had the honor of inspiring the theme of the MIT Figure Skating Club Spring 2017 Exhibition, Born to Make History. This leaflet, which was distributed along with copies of the show program, illustrates some figure skating moves and gives a sneak peek of our performance.

History Makers leaflet

Created by Tetsuya Kaji

Reflection

Yuri!!! on Ice sheds light on how competitve figure skating is a demanding and oftentimes lonely sport. Disappointing results can be incredibly difficult to bounce back from, and the line between a skater having the advantage of being “seasoned” and the disadvantage of being “too old” seems very thin. However, there also exist supportive figure skating communities that encourage skaters of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the sport and find different aspects of skating to learn about and grow in. One such community is the MIT Figure Skating Club which welcomes skaters with experience levels from “never seen ice before attending college” to years of training in multiple disciplines. Our “History Makers” included club members spanning from college freshmen to alumni who graduated decades ago! We believe that both figure skating and anime are not constrained to certain styles nor to certain people, and hope that is reflected in this program as well as throughout our Anime on Ice stories.

Artwork by Chloris Li