Stars on Ice Review - San Jose, CA - Jan. 12, 2003
written by Wendy
Overall, the San Jose show was skated with very few mistakes and a
lot of energy. The crowd was decently big and so the cheers were loud
which probably helped too.
Opening: The opening number went fine. I think Kurt may have
slipped a bit on his jump with Todd Eldregde, but I don't quite
remember. When S&P and B&S came out, the crowd gave a huge cheer.
Born to be Wild: Kurt performed this number instead of Alexei.
Todd Eldredge was the one to give him the jacket. Like Alexei's
program, this one included a lot of sliding on the ice. A couple of
times he approached the on ice seats with his slides. All in all,
Kurt did a decent job of filling in for Alexei.
Bed of Roses: Kurt also did the lead in to this program. I
actually really like the segue to this program with the dim lighting.
It creates a soft sort of dreamy feel. Kyoko and John performed the
program well with no errors that I remember.
Come Fly with Me: This is quickly turning into one of my favorite
programs of theirs. What I didn't realize before this year was
David's strength. There are quite a few lifts in the program (almost
every time the words cue it--like "come fly with me" and "once I get
you up there") he lifts Jamie. Anyhow, I think I mostly like this
program for the light feeling and because they look like they really
enjoy performing it. They made no errors as far as I can remember.
Channel 1 Suite: This program is great for showing off Todd's speed
and his spins, but I don't really ever feel like I get into it. I
think it is mostly due to the music and not his skating though.
There's one jump with a really long build up which makes me think he's
setting up for a 3-axel, but he has only done a double at the shows
I've seen. Not that this matters, I am just curious if he sometimes
turns it into a triple.
Hotter than Blue: I've had casual skating fan friends complain that
Katarina doesn't jump in this program. I suppose not, but to me it
doesn't diminish my enjoyment of the program. It's just a lot of fun
watching Katarina play off her sexiness with her sense of humor. At
one point she goes off and flirts with a guy in the audience and
Gorsha and John come in and stand in front of him, shaking their heads
and fingers. I wonder what happens if there are no guys there?
OverCome: Alexei is very consistent with this number. For me, the
highlights of this program are the slow section and then the footwork
that matches the build up in the music. He's sticking mostly to toe
loops in his programs, though he did do a 3-3-2-toe loop combination
(or was that in Racing? He did that somewhere at least.).
I'm Your Man: This is my favorite Meno and Sand program of the past
few years. It requires them to get into their characters, which they
both do very well. It also still keeps in their traditional technical
moves. They had a few bobbles in San Jose around the part where she
does a hand stand on his feet and following sequence. It looked a
little like they got behind the music and in an effort to catch up
they missed a hold.
How do you Keep the Music Playing: I really like this program since
it shows off Kurt's edging and form. I guess the word that keeps
coming to mind is deliberate. Each move is given careful attention
and finished and as a result, the program on the whole has a wonderful
polished quality to it. In this show, he hit all of his jumps
(2-axel, 3-toe, 3-sal, and the two 3-toes at the end).
Power Play: The number also went smoothly. They never seem to make
any mistakes here even though they do quite a few elements. Anyhow, I
don't think the point of this program is so much to show that the two
pairs are friends, though that is implicit given they are touring
together and skating a program together. It seems to be more
Olympic-centric, given the words Todd recites (I never actually
listen, I just catch something along the lines of who can judge me" or
the olympic motto so maybe he explains the whole thing and I'm just
not paying attention), the costumes (relatively plain), the lighting
(spotlights, but with the ice almost completely lit with white lights,
like in a competition), and the synchronized moves (they pass each
other and then do the exatc same move at the exact same time, or even
do the same thing side by side). It's almost like they are recreating
the competition environment, making the audience judge, and then
showing that it doesn't matter how they judge, they will still skate
and they will still be friends. Or maybe it's just a way to show off
the talents of the two top pairs teams...
Studz: A friend of mine was dragged to the San Jose show because
his wife likes it, though he knows a bit about skating and can enjoy
it too. However, he complained that this program was really just
geared for the women in the audience. I agree, but being a member of
the target audience, I don't mind. So there's a lot of hip gyrating
and head shaking and even the set of pushups in the middle, but hey,
it's got a good beat, fun moves, and it does a great job of getting
the audience back into the show after the intermission. Highlights
inlcude the throw jumps, the paired off edge moves (spread eagle,
besti squat) down the length of the ice, and the move where Kurt and
Alexei get propelled across the ice and then land on two other
skaters, and yes, the pushups (they're hilarious).
The Rest of Your Life: I'm not sure I like the placement of this
program because the change in energy is so drastic between this and
the previous group number. Nevertheless, it's a pretty program and
works well in contrast with her group number with Gorsha and John.
The audience gets to see a light hearted program with the trio but
then a softer, more serious program with her solo. She hit both her
2-axel and her 2-flip.
Miserere: This is my favorite Todd program in the show. I still
think it is a bit weird to hear applause in the music, but that's
okay. Todd went for the 3-axel, but unfortunately missed it. It
doesn't really matter though because he skated the rest of the program
Prayer: This is another classic program for them. I am really glad
they are touring this year since to me the show would seem incomplete
without a dance team, and they are one of my favorite dance teams.
They have gorgeous form and wonderful choreography. The program
contains a lot of lifts, some long, some short, some changing
positions, some not. They also do one of their one armed lifts.
Despite the number of moves they do, the program never feels rushed,
each item gets its own time. The program also connects the more
obvious moves well. There are a lot of times where they mirror each
other going down the length of the ice sometimes side by side and
sometimes weaving. They have the ability to make even simple moves
like gliding with an arm extended a powerful image.
Ekaterina Gordeeva: This is a really cute program. She starts and
ends the program with a sweeping bow and fills the middle with a lot
of speed, light footwork and jumps. She did both her 3-toe and her
2-lutz, getting some good height on her 2-lutz.
Slippery Side Up: I enjoy this program a lot because of the
combination of comedy and also inventive (and difficult looking)
footwork. He hits all the right beats with his character and yet
manages to do sequences like the one where he turns and moves in all
sorts of directions but he never actually puts down his second foot,
or the sequence where he's just spinning and spinning and spinning the
whole time. I also think it's hilarious he has that white thing (what
is that anyway? It looks like a snowball, but it can't be.) in his
pocket and sticks it on his head.
Love on the Rocks: This is a really creatively choreographed
program which I definitely didn't appreciate the first time I saw it.
It sort of made me naturally compare it to the previous pairs group
number which was full of elements. This program doesn't have many of
those, but that's not the point of it. It's much more subtle, and in
the end, probably more enjoyable for me to watch. The mistake I made
the first time was not paying attention to the lyrics of the song. I
have since and it's a lot of fun watching the difference what each
pair does and their expression while doing it. For instance when the
lyrics say "and then I do something stupid like say 'i love you'"
Kyoko slaps John, Renee puts her leg on Gorsha and he shakes his
finger at her, and Jenni and Todd kiss. Also the difference in their
costumes help shed light on their characters in the program. John
wears a tight white t-shirt, Gorsha a while flowy shirt, and Todd a
Mme T. After Hours: This program starts with Anton under a sheet
and Kurt bringing out Elena on a cart also covered with a sheet. It's
actually pretty funny when Kurt approaches Anton and Anton whips off
his sheet. Overall this is a nice program. They do a whole bunch of
lifts, each with different difficult dismounts, but I still think the
ending looks a little messy and rushed. In any case, the program is
Lovin' Touchin', Squeezin': This program is packed with tricks yet
still manages to not feel like a program that's only tricks. Once
again, you can see how strong David is with all the one handed lifts
(especially in the handstand on his arm move...). They did a pretty
triple throw (either a salchow or a loop, I don't remember) with good
height and distance.
Racing: So my big complaint for this program is that it is very
much choreographed to face one side. (The side where the tunnel is to
the left.) Since, I was on the other side, I mostly just saw his back
the entire time. Other than that, this is a great program with lots
of fast footwork--I'm a big fan of footwork.
Finale: I actually like the finale better than the opening, but
then again, it's more important to have a good finale. The reason why
might just be as simple as the finale uses music with a good beat and
it makes me feel more upbeat leaving the show. In any case, another
good attribute is that it does a bit of showcasing for each of the
skaters or groups of skaters (the pairs tend to do things together)
and also because while there is a lot going on, there isn't too much
different going on so you don't know where to look. And finally, the
last good thing about the finale in San Jose is Kurt ended right in
front of me. :) Haha, okay kidding.