aka, an excuse to waste time on youtube....
Ice Dancing, Free Dance
14. Okay, so it doesn’t count, but the Worlds in Olympics years rarely feel like part of either quad, so I’m gonna mention the two great ice dances from Calgary: Drobiazko/Vanagas skating to Phantom of the Opera (they weren’t as brilliant as Davis/White, but they found the story and passion more easily, I felt) and Dubrueil/Lauzon’s “Somewhere in Time.” That final lift is so exquisite, and the whole program is so gorgeously constructed that I can watch it repeatedly.
13. Belbin/Agosto: “Amelie”
They needed more time with it. And on a more superficial note, I prefer Agosto with short hair.
12. Davis/White, “Phantom of the Opera”
I’m of two minds about this routine. As a free dance, it’s okay. I don’t really feel romance from these two (and POTO is nothing if not a melodramatic romance), and I don’t know what role he’s playing (is it Raoul or the Phantom?). But as an athletic program, holy cow it’s strong. Blistering, fast, crazy-daring, athletic, passionately performed and (at the Olympics) to the best of their abilities. I feel similarly about V/M’s Pink Floyd routine. I’m admiring their effort, as opposed to the effortlessness.
11. Shibutanis, “Cinema Paradisio”
They looked like little prodigies with this routine. It was so light and youthful, and they were just wonderful in pulling it off (amazing at World Juniors). I have to admit that I don’t care for their line too much – the height difference is really notable, but Shpilband and Zueva did a terrific job of catering to their strengths and downplaying their weaknesses.
10. Delobel/Schoenfelder, “La Quiete”
This program comes at an interesting time for me. I’ve recently become obsessed with the musical Man of La Mancha (particularly Linda Eder’s spicy rendition of the title song), and have been reacquainting myself with “The Impossible Dream” as a song, not simply a standard. So to have Delobel/Schoenfelder – that perennially underrated team – skate it as their retirement program, and to only have it once (and I can’t find a copy of it anywhere, so help if you can)... it’s become impossibly poignant.
09. Virtue/Moir: “Valse Triste”
One thing I’ll always admire about these guys is that they don’t choose music that does the heavy lifting for you, they kind with obvious peaks and valleys that move the audience. It’s entirely up to them and the world they create. It’s so evocative, so elegant, so pristine. I love the contrast: something so un-ostentatious from some so young. It’s just beautifully put together as well. They cast a spell, and to know that they would only improve from there.... oh, beauty.
08. Faiella/Scali: “The Immigrants”
If Faiella was a more expressive skater this program might threaten the top three. Talking about construction and build... it’s remarkable. It’s a very dance program in that they endeavour to tell a story through their movement. The mirrored straight line lifts are gorgeous, the way the spin drifts apart and then comes back together, the absolute commitment each one shows to their roles – right down to the costumes (even if she’s not perfect, you can’t deny that she clearly feels it).
07. Dubrueil/Lauzon: “At Last”
It’s just so smooth. I know someone here referred to this team as PBB (pretty but boring) and while I don’t agree with that assertion, it’s clear where it came from. This team doesn’t have any edge; everything they do is smooth as butter and goes down so easily. I was disappointed they didn’t win worlds, but I don’t think they ever deserved to either. But this program was beautifully constructed. The opening straight line lift..... wowsa. The way the whole thing fits together is just lovely.
06. Domnina/Shabalin: “Masquearade Waltz”
Watching this dance at the GPF/Euros you see just how far they’ve fallen. They’ve always got massive presence and theatricality on the ice, but for pure dance, I think this captures them the best (I don’t mind their Polovetsian Dances, but do not care for the Linichuk routines). This dance is epic. I prefer subtlety admittedly, but I cannot imagine any other team pulling this off with the same level of aggression or fervour. I wish this DomShabs were the ones that won Worlds/Olympic bronze, and not the Linichucked ones.
05. Davis/White: “Samson and Delilah”
Yeh Gods the build! It’s like a perpetual motion machine – by the time they finish the program you’re utterly spent. One thing I really like about this program is you see attention paid to beauty of the positions much moreso than in anything else they’ve done (the downside to being a perpetual motion machine). I’m thinking in particular their opening combo lift and the final rotational lift in general, but even in some of the transition elements you see it.
04. Delobel/Schoenfelder: “The Piano”
This program is so expressive. I have to admit I find them resorting to gimmicks a little too often in general (Bonnie and Clyde, those freaky gloves in Turin, the sash in their 07/08 OD), but here the sign language adds a beautiful touch to an already enjoyable program. The music cuts are exquisite (and given how much I know this score, that’s praise from me), and the way the whole thing builds (again, it’s about build) and the flow of the lifts. Just beautiful.
03. Virtue/Moir: “Umbrellas of Cherbourg”
“That was the best routine for me so far. I couldn’t talk in it because it was just taking my breath away. They’ve grown up with the new system. They know it backwards, they haven’t had to transfer into it. But what a wonderful thing to watch in its own right. But within the quality of that performance was all the technical requirements, ticking the boxes, as far as I know. And it’s just breathtaking skating..... So much to admire in it. Just fantastic. The whole thing.... Look at the link between them, that’s what it’s about. I don’t know if it’s gonna be enough – I don’t know if it’s their time, but gosh it will be soon, and I mean that for the very top.”
The B. Eurosport guy after their worlds FD. I think its Simon.
02. Denkova/Staviski: “Seven Deadly Sins”
From what I can tell, this dance isn’t very popular (and truthfully, I sorta tossed it in between one and three to seem a little less bot, but I do love it). It’s so athletic and FAST and powerful. Can someone tell me how they do that lift where she’s UPSIDE DOWN? Seriously. Did they just give gravity a time out or something (This image here)
01. Virtue/Moir: “Adagietto from Symphony No. 5”
Are they the new Torvill and Dean? I don’t know. I have a hard time with such comparisons because I have no idea what we are judging. But I understand the desire to make such comparisons. The fluidity of movement. The beauty of the construction. The ease of the expression. There’s nothing ostentatious, needless or otherwise empty about this team or this dance. I understand why people think this team is boring. But I don’t share that feeling. I’ve mentioned before that I’m pretty much a bot for Virtue/Moir, and watching this exquisite piece of artistic athleticism is a testament as to why. I just don’t see the forethought or the calibration in this program. It doesn’t feel like a program designed to get GOEs or levels. It just feels a spontaneous celebration of young love
And for fun, five moments from programs that didn’t quite make the list
a) Weaver and Poje’s curve lift from their POTO program
b) The moment in the Hubbells “Sognami” that requires very strong abs.
c) Virtue/Moir debuting “The Goose.”
d) Faiella/Scali’s reverse lift in their “Pantera en Liberta” program
e) The Kerr's reverse lift in the Linkin Park program.
e) Every time Khoklova bends into a position that makes my back want to run and hide. K/N aren’t my favourite team, but it became an amusing parlor game to see what position she’d contort herself into.