I really enjoyed the dance event this year, more than any other year. It really was a great competition.:-)
Clements & Shortland, the British team, were first to go. I can't remember seeing them skate before. She was wearing a white dress and he was in black, and they were skating to Swan Lake. It looks like a lovely program, but they made too many mistakes. They fell while he was trying to lift her and throughout the program there were little tumbles here and there. They made a reverse lift where she lifts him and he is in a split position-reminded me of Anissina & Peizerat's Romeo & Juliet lift. They looked a little slow over the ice.
Delobel & Schoenfelder were next, wearing very strange costumes that I can't describe (look at my photos). They looked like dolls or puppets and maybe this was the theme of their program. The music was really great but I couldn't recognize it, although it reminded me of Yanni. I was very afraid that they would fall-indeed, they fell in their free dance at Lalique both in 97 and 98, and during the warm-up they had difficulties with their step sequence (he took a bad fall). I was holding my breath during this step sequence during the program!! But they did it brilliantly!:-) I really enjoyed the program, it has a lot of rythm, lots of interesting moves and steps. They looked very happy at the end! Great for them.
Hugentobler & Hugentobler were wearing the most awful costumes of the evening.:-(( She had a very loose dress-well I can't really call it a dress, it was more like a big shirt, and it was blue and brown. It was strange. They were skating to piano jazz music, and the program was a little boring to me. By the way, there was a crazy woman that happened to be a judge for this event, and she said that everytime she is bored by a program she starts dancing on her seat.:-) And that's exactly what she did during this program. Almost nobody noticed it, but it was funny. Actually the program was uninteresting, they don't have enough charisma for this kind of music, and there were some hesitations during the step sequences.
Wing & Lowe, the Canadians, were next and got a lot of support from a little group of people who made a LOT of noise (I think it irritated almost everybody!)-and this little group was in fact the Canadian team (I could recognize Valerie Saurette screaming). Well, this program made me really think that vocals in the free dance aren't a good idea.:-( The program itself is really cute, but the song isn't-except the slow part. At the beginning and at the end of the program, the music is just awful in my opinion. It's a woman singing and it looks like a mambo or something like that. I found that voice to be very ugly and I think the program would have looked a lot better if it was just a music and no voice. The slow part was my favourite because it was not the same song and it was a tango, and it was lovely and very smooth. But the other two parts-arrghh! Of course that is just my own opinion.:-)
Chait & Sakhnovsky were great!:-) I was really surprised by them! At first I found their costumes very strange, they were very different from each other. But what a program! They were skating to 1492 and this kind of music suits them a lot better than the folk music they were using last year. In fact this is a big change-and a dramatic improvement this year. They did a lot of steps, interesting lifts, quick moves. Her floating dress really adds something to the program.They had a lot of power and expression. The crowd loved it!! I was thrilled too!:-) In my opinion this was the fourth best program but the judges didn't agree with me (except the second one!)-they were 6th.:-)
Nowak & Kalasinski were first to go in the last group. I have to say I've never liked their style. Thay were wearing orange costumes with other colors like green, brown-not my cup of tea. Their music was quite slow, and it was piano music. Although the program didn't really captivate me, I think this kind of music suits them better than any other one. The program itself is nice, but they should highlight their moves more, maybe by choosing the right part of the music for each move or by holding them longer. Because of that (the lack of real highlights), the program looked really flat to me, and very boring.
Fusar-Poli & Margaglio, the Italians, really impressed me. Before seeing that program I was hoping that Drobiazko & Vanagas would be second, because I've never fallen in love with the Italians' programs. But this program is wonderful! There are so much difficult steps, difficult lifts, rythm, expression... The celtic theme really suits them well! If only they could wear more simple costumes, it would be even better, but I think that a program like that will certainly give them a medal at Europeans and Worlds.:-) And the program really is better when you see it in person (when I watched it on TV I wasn't as much impressed). The judges gave them well-deserved marks, and there was hardly any rooms for the other teams!
Anissina & Peizerat were the crowd's favorites of course, and I was really wanting to see this new program! I didn't really like the costumes, though, these things on the shoulders look very strange especially on Gwendal (who is still handsome...:-)). I think black suits Marina very well though. Well, I really loved the program. It is a lot more difficult than The Man in the Iron Mask, it has more steps and more connecting moves. There are some incredible moves!! One of them is a step sequence, at the end of the first part of the program. It's hard to describe, but Gwendal is kneeling and then he jumps and lands on his knee, then he does it again. It is *very* impressive (it didn't look that great on TV because they showed it from the front) and it is done exactly on the right parts of the music. However I think they did it better during the warm-up, because during the program they seemed to be far from each other. They did another step sequence by the end of the program, where Gwendal does split jumps and lands on his knee again. The lifts were great too, one of them looked like a Duchesnay's lift from Missing, and their first lift is very impressive because Marina is laying on Gwendal's head! This is a very powerful and ambitious program, and for a first time it was very very good. The only things I didn't really like are the spins which looked wobbly and slow, and the reverse lift which was the same as in Romeo & Juliet-I was expecting a new one. They can also work on their speed and flow. But the program is magical!! They got a standing ovation of course!;-) And a 6.0 from the British judge.:-)
Drobiazko & Vanagas had to follow that! They had white costumes and skated to a lovely song by Emma Shaplin that I really liked. This program is very different from last year's program, and although I love it I think their last program suited them better. By the way, many moves (lifts, spins and even some steps) were recycled moves from last year. The program was very elegant, graceful, beautiful to watch. I particularly liked the spirals and the lift where Povilas lifts her while changing edges. During a step sequence they had little problems catching their hands, it was not very obvious but it looked messy to me. Overall the program was very good, I think if they can get a little more power and expression during the season it will be a fantastic program.
Lang & Tchernysev were last to go. They were skating to Anytime, anywhere by Sarah Brightman which is in fact "Adagio". Their costume were white and blue, her skirt was very long and I think it would have looked better with a shorter one. The program was cute, but they didn't have a lot of speed. Of course following the top 3 teams didn't help them, because compared to them they were really slow. I didn't like their spin because it looked like a pair's camel spin. The music is beautiful and they interpreted it quite well. This team has a lot of potential and still has to improve, but already this program looked good. Personally I prefered Chait & Sakhnovsky, but I don't disagree with their 5th place. Not a lot of response from the crowd so Naomi had to ask for more support!:-)