Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

Canadian Stars on Ice Review - Vancouver, BC - May 1, 2005

written by Tina

Despite the cast shifts - the addition of Kurt Browning, Jeff Buttle, Jennifer Robinson, Shae-Lynn Bourne, and special guest Emanuel Sandhu, and the departure of Sarah Hughes, Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze - the Canadian version of the Stars on Ice tour this year feels an awful lot like the American version of the tour. Different solo numbers aside, the group numbers, with the exception of "Mr. Blue Sky," are virtually identical choreographically, with new cast members substituted in to replace the missing skaters. More on that later.

My seat this year was on-ice at the end opposite the tunnel, close to the corner. Nice view straight down the ice with no obstruction, though some of the action, such as Alexei's aerial work in Passion, and a few of the transitions, was rather far away. Also, none of the skaters came to my corner to shake hands at the end. On the other hand, Mr. Bojangles started right at the end, Shae picked up her purse in All That Jazz from the end, and a lot of the skaters had great ice coverage, so there were benefits.

Pure Imagination - Cast

My major complaint about the opening number this year is how dim it is - from a photographer's point of view, the lighting is purely crappy for taking photos. Musically speaking, the song from Willy Wonka has the kind of whimsical offbeatness that suits a show about Imagination, with an underlying darkness that they don't seem to utilize at all. There's a passage of instrumental music that has this ever-urgent, ever-ominous undertone that I've noticed each time I see this show, which doesn't entirely jive with the feel of the rest of the opening or the show. It's an interesting choice of music. Choreographically, there's a lot of groups of guys lifting the girls into the air, which is an interesting solution to the fact that there are something like twice as many men as women in the cast, as well as a lot of skaters moving in counterpoint with each other, mirroring each other's movements down the ice. The opening closes with the introduction of each skater in the spotlight, with the exception of Emanuel Sandhu, who isn't introduced until his single solo in the second act (he was sitting on-ice around the corner from me in the first act), I think Jeff Buttle (who was "welcomed" to the show as Canadian champion and world silver medalist over the loudspeaker before the show started), and Todd Eldredge, whose first solo leads straight out of the opening, and who is introduced at the end of his program.

Let Me Entertain You - Todd Eldredge

Todd opens the show straight out of the opening with his "Let Me Entertain You", an upbeat, fast-moving crowd-pleaser that is obviously designed to work the audience up and get them ready for the show. I've been impressed at past shows with Todd's energy level and connection with the audience. In Vancouver, his energy level seemed a bit lower than usual, missing that extra spark that he seems to have gotten so good at, and carrying a bit of a "going through the motions" feel when seen up close (I'd imagine there to be a bit of fatigue by this pointin the tour), but he still performed the program with aplomb. This program does have a bit of the type of choreography I'm not fond of seeing from any skater, where the skater beckons into the crowd, but Todd's speed and nonstop action makes this choreography more palatable and less obviously audience-needy. It's also got a bunch of Todd's trademark super-speedy, super-centered spins, and some nice jumps. No triple axels, but some nice, high, double axels.

I Want You to Want Me - Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson dons a sparkly silver top and sparkly short black skirt to skate a flirtatious, upbeat number to "I Want You to Want Me". Jennifer seems to be having fun, and she's cute to watch, but the flirtatious look doesn't exactly fit her. She doesn't quite have the sass to pull it off. This is still a fun number, though.

Jamie Sale comes out at this point, dressed as the gypsy fortuneteller with the crystal ball from the Ice Capades, "seeing" that people have snuck into their on-ice seats without paying for them (remember when we didn't have to pay for them?) and forseeing a great show filled with 20 Smurfs and other leftovers from the Ice Capades for us, before realizing her crystal ball may have a bias and storming off.

Harder to Breathe - Kyoko Ina & John Zimmerman

"Harder to Breathe" is an excellent showcase for Kyoko and John's high-energy, daring skating. This is a very good-looking pair who don't really have the lyrical grace of some other pairs - they have a few too many rough edges for it - but do have a certain rock and roll energy and edge that many other pairs lack, and that dynamic suits this music to a T. It helps that I like the song to begin with, but I&Z really do a great job of skating to it. A lot of their tricks, such as the fly high and say bye, the thrilling upside-down dismount, the candle lift, the lift where John's in a Besti squat while he holds Kyoko parallel to the ice, bring gasps and cheers from the audience. This program is a lot of fun to watch, and does a great job of bringing the energy level of the whole building up.

Gabe's Toybox - Kurt Browning

I've always thought that the two-part "Leaky Pipes" saga - "The Jitter Bug" and "Supercali..." - didn't really need to be two programs and would probably be better off as one, so it was interesting to actually see this in play. Ironically, although I thought that "Supercali..." was the stronger program at Ice Wars back in November, I found "The Jitter Bug" to be the stronger show program at Stars on Ice in San Diego in January. In my opinion, Kurt's choice to use "The Jitter Bug" as the music for his "Gabe's Toybox" program was a good one. Kurt's drawn some aspects of the "Supercali..." choreography to use in the newly revamped "Gabe's Toybox", such as the football toss (he's got a great arm, though I wonder if he's ever beaned an audience member there), the jumprope (a very popular part of the program), and the jump over the toybox (which now happens midway through the program, over the lyric "Thar she blows!"). He's also retained quite a bit of the original "Jitter Bug", with his really funny initial examination of the pipe, kicking it irritably, and then gleefully, bumping it with his butt, getting water in his eye, and realizing he can use the fireman's hat to catch the drip start to the program. It's interesting to see this program months later after Kurt's had a chance to refine it further. He's got the timing and the facial expressions down perfectly, and really plays the program to the hilt. The program is very funny, and very cute, but the props aren't there just to be props, a lot of them obviously required Kurt to do a lot of work to master them, and are impressive displays of skill. The aforementioned jumprope bit has developed into an extremely impressive segment where Kurt whips that rope faster and faster, turns as he jumps, and skips through the rope while doing toework, as opposed to just two foot jumping. He also turns the rope into a karaoke microphone afterwards, overdramatically pretending to sing into the handle. He also skates extensively with a hockey puck, similarly to what he did several years ago in "Skating", demonstrating his balance, skill, and control, essentially skating on one foot while keeping the toe of the other foot planted in the puck and skidding it around. The program ends with Sonia calling to say they're on the way home, and Kurt hastily trying to fix the pipe, not quite succeeding at first, but ultimately seeming to tighten it correctly, sitting tiredly down on his chest before getting up to clean up and drag his toybox off the ice, absent-mindedly dumping water all over himself when he puts the fireman's hat on to carry it off the ice. The audience clearly loves this program and loves Kurt in it, giggling appreciatively throughout.

Shae-Lynn Bourne replaces Yuka Sato, and Jeff Buttle replaces Anton Sikharulidze in the following transition, and do a priceless job bringing their own expressive takes to their parts. Whereas Yuka had a snooty, aloof expression going, Shae seems more coy and playful. And while Anton had a cute bemused expression going, Jeff starts off looking amused and skeptical, and then gets increasingly earnest and overwhelmed as Shae unreels more and more scarves for him to collect, until he finally disappears into the tunnel, and Steven appears at the end of the scarves. When Steve appears, looking completely confused and kind of irritated, Shae looks disdainful, quickly reeling him in, taking the scarves from him, and disappearing offstage.

TKO - Steven Cousins, Todd Eldredge, David Pelletier, Alexei Yagudin, John Zimmerman

You can tell that these guys have performed this number countless times before this. The choreography is completely precise and tight, and the guys seem both relaxed enough to enjoy themselves and goof slightly, and focused enough to precisely execute all of the very stylized choreography. This program is very cute, almost too cutesy, and has a particular style that kind of bothers me. This being the third year running of having an all-male group number, IMO there's a lot of moves that they've used quite a bit now in having the guys skate together. And while there's a certain charm and amusement factor to the number, the overly stylized and overly cutesy choreography just doesn't appeal to me. I do credit Christopher Dean for coming up with three pretty different ways to present an all-male number, but this isn't one of my favorites.

At the close of the program, Steven pushes out the platform with the box on it, and he and the others stack boxes on top, eventually opening the stack to reveal Jeff Buttle, rather than Sarah Hughes. I guess he was flexible enough and thin enough to fit into that bottom box and platform.

Sunglasses at Night - Jeff Buttle

I hadn't really seen Jeff Buttle skate before, but having seen him in Vancouver, I have to say that I think he's a great addition to the tour, and I hope to see him continue with the tour in the future. He's got a great deal of personality, and obviously enjoys the heck out of himself when he skates. He blends in well to the ensembles, and really plays the transitions he's in to the hilt. I can see why Kurt says that Jeff reminds him of his younger self - it's not just the enthusiasm, it's the not-quite-polished-but-there artistic potential, it's the slight gawkiness skating hand in hand with technical skill, it's the versatility in skating well both to a fast rock number and a slow lyrical number (with a twist). As for this program itself, it's a really fun number, choreographically interesting and well-executed. Jeff skates a remarkable amount of the program with sunglasses firmly on, starting off more mysterious and moody but quickly amping up the energy, both in his skating and in the wattage of his grin. His jumps were beautiful, and his spins interesting (though I noticed some similar positions to Emanuel's), and I just enjoyed this program a great deal.

All That Jazz - Shae-Lynn Bourne

I'm curious if the skaters used the tunnel opposite the main tunnel (behind the on-ice seats) as often in other shows as they do in this show. Jeff hastened his way off the ice through this tunnel as the spotlight came up on Shae in the audience. I've seen All That Jazz before, several times, and I have to say - this program suits Shae perfectly. She's got this flair of personality beyond what most ladies skaters seem to have, no matter what she's skating to. There's this look in her eyes when she skates where she seems to be inviting the whole audience in to share her enjoyment in what she's doing, to have as much fun as she's having. And that's not just the men whose laps she sits on. Shae's really good at that flirtatious coyness that suits the character for "All That Jazz" perfectly, and her skating is fun to watch. She may reuse some of the same moves a lot - the hydroblading, the low down Besti squat, but she's a smooth, fluid skater, and very different than most ladies skaters in style and movement.

This program ends with the transition that used to be between Sarah and Todd, and is now between Shae and Todd, where Todd brings out a bouquet of flowers to Shae and then proceeds to pick out petal for petal, doing the "She loves me, she loves me not" bit. The last petal seems to declare that she loves him not, to Todd's hangdog disappointment, but then Shae makes her flowers blossom again to indicate that she loves him, causing Todd to jump in the air with joy, and then grab Shae's hand and run off the ice with her.

Radar Love - Jamie Sale & David Pelletier

The first few times I saw Jamie and David's Radar Love, I couldn't get Kurt's version out of my head. However, they've really made this music their own, performing this program with real attitude and edge. It's in their body language, their facial expressions, and choreography. I have to say, I really like S&P's style and I like their choice of music. They've got a few thrilling moves of their own, which they do use with a certain frequency, but are always fun to watch, such as the handstand lift, and the overhead lift where Jamie is practically upside down and only supported by one of David's hands on her back/side. They also have overhead lifts where Jamie starts off facing one direction, and then David turned her overhead and switched her position, still up in the air. The audience seemed to particularly like their one spin where Jamie has her foot on David's, and her hand in his. This program is great fun to watch, and it looks like it's a lot of fun to perform as well.

The transition to the next program is cute, a bit of misdirection by four hypnotist skaters (Jennifer, Kyoko, John, and Steven) who keep putting themselves to sleep and telling the audience to buy merchandise. The whole point, of course, is to distract the audience from noticing Alexei, preparing to suspend himself far above the ice in a sheet.

Passion - Alexei Yagudin

It's kind of odd, watching Alexei do his sheet-work from the other end of the ice. I don't know if he's changed anything or if it's just a reduced impact from being so far away, but it felt like he did less up in that sheet than before. And while in some ways I thought what he was doing looked more dangerous - he didn't seem as firmly anchored at all times as I had previously thought, not sure if I'd missed something before or if he's being a little more careless now that he's more confident - in others, it was almost casual. The program itself, after the aerial work, made less of an impression, though I do remember thinking that Alexei had some fantastic footwork and dynamic skating to the music. I also liked the move where he does a kind of jump-turn with leg extended. Passion is a very different kind of skating program, and it fit this show's themes very well.

The Ride of Life - Cast

Now that I've seen the Canadian version of this ensemble, I think I've finally put my finger on at least part of why Christopher Dean's group choreography bugs me, as complex as it can get, or as conceptually interesting as it can be. In this number, Kurt substituted for Anton in the "Behind Blue Eyes" segment, and it struck me how odd the substitution was. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing Kurt integrated into more group numbers - that was one of the most disconcerting things about the Canadian tour last year, the lack of Kurt - but knowing how that part had been choreographed for Anton, and specifically, someone Anton's size, it was odd seeing Kurt doing exactly the same things Anton did in that segment. Which is the root of my problem with Christopher Dean's group choreography that I think I've found. His group numbers seem to be choreographed more around the concept than the skaters. In other words, there is nothing in the choreography to highlight or play to the strengths or bring out the personality of the particular skater in question. While there are some benefits to this - it calls upon the skaters to be a bit more versatile, to be able to play a character type and not just themselves - it makes the skaters in the numbers interchangeable, without any distinctive personality of their own. There's nothing in TKO, for instance, that requires Steven, Todd, David, Alexei, and John to be the skaters in that number, and no particular standout reason that Steven or John end up victorious in various dustups. If they had put Kurt and Jeff into that number, I don't think it would have made much of a difference. Same for Step-Sisters. They replaced two of the skaters in that number and yet it felt almost exactly the same (except that Shae caused the choreography to change just a bit due to her not doing jumps). And the fact that Kurt was in "Mr. Blue Sky" pretty much didn't register with me because he was just an anonymous male skater in a red suit. This is something that works well for a concept show with a general chorus of skaters - maybe a Disney show or an Ice Capades, or whatever, but Stars on Ice is specifically a showcase, IMO, for a particular set of skaters, and Chris Dean's group choreography does very little to take advantage of those skaters. It makes transitioning the cast to Canada easier, no doubt, but it makes the group numbers lose a certain spark that Sandra Bezic's group numbers used to have, where the skaters, whether they were playing characters or themselves, stood out as distinct personalities. As theatrical as Stars on Ice can be, it is not Ice Theater. Contrast the Rolling Stones finale or the Spaghetti Western number with The Ride of Life, and with the exception of the spotlighting of Kyoko and John at the end, I think there's a distinct difference in feel.

Coming back to the Ride of Life number itself, I found it difficult to connect to this medley because I couldn't really see the point of it. The interpretations of each individual segment were cute, with interesting choreography, but there didn't seem to be any particular interpretive intention to them. No particular story, no particular meaning, no nothing except "hey, it's a bunch of Who songs, let's skate to a bunch of them." And the tying together motif of the roller coaster just exacerbated the issue, since it made it seem like there *should* be some sort of running story or theme throughout, which just wasn't apparent to me. Without that, I probably could have better accepted this ensemble as just a group of songs by the same artist, but with it, I kept looking for a greater story that I couldn't find.

Of course, what people are most interested in hearing about when reading these reviews is the actual skating, not my very long-winded dissection of the choreography. There were fun aspects to sitting on-ice during this number. During each song, the skaters not involved in the main choreography chugged around the side of the ice in their coaster, with the funniest facial expressions and actions. It was sometimes more fun to watch them than to watch the center ice attraction, particularly when they skated right in front of you and blocked the view of center ice. It's an interesting idea to use them that way, since sometimes they could be extremely distracting - at one point, all the girls ran off the ice onto the on-ice mats, screaming - but if the objective wasn't to keep our attention focused on just one thing, it worked. There were some interesting pairings - Steven and John skating with Jamie and .. actually I forget who the second girl was in this number. And Behind Blue Eyes was cute, even if I wondered if Kurt was about to drop one of the guys from time to time. My favorite part of this ensemble is definitely the last song, though, with Kyoko and John skating dramatically around everyone else, spotlighted in both different color costumes and their own light, and drenched by the "rain" that fell from the ceiling. That final pose, with John lifting Kyoko into the rainfall, is gorgeous, and a tremendous way to end the ensemble.

Act II

Given that this review is getting exceedingly long, I'm going to try to cut down on how much I say about each program.

Mr. Blue Sky - Shae-Lynn Bourne, Kurt Browning, Steven Cousins, Todd Eldredge, David Pelletier, Alexei Yagudin, John Zimmerman

This is the one ensemble number that was transformed the most by its move to Canada. Substituting Shae-Lynn Bourne for Sarah Hughes changes the whole dynamic of this number. Sarah Hughes brought a bit of the innocent, happy, youthful feel to the program. Shae-Lynn, IMO, brings a sheer joy of skating to the number, and a more polished, smooth feel. Instead of being innocently delighted and youthfully flirtatious with all the guys who want to skate with her, Shae feels more like she has these guys tied around her finger and at her beck and call. It's not a Katarina Witt vibe, or anything like that, but Shae definitely feels more in control and skating for the joy of it. Part of it is that while Sarah's choreography highlighted the things she was good at - layback spin, spirals - Shae's highlights *her* strengths, such as the low-to-the ice edging and Besti squats. I ended up liking Shae's version more than Sarah's, though more for a preference of style than any critique of Sarah's skating. And yes, Kurt substituted for Anton in this number, but as I said before, I hardly noticed since I was mostly watching Shae.

Ave Maria - Jeff Buttle

Now, this was an interesting take on a very familiar song. While this rendition of Ave Maria started off sounding very much like the version we're all familiar with - slow and lyrical and classical-sounding, it quickly shifted gears, introducing a faster, more rock-like beat over the operatic tune. Jeff's choreography also shifted accordingly, but never lost the smooth elegant overlay, even as his spinning got faster and his skating a tad bit more frantic, just like the music. This program highlighted Jeff's flexibility and extension, and his utter lack of self-consciousness in interpreting the music. Every move was fully extended and fully committed to, spread eagles long and pretty, spirals stretched and smooth. A beautiful program, and a joy to watch.

IIRC, David, Kurt, and Jennifer were the skaters in the next transition, way down at the other end of the ice, either each doing a magic trick, or watching as Kurt did his with a bunch of scarves. Somehow out of this magic, Jennifer conjured up Steven's shirt, which he came out in search of, shirtless. She tossed him his shirt, and he took his time skating around barechested, straightening it out to put on.

Come Back to Bed - Steven Cousins

The lighting and music guys must either be keeping a close eye on Steven in this number, or he's got his shirt putting on perfectly timed, but the instant he has the shirt fully on, his music begins, and he transitions smoothly into his program. This program is an angsty number, one that doesn't capitalize on Steven's high-wattage smile, but instead takes advantage of his ability to do dramatic and serious. Steven seems to be really feeling the music when he skates this program, and really emotes all the way through it. It's a great program for him.

Step-Sisters - Shae-Lynn Bourne, Kyoko Ina, Jennifer Robinson, Jamie Sale, Steven Cousins

Of course, after Steven's quiet angsting and exhortation for his lover to come back to bed, suddenly he's got 4 women at his beck and call, and he turns into a rather inattentive lover as a consequence. Surrounded by four beautiful women, trying to look as pretty as possible for him in their cutesy flouncy housewife outfits, Steven gives each a bit of attention as he tweaks their appearance and they help him get dressed in a smoking jacket, but then he'd rather turn his attention to his newspaper to them. Outraged by his lack of attention, the four give up on their attempt to be beautiful and domestic for him, rip off their housedresses, and emerge in slinky black dresses to assert their grrrl power. To be quite frank, while I suppose it's a cute concept, this number just bothers me thematically. I never liked the original Four Women group number back in 1997, with the women slapping hands as an assertion of their power or whatever, and I don't particularly like the reincarnation of pretty much the exact same theme and self-congratulatory choreography. The skaters do a fantastic job to it, embodying the characters they need to, and skating together beautifully, but I just don't particularly appreciate the theme.

Shout - Alexei Yagudin

I don't honestly have a tremendous amount to say about this program. I'm glad they decided not to do the original "Mad World" transition into this program, because it didn't fit at all. This program is your basic pander to the audience program with its upbeat and familiar music, lap dancing, and pointing into the audience. Alexei gets some good footwork in here, and he does seem to be having fun, but he can do a lot better than this, and I do wonder why he does a program of this type every year.

Gopher/Let's Go - Emanuel Sandhu

Emanuel is the guest skater for Vancouver and Victoria, which apparently means he skates to exactly one program in the course of the evening. Despite his low presence, it was neat to get to see him, since I usually don't get much opportunity to see eligible skaters skate live. If I had to describe Emanuel with one word, at least for this program, it'd have to be flamboyant. With a capital F. If I said that Jeff Buttle didn't seem to be particular self-conscious when skating, I have to say that Emanuel is either completely not self-conscious or very very self-conscious. Odd, I realize, to say he's either one or the other and I can't tell which, but the extreme flamboyance with which he skates suggests to me that either he really lacks any sense of embarrassment or that he is trying a bit too hard. One thing that is pretty clear is that Emanuel loves to perform, and he loves to be out on the ice in front of people. Although he fell on a jump and seemed to double a few others, his overall skating was very high-energy, nonstop, and interpretive, and he was very good at making audience contact. A very interesting program, to say the least.

Gabriel's Oboe - Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer's second program provided quite a contrast to Emanuel's flamboyant offering. Dressed in a very pretty sparkly dress, Jennifer skated a lyrical, soft program to Yo-Yo Ma's cello music. To be perfectly honest, I don't have a strong memory of this program, but I do remember that her skating was very pretty.

Forevermore - Todd Eldredge

The masked skaters with fans mysteriously skating around to the strains of Gary Jules' version of "Mad World" more appropriately provided the transition between Jennifer's program and Todd's program. The kind of fantastical, mystical feel of this transition provided a nice bridge between the lyrical Gabriel's Oboe and the more powerful Forevermore.

Forevermore is a program that really plays to Todd Eldredge's strengths as a dramatic, powerful skater. His speed really highlights the building power in the song, and his jumps and spins provide wonderful emphasis to the program. There's a conviction to his skating that is really exciting. This is probably one of my favorite Todd programs that I've seen.

Who Wants to Live Forever - Jamie Sale & David Pelletier

I have to confess that I'm already heavily biased in favor of this program because of the music - I love Queen, and I particularly love this song. However, I also find this program choreographically very interesting. From what I understand, the choreography is heavily influenced by the yoga discipline that Jamie and David practice. Knowing nothing about this yoga discipline, I can only judge the choreography based on the impression it gives. I like the solemnity with which Jamie and David skate, which lends a degree of gravity to this program in addition to the melancholy power of the music. I also like that their moves are so different than the first number and so appropriately tailored to this one, with entirely different body language - more stiff, more upright, more tense. It's a mesmerizing program.

Mr. Bojangles - Kurt Browning

I have to confess to having less of an impression of this program than I should because of getting into a bit of a kerfuffle with a neighbor and an usher over my picture-taking, despite the fact that I hadn't taken photos of the previous two programs. Due to the kerfuffle, I missed part of the program while I was talking to the usher, and wasn't able to focus that well on the rest of the program. However, based on what I did see, this is a program I would love to see again. Kurt has obviously worked hard on this program, cultivating the character and persona, and executing the choreography with a great deal of precision and deliberation. This program, from what I saw of it, seems to be heavily based on a series of iconic poses, with interesting connecting skating, jumps, and spins, and appropriate footwork (ie, nothing too fast or frenetic). Snapshots, if you will, of the Bojangles character. The Robbie Williams version of this song is enjoyable, preserving the original (based on what I know of the song) old-style feel, while injecting the song with a great deal of energy, and Kurt's interpretation of it is top-notch. I would love to see this program again in SOI or Kurt or Kristi's show this fall, and hope he revives it again. Yet another of Kurt's fantastic, choreographed-for-CSOI programs.

Dream On - Cast

Despite my general complaints about Christopher Dean's group choreography, I really do like the Dream On finale quite a bit. The silver costumes, the lighting, and the falling snow contribute to make a dramatic, otherworldly kind of effect. I also like the choreography, the groups of skaters coming in and out, doing their highlighted bits of skating (and one of the reasons I enjoy this may be because of those highlights), and getting their spotlight moments. The finale is very busy - whereever you look on the ice, different skaters are doing different things, and it's hard to decide where to look, but that means the finale is interesting whereever you look. And there are some great, dramatic bits of choreography that provide all sorts of visual eye candy. The music also really suits the theme of the show, and is a great piece of powerful music to close the show on. My only complaint? It's too short.

After the show, Kurt took the microphone to thank the crowd, for some reason emphasizing that they'd saved Vancouver for last b/c they were special, even though the Victoria show was still to come. He also thanked the sponsors, making a point of saying that the show couldn't happen without HSBC, and then talking about how HSBC had been donating money to various charities in their sponsorship of various sports and shows, and then went to receive a check from someone from HSBC on behalf of a local skating club. As usual, Kurt did a stellar job of plugging the sponsors as sincerely as could be, and closed the show nicely on that up note.

Overall, this was a very entertaining night of skating, with some really cute transitions and great solo numbers. The group numbers, I could take or leave, but the theme for the most part worked well for the show. And the skaters did a fantastic job. It was great seeing the newer Canadian stars and what they brought to the show, as well as Kurt, Shae, and Jennifer. An enjoyable edition of the CSOI tour.