Stars on Ice
Kurt List

Kurt Browning's Gotta Dance

GM Place, Vancouver, BC, Oct. 26, 2001

written by Hoo

Standard disclaimer: Below you'll find my latest skating event review. At events I am concentrating on photography and take no notes, so this review is from memory. As a result there may be some errors, but I'm trying my best! I am also largely a mens fan, so they'll often be the most detailed parts. This review may be posted to other lists so long as this disclaimer is included and you let me know where you sent it. Questions/comments can be sent to me at hoo@hooloovoo.com

And my thanks to Rosaleen for review with the program order and names! Made it much easier to write my review - I was having a hard time remembering the skate order!

My friend Barb and I had on-ice seats just off center away from the stage which was to our right. My only complaint was that they added black curtains so it would like like boards and they could hang things. As a result I couldn't see approx the two feet closest to my and missed a bit of footwork when skaters got that close. For most of the show it seemed that it was one new number and one older number per skater and that the programs were chosen for their variety of dancing theme or music. I did notice that the audience seemed a bit on the subdued side - they were loud for the ending applause, but not much for applause during the number.

Opening - "Gotta Dance"
The event started with Kurt on stage dancing in shoes til Sonia comes out and gives him his skates so he can do his dancing. Then the rest of the cast is introduced and skates onto the ice. The men were in black t-shirts and black pants with a red/black square pattern tie around their waists. The women were in simple v-neck red dresses. It was a simple and striking combination. The routine itself wasn't that complex but had every skater/team doing at least one trick of some kind.

Browning, Sato, Chouinard, Roca - "Singin' In The Rain"
Chouinard - "I Can Dance"
For this the ladies added raincoats over their dresses and it was the only wrong costume move the whole night. The coats were pastels in green, blue, purple and they just looked awful over the bright red dresses. The number was short and cute and had Kurt dancing with each of the ladies. The highlight was watching all four of them do some sections of the footwork from Kurt's 'Singin in the Rain' program. As he leaves the ice with Roca and Sato he realizes he left Josee out there so she goes and does a short number of her own with lots of fun footwork in it.

Cousins - "You Can't Lose Them All"
A new program for Steven with him in black pants, white-shirt and black jacket. More footwork and in-between choreography than we see for Steven. He said it's not his SOI program though :( It was sort of a slow number and featured a wonderful Russian to 3toe sequence.

Bobek - "Cabaret"
This is her old exhibition piece from last season and she really sparkles in it. Somehow it seems that Cabaret was just written for Nicole to skate to - she really has just the right attitude for it. A few scratchy landings on jumps (as usual) but overall it's just a fun program from her.

Cousins, Sur, Anne Reinking - "Cool Hand Luke"
This was the first really combo dance and skate number and was really interesting. The number's from Fosse and Anne did an excellent set of moves to it including lots of those staccato finger snaps. Partway through Steven and Gorsha come out all in black (or possibly navy) and do some mirror skating down the ice with turns and footwork similar to Anne. They then stand still on either side of the stage while Anne dances some more and then they moves out onto the ice again. You could tell the skating and dancing were designed to evoke the same kind of line and movement as each other and it was very interesting.

Orser, Sato, Rodriguez - "Pachabel's Canon"
This number was intro'd by Anne talking of how it's the simple things that look hard and the complicated things are easy. Every ballet dancer starts with hours of work at the bar learning the basics before being able to leap effortlessly across the stage. Same for skaters and their work on figures vs. jumping. Sonia then comes out and does work on the bar followed by Yuka (pale dress with flowers) and Brian (grey shirt and black pants) who skate onto the ice. The program features Sonia doing 'the basics' at the bar while Yuka and Brian move in duet down the ice doing series of figure eights and long deep edgework and turns plus one 1axel and one 2toe. This was a real highlight as I could watch Brian do basic edgework for hours and Yuka has some of the best edgework of the ladies. They were totally in sync and just watching those long gliding turns and eights was just stunning!

Roca & Sur - "Adagio in C"
I believe this was a new number for them but skated in their old blue costumes with the white scrollwork. As usual this number featured some wonderful lifts and carries that are trademark of Rene & Gorsha. I love just watching Gorsha's line as he skates - he's got such wonderful tension. The program really was just totally graceful.

Sonia Rodriguez & Rex Harrison - "Summer"
As I'm no dance expert I couldn't begin to tell you the details on this, but for a layperson it seemed like modern ballet. It was all done on the stage and had a number of beautiful lifts and turns in it. The only down-side was the crick in my next from watching to the right for so long.

Browning - "Nyah"
I remember there was a great introduction to this number but for the life of me I can't remember who did it, but they spoke of translating dance tension to the ice and how Kurt's Nyah was a standout piece of skating without any jumps - just amazing skating. This wasn't the best version of "Nyah" I've seen but it's still such a standout number for him! I think the focus on it this time was the footwork. I could watch that program over and over and always find something new and different in it to appreciate.

Chouinard - "In These Shoes"
Classic Josee! It was sort of a fun tongue-in-cheek number similar in feeling to 'The Sweater' but without so much of a storyline. She wore a one shoulder red dress with red trim and a rose at the collar. Showed off her flirtateous personality quite well!

Brasseur & Eisler - "Let's Shout"
I believe this is the same number they used on the winter COI 2 years ago with her in red dress and him in red pants and black shirt with white saddle-shoe boot covers. It might have been a slightly different piece of music but the choreography was the same with lots of flips and acrobatic tricks.

Orser & Tommy Tune - "Nowaday"
This was the second highlight of the show for me (yeah I know I'm a Brian fan so I'm biased ) but it really was a great number! Brian wore his black costume with the silver pattern on the front of the shirt and white had with a black sparkly band. Tommy was all in black with matching hat and each had an old fashioned microphone stand. While Brian moved up and down the ice and Tommy across the stage the whole program was again designed to have matching movements with the feel of an old soft-shoe routine. The best was when Brian was standing in front of the stage and did a matching mirror set of footwork across the front as Tommy across the stage. It was wild to see Brian converting stage footwork moves to the ice! I hope they manage not to kill the effect in the televised version.

Post show I got to speak quite a bit with Tommy and he just gushed about how it was a real treat to work with Brian. They spent several days working on the number at the Chelsea pier and Tommy was impressed with how Brian had suggestions on how to integrate the moves so that they worked equally well on the ice as on the floor.

Browning and Ed Robertson - "??"
This is the guitar solo that Ed wrote for Kurt and it was extremely amusing because Kurt had a mic on the whole time. They intro'd the song talking about how Kurt always wanted to work with him and that it had come about one day at Kurt's. (Ed made a joke about how Sonia refused to feed him dinner til the song was done). The whole routine had sort of an 'improv' feel to it with Kurt doing lots of footwork up and down the rink while talking to both Ed and the audience. If you've seen other Kurt programs where he was mic'd you know you're going to get lots of humor while he skates - and we did! From costume comments to accusing Ed of changing the tempo during a footwork pass (Ed's response "Just wanted to see if you could keep up") it was a really fun and lighthearted number.

Orser, Cousins, Chouinard, Roca, Brasseur & Eisler - "Take Off With Us"
Ben Vereen, Reineking, Tune - "Feeling Groovy"
This program started out with the skaters on stage all in black with blacklight white skates on their hands doing a variety of patterns in the air. Interesting concept. They then left the stage and sat in three chairs on each side of the stage to watch the dance number. It was sort of a fun '60s' feeling song with some amusing interactions. I don't really remember it that well though to comment more.

Sato & Dungen - "Ribbon In The Sky"
I think this was perhaps the best pair program I've seen them put together. They really seemed to gel and the program flowed wonderfully. Unfortunately Jason had a fall on the sbs which they didn't retake so I hope it's something they got in practice. I was really impressed with how in the lifts Yuka has such beautifully pointed toes. He was in black with some magenta on shirt I believe and she was all in magenta.

Roca & Sur - "Never Loved A Man"
Rene was in a dress that was two shades of peach and Gorsha was in a darker peach-red costume. It was another excellent program from them with several lifts that just seemed to melt through position changes. I'm really going to miss them on SOI :(

"Music" - Bobek
My mistake - this was the other costume error. It was a halter top and hip hugger skin tight pants only in their weird shade of purple/grey with heavy patterning around the tops. It was not a flattering pattern or color for Nicole. Other than that it was typical Nicole with lots of flirting and high energy attitude.

Chouinard - "Humoresque"
Not really much to say here, other than Josee skated this program with the same flair she has in the past.

Browning & Vereen - "Mr. Bojangles"
This program started with Ben signing about 2 verses by himself on stage and doing some soft-shoe work. Kurt then appears from the other end of the ice in black pants, white shirt, black vest and black fedora. He works his way down to the stage in true Kurt footwork with lots of toe work and turns. He and Ben then do some matching moves. 'Bojangles' really fit with Kurt - he just carried off that light and whimsical feeling to the music really well.

Cousins - "Dancing Fool"
Another favorite Cousins program of mine I was happy to get the chance to see this live. Costume is the same one - navy pants and green/purple/white/blue multi-colored shirt. As sick as I got of this song for ice dancing, it really suits Steven's charm and he sells it with high energy. Went for the 3lutz in the program and it required a retake, but it was still great to see since he doesn't do this jump that often as a pro.

Sato - "Song of the Homeland"
Another stunning outing for Yuka, this time in dark hunter green dress with green and gold beadwork at the top. It's hard to describe this program other than as typical Yuka - but in a good way! Her edges and carriage across the ice is just beautiful and the smile and joy on her face as she skates just makes you see how much she loves what she's doing.

Browning & Robertson - "??"
For some reason I'm blanking on most of this program. It was a short number with Ed on stage singing and Kurt on the ice in black t-shirt and silvery pants. I do remember a cool bit of straight line footwork though.

Orser - "Sir Duke"
Classic Brian and done so well. I've seen this number live any number of times and am always happy to see it one more time! This music is a piece that Brian really seems to connect with and gets great joy out of skating - and that translates so well to the audience which makes it even more enjoyable to watch.

Brasseur & Eisler - "She Bangs"
Another high energy number from these two, this time in their gold lamee costumes from the COI tour. Again lots of great high energy tricks and attitude.

Browning, Rodriquez, Eisler, Dunger - "First You Have To Dream"
This was a fascinating program with the men in the black costumes from the opening and Sonia in a red dress. The lines of the song continue with 'have to dream you can fly' and after dancing on the stage Sonia is picked up by Lloyd and Jason who carry her "flying" across the ice. They do a number of interesting lifts an hand offs and you can really see her beautiful form and line and extension. She was later handed off to Kurt who carried her around the ice in both a simple carry and various other more elaborate holds. You just got a feeling that this was the moment they'd worked for and being able to perform together in front of an audience meant a lot to them. At the end he set her down on center ice and embraced her and it was just a bit emotional for the audience :')

Closing - "Gotta Dance"
Basically a reprise/elaboration of the opening number.

As they prepared for retakes Kurt took the mic and thanked everyone for coming and spoke about how at a time like this, an event like this was really needed so that people could go out and try to forget about the troubles of the world for a while. He thanked LeAnn Miller who choreographed much of the show and thanked everyone who helped make the show come together (including all the sponsors). He said that Scott couldn't be there as while training for the show he busted something. Kurt then explained that while we'd see some retakes, his wouldn't be done as they got those in practice. I got the feeling that they might have made sure to tape Kurt during dress rehersal that morning in case his knee gave him problems later and he wouldn't be able to handle retakes or something.

Post show when I spoke with Kurt and Brian both spoke of how happy they were about the show and Kurt was especially glad that we came all that way and enjoyed it so much (told him it was worth every penny of the trip). It was around 1am when I spoke with him and you could tell he was just exhausted! With good reason too! They both said they had a fun time working with the various dancers on moves that would work for both the floor and the ice.