Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Stars on Ice Review - Anaheim and San Diego, CA - Jan. 20-21, 2001

written by Anne

First of all, I have to say that I was really impressed with the show. I enjoyed this so much! More, I think than last year! It was really neat to go to Anaheim, be on a high from that and then see it again the next night in SD. Since the performances were so close, I'm going to talk mostly about Anaheim and refer to San Diego is there was any difference.

Here I go: Act I

Let's get it on: Wow! definitely different than what I was expecting but great energy. Everyone looked great, I really loved the costumes this year. I usually miss the opening as a whole because I am too busy watching Kurt...

I feel good: Since this is a Kurt list I won't applogise too profusely about this review being Kurt-centric...but I would have loved to see Kurt do this routine. I think Scott did a great job but I think Kurt, or Scott in a younger day would have realized the energy better. It was fun though.

2000-reach for the stars: Gorgeous! The choreography was simple and elegant, a lot of edges. Remindes me of all the things I love about figure skating. In SD Kurt had a wonky landing to, I think, triple salchow and he shrugged his shoulders saying "oops!" It was cute.

Higher/Desert Rose/Driven: As much as I love Steven's personality, I really don't care for his skating. He doubled almost every jump, and after seeing Kurt, I want to see clean lines. I think the song suits him though, his skating just needs to come up to the level of the song. I also did not care for this program for Kristi. After the fist pumping of last year, Desert Rose seems to be the middle eastern equivalent. Awesome costume and great jumps though. Her triple lutz and flip were my favorite parts of the program! I think she is better suited for stronger movements cause I loved Let 'er Rip! Drive/driven was ok.

Double Bogey Blues/ Everything must change- Great Scott number! He landed the triple lutz in Anaheim and it was huge! Loved the backflip at the end. Ok so its really cheesy and crowdpleasing, but its Scott! Some nice double axels too. Roca and Sur- I have gotten to appreciate ice dance more and more and it is because of these two. They are just so smooth and elegant. Beautiful lifts.

Nyah - Kurt!!!!! Ok, I may be the only one out there, but I wasn't too thrilled with this program. Yes, Kurt looks absolutely awesome and performs with incredible intensity but I really feel that this is a case where dance movement does not complement skating. Kurt's movements are wonderful to watch, but he was dancing so much that I wished he could have taken off his skates and just danced full out or that he would skate! If anyone has seen a coda to a ballet where the male dancer goes all out, that is what I wanted to see, but translated into skating. I really wanted Kurt to move more because one thing skaters have that dancers don't is speed. I don't think his choreographer may have understood skating well enough to put that into Kurt's feet. I loved the opening, very dramatic. The audience in both places didn't know exactly what to think of Nyah . I think its because with such a dramatic start, the program never quite builds enough energy choreographically for the audience to realize the absolutely amazing straightline footwork is the end. I think this program, while it didn't do much for me live, I think it will translate very well to tv. An awesome idea for Kurt, but I don't think it was fully realized. Wished he would have worked also with Chris Dean on this one. Watching Kurt's feet makes me wonder if Kurt could ever do ice dancing. He has the most amazing edge control!

Dance with me/tunnel vision- I am not a fan of Tara's but I enjoyed it. Her dress was gorgeous! I think Sandra choreographed a great number that suits Tara really well this year. Tara impressed me this year too with how well she performed this. She danced as she skated instead of the stand and pose thing from last year. She looked like she was having fun. Tunnel vision was really cute. Big surprise in Todd "the Sandman". I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt! Same when Denis and Scott came out! Wished Kurt would have said more! In SD Jenni's hair got so big it kept falling in front of her face. Great number. I hope they have more group numbers like this next year!

Part II

I have to mention a bit of the off-ice adventure that occured in SD! Getting to Anaheim and seeing the show was fine. Had 13th row seats and had a great time. San Diego was another story. Drove to my parents house in SD, met my friend there at 3. Get lost trying to get her stepsister to her house (nearly an hour lost). Get lost again 15 min away from stepsisters house. Grab Chinese food to eat in the car, head for the sports arena and we hit traffic at a standstill. Decide to take side streets not having a map but praying we won't get lost, we end up...on the other side of the arena!!!!!!another line, but not as long until we notice we could part on the street so we try it. End up spilling soymilk all over the car in the attempt to parallel park, we get back into line, spy another space, park in there and then tear down the street (we are a block away from the parking lot) towards the arena. Did I tell you it was only 10 til when we first hit the standstill traffic?

SO, by the time we get inside, we are nearly 30 minutes late but it turns out we only missed the opening. By the time we are settled, I notice there are 3 on ice seats that are empty. We scream our heads off the whole first half. Then...at intermission we nonchalantly stroll over to those seats and sit down. I was shaking I was so excited! Yayyyyy! This makes up for the 4 hours of craziness that preceded the show! It is amazing to be up that close.

Act II

Both sides now- I really loved this one as well. It was strange to see Jenni with out Todd but it was wonderful to see Denis partnering them both. I have to say I think Jef Billings outdid himself this year. Kristi and Jenni were in soft pastels and Denis was in charcoal grey. A really soft and lovely program. I also really enjoyed seeing Kristi do pairs. This was a creative way to use Denis and highlight Jenni and Kristi.

Chairmen - And it gets better! Oh THIS was COOL. Chris Dean is a genius! I could see why in practice this wouldn't have looked like much but with the lights, costumes and music the whole effect was really striking. I also could not believe it when they spun on their chairs in unison rates of speed in Anaheim. It wasn't that way in SD which makes me think that Anaheim was a fluke? Anyway, great program!

Moanin' - ok the show really dropped for me at this point. Another program that I wished Kurt would've done - especially because I love this piece of music. I think Tara and Ilia did well but he didn't seem very interested in skating with Tara. It was a cute segueway from the chairpiece to this one with Tara taking off Ilia's jacket. (Anyone think Gary Beacom when they saw this? or for that matter, Kurt in Bedlam Ballroom?) There wasn't much connection between the two so the choreography fell kind of flat. I also didn't think sophisticated jazz suited either of them.

Take my Hand - YUKA!!! I really really hope she gets invited back to the tour. She is such a quality skater and she has such a joyful presence on the ice. I saw Jason in the corner videotaping her program. Her edges really are that soft and she looked like she was floating. I am so glad I got a chance to see her live. Fell on triple toe loop in SD. I think SD was a hard show for most of the cast, Kurt included. Steven mentioned that Anaheim was a huge high and that people were tired the next night in his diary entry. That accounted for some of the popped jumps and falls at SD. But he said we were LOUD =)

Don't Fence me in - I couldn't belive I was sitting so close to Kurt skating!!!!!!!!! I really didn't like this program when I saw it on tv. but in Anaheim I enjoyed it because of his energy. In Anaheim, he nailed everything: half salchows into 3sal, toe loop combo, and a HUGE, HUGE 3AXEL!!! I never knew how high his jumps were until I saw them up close. He really gets air! His 2axels at the end of the program were great also. Makes me proud he is my favorite skater! He can be amazingly artistic and can still really jump! In SD, he missed the axel, and the energy was a little different. What surprised me is how angry he looked after the jump. He started to tilt in the air so he kind of fell out of the jump and had to catch himself on two feet. He must of been really pissed to have it show on his face so much. A fun program!

Let 'er Rip/Sin wagon - Loved this for Kristi! Costume was perfect for her, white cowboy outfit complete with fringe gloves! I didn't get to watch that much in SD because Kurt moseyed down the edge of the ice while she skated and ended up right in front of me and my friend!!!! Picture the "deer in headlights" look and that is what my face probably looked like. My heart was pounding so hard! Now I know if I ever met him that someone is going to have to talk to him for me because I won't be able to. Eeek! Sin Wagon was cute. When I first saw the outfits I couldn't help thinking they looked like cowboy M&M's. Hope Kurt tries more choreography. This was a cute start!

Rockit - Have to give it up to Ilia for being inventive. Looks like someone has been taking hip hop classes while he has been in L.A.! He also landed all his jumps - which I was glad since when he performed this program on tv, he couldn't land anything. Funny note, I don't think Jason filmed this one! (Maybe he did but I didn't see him anymore)

Tiny dancer/ Can't make you love me - Tara being tara. She performed well, but not being a Tara fan it takes a lot to impress me (though I loved her second element program from last season.) I didn't care for this one- I was much more interested in watching steven cousins in the tunnel area. Jenni and Todd were beautiful. My only comment is that Todd looks terrible in pink. I couldn't get that preppy nerdy image out of my head while they were skating.

My way - Scott being Scott! Great balance by having some elegant skating then switching to all the funny stuff. A really great farewell number. Though he will be missed, I think it was a really wise decision for him to retire. Last year's Don Q was funny, but his skating skills were not up to the other skaters. Scott is a legend, but I still pay to see great skating. This was a great program for him to say goodbye.

Always - for some reason, this finale almost made me cry. I guess because it is such a transition for SOI. Gorgeous costumes. I think this year the numbers had so much more flow and grace to them in comparison to the high energy techno from last year. Kristi was beautiful in her solo skated to Scott and that set the tone for the rest of the finale. It made it also very personal and I felt included as an audience member as Scott said goodbye to all the skaters. The choice of music was excellent and the pacing of the end was wonderful. We were really ready to give the standing O that this show deserved. I also think they need to keep this lighting designer. The look was a little different than last year and I think for the better. The lighting really well designed and supported the mood of all the skating.

That was such a great experience! I think because of Scott leaving, this was one of the most focused shows I have seen themewise. The arc and pacing of the whole performance was so well done. Kudos to Sandra and Michael for directing such a great show! If I seemed a little critical, I apologise. I am a dance major who is planning to get an MFA in Choreograhy AND I just did my light crew so I paid more attention to the technical aspects (like lights!)