2001 Mariposa Gala Review
August 9, 2001 - Barrie, ON
written by Judy Lindeman
Can anyone else think of a better way to spend time during a heat wave
than hanging out at an arena, rinkside? After 5-6 straight days of hot,
hazy, and humid record-breaking temperatures, I was more than ready to
see some ice (and I was practically sitting on it!). So off to Barrie we
went for the 12th Annual Mariposa Charity Gala evening on Thursday
night. The heat wave even broke at the end of the show with some
spectacular real life thunder and lightning, and much needed rain, that
we haven't seen in ages. The power in the arena even went off, but
luckily the show was over. The heat wave did wreak some havoc on the ice
as it was a little wet and sloppy, especially during the second half
when everyone was spraying water (including Takeshi who sprayed the
crowd a couple of times with his skates).
Paul Martini was the host for the evening, announcing that Josee
Chouinard wouldn't be skating tonight. I had heard she had boot problems
from people at the arena, and I've now read this on some of the boards.
We did see her at the reception afterwards. Wirtz & Wirtz were also
no-shows, but weren't included on the final program, although their
names were written on the front ad. A 12 year old local singing talent
sang "O Canada".
The group intro (choreographed by Steven Cousins to U2's "Where the
Streets Have No Name") featured all the skaters, including Kurt Browning
and Elvis Stojko who skated out together at the end. Steven opened the
show with his SOI number "Higher", wearing the usual burgundy pants and
black tshirt. He did a double lutz, double axel, and a triple flip or
toe with a step out. That didn't dim his enthusiasm as he reached great
height in his split jumps. Crowd loved him as usual.
Next up was Adrianna Descantis, a 13 year old from the USA who trains at
the Mariposa (7th in US Novice Championships). She bears a passing
resemblance to Sarah Hughes, before her shag haircut. She had a win last
week in Ottawa, according to Martini. She wore yellow and orange and
skated to Katrina and the Wave's "Walking on Sunshine" (also done by
Tara Lipinski in the past). Landed 2 axel, fell on the lutz, and landed
3 sal. Great spins including a low, fast sit spin, and she skates with
Danielle Selders & Andrew Wernham, the 2001 Novice Dance Champs of
Canada, were next in red and black, skating to tango music, parts of
which sounded like "Mask of Zorro". The program still seems a little
rusty, resulting in a fall from her, but will improve over the season.
Martini mentioned how the Mariposa is starting to become very successful
in ice dance.
Matthew Davies, the 20 year old bronze medallist of Great Britain,
skated to "Iris" by the GooGoo Dolls wearing all grey. He stepped out of
a 2 axel, landed 3 sal and 3 lutz (according to my notes). His spins
were very well done.
Next was Tugba Karademir, who was 5th in Canadian Junior ladies last
year, but now will skate for Turkey. On the ice she bears a strong
resemblance to Jennifer Robinson, from her long brown hair in a pony
tail to her makeup, costume, choreography, and height. In fact, we
thought she was Jennifer in the opening number, until the real Jennifer
came out. Tugba skated to "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend/Material
Girl" wearing a silver sparkly dress with elbow length dark grey gloves.
She landed 3 sal, 3 flip or toe, and 2 axel. A little bit of humour as
she interacted with the crowd and someone's drink.
Jeffrey Buttle, who was 7th at last year's Junior Worlds, skated next.
He's another Canadian cutie to look out for. He skated to a song I
didn't recognize (male singer), landing a 2 axel, 3 toe or flip (I can
never tell them apart), and 3 lutz. His spins are amazing with lots of
interesting positions, including a pancake-type spin.
Jacinthe Lariviere & Lenny Faustino, who were 5th at last year's
Canadians, skated to the Mary Tyler Moore theme "Love is All Around",
both the original version and the Joan Jett version. He wore a shirt and
tie and she wore a yellow skirt and bright pink halter top, and besides
a throw 3 sal and a double twist, they threw in a lot of tricks that
left us gasping! An aborted Detroiter was then successfully completed,
and the first swing of the head banger went a little wonky (I think
Jacinthe had to put her elbow down). They also spun with her skates
behind his head a la Brasseur & Eisler. At the reception afterwards I
told Lenny how much I enjoyed his online reports, and he apologized for
not doing one lately. I hope that means he'll continue once the
competitive season starts.
Markus Leminen from Finland did a bizarre number. I didn't recognize the
music at all. He landed a 2 axel and 2 lutz, and then disappeared
through the skater's entrance as the music started cutting between loud
and soft. After a break he came back out dressed as a woman with a big
black curly wig on. His pants were rolled up under his skirt but were
visible under the skirt. Later on he took the skirt off and finished the
program with his pant legs rolled up at different heights. Since the
music wasn't anything discernable, I'm not sure what the point of the
program was. Anyone else know?
Next were Tara Doherty and Tyler Myles, the 2001 Junior Dance Champions
of Canada. I didn't know the name of the music but iskater.com says it's
"My Drag" and is a portion of their free dance. They had interesting
lifts and showed good polish.
Paul Martini introduced a group of young Japanese students who are
training at the Mariposa this summer, and they stood up wearing
colourful Japanese costumes. Takeshi Honda skated after their
introduction, skating to what appears to be his short program this year
"Sing, Sing, Sing", wearing all black. Perhaps Brian Orser had a hand in
the music choice? :-). He landed 3 triples including the axel and lutz.
If this is his competitive music, I can't wait to see the competitive
program on full size ice. He seemed very confident throughout the
Jennifer Robinson was next skating to a jazzy saxophone number, wearing
a black dress with white and black polkadot skirt. Iskater.com says it's
her new short program "Street Scene". She two footed the 3 lutz, stepped
out of 3 toe(?), and landed 2 axel.
Elvis Stojko wore black pants and a black and red shirt, skating to
"Unintended". He landed 3 lutz, 3 toe, and 2 axel. This is a slower
piece full of skating. The crowd, of course, went wild.
Next was a Barrie synchronized skating team: Ice Lightning (maybe they
brought on the thunder and lightning?). They are the 2001 Junior Silver
Medalists of Canada.
The second act opened with another group number choreographed to Steven
Cousins, this time to John Lennon's Imagine. Not all of the skaters were
included this time. Josee Chouinard was scheduled to be the first skater
for this set, but since she was out of the show we went right to Chantal
Lefebvre and Justin Lanning, the 5th place Canadian Dance team. They
skated to a female ballad which I'm not sure is a new program since it
follows the type of program they had last year.
Next was Yoshie Onda, the 2000 Japanese Ladies Champion. The ice was
getting slushie by the second half of the show, and Yoshi wasn't able to
land any jumps without falling. But she never lost her smile and had
nice spins. I didn't note what the music was.
Jeff Langdon, who has recently turned pro, skated to yet another version
of "Summertime" (just how many are there?) wearing blue. He landed 2
sal, 2 toe(?), and 2 axel. Good footwork and spins.
Jennifer Robinson came out again and wore a nice light blue dress,
carrying a bouquet of sunflowers. The music was Bjork's "Oh So Quiet"
(Kristi Yamaguchi used it a few years ago in SOI). Jennifer starts off
carrying the flowers, saying "shhh" as she puts her finger to her lips.
The song goes back and forth between soft "shhh's" and loud screaming,
causing Jennifer to throw her flowers up in the air a few times. She
landed a 2 axel, 3 lutz, 2 sal, and did the splits on the ice. Despite
the song being so familiar with Kristi, I did find this program worked
well for Jennifer with the different moods and tempo. She seemed to have
a lot of fun.
Steven Cousins skated to "Belfast Child" and did a great job. I was so
into the program I didn't write down the jumps, but iskater.com says he
landed a 3 flip and two 3 toe loops. He really performed emotionally and
powerfully and got a great ovation.
Megan Wing & Aaron Lowe, the current Canadian Dance bronze medallists,
skated in burgundy and black to an upbeat instrumental piece. It was a
fun program with a lot of side by side dancing.
Takeshi Honda returned skating to Led Zeppellin's Bonzo's Montreux. It
sounded slightly different than Kurt Browning's 1993-94 version. He wore
a black shirt and red pants which makes me wonder if that's the official
colour scheme for Bonzo's Montreux :-). He landed a big 3 toe (don't
think it was a quad), 3 axel with step out, and 2 axel. He had fun with
the crowd, spraying them with ice. Of course I'm so used to Kurt's
version that all I look for is footwork, but this was a show, not a
competition so I shouldn't compare the two. I'm not sure if he's using
this music competitively.
The next skater was a real treat, as I didn't expect to ever see her
skate in person. After a glowing introduction from Paul Martini, Midori
Ito started her program laying on the ice under a purple veil that
matched her costume. She skated to a female ballad and slowly came out
from under the veil, skated with the veil for a bit, and then skated
without it. She did a 2 axel which was absolutely huge (she did one in
the opening ensemble number too), and landed a 3 toe as well. Each jump
was landed with a big grin. She skated beautifully with lots of speed
and grace. The program ended with lots of smiles and waves from Midori,
in some ways she hasn't changed a bit. Paul Martini mentioned her
lighting the torch in Nagano as she left the ice. Afterwards at the
reception I was struck by how tiny Midori actually is. At 4' 9" she's
the same size or tinier then the young Japanese students visiting the
Mariposa. She was very personable and never stopped smiling the entire
time. I hope my photos turn out.
Next was Jenni Meno & Todd Sand doing their "Baby Did a Bad, Bad, Thing"
number.I've seen them skate this so often in person that I didn't really
pay attention to what was landed. I do like this program for them as it
incorporates some different lifts and moves than the usual syrupy love
songs. Paul introduced them emphasizing their love story.
Elvis Stojko returned in black pants and blue shirt, skating to Van
Halen's "You Really Got Me". I'm still not sure why he's pulled out this
old number this year, but it serves as a point-and-wiggle program with a
triple axel and triple lutz thrown in for good measure. At the end of
the evening everyone was ready for a program like that from one of
Mariposa's "stars". Standing ovation at the end.
Last, but not least, was Kurt Browning. First Paul Martini had Elvis
stay on the ice with Kurt, as he talked about Kurt and Elvis'
contributions to the advancement of skating, especially in the technical
area. Kurt and Elvis goofed around at centre ice while Paul talked about
them. Then Elvis left and Paul started Kurt's introduction, which went
on for awhile. Kurt finally took a seat and started eating someone's
popcorn waiting for Paul to finish. I should mention that perhaps it is
the current heat wave that's made Kurt shave his hair off, leaving just
stubble. He looks even more like Scott Hamilton now. It certainly
surprised those around us when he first took to the ice during the
Much to our delight Kurt skated to "Nyah", one of his SOI programs.
During the part where the music stops and Kurt starts the audience
clapping, Tara's music "Dance With Me" kicked in. Kurt had to stop the
music and start the audience clapping again. He ended with lightning
fast footwork as the clapping increased in speed. Another standing
Everyone came out to take a bow and the show was over for another year.
By then the rain was pouring outside and the weather was finally cooling
down as we headed to the reception in another part of town.