Holiday Festival on Ice 2001
Dec. 12, 2001 - Sarnia, ON
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 email@example.com
Misc Notes: This is Brian's 4th or 5th outing as the major choreographer
and I'm getting really impressed with some of his work. He seems to know
exactly what each skater in his group is capable of doing and how to
utilize them best. I think he'll have a nice career in that when he
finally stops skating himself (personally I hope that's not anytime soon!)
An added bonus for this event was that he allowed me to sit through
rehearsals and dress. Watching the group numbers come together from
nothing was an interesting experience. You could see who could pick up
the moves the fastest, who was really into paying attention and making it
work, and of course all the horsing around and jokes - it was really fun!
Opening - "Happy Holidays"
Costumes were from SOI 1998 - those multicolored/patterned
orange/pink/green/yellow ones (what exactly those had to do with Xmas I
don't know). There were some nice footwork sequences down the ice as well
as several solo tricks used to highlight each skater. Brian's trick was
of course the backflip. After opening tricks, they all line up and Kurt
does the introductions for each of the skaters - in practice he had
everyone in stitches with some of his intros! He then starts yapping with
the crowd and then Lulu has to drag him off the ice :)
Angela Nikodinov - "No One Gives Up On Love"
Nice read dress with a sequined bodice. Sort of a typical Angela
number, which while very nice isn't anything stunning.
Meno & Sand - "The First Time"
Jenni & Todd used their beautiful teal patterned costumes and it's
really a great color on them! The program is a bit of a same ol' for them
in terms of musical style but there are some really great highlight moves
that just make it work better than some of their previous efforts I think.
Jennifer Robinson - "Winter Wonderland"
Very cute costume - red velvet dress with white fur trip around a
high neckline in teh front and open back plus high lace up white fuzy
looking boots. It really fit the number and she showed a lot of
personality in the routine. Botched two jumps that they had to redo in
retakes but she got them both right away so that was good.
Krylova & Ovsiannikov - "The Last Of The Mohicans"
If you can get by the rather obscene opening moves with the pole
and the fact that she's wearing the stripper version of an Indian costume,
it's a pretty cool program. THey get bonus points for the proper use of a
prop - it wasn't just something for the opening fer moves, but was used
through out the program for some very innovative lifts and turns. I
wasn't really a fan of this team as eligibles but they're really growing
on me as pros.
Caryn Kadavy - "Love Is Alive"
I love Caryn and this is the first time I've seen her skate live
since 1998. Now since she's not working as much anymore, the triples have
gone a bit, but like Dorothy, her doubles are so effortless and worked
into the program that it doesn't really matter. This was a cute, flirty
number for her with a bright shiny pink outfit that was short skirt and
open shirt over a sparkly bodice with open stomach. Very fun!
Lucinda Ruh - "O Come All Ye Faithful"
This was her blue costume just worn at World Pros and like most
Lucinda numbers it was really all about the spins. Not too much else to
Orser, Browning, Kadavy, Nikodinov, Meno & Sand - "The Wise Men's Journey
If you saw SOI last year, this number was very reminiscent of the
"New Moon.." group number - and even more so since they used the same
costumes! THere were some lovely sweeping edges done down the ice and
then all six did single axels in unison. I'm an edgework junkie so of
course I loved watching it!
Kurt Browning - "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
Kurt does so many varities of music so well, and he pulled this
nice slow number off very well. The morning was nice because we saw him
run through it about 3 times changing up some of the footwork and spirals
and it was fascinating to watch it develop. There was a great series of 3
2axels as well as a nice spiral sequences and a great series of spread
eagles. This was a great program for Kurt!
Lu Chen - "A Christmas Love Song"
Ok, I know saw her skate to this, but other than remembering the
shiny white costume I just can't seem to pull anything out my memory for
it. Retakes on 2 jumps
Brian Orser - "Sir Duke"
One of the great high energy programs for Brian so I was happy to
forgive him for choosing this over "This Years Love" as he's originally
promised . Everything was there - good jumps, and some fantastic
footwork patterns. It's really the perfect but of music for him so it's
hard for there to be a bad performance of it!
Alexei Yagudin - "Winter"
Now this was a highlight of the evening. One of my favorite
programs and under wonderful show lighting! Those footwork sequences are
just spectacular and it's one of the best things that I think Alexei has
ever skated. He sells this so well! THe snow tossing also looked more
effective as it caught the spotlights. Just great!
Kadavy, Chen, Robinson, Santa - "Santa Baby"
This program was an absolute stitch! Santa came out and did a
full lap of the arena handing out candy before taking a spot at center
ice. Next each of the ladies came out in these cute little red dresses to
request their special gifts from "Santa Baby." Santa got to do lots of
cute facial expressions (what you could see under the beard!) as well as
some finger waggling to chastise the girls. Big applause to Santa for
pulling off a decent single loop in all that padding. It was really a
great fun holiday number and started the second half off with a good
Nikodinov - "To Love You More"
This was her Celione Dion program that she's been using for the
past season and it's a good fit for her - and she skated it just about as
well as she had in the past. Nice job.
Jennifer Robinson - "Simple Gifts / Wind Song
I wasn't terrible impressed with this program at the Canadian
Open, but it was skated much better here. The only downside I have about
this progam is that while I really like how the first half is very lyrical
and flowing, it just doesn't seem like the second half fits with the first
Meno & Sand - "Rockin' Around The Xmas Tree"
I normally don't think they pull off 'light and fun' numbers well,
but this was one was really cute for them. It was obviously just a one
time Xmas program but it was really well done.
Lucinda Ruh - "Think"
Aretha to me is pretty much Nicole's music now, but Lucinda did a
credible job with it. I don't think there was a single jump only spins
and footwork (choreographed by Kurt interesting enough). The cool bit to
this program though was that teamed with black pants she had a tight
turtleneck that was horizontal black and white stripes - gave a really
wild and effective look while she was spinning!
Caryn Kadavy - "O Holy Night"
Classic Caryn as no one esle can do it - beautiful soft flowing
program from her. Costume was the navyt dress with the gold/white top.
Caryn's layback is just a joy to behold. Wonderful program.
Brian Orser - "Somewhere In Time"
Brian opted for this piece as with it's old-time feel it's as if
he were outdoors skating on a pond. As always the figures to open were
really effective and I could watch Brian do a program of nothing but
figures with no complaints. Jumps were 3sal, backflip-3toe, 3toe, two
2axels and one hugh delayed axel. Of course my favorite was the camel
spin with the arms back and curled that resemble birds wings - it's I
think my favorite Brian move! Got an amazing ovation from the crowd on
this one and wathcing him skate, you get the feeling that this is a
program that he really loves and feels connected to.
Lu Chen - "Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend"
Oddly I never would have thought that Lulu could pull off a
program to Mulan ROuge but oddly enough it does work for her. She's got
the character for it down and it's got some cute highlight moves. Too bad
the jumps really have just gon south for Lulu - it's like she's got no
confidence at all going into them anymore - and the 2axel takes off from a
near standstill (which is probably why she never lands it anymore.
Krylova & Ovsiannikov - "Ave Maria"
The same program from Skate the Nation last year and it really
fits the Xmas theme of the show. It's one of their softer numbers and
Anjelika's gotten better about not over-emoting to the program I think and
it's very effective. Her white shaded to blue dress is really stunning!
And the move where she's upside down over his back is really beautiful.
Kurt Browning - "Skating"
Finally the program as it's supposed to be skated instead of the
ISU short program version of it - and it's really much better! He starts
off the program coming out with a hockey puck that he passed back and
forth between he skates, does some footowkr with it pinned under a toepick
and than some footwork dancing around it. The program also features a
snowball fight courtesy of some stagehands and it was hysterical to watch
this part in retakes as the tv crew wanted better views of the snowballs!
This program is just a wonderful fun-loving Kurt program. My only
complaint is a minor one - I'd rather a nice bright colored shirt under
the black snow-pants so that there was some contrast in the dark.
Alexei Yagudin - "Memorial"
Ok, since I'm snarking on costumes, please-please someone tell
Alexei to get an actual costume for this program! The black sweatshirt
and black pants is just too casual for the drama of the music and it next
to impossible to see (and photograph) in exhibition lighting. Otherwise I
love it! This and "Winter" are two of my favorite programs of the season
so to see them once again here was great! Alexei ladned two absolutely
*huge* triple axels here and the whole program was just excellent!
Closing - "Christmas Eve"
A great choice of music as the Trans Siberian ORchestra music has
a wonderful high energy beat to it that just works really well for skating
music. Costumes were for the men the 97-98 SOI costumes (those horrid
solid color sweatshirts and matching pants that always looked like pajama
tops to me and makes even the thinist skater look tubby) but the ladies
had on the black and sheer costumes from SOI last year (opening I think).
But beyond the costumes the number was nice. Lots of moves with two
opposing lines that passed between each other. Alexei opted out of the
finale as he said he didn't want to have to concentrate on learning two
group numbers right before the GPF which is understandable. Highlight was
a section with Brian and Kurt where they do a series of footwork complete
with union double axels and triple toes - Brian and Kurt match rather well
in their stroking and timing so it was nice to see and Kurt finishes that
little section with some straightline footwork that just flies down the
ice. The number closes with the skaters in 3 lines doing scratch spins
and rehearsal was just too funny for this one. Trying to get everyone to
end their spins at the same point and not travel out of their individual
spotlight was a real challenge. I was impressed however that Ovsiannikov
had a rather decent scratchspin! I think they ran that very final bit
about 10 times and it's a wonder they every got it together as after just
watching all that spinning I was dizzy! But they pulled it off rather
well for the actual show so that's the important part!