I’m in love with the prince and his beautiful rose

I admit: at the beginning of the free dance at Cup of China my hands were sweating. As a long time admirer of Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat, I had huge expectations as regards their free skating in the Olympic season. I have rarely waited something with such a mixture of emotion, enthusiasm, impatience. From those little glimpses into their preparation (the costumes, the attention to details, the pieces of music they chose) I knew it had to be great. And it was. Not only great. Magical. Full of light and full of colors. Joyful. Solar. Wonderful.

by Florentina Tone

Nathalie and Fabian – the rose and the little prince – at the “Master’s de patinage d’Orléans”, at the beginning of October  (Photo courtesy of Rémy Perthuisot, www.remyperthuisot.com)

Nathalie and Fabian – the rose and the little prince – at the “Master’s de patinage d’Orléans”, at the beginning of October
(Photo courtesy of Rémy Perthuisot, www.remyperthuisot.com)

It was definitely worth the wait. And I can now say it loud and clear: this particular routine, with the prince and his rose, enters my Top 3 wonderful free dances of the season. I won’t give you the exact order (I’m not sure of the rankings yet), just the programs as I’ve seen them: the passionate tango “Yo soy Maria” of the Canadians Weaver and Poje, the Glazunov-Scriabin marvelous program belonging to the other Canadians, the famous ones, Virtue and Moir, and this colorful, lighthearted routine of Péchalat and Bourzat. Once again: their program found a way into my heart – and I’m really glad it did. Chapeau, Nathalie et Fabian! (and I could swear I heard Barbara Fusar-Poli saying “Tutto bene” to Igor Shpilband while embracing him at the end of the French’ routine).

As for the Russians… you all know that in Zagreb I rooted for them. And I do have a soft spot for Ekaterina and Dmitri ever since I first saw them, at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships in Torino (I remember Ekaterina, fragile, beautiful, with her blond hair tight in a small bun). And their routine for the Olympic season, skated at the end of this week at Cup of China, is indeed powerful and theatrical and convincing… but, to tell you the truth, I’m a little bit disappointed they dropped their initial free dance. What happened to that promising, soft routine they skated at the Russian test skate in august? I really liked their skating then – and their choice of music; and I now find myself not particularly into this Vivaldi-Mozart program. I’ve always felt that originality was one of their forté (see the program skated last season, for example) and now I’m not that sure. So, Mr. Zhulin, could you please take into consideration reassessing the initial routine? I was so looking forward to seeing it at Cup of China…

Third place at Cup of China – the Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates, skating on music from “Les Misérables”. She’s a beauty – and the music really suits them. On the other hand, Yuna’s routine from last season is too recent and to good for me to fall in love with other version of “Les Misérables” yet. I’ll tell if the situation changes during the season. But I really enjoyed the performance of Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones on the music from “Swan Lake”. Such an exquisite routine, with loads of difficult elements. Honestly speaking, I’ve been waiting for some time for them to rise, to show they’re good – and their inconsistency in the last two seasons was hard to deal with. I do believe they are a great couple, Pernelle and Lloyd, and their performance at Cup of China really proved that. What a beautiful swan she is! And the costumes – just gorgeous. Of course, the program still needs polishing, but it truly is wonderful.