Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team

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 beautifully.

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 tuxedo.

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 pretty creative.

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.