The 2010 Dreams on Ice

Part II

July 7, 2010
By Atsuko Kuryu
Photos © Munenori Hashimoto


 

ACT II

 

Cathy Reed/Chris Reed – 17th at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, 15th at the World Championships

Meditation de Thais”

Cathy wore a plain white dress which made her look feminine and graceful. Chris’ new hairdo gave him a more mature look and both of them matched the music very well. This program contained several lift variations and they changed positions quickly. Some positions were simply beautiful, but the transition between positions was sometimes clumsy. As time goes by they will become smoother and this program will be the most graceful program they have ever had.

 

Takahiko Kozuka – 8th at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, 10th at the World Championships

“Take Five”

Skaters performing in this exhibition usually show his/her new program, but Takahiko showed his short program from two years ago. His new exhibition program, choreographed by Kurt Browning, was finished but unfortunately the costume was not. Takahiko’s skating was nice and as smooth as ever but somehow the performance didn’t seem very exciting. It was however clear that he had improved in many aspects. This was especially evident in the opening of the show where he showed very fast and fantastic footwork, presumably taught to him by Kurt Browning. So, everyone, please wait for the time when his costume is ready!

 

Akiko Suzuki - 8th at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, 11th at the World Championships

“Jalousie”

Akiko did perform a brand new program, her short for the upcoming season. It suited her very well with fantastic footwork that got the crowd going. This was a Akiko Suzuki-typical performance; beautiful but with no element of surprise. On the other hand, you may say it was generic. But she was very good technically and I particularly noticed that her spins have improved even more since last year.

 

Stéphane Lambiel – 4th at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

“Let the Good Times Roll”

He changed his image with this sparkling program. I felt like I was watching a stylish and fun movie. He was active, upbeat, jovial, and very athletic. He even did cartwheels during the performance. The usually sexy and passionate Stéphane was fantastic, but this guy was totally fun. The audience was so excited they gave him a big standing ovation.

Stéphane : “It was a lot of fun for me to skate to this music. I could feel the fan’s support throughout the performance, which was fantastic. I enjoy skating to this music and I’m sure the Japanese fans enjoyed it too.”

 

Laura Lepistö - 6th at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, bronze at the World Championships

“Jupitor” by Ayaka Hirahara

Laura had chosen classical music but this time it was arranged and sung by the Japanese singer Ayaka Hirahara. Her deep voice and Lepistö’s gentle and graceful skating were in tune with each other. In a beautiful blue dress, Laura performed a flawless program. All her spins were fast and well-positioned and the jumps were consistent. She looked to be in very good shape for the time of year. Her performance was a kind of soothing relief between two hot and intense performances.

 

Evgeni Plushenko – Silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

“Malade”

Even if Stéphane usually enchants the Japanese women, the star attraction for “Dreams On Ice” was Evgeni Plushenko. As soon as he appeared on the ice, the crowd started cheering for him. Whatever he did in the performance, people went wild, they didn’t even care that his jumps were a bit off. The highlight of the program was the quick footwork in the middle. Oh, how fast he made the steps alternately right and left! The standing ovation started before his performance even finished.

Evgeni : “My dream is to skate in the Sochi Winter Games. Maybe I will be past my peek by then, but still I want the challenge. I tried a quadruple Salchow three days ago, and I felt fairly content with the outcome. I want to keep skating if I can only be healthy enough, without injuries.”

 

Miki Ando - 5th at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, 4th at the World Championships

“Coming Home Baby”, “ Concierto de Aranjuez” (vocalized)

Miki seemed to enjoy being part of this exhibition more than anyone else here. Sometimes she has prepared two programs for the show and this time she had three! The first one playful with upbeat music, the second one, unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch and the third performance was mature and hot set to a vocalized version of Aranjuez. Miki actually has a wide range of performance styles as a skater and she has brilliant jumps. So what’s missing? Only that she uses all of her potential, because if she does I’m sure she will be back on the podium at the next Worlds.

 

Daisuke Takahashi - Bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, winner of the World Championships

“La Valse D’Amelie”

Wearing a simple costume in black and dark gray, he looked a lot like Stéphane Lambiel during his “Ne Me Quitte Pas” performance. And there were many Stéphane-like movements in the program; it was like Daisuke was skating not his own but Stéphane’s program. And that was exactly what he meant to do. He later explained to the press that he had asked Stéphane to put in a lot of his moves in the program, but he didn’t say why. On the first day, Daisuke really resembled Stéphane, however, gradually his own skating evolved from the strong Stéphane influence. On the last day it looked as Daisuke skated his own program with a Stéphane touch, which was fabulous. So I can’t wait to see the Takahashi-Lambiel collaborated new short program.

Daisuke : “I was really nervous because I haven’t performed in front of a crowd for so long. And this is kind of a slow program, so I had time to feel how nervous I was. And I was more conscious because Stéphane skated here and might be watching my performance. But I still had a lot of fun!”

Stéphane : “Takahashi has fabulous talent! He has such great potential that it has been a great pleasure for me to work with him. We have had a good time together.”

Daisuke : “Next season is really important and a meaningful season for me because we host the World Championships. And that means a chance for me to win a second consecutive Worlds. I want to stick out while I’m still eligible.”

 

Mao Asada - Silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, winner of the World Championships

“Ballad no.11” by Chopin

Mao’s costume last year was so decorative but this time she wore just a plain white dress with a longer -than usual for single ladies- skirt, which made her look so mature and mystic. The program is very artistic and proved that Mao is no longer a jumping bean but a girl on the verge of womanhood. She didn’t attempt the triple Axel but all her jumps were very high. Her spiral was outstanding and, of course, her spins too. She looked happy with this new program.

Mao : “I chose this music myself because I have not had this kind of program in a long time. I feel like I am totally in control to this music. It’s much more settled than when I skate fiery programs. And I am very excited for next season because the World Championships will be held in Tokyo, I can’t wait!”

 

The finale

On the first day the skaters had looked quite tense because most of them performed their new programs for the first time. They must have been worried about how well these programs would be received. Therefore the last day’s finale meant a huge relief and the skaters looked very relaxed and had so much fun together. After the regular finale was over, it was time for some special fun and almost all the skaters did encores, challenging themselves to a special jump or move. For some this worked out well, for others not so. I listed what they did:

Daisuke - quadruple flip, Kozuka and Hanyu – quadruple toe, Takahashi/Tran – twist, Reeds – lift, Nanri and Nakamura – triple Axel, Uno – cantilever, Kanako – double toe-triple toe, Haruka – triple loop, Mao, Miki, Akiko and Laura – spirals, Plushenko – double Axel, Lambiel – spins, Ice Messengers – a group lift.

Every year in “Dreams On Ice”, we spot some new talent that might pose a threat to the top skaters. This year it was very prominent, especially in the men’s field. Machida and Hanyu showed they will be ready to represent Japan in the 2011 World Championships. And in the women’s field Kanako will move up to the senior stage this year. None of the Olympians should get too comfortable…

Go back to Part I







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