Ice dancing moves during off-season (1)

Ice dancing moves – no better term to emphasize what’s happening to/in ice dancing during off-season – and no better ally in doing that than social media. Here are the (short) stories of the beginning of May: Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin announced they had their free dance choreographed by Antonio Najarro; Maia and Alex Shibutani worked with Peter Tchernyshev for their free dance, to „Fix You” by Coldplay; and Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland left Evgeny Platov to move to Detroit and train with Igor Shpilband.

by Florentina Tone

Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin continue partnership with Antonio Najarro. The piece of news was announced by both the skaters and the choreographer on their social media accounts. On May 1th, we found out via facebook and Instagram that Antonio Najarro was „flying to Moscow for choreographing the new program of the Russian figure skaters Elena Ilinykh & Ruslan Zhiganshin, to be presented at national and international competitions during 2015/2016 season!”.

At the end of May 3rd, the job was already done: „Finished the choreography of the new Free Dance for the Russian figure skaters Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin. Very satisfied with the result! Thank you for giving me all your energy, soul and hearth. You have an amazing talent! See you soon!”. And, judging by the tone of his report, the result might be something that is worth raising your hat for, as it was the case with last season’s „Carmen”. Elena Ilinykh too showed her enthusiasm on Instagram: „I feel so happy and thankful for our free dance, and I couldn’t dream for more! It’s just unbelievable and You are simply the best! THANK YOU Maestro!” More to come on this topic.

Maia and Alex Shibutani have their free dance choreographed by Peter Tchernyshev. I’ll tell you that: Maia and Alex’ exhibition program from last season, to „Fly On” by Coldplay, might have very well been my favorite part of the gala in Barcelona, at the Grand Prix Final. Sheer beauty – that’s what this was; and you’ll surely understand my enthusiasm when hearing the news: the choreographer of that particular piece, Peter Tchernyshev, will once again work with Maia and Alex – this time for the free dance. On May 6th, the Shibutanis announced the partnership on their facebook/twitter accounts: „Our Free Dance this season will be to «Fix You» by Coldplay. Love creating with Peter! This one feels very special”. Once again, Peter Tchernyshev, once again, Coldplay – Maia and Alex are ready to play their magic.

The announcement was followed by a chorus of enthusiasm: „Your exhibition program to Coldplay was perfection!”, „Oh, my gosh, yes! As you proved in your exhibition this past season, YOU DO COLDPLAY RIGHT. Can’t wait to see this!”, „This is gonna be AWESOME!”. On May 7th, a picture showed Maia and Alex looking completely drained at the end of a day working with Peter – and two days later, on May 9th, Maia wrote on twitter (the work seemed to be over): „After this week I am completely exhausted, but it’s the best feeling to know that you have made the most of every day”.

Maia, Alex and Peter Tchernyshev on May 6th; this photo accompanied the announcement of their work together for the free dance (source: Maia and Alex Shibutani's facebook account)

Maia, Alex and Peter Tchernyshev on May 6th; this photo accompanied the announcement of their work together for the free dance (source: Maia and Alex Shibutani’s facebook account)

Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland leaving Evgeny Platov to train with Igor Shpilband. Well, this is unexpected, to say the least – but on May 10th, Penny Coomes made the announcement on facebook/Instagram/twitter. Here it is, in its entirety – let me only remind out that the British champions skipped the free dance at 2015 Europeans (due to Nicholas catching stomach flu) and the 2015 Worlds altogether (due to Penny falling ill prior to the competition in Shanghai).

Penny Coomes: „After a positive beginning, last season did not end in the way that Nick and I had hoped for. During our preparation for the World Championships I noticed that I was becoming more fatigued than usual, and within a few days I started to experience difficulty breathing. I continued training and doing what I could in the hope that I would still be able to compete. However, about a week before we were scheduled to leave [for Shanghai], my doctors in America took the decision out of my hands and said I wasn’t medically fit to travel to China and compete at the World Championships. Upon returning to England and working with my medical team here, I am now feeling a lot better and ready to start training again.

After an abrupt and unexpected finish to our toughest season, we were faced with a difficult proposition. We were asked to move to Detroit to train with Igor Shpilband. As hard as it’s been for us all, we are looking forward to a fresh start and gaining a new perspective from Igor and his team. We are excited to start a new chapter of our lives tomorrow [May 11th].

We cannot express how hard it has been for us to leave Evgeny, nor put into words what he has done for us both over the past 5 years. We will miss him and our team in New Jersey dearly. Evgeny Platov has become, and always will be part of our family”.