It's been quite some time since NHK Trophy. Sorry that I am soooo late as usual to write here. But at least two of very very good-hearted GS members say it's okay to be late and still look forward to reading my report, it seems , here is a small report from one casual skating fan watching the competition live in the arena (who, mind you, may be a least-knowledgeable with ice dance but loves the sport so much!).
In spite of my preference and huge love for Men, Ice dance to me is normally a competition that I can purely enjoy figure skating without worrying too much getting nervous or holding back my breath. And as expected, it has turned out the best comp among all four desciplines at this year's NHK!
First of all, Anna's SD dress was the cutest I have ever seen!
Second, Meryl/Charlie's SD was a dream.
Third, Elena/Nikita's opening lift in their Black Swan FD was simply 'gorgeous'!
Some other thoughts:
Paul Poirier's skating is out-of-this-world. Their simple black costumes, too, which we don't often see from ice dancers. And while it was good to see Piper has improved her skating since last season, there was an obvious gap compared to Paul's, even far from the arena where I sat. Even to my 'un-trained' eys and while he in such a black modest simple outfit, the sureness the crispness of Paul's edges and turns, his core strength during such difficult lifts, his presence on ice were remarkable. And less unison compared to other top dancers I thought, but I loved the music, choreos and concept of their FD, very unique and I pretty much enjoyed it. A very good choice of to package this still very young and promising couple with a nice music cut and telling a story. First time to see this couple live and what was remarkable to me was they DO have an ability to draw the audience in. My husband and I stood up for an ovation. Looking forward to seeing them again.
The Reeds did great considering the condition of Chris' knee. And very good choice of music skating to Shogun as they are heading to their second (and probably last;;; ) Olympics. Hope they can improve their speed a bit as his knee gets better and the season deepens.
The crowd absolutely loved Elena/Nikita's FD and got the standing ovation. Then disappointed saying 'oh?' 'really?' when the score came up. Idk what went wrong but they skated so confident thruout their free dance. A bit surprised to see Elena on the big screen appeared so emotional after the free and also in the KnC. Was she ill or injured? If not, then my guess would be the earthquake that hit early in the morning (around 7:30am iirc)...Cathy Reed later said in her blog that she was on ice for an official practice when it hit, that means all other top ice dancers (of the second group) must be off ice in the arena preparing for their own official practice. I have no idea if any of skaters or someone else did mention the quake, but it was not a mega one like March two years ago of course but wasn't a small one, either. Must have scared all foreign skaters awfully a lot. I feel for them.
The Shibs were also great. The crowd pretty much loved them skating to MJ medley, and got a standing ovation. Energetic, dancable, nice speed edges and turns throughout the program. They finally have got 'a program of their own' that suits their youth and personality, I think. Alex needs to DANCE a littele better. "Hideo, (that's Alex's middle name ) you can go and consult with Daisuke about your dance, better hairdo and costume!"
Sorry time's up for me now. May come back later, if I am able to survive the next three days...J-Nats starts tomorrow.