Stars on Ice
Kurt List

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 hoo@hooloovoo.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. Nice number

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 report

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 laugh!

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 half.

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!