The Proximus Stars on Ice shows in Antwerp 2004

Act II

Text © Mireille Geurts & Magdalena Osborne

Photos © Joy & EMJO

After the intermission, Kevin van der Perren returned with his old training mate; 12 year old Ruben Blommaert. Very fittingly they skated to "Yearnin', Learnin'" by Earth, Wind and Fire. The idea of this program was Ruben and Kevin showing off, trying to top each other with moves and footwork. They did it very well and at the end landed a side by side Axel.

Kevin then presented his own interpretation of the Matrix soundtrack, including all kinds of wicked sound effects. He started as a criminal with a gun, being chased by the police to the sound of sirens. He ran but in the end he was shot by... Ruben!

In the Sunday show things were changed a bit, showing more of the running and the backpack he was supposed to get rid of. Unfortunately, he also accidentally threw away his gun while taking the leather jacket off. Alas, no shooting the audience and the unarmed man went down on the ice. Luckily he got back up and he and Ruben had a little talk, where he asked if Ruben actually intended to shoot him and if he wanted to get rid of him, show your stuff! Ruben did just that and performed his program to "Lupin's Theme". This little guy has a lot of talent! Nice flow, great presentation and promising jumps. Could he be the next Belgian figure skating star on the horizon? Ruben was thrown a stuffed toy but didn't see it at the time, Miki Ando picked it up later.

Miki doing "Mickey" was an energy burst even without the pompons. It was evident she really enjoyed this cheerleading program and after the first successful jump she loosened up and started having fun. The supportive crowd clapped and helped her along and when Miki has fun, you can really see it, go Miki!

When "Don't let me wait long" by Seal started playing, Stefan Lindemann was back on the ice. He may not resemble a NBA player, but his body houses an amazing amount of expression! He skated with great conviction and showmanship and the audience loudly approved.

Nicole Bobek came back wearing another flattering dress in "Le Parole Che Non Ti ho Detto" by Andrea Bocelli, and she certainly had the attitude to go with this kind of music! She was again very elegant to watch and looked pretty enough but performed only double jumps.

The high point of the second act was without a doubt "The pirates of the Caribbean" performed by Margarita and Povilas, complete with pirate flag and swords. This wonderful program really is a must see! There was swashbuckling and action but also romance when Margarita changed from the pirate clothes to a white dress and the program ended in a lift. The audience loved it and went wild and the cheering was as loud as for Kevin, which was a sure sign of success.

Going from drama to fun, Takeshi Honda returned and skated to "Dirty Boogie". He really got into this program and it showed and he brought the audience right along in the fun. At one point he got down on the ice doing push ups, while naughtily flirting with the crowd, which indeed had the intended effect on some females in the audience. Takeshi showed he's not only a world's medalist, but a top class show act as well!

Maria Butyrskaya proved she's still in good shape in Snap's "The power". The music was upbeat and the performance energetic, Maria still has a lot to offer!

Barbara and Maurizio were next skating to "Killing me Softly". They made good use of a rope to perform some specific and very special moves in this breathtaking number which grabbed and held everyone's attention clear to the end. Another example of a fantastic must see dance program.

Oksana Baiul started her second program by entering the ice dressed as a funny looking swan. Flirting with the announcers and flapping her wings she began the program to the classical Swan Lake music, but it soon turned to hip hop and she swiftly lost the ugly swan outfit to reveal a sexy black swan with an attitude. What a switch from last year's white swan! The music was "Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice with an occasional return of Tchaikovsky. Making fun of her own old Swan Lake program and having a blast with the new music, Oksana is very entertaining!

The audience cheered as Ekaterina returned and skated to Alicia Keys' "Heartburn". She offered a much funkier program this time around and with nice effects of the red fringe ruffles on her dress during the spinning movements. This woman can truly skate to everything and pull it off every time, very impressive!

Ilia closed the individual part of the shows with his fast paced "Pick up the pieces". This program was joyous, fun and exciting and very appreciated by the audience. The footwork was incredible and people cheered loudly, but due to the poor ice he again had some problems gliding in the first show. On Sunday this was all gone and the program rocked the house!

The finale music was by Earth, Wind and Fire. It took a long time to put it together and required a lot of coordination and hadn't always been so perfect in practice and Lea Ann Miller probably held her breath. But when the spotlights came on it was great fun and portrayed a wonderful finale of a great show. All the cast lined up and took bows and received the well earned applause and part standing ovation. Well done, Stars on Ice!

It was exciting to learn from the IMG that the shows will return to Antwerp next year and that Proximus will stay on as the main sponsor. Great skating shows are not offered only in North America which is very good news to skating fans in Europe. See you next year!

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